(Part Four of a series on Fighting Respiratory Viruses. Here’s parts One, Two, Three and Five.)

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE: This piece describes a protocol the author’s found highly effective for fighting respiratory infections over several decades, especially when augmented by some of the other methods described in the accompanying four articles. My experience is that the protocol works across a wide range of viral and bacterial infections, including a few cases recently with symptoms matching reports of the coronavirus’ common presentations. Be sure to note the precautions if you’re elderly or pregnant. This information is to be considered educational and not prescriptive. If you have a medical condition, please consult your physician.


n the first three parts of this series I covered how to use several front-line therapies to fight respiratory viruses. I explained that I’m in a line of work where I don’t get sick pay, where everyone wants to see me when they’re sick, but no one wants to see me when I’m down with the crud.

So go back and read those pieces first. The three additional tools I present here are add-ons to those.

Secret #1: Eucalyptus oil.

When our sinuses fill with concrete or we develop a cough that just won’t quit, don’t forget Eucalyptus.

Eucalyptus is an extremely powerful natural anti-viral and antibiotic. When my own sinuses filled with fluid I used to put a dab or two on my upper lip under my nostrils and breathe the aroma in as deeply as I could … but then after a few doses I noticed my upper lip was getting raw.

So instead I began spraying it around the house. That seemed to work too … with the bonus that it’s also a pretty good room sterilizer. Eucalyptus is effective against a wide range of bacteria and viruses.1,2,3 Diffusing it in the air by mixing it up in a spray bottle and blasting the room with it works really well; using a candle diffuser or a plug-in, powered version almost as well.

Eucalyptus is also a decent mood elevator; never a bad thing if you’re down for the count and out of action for a few days.

If I’m really congested I’ll prepare the tub for a hot soak (see Part 2 for details) by spraying Eucalyptus oil around the tub to sterilize it. Then I’ll evaporate the oil away by filling the tub with hot water. This makes a glorious Eucalyptus steam bath. Inhale that steam, and one can feel one’s lungs clearing right before one’s …. eyes?

One can accomplish much the same thing (a little less ambitiously) by boiling a pot of water on the stove, dropping 20-40 drops of Eucalyptus into it, and then inhaling the steam. Tent yourself with a towel for a more intense experience (please turn the burner off first, though …)

The best source I’ve found for Eucalyptus oil in bulk is Bulk Apothecary.


When a cold or flu leaves you with a chest cough that just won’t quit and nothing else works, try a Frankincense and Marjoram chest rub.

Haven’t seen it fail yet.

When a cold or flu leaves you with a chest cough that just won’t quit and nothing else works, try a Frankincense and Marjoram chest rub.

Haven’t seen it fail yet.

Secret #2: Throat Wrapping

Especially in the early stages of fighting off a respiratory virus, if the main symptom is a sore throat, wrapping the throat snugly is a great idea. This works particularly well just before going to bed at night (though it can be done anytime.)

Take a handkerchief-sized piece of skin-friendly cloth and arrange it in a diamond shape with one of the corners pointing toward you. Next, take a thick athletic-style sock and place it horizontally from point-to-point across the cloth … then fold the cloth up with the sock inside so it makes a thick cloth band made thicker by the sock now hidden inside.

Now spread something like Vick’s Vaporub (old school) or Tiger Balm (new school) on your neck, being sure to cover the area where your throat is sore. Then wrap the sock-inside-the-cloth around your neck, and pin it snugly with a safety pin at the back of your neck. Try not to stab yourself with the pin.

Sleep with that on … your throat will be much better in the morning. (if it’s not it might be wise to get to a doc pronto.)

Secret #3: Frankincense and Marjoram oil.

Every now and then a respiratory virus will blow through town that leaves people with a stubborn, persistent cough. I’ve seen this progress into something resembling pneumonia. When this doesn’t respond to ginger tea, sweating, eucalyptus or anything else, I’ll make a Frankincense and Marjoram chest rub.

Start with a 4 oz bottle of Jojoba oil, available at any good health food store or at Whole Foods. We use jojoba because chemically it’s very similar to sebum, the body’s natural skin oil, which means it gets absorbed (along with whatever’s suspended in it) very efficiently. Pour a smidgen of the Jojoba out, and then add about 40 drops of Frankincense and 40 drops of Marjoram oil to the bottle. (Be sure you’re using pure Frankincense oil … many commercially available products dilute the Frankincense because it can be a little pricey.)

Now coat the upper chest and back with that oil, 2-3x/day. Relief will usually be felt within the first 24 hours.

It’s a rare respiratory virus that won’t respond rapidly and completely to combinations of the natural therapies I’ve outlined these last four weeks. The teas, the sweats, the vitamin C, the Eucalyptus … all together or in various combinations … really rock. If and when they don’t work I usually find folks have been doing them half-heartedly. They take the vitamin C a few times/day, don’t steep the medicinal teas long enough and only drink a cup or two … that kind of thing.

So …

  1. be sure to make any teas medicinal strength by letting them steep at least 45 minutes and putting them through repeated cycles of heating and cooling.
  2. Make sure the baths are hot enough and ..
  3. that you spend enough time sweating in bed afterwards (at least 20 minutes, better 45-60.)
  4. Observe the cautions about sweating. Some of us probably shouldn’t.
  5. Take enough vitamin C to get the runs or at least a rumbling tummy (don’t fret, they don’t last long) …
  6. and do all these things together in combination … that’ll usually do the job.

OK, that’s it for the interventions.

Interested in more? Then check out our proposed rationale where we make our best educated guess about why all this seems to work the way it does. There’s also a very helpful discussion of how we can all build our organic reserve, the resilience that can give us a crucial edge when our health is under assault, no matter what the insult.


 1. Cermelli C, Fabio A, Fabio G, Quaglio P. Effect of eucalyptus essential oil on respiratory bacteria and viruses. 2008. Curr Microbiol. 56(1):89-92.

 2. Salari MH, Amine G, Shirazi MH, Hafezi R, Mohammadypour M. Antibacterial effects of Eucalyptus globulus leaf extract on pathogenic bacteria isolated from specimens of patients with respiratory tract disorders. 2006. Clin Microbiol Infect. 12(2):194-6.

 3. Sartorelli P, Marquioreto AD, Amaral-Baroli A, Lima ME, Moreno PR. Chemical composition and antimicrobial activity of the essential oils from two species of Eucalyptus. 2007. Phytother Res. 21(3):231-3.

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