Coughing, acute or chronic, is one of the most common reasons people visit their doctor. This disorder affects us across our lifespan, and regardless of our state of health. From infant to elderly, healthy to chronically ill.
Essential oils can offer us soothing relief for coughing, regardless of type or cause.
6 Ways That Essential Oils Treat Coughs
Essential oils can effectively treat many types of coughs. Different oils contain active constituents that work on a molecular level to be antiseptic, antimicrobial, antifungal, antispasmodic, expectorant and decongestant. Not only can essential oils clear congestion, but they can also clear up and disperse negativity and the heavy mood that often accompanies illness.
- Antiseptic and antimicrobial essential oils work to prevent or stop the spread of microorganisms that cause cough and illness
- Antifungal essential oils fight environmental mold spores that cause respiratory discord. This can be done both internally (if the cough is caused by fungal infection), or externally to clear an area of mold.
- Antispasmodic essential oils help to calm muscle spasms that cause chronic coughing fits.
- Expectorant essential oils help us to have more productive coughs-expelling the phlegm our bodies are trying to get out to make us well again.
- Decongestant essential oils help to open and clear our respiratory passages
- Finally, essential oils have a profound effect on our emotions. They can lighten and uplift a person who is experiencing the weighty emotions that often accompany illness.
Essential Oils For Coughs
1. Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus)
Eucalyptus essential oil destroys viruses or microbes that may be causing your cough. It also helps reduce inflammation of the respiratory tract, clearing our respiratory passages. Eucalyptus essential oil is a strong remedy for asthma induced coughing.
If you’ve ever used Vick’s Vapor Rub, then you know the decongestant aroma of Eucalyptus. Make your own vapor rub, minus the petroleum jelly and synthetic ingredients!
Simply add a few drops of Eucalyptus essential oil to a tablespoon of coconut oil and rub the mixture generously on your chest and under your nose. Use this oil with caution on young children under six.
To use it safely with children, strictly keep to ½ a drop, diluted in 1 tablespoon coconut oil and rub the mixture onto children’s backs. (Avoid the chest and facial area)
2. Peppermint (Mentha piperita)
Peppermint essential oil packs a powerful aroma and effect that must be used cautiously. In general, you should never use more than a couple drops of this oil in blends, or on its own. That said, peppermint is very well suited for treating cough.
Peppermint will simultaneously fight the root cause of a viral/bacterial cough while it helps calm muscle spasms that cause coughing fits. Finally, this oil will help make a cough more productive, helping our body to more effectively use the coughing to expel infected phlegm from respiratory passages.
Among the many other benefits of this oil, it helps with sinus headaches, muscle soreness and fever, all of which sometimes accompany a cough.
Place a couple drops of Peppermint essential oil on a folded-up tissue and place the tissue inside of a sealed plastic baggie. When you feel a coughing fit coming on, open the bag and inhale deeply.
Use ½ a drop peppermint essential oil per 1 tablespoon coconut or other base oil for use on children in this age group.
3. Rosemary (Rosemarinus officinalis)
This ancient herb of the Mediterranean region was traditionally burned in sick rooms to help purify the air. Today, we have abundant amounts of this aromatic herb distilled into rosemary essential oil.
Rosemary essential oil is antiseptic, decongestant and antispasmodic. It will help calm coughing fits while it fights the root cause of viral/bacterial coughs and clears our congestion of the upper respiratory tract.
4. Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia)
This amazing herb and distilled pure essential oil are panaceas of healing that we should always have on hand. There is hardly a condition that Tea Tree oil does not address in one way or another, and coughing is no exception!
Tea tree essential oil is anti-fungal, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antiviral and expectorant, to name a few of this astounding oil’s healing properties.
Tea Tree essential oil can be used as a component of a room spray to clear contaminants from a sick room, or to wash away viruses from door nobs and surfaces.
5. Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
Lavender essential oil has a classic, lovely and soothing aroma. Simply put, it smells fresh, floral and clean. This uplifting oil is profoundly healing, and quite safe to use.
Lavender essential oil is anti-fungal, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial. It is also immune enhancing and stimulating to the respiratory system. Lavender essential oil works to stop the viral root of a cough, while stimulating and boosting our body’s systems to heal from coughing.
Lavender essential oil is an excellent addition to a room spray or cleaning formula to help eliminate contaminants from a sick room.
Note: One chemo type of Lavender known as “Spike Lavender” should be avoided by persons with Epilepsy and Diabetes.
6. Frankincense (Boswellia carterii)
This fragrant essential oil is obtained from the resin of trees that grow miraculously from slabs of rock, marble and desert in the ancient lands of Arabia and East Africa. The resin has been employed, valued, revered for centuries as a healing and purifying agent.
Frankincense is antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, expectorant and sedative. It is a known remedy for bronchitis. It helps slow breathing and opens the airways.
3 drops of Frankincense essential oil on its own or as part of a blend is an excellent choice for steam inhalation to stop a cough.
Frankincense essential oil is the safest and gentlest oil to use for children. It will sooth and calm their cough and their nerves, helping them to drift to sleep.
7. Lemon (Citrus Limon)
Lemon essential oil has a wonderful uplifting scent. It is also strongly antiseptic, antibacterial and antiviral. All these properties make lemon a common ingredient in various cleaning and disinfecting agents.
Lemon essential oil is a powerful and uplifting adversary to viral and bacterial coughs. Lemon essential oil is also active in boosting our immunity. It is stimulating to our lymphatic system, which plays a big role in fighting illness in the body.
Diffuse lemon to disinfect and clear the air.
8. Oregano (Origanum vulgare)
Oregano essential oil has been garnering a lot of attention for the powerful punch it packs against viruses and bacteria. One study showed that oregano essential oil successfully inhibited the growth of all 7 bacteria strains that were tested.
Oregano’s strong antimicrobial action is most likely due the essential oil’s high concentration of the component carvacrol. Carvacrol is also found in high concentrations in Thyme essential oil but is super strong in Oregano.
Oregano essential oil will help stop the proliferation of viral infections that cause coughs and related respiratory problems.
9. Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens)
Geranium essential oil is strongly antiseptic. This oil will be helpful stopping coughs that are related to infections in the throat. It is also a strong nerve tonic and will help soothe a person stressed out from their illness.
Place 3 drops of geranium essential oil onto a folded piece of tissue, place the tissue in a sealed plastic bag, and inhale from the bag when you feel a coughing fit coming on.
10. Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens)
Cypress essential oil has strong antiseptic and antispasmodic properties. It has been cited as a remedy for whooping cough.
Add a couple drops of Cypress essential oil to a pot of steaming water and inhale deeply to access the cough inhibiting actions.
11. Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)
Thyme essential oil is antimicrobial and antiviral. Like Oregano essential oil, it contains a high concentration of the component carvacrol which is powerfully antimicrobial.
Thyme essential oil is very active on the lymphatic and thyroid systems of our bodies. This provides a boost to immune function. This oil is potent but is safe to use with children.
A couple drops of Thyme essential oil in a diffuser is an excellent way to rid the air of environmental toxins. Thyme essential oil is best use sparingly as it can lead to over stimulation.
12. Clove (Syzygium aromaticum)
Clove essential oil is often cited as a remedy for bronchitis. It is antibacterial and antiseptic. It is also a great remedy for cough due to asthma.
Note: Do not use in dilutions of more than 1%. This is a very hot oil.
13. Cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylancium)
Cinnamon essential oil is spicy and powerful. It is an effective antiseptic oil that is soothing to the upper respiratory tract. It must, however, be used with great caution.
Add a single drop of Cinnamon essential oil to a blend that you place on a tissue and seal in a plastic bag. Inhale the blend throughout the day if you are suffering from a viral or bacterial cough
Note: Do not use in dilutions of more than 0.7% topically. This oil should be avoided by people who take anticoagulants and/or people who take multiple medications.
14. Bergamot (Citrus bergamia)
This wonderfully sweet citrus oil has many applications. Not only is the oil truly uplifting, it is also great for treating cough that comes along with fever and aches of cold or flu.
Add 1 to 2 drops of bergamot essential oil to a hot bath and allow the delicious aroma to uplift spirits and well being.
Essential Oil Recipes And Blends To Fight Coughing
Cough Suppressant Essential Oil Blend
- 2 drops eucalyptus
- 2 drops cypress
- 1 drop rosemary
- 1 drop peppermint
- 3tsp coconut oil
Mix this blend with 3 teaspoons of base oil (like coconut oil) and apply it as a topical rub on your throat, back and feet.
This blend should be avoided by women who are pregnant, people with neurological disorders and people with diabetes.
Anti-viral Cough Essential Oil Blend
- 2 drops eucalyptus
- 2 drops oregano
- 1 drop clove
- 1 drop lemon
Place drops of this blend into a diffuser to filter virus and bacteria out of your immediate environment.
This blend should be avoided by women who are pregnant.
Essential Oil Blend To Fight Asthmatic Coughing
- 2 drops eucalyptus
- 2 drops clove
- 1 drop hyssop
- 1 drop marjoram
Use 3 drops of this blend in a pot of steaming water.
Place a towel over your head, cover your eyes and breathe in the vapor.
Breathe in the vapor for about 5 minutes while taking frequent breaks as needed.
This blend should be avoided during pregnancy.
General Immunity Boosting Essential Oil Blend
- 2 drops oregano
- 2 drops lavender
- 1 drop lemon
- 1 drop cinnamon or tea tree
Diffuse drops of this blend to boost immunity or mix the blend with 3 teaspoons of base oil (like coconut oil) and apply topically.
This blend should be avoided during pregnancy.
Infused Anti-Cough Potpourri With Essential Oils
This preparation uses aromatic, antiviral and cough suppressing dried herbs as a base for essential oils.
- Gather together 1 tablespoon of each of the following dried herbs in a resealable container:
- Mullein leaf
- Dried lavender
- Dried eucalyptus leaves
- Cinnamon sticks
- 6 drops of one of the essential oil blends above.
Add everything in a glass jar, shake the container well. Open the container and inhale deeply the aroma of the herbs and oils several times a day.
Essential Oil Cleansing Room Spray To Help Control Coughing
- 12-24 drops of essential oil
- 1 cup (8 ounces) white vinegar
- ½ a cup of water
- a spray bottle.
Use any of the essential oil blends suggested above or any oils of your choice. add everything to the spray bottle. Use the spray generously in a sick room. Wipe as many surfaces as possible. Spray 3 or 4 times into the open air a couple of times a day.
Make sure the room is well ventilated. Poor ventilation means you will need to reduce use of this spray
- Coughing is a common condition during all stages of life, for all of humankind.
- There are many reasons we cough, and many different manifestations of a cough.
- Essential oils are effective at treating coughs because they fight infection, boost immunity, sooth, tone and open our respiratory system, and cleanse our environment of toxins.
- These oils can be blended and easily applied in a variety of methods to treat coughs.
- Essential oils are an essential component of holistically treating illness that causes us to cough.