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15 Best Essential Oils For Cough, Its Risks, Complications & Different Ways to Use Essential Oils for Cough

Because of their excellent natural qualities, essential oils are being used to treat several conditions including cough. When essential oils are used to get relief from any health condition it is known as Complementary alternative therapy. In general essential oils are used for practice of aromatherapy and are also used in several other ways. One must be very careful while using essential oils as they are potent and unregulated. For treating cough, one can try using some of the best essential oils; however for treating severe cough one must definitely consult with a doctor.

Read below to know about some of the best essential oils for cough.

15 Best Essential Oils For Cough

15 Best Essential Oils For Cough:

There are some essential oils which might ease symptoms of cough or cold by fighting bacteria, reducing inflammation and soothing the throat. There are research that shows that using a nasal spray containing a blend of peppermint, eucalyptus, rosemary, and oregano extract can actually improve a sore throat, and other cough related symptoms. Let us now, take a look at some of the best essential oils for cough.

Eucalyptus Essential Oil:

As per a study, it is said that Eucalyptus essential oil is known to be able to treat coughs and other associated respiratory issues, such as sinusitis, bronchitis, and pharyngitis.(1) Analysis of Eucalyptus grandis has shown excellent immune enhancing effects that acts as an efflux pump inhibitor that influences the ability of the body to deal with bacteria.

This essential oil is being investigated as an effective anti-TB drug. There are various products that are available in pharmacy and they incorporate eucalyptus essential oil for relieving congestion, including certain cough drops and vapor rubs. One study on children had concluded that using vapor rub eased children’s cough and congestion during night time, and thus helping them have a better sleep during night.(2)

For inhaling, you need to take 12 drops of the eucalyptus essential oil in ¾ cup of boiling water thrice in a day.

Vicks VapoRub, that is most commonly used for colds and cough contains eucalyptus essential oil. It might be wonderful to find a recipe for making your own rub using eucalyptus essential oil at home.

One study published in the Alternative Medicine Review has found that eucalyptol has got an antimicrobial effect and might also fight off bacteria that result in illnesses.

Eucalyptol might even help in reducing inflammation, ease muscle tension, and relieve pain that can result from a cold or flu.

Peppermint Essential Oil:

Another essential oil for cough is the peppermint essential oil. Peppermint is a common herb containing menthol and many people use the lavender essential oil to get relief from congestion. However, there is a lack of evidence on this.

One study has concluded that inhaling menthol does not actually relieve cough symptoms; however, people who inhale it usually feel better.(3)

In order to get a relief sensation from cough, you might want to try inhaling peppermint essential oil with a bowl of steaming water or with your diffuser.

NOTE: Using peppermint essential oil for children below 8 years and pregnant women are not advisable.

Rosemary Essential Oils:

Rosemary plant is found all over the world and it is known to calm down the muscles in our trachea, offering us respiratory relief.

According to study, this essential oil is also used to treat asthma.(4) Rosemary is applied to the skin by most commonly mixing with carrier oil. For getting relief you need to try inhaling the diluted rosemary oil.

Cypress Essential Oil:

Cypress essential oil contains camphene. This camphene molecule might help in reducing respiratory congestion when inhaled.(5)

You need to fill one bowl with warm water and then add few drops of cypress oil to see if it has any affect on congestion and your cough.

Cinnamon Essential Oil:

Cinnamon is a frequently used spice in baking and cooking and it has also got some benefits in offering you relief from bronchitis. A study concludes that cinnamon essential oil can be beneficial for stopping respiratory tract pathogens in case emitted in a gaseous state for only a short time period. Cinnamon oil acts against common bacteria reproducing.

You need to try diffusing cinnamon essential oil in to the air or inhaling a few drops of it diluted in a bowl of steaming water. You can add a few drops of cinnamon essential oil to your diffuser or include the essential oil in a topical blend may provide enough relief from cough.

Nutmeg Essential Oil:

There are several essential oils for cough, and one of those is the Nutmeg essential oil. This oil actually makes a great difference if you are suffering from respiratory conditions. One study has found that inhalation of nutmeg-derived oils had reduced respiratory tract fluid in case of rabbits.(7)

Try to add nutmeg essential oil to your diffuser and see if it aids you in getting relief from cough. Nutmeg helps to loosen secretions and provide your relief from congestion.

Frankincense Essential Oils:

Frankincense essential oil is usually used in incense and in perfumes. Traditionally the essential has been valued for its excellent effect on the respiratory system, and it has been used for treating coughs, bronchitis, catarrh, and asthma.

Lemon Essential Oil:

Lemon essential oil help our body to fight against cough in various ways.. It aids supporting the drainage of lymph nodes, while allowing your immune system to fight the underlying conditions that has been causing the cough. Lemon oil is known for its anti-inflammatory properties that help to restore the good health of the respiratory system. The antioxidant ability of lemon essential oil supports the immune system of your body.

Oregano Essential Oil:

Oregano essential oil contains two crucial active ingredients known as Carvacrol and Thymol, each having potential antibacterial and antifungal properties that help to battle those potential causes of cough and illness. Oregano essential oil is even believed to be an effective antiviral agent, thus is able to fight colds and also more serious infections.

Lavender Essential Oil:

It must be noted that at times cough might be a symptom of asthma. You might find that lavender essential oil can help you get relief from symptoms of asthma.

A study indicates that inhaling lavender essential oil has inhibited airway resistance caused due to bronchial asthma.(8)

For using this essential oil you need to inhale the oil with steam inhalation, a diffuser, or diluted and place it in a warm bath to see if it aids in relieving cough.

Bergamot Essential Oil:

Bergamot essential oil helps you to relieve congestion. It comprises of molecule camphene in it and according to a study, it is found that inhalation of this molecule is linked to helping relieve respiratory tract fluid.(9)

Try this essential oil in your humidifier or diffuser to see if it helps you with your cough and congestion.

Thyme Essential Oil:

One study has found that thyme could be used as an excellent antimicrobial agent for several respiratory conditions.(10)

Researchers have studied thyme and some other essential oils to determine the best possible way to use them for fighting respiratory tract pathogens.(11) This study concluded that thyme essential oil should be diffused rapidly in a high concentration only for a short time period.

Geranium Essential Oil:

One review of studies that was published in Complementary Medicine Research has reported that Pelargonium sidoides, or a geranium extract was an effective herbal treatment for cough.(12)

Geranium essential oil has also got a refreshing floral scent and an individual might want to add it to a warm bath or a diffuser.

Geranium extract is known to be associated with helping several infections in the upper respiratory tract, which include bronchitis. Researchers have looked at several studies that measured the geranium extract’s effect on cough. All of them, but one study showed a connection between the use of this geranium extract and relief from the symptoms of cough.

One more study showed that the symptoms of common cold can be reduced by administration of liquid drops of a geranium extract and it can also reduced the duration of illness.(13)

Tea Tree Essential Oil:

One of the best essential oils for cough is the tea tree essential oil. Tea tree oil has its proven benefits for cough and various other respiratory problems because of its antimicrobial properties. It is also known to effectively clear congestion.

Other Supportive Essential Oils For Cough:

There are some other supportive essential oils for cough which include chamomile, lemongrass, basil, lemon essential oils.

How to Use The Essential Oils For Cough:

Adding the above mentioned essential oils to hot water and inhaling the steam might be quite beneficial for cough and cold.

Essential oils are very much potent and you need to use them with care. These oils should be diluted, in a diffuser or combined with another topical oil so as to avoid complications or reactions. Make sure you do nit ingest any essential oil.

Essential oils for cough can be used in a variety of ways. Let us take a look on some of them.

In Steam Bath:

You can use the essential oils in steam bath. Simply add a few drops of the oil to a bowl of boiling water and then breathe in the steam to get good relief from cough and congestion.

With Carrier Oil:

Dilute any essential oil in carrier oil and apply the same to the skin. Some of the carrier oils include olive oil, coconut oil, argan oil, grapeseed oil, sunflower oil, sesame oil, and apricot kernel oil

In Warm Compress:

You can use these essential oils in warm compress. For this you need to add a few drops of the oil and a small amount of liquid soap to a warm water bowl. Soak a clean towel in this mixture and then drape it across your head or your chest.

In Handkerchief Or Tissue:

Apply one or two drops of any essential oil to a tissue or a handkerchief. Inhale it, holding quite close to your nose and mouth. This would offer you get relief from the cold and cough symptoms.

Risks And Potential Complications Associated With Essential Oils For Cough:

Every good thing has something bad in it. So, even though there are a lot of essential oils for cough and all of them have been known to be quite effective in getting you relief from cough, you need to know that they must be used with caution as there might be some potential risk and complications associated with these essential oils.

The U.S. FDA does not oversee the production of essential oils and thus their quality and contents can actually vary.

In addition, there are no specific medically endorsed dosages for any of these essential oils. So, you need to discuss with your doctor to be very much sure that you are not interfering with other health conditions while using these essential oils for cough. You also need to check with your doctor before using essential oils if you are pregnant or if you are in your lactating phase.

You must also keep it noted that essential oils affect children in a different way and they have not been studied. So before using these oils on your children you should always consult with your child’s doctor.

One more thing that must be noted is that, some of these essential oils come with specific side effects such as allergic reaction. So, you need to be very careful while using these oils for cough.

NOTE: Though mild cases of cough and congestion can be treated with essential oils in some people, severe cases do require proper medical attention.

Final Thoughts:

It might be really beneficial to try the above mentioned essential oils for cough. However, you need to be careful as there is a lack of specific research on the effectiveness of such method of treatment. You need to maintain caution while making use of essential oils for cough and also ensure to dilute them appropriately before using it.

You must also keep in mind to use only one essential oil at one time and also never delay medical treatment in case you have severe cough, if you have other associated symptoms, or in case your cough continues for a long period of time.


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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:February 20, 2020

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