Top 5 Essential Oils for Coughs


There are many causes for someone to cough, including the common cold, flu, or chest infection. 

Some essential oils may ease symptoms of cough or cold by soothing the throat, reducing inflammation, and clearing away mucus. Many essential oils can be used to relieve these symptoms.

Eucalyptus essential oil

This oil’s key compound is called eucalyptol cineole, many over the counter vapor or chest rubs often contain eucalyptus oil or it’s key compounds. 

A study published in the Alternative Medicine Review found that eucalyptol has an antimicrobial effect and may help fight off bacteria that cause illnesses. Eucalyptol may also help reduce inflammation, relieve pain, and ease muscle tension that can result from a cold or flu.

Eucalyptus essential oil may be used to calm a cough by adding a couple of drops to 1 teaspoon of carrier oil and rubbing it onto the chest and throat. Add a couple of drops in a cup of boiling water and inhale the steam with caution.

Rosemary essential oil

Rosemary essential oil also contains cineole. A study published in the journal Cough found that cineole may help to break up mucus and reduce inflammation. Rosemary essential oil can calm the muscles in your trachea, giving you respiratory relief. It is also tied to the treatment of asthma. Rosemary is most commonly diluted in a carrier oil and applied to the skin. 

Rosemary essential oil may help break congestion when used in steam inhalation.

Oregano essential oil

Oregano essential oil contains a high level of a potent compound called carvacrol and thymol. A study in 2014 found that carvacrol is a helpful antimicrobial agent that can fight off many types of germs. This could, therefore, help to treat viral or bacterial cases of a cough. 

Always dilute oregano essential oil when applying to the skin as it is considered a hot oil. 1 drop to 2 teaspoons of carrier. Oregano in steam inhalation is great to help relieve symptoms of sinus infections.

Lavender essential oil

Lavender essential oil may have a calming effect on your airways, and researchers say it could be useful as an alternative for bronchial asthma. Try inhaling lavender with a steam inhalation, a diffuser, or diluted on the skin, or in a warm bath.

Thyme essential oil

Thyme essential oil has carvacrol and thymol. It has an antibacterial effect against respiratory bacteria. It’s also used to help respiratory disorders such as bronchitis and pertussis. The soothing nature of thyme is key in treating dry, irritated throat. It also serves as a potent remedy for bronchitis, sinus, headache, and pharyngitis. Gargle a drop of thyme essential oil in 4 oz of warm water to get instant relief from cough and congestion.

How to use Essential Oils to Treat Coughs

Essential oils are used as part of aromatherapy and can be inhaled in a number of ways. 

Straight from the bottle. This is the simplest method. Just open the bottle and take a few deep breaths. 

Steam inhalation. Fill a bowl with hot water and add a few drops of essential oils. Bend your head over the bowl, put a towel over your head and the bowl, and take deep breaths. Caution with hot steam. 

Evaporation. Put a few drops of essential oil on a cotton ball and inhale as the oil evaporates. 

Diffuser. A diffuser releases small particles of the oil into the room. Add essential oils to a diffuser.

Topical application. Dilute essential oils with a carrier oil like jojoba and apply to the skin, you can use a roller bottle for easier application.

Good practices for using essential oils safely include:

  • Dilute with a carrier oil: Blend essential oils with a carrier oil like fractionated coconut oil, jojoba, sweet almond oil, or grapeseed oil before applying to the skin. This helps spread the oil evenly and promotes absorption. 
  • Patch-test new oils: If you’re new to an oil and don’t know how your skin will react to it, do a small patch test first. If irritation, rash or other reaction occurs, don’t use the oil. 
  • Consult with our doctor: If you’re pregnant or nursing, talk to your doctor about which oils you are using, what they’re used for, overall safety and best recommendations.



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