Many folklore medicines use essential oils to treat respiratory tract diseases and coughs dating back to ancient times.
Essential oils are effective for managing issues of the respiratory system, such as:
- COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
Bronchitis: Symptoms And Causes
Inflammation of the mucous membrane in the lung’s bronchial tubes is the main cause of bronchitis. It becomes acute when inflammation causes heavy lung swelling and blocks the free flow of air.
When the lungs get infected and swollen, it leads to a nagging cough and thick mucus discharge.
The major symptoms of bronchitis are:
- chest congestion
- wheezing sound while breathing
- cough that brings up a lot of mucus
- shortness of breath
- cold and flu
- sore throat.
Any of the following reasons may cause bronchitis:
- the virus that causes colds and flu
- bacterial infection
- weaker immune system
- heavy smoking
- severe heartburn that makes stomach acids get into bronchial tubes
- chemical fumes and dust.
How Do Essential Oils Help Bronchitis
The benefits of essential oils in the treatment of respiratory tract diseases are many. Several EOs contain anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antiviral properties. They could be of immense help in managing both acute and chronic bronchitis.
Some are effective for loosening the mucus and making a cough productive. Decongestion of the throat and lungs is also possible by using some therapeutic oils.
EOs for healing bronchitis and asthma have been popular in folklore medicine since ancient times. Eucalyptus, lavender, and peppermint oils are considered the best essential oils for inflammation of the lungs.
Other essential oils may also be effective for bronchitis treatment. They work best when they are used as ingredients in therapeutic oil blends.
If you suffer from chronic bronchitis and keep smoking cigarettes or weed, none of the essential oils will work unless you quit smoking.
These oils are mainly effective for bronchitis caused by microbial infections and inflammations.
You will also find several studies on essential oils in treating breathing tract diseases, highlighting their role in bacterial infections.
Best Essential Oils For Bronchitis And Cough
Any essential oils with antibacterial or antiviral properties are useful for fighting bronchitis and other inflammatory diseases affecting the lungs.
Here are the best essential oils and oil blends to help relieve bronchitis.
According to a study published in Clinical Microbiology Reviews, tea tree oil is effective against bacterial, fungal, or viral infections.
Another study that tested several oils against various viruses, bacteria, and fungi found tea tree oil to be one of the most effective oils for fighting pathogens that cause infections.
Another European Journal of Dentistry study found that peppermint, tea tree, and thyme oils can act as an efficient natural therapy to fight oral pathogens.
Tea tree oil may suppress and expel the flu viruses that cause respiratory infections.
This oil’s antimicrobial and antioxidant properties can relieve inflammation and prevent damage to bronchial cells.
1. Peppermint essential oil
Peppermint oil is a commonly used remedy for lung or throat congestion, the flu, or a cold.
This oil contains menthol, a chief ingredient usually used in topical rubs like Vicks, which can help relieve congestion.
A vitro study in 2003 demonstrated the viral activity of peppermint oil. Menthol is excellent for quickly relieving congestion in the lungs or throat.
The expectorant properties of peppermint oil can help clear symptoms of upper respiratory congestion due to asthma, allergies, colds, or flu.
2. Thyme oil
According to one of the studies published by the Sultan Qaboos University Medical Journal, thyme and clove possess antimicrobial activity against all bacteria and yeast.
Another study tested the antibacterial activity of lavender and thyme against clinical bacterial strains of Staphylococcus, Enterococcus, Escherichia, and Pseudomonas genera. The study found that thyme essential oil is effective against antibiotic-resistant strains of the tested bacteria.
Natural therapists have used this oil and its extracts throughout the centuries to relieve chest and respiratory disorders, coughs, colds, and bronchitis.
This oil contains powerful antibacterial, spasmolytic, and antifungal properties that can effectively quell bronchitis symptoms.
Thyme oil is a commonly used expectorant to loosen mucus, which helps to expel it from the body.
Many cough syrups and cough drops contain thyme extract as a primary ingredient.
For best results, you can prepare a blend of thyme and peppermint oils to get fast relief from bronchitis.
Besides the oil, thyme tea is also very useful for managing bronchitis, colds, and flu.
3. Rosemary oil
Rosemary oil is a powerful aid for quick relief from the symptoms of bronchitis, asthma, whooping cough, and sinus infections.
Aromatherapy with this oil is found to heal bronchitis symptoms, like inflammation and lung congestion caused by swelling and mucus formation.
A study published in the journal Molecules in 2013 noted the effectiveness of rosemary oil in fighting drug-resistant strains of bacteria.
4. Eucalyptus oil
Some studies have suggested that eucalyptus essential oil is effective for managing inflammatory diseases like bronchitis because of its 1,8-cineole (Eucalyptol) ingredient.
Many herbal remedies or rubs used for sinusitis or rheumatism have eucalyptus oil as an essential ingredient. It also works great to soothe coughs and colds.
Eucalyptus oil is also an analgesic and anti-inflammatory solution that works well for healing lung infections. It’s effective for all respiratory conditions arising from microbial infections.
5. Clove oil
Aqueous and ethanolic are two chemical compounds in clove that have excellent analgesic effects and are good for managing pain and inflammation.
This oil also contains antibacterial and antiviral properties. This is great for severe soothing bronchitis with painful coughing.
6. Lavender oil
Today, lavender is the most commonly used essential oil in the world. It has several therapeutic properties.
This oil is widely used for various respiratory problems, including throat infections, flu, cough, cold, asthma, sinus congestion, bronchitis, whooping cough, laryngitis, and tonsillitis.
Some past research recommends using this oil for painful infections and other respiratory problems because of its strong anti-inflammatory and analgesic qualities.
It can be applied to your chest, throat, and back of the neck or inhaled via steam inhalation or a vaporizer.
7. Houttuynia cordata oil
Houttuynia cordata is a favorite medicinal herb found in Southeast Asian countries.
The oil extract from Houttuynia cordata is a Chinese folklore medicine for getting rid of the flu virus that causes respiratory issues.
The strong antimicrobial properties of this oil may help fight inflammation in the bronchial tubes.
8. Sage oil
Sage oil, especially the one from Greece, has antibacterial and antiviral effects that may greatly assist in getting rid of viral infections.
This oil is also traditionally used as a natural remedy for getting rid of a sore throat, flu, and cold.
How To Use Essential Oils For Bronchitis
Aromatherapy is the most common way to use essential oils to treat bronchitis and asthma.
Most essential oils are not fit for internal consumption. Ingesting EOs may cause irritation and physical discomfort.
Similarly, essential oils contain powerful natural chemicals in concentrated form, which may cause allergies, itching, or burns on the skin. A strong essential oil should be diluted in carrier oils before being directly applied to the skin.
1. Chest and back rub
Doing a chest and back rub with an essential oil blend is one of the fastest ways to relieve the pain and congestion caused by acute bronchitis.
Performing a warm chest rub with EOs before going to sleep can ease wheezing, whooping cough, sore throat, lung congestion, and chest pain resulting from bronchitis.
Recipe for chest and back rub:
- Lavender oil: 4 drops
- Eucalyptus oil: 4 drops
- Thyme oil: 4 drops
- Tea tree essential oil; 3 drops
- Carrier oil: 2 teaspoons of sweet almond oil or coconut oil
Mix the oils in the required amount and mix them; warm up the oil mixture and use it to massage the chest and back. It is best to do it 30 minutes before you go to sleep; after 30 minutes, you can wipe away the excess oil on the skin with a cotton cloth.
2. Steam inhalation
Inhalation is one of the most effective ways to use essential oils. Inhalation of EOs is part of aromatherapy.
Inhaling EOs can relieve chest congestion and pain caused by acute bronchitis. Aromatherapy is also useful for all upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs).
However, children and some adults could find it irritating and allergic to inhaling essential oils. Allergic reactions in the bronchial tubes can aggravate the infection and inflammation. Be sure that the patient is not allergic to EOs before proceeding with inhalation treatment.
Here are some of the ways to inhale essential oils:
- Take a pot of boiling water and add 3 drops of eucalyptus oil to the water; inhale the vapor steam directly when the heat of the steam is bearable.
- Make a blend of 3 drops of thyme and lavender oils and inhale its scent for a couple of minutes.
- Wet a cotton ball with a few drops of lavender oil and inhale the scent emanating from the oil-soaked cotton ball for a few minutes. You can do the same with peppermint, eucalyptus, or thyme oil.
3. Using an oil diffuser
Diffusing the oil particles in the bedroom with a diffuser is a standard treatment method practiced in aromatherapy.
- Diffuse lavender oil in your bedroom air before you go to sleep
- Make a blend of Tea Tree, Clove, and Myrrh oil with a few drops. Diffuse the oil blend with the help of a diffuser in the bedroom or office.
- Use a blend of lavender and marjoram and diffuse it in your bedroom before you sleep.
You can also try other essential oils with anti-inflammatory or antibacterial properties for diffusing. However, avoid using oils with strong, spicy scents for diffusing in the bedroom and office.
4. Ingesting food-grade oils
Food-grade essential oils that have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties effectively manage bronchitis.
Lemongrass oil and spearmint oil are food-grade oils with a palatable taste but may inhibit viruses or bacteria.
Add one or two drops of food-grade oil to warm tea or water for drinking; repeat the intake 2 or 3 times a day.
5. Chest compression
Applying cold or warm compresses to the chest is a useful option to relieve the pain and to swell in the lungs.
Add a few drops of tea tree, eucalyptus, and lavender oil to the water you will use for the compress. You may also try other essential oils that are good for relieving inflammation.
Repeat the chest compression treatment 3 or 4 times daily to get fast relief from acute bronchitis.
The Final Thought
There is no doubt that essential oils are great natural remedies for quick relief from acute bronchitis.
To get the best results from EOs, the patient must ensure the following:
- Quit smoking completely.
- Do exercises or workouts for 30 minutes daily.
- Practice breathing and yoga exercises.
- Protect the body from very cold or hot weather conditions.
- Stay away from dust and chemical fumes.
- Include foods that boost a healthy immune system in your diet.
Choose therapeutic quality essential oils that contain ketones with mucolytic and expectorant properties.
The essential oils you use for bronchitis must also contain antioxidants and have anti-spasmodic, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties.
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