Essential Oils For Cough And Congestion | Do They Help?

Coughing is a common respiratory condition that most people suffer from at least once a year.

Coughs commonly occur along with respiratory conditions such as flu, common cold, asthma, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and others.

According to a report published by American Lung Association, “A cough can be the only sign of an illness, or it can occur with symptoms of certain diseases of the lung, heart, stomach and nervous system.”

Most of us are unaware of the natural remedies that are truly effective for managing cough. Using essential oils for cough is a fantastic home remedy worth trying.

Benefits Of Using Essential Oils For Cough

One of the researches published by The Canadian Medical Association Journal, over-the-counter (OTC) cough suppressants, has very little effect, and they are also harmful to children.

Similarly, using codeine to relieve cough is dangerous for health. Codeine creates a narcotic-like effect in the body that causes withdrawal symptoms like other opiates. Studies indicate that using antihistamine and codeine pills has only a minor impact on relieving cough.

An article published by NARCONON warns against the use of OTC cough suppressants like syrups and pills that contain dextromethorphan. When it is taken in large doses, it produces hallucinations, drunkenness, and a sense of being separated from one’s body and identity.

It is best to treat the common cold and cough with natural remedies than to consume any OTC suppressants or prescription medicines.

Some of the best-known home remedies for cough are:

  • Homemade honey
  • Essential oils
  • A hot shower
  • Black pepper and honey tea
  • A lot of warm liquids
  • Menthol cough drops
  • Undiluted lemon juice
  • Licorice tea
  • Ginger tea
  • Thyme tea

Using essential oils for treating a cough is truly effective. There are several essential oils for cough which have antibacterial, antiviral, antispasmodic, and expectorant properties.

Essential oils are safe and effective for getting rid of many respiratory conditions like cold, cough, sore throat, and congestion. They do not have any side effects unlike the OTC and prescription medicines for cough.

Benefits of using essential oils for cough include:

  • removes the cause of cough
  • helps to loosen mucus
  • relaxes muscles
  • reduces the intensity of cough
  • EOs are natural products with no side effects
  • relaxes the body and mind
  • heals other diseases as well
  • EOs are a complementary alternative therapy

Benefits Of Using Essential Oils For Cough

Best Essential Oils For Cough

Essential oils for cough and congestion work because of the powerful medicinal properties of these oils.

Some EOs are effective for eliminating bacteria, viruses, or allergens that cause cold, cough, and congestion.

They relieve cough by loosening the mucus and relieving the muscles in the respiratory system.

EOs aid in an increased supply of oxygen into your lungs by clearing infection and mucus in the respiratory tract.

Here is a list of the twelve best essential oils we have handpicked out of the numerous essential oils available.

1. Eucalyptus Oil

Eucalyptus oil is one best essential oil that indeed works great for cough. This oil has excellent expectorant properties useful for clearing the toxins and microorganisms that cause cold and cough.

Eucalyptus oil contains cineole, also known as Eucalyptol, a powerful antimicrobial agent that can eliminate the cause of coughing.

Eucalyptus oil is good for patients who struggle to get a breath while coughing. It dilates your blood vessels and increases the supply of oxygen to the lungs.

According to a research report published in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, eucalyptus oil brings about a significant and immediate improvement in symptoms of upper respiratory ailment.

You can use eucalyptus oil for cough in different ways such as diffusing, applying topically, homemade vapor rub, or direct inhaling.

2. Rosemary Oil

Rosemary oil is a fantastic natural remedy for cough. Cineole substance present in eucalyptus oil is also found in rosemary oil.

This oil is especially beneficial for rhinosinusitis and asthma patients for reducing the frequency of coughing.

The antimicrobial and antioxidant properties in Rosemary oil fight the cause of coughs and give a boost to your immune system.

Rosemary oil is also found to be effective for calming down the stressed muscles in your trachea.

Diffusing this oil for inhaling or rubbing diluted rosemary oil on the chest and throat is beneficial for getting relief from coughs.

3. Cinnamon Oil

According to a study, cinnamon oil is useful for reducing respiratory tract pathogens if emitted in a gaseous state for a short timeframe.

This oil suppresses the rapid reproduction of bacteria that cause cold and cough.

Diffusing or inhaling cinnamon oil diluted in a steam bowl is the right way to make use of the cinnamon oil for cough.

4. Peppermint Oil

According to a research report published in the International Society of Sports Nutrition (jissn), peppermint oil relaxes the bronchial muscles and increases ventilation for reducing the severity of coughing and increasing the ability to breathe.

Peppermint oil for cough is a proven remedy that works because of the menthol compound present in it. Menthol enhances the smooth flow of air through the nasal passage by removing nasal congestion.

This oil contains antibacterial and antiviral properties that help to eliminate the causes of throat infection and cough.

Directly inhaling or diffusing the peppermint oil for getting fast is useful for getting relief from the severity of coughing. You may also topically apply the diluted peppermint oil on the chest and throat to calm down coughing.

5. Nutmeg Oil

According to a study report, inhaling nutmeg oil reduced respiratory tract fluid in rabbits.

Nutmeg oil is also a commonly used ingredient in natural remedies for treating common colds and coughs.

This oil also contains expectorant properties effective for loosening the mucus and relieving congestion.

Diffusing the nutmeg oil with the help of a diffuser can help relieve your severe coughing problem.

6. Geranium Oil

As per a study published in 2007, administering a few drops of geranium oil reduces the symptoms of common cold and cough.

Geranium oil is a popularly used remedy for dealing with bronchitis and infection in the respiratory tract.

A research published by the Complementary Medicine Research indicated the possible effectiveness of geranium extract in relieving the symptoms of cough and cold.

To get relief from cough and upper respiratory infection inhale the geranium oil by diffusing it or use it in your warm water bath.

7. Oregano Oil

Oregano oil contains carvacrol and thymol, both of which are potential antifungal and antibacterial compounds.

Research on oregano extracts points out the possibility of using oregano oil as a natural alternative to antibiotics used for treating respiratory conditions.

Oregano oil is worth using for treating cough resulting from viral infection because of the powerful antiviral properties found in it.

You can make use of oregano oil for calming down cough by diffusing or applying it topically.

This oil is also suitable for ingesting; add 2 drops of this oil to a glass of warm water and drink twice a day to get relief from a bacterial infection that leads to coughing. However, ingesting this oil may interact with other medications that you may be taking.

8. Bergamot Oil

Bergamot oil contains molecule camphene. According to one of the recent research, inhaling camphene may help in relieving respiratory tract fluid.

This oil is a popular ingredient in natural oil blends or therapies used for relieving congestions affecting the respiratory system.

You can get fast relief from cough by using bergamot oil in a diffuser or humidifier.

9. Cyprus Oil

Cyprus oil contains camphene like bergamot and nutmeg.

Inhaling Cyprus oil can help in relieving cough and congestion because of camphene molecules present in it.

You can have steam inhalation of Cyprus oil by adding a few drops of this oil to a bowl of warm water and inhaling the water vapor.

10. Thyme Oil

According to a research article published by Phytotherapy Research, the antimicrobial properties contained in thyme oil help certain respiratory conditions like cold, cough, and congestion.

This oil is found by researchers as an effective natural remedy for fighting respiratory tract pathogens.

Diffuse this oil rapidly in a high concentration for a short period to relieve cold and cough.

11. Lemon Oil

Lemon essential oil for cough is a useful natural remedy because of its antibacterial and antioxidant properties.

This oil encourages lymphatic drainage which helps in quickly relieving the cough and cold. It can also boost your immunity to ward off infections that are responsible for the cough.

Inhaling lemon oil by diffusing or topically applying the oil on your chest and neck can aid to drain your lymphatic system.

12. Lavender Oil

Lavender oil is useful for getting relief from cough resulting from asthma.

One of the studies published by The Life Sciences indicated that inhaling lavender oil can help clear airway resistance caused by bronchial asthma.

Aromatherapy with lavender oil reduces the stress and irritation caused by a severe cough and relaxes the body and mind.

You can use lavender oil for cough treatment in steam inhalation, in a diffuser, or warm water bath.

Top Essential Oils For Cough

How To Use

It is easy to use essential oils for cold and cough relief.

Essential oils in pure form contain very powerful compounds, and thus some type of dilution is necessary before their use. You can easily dilute the essential oils using any of the carrier oils available in your kitchen cabinet.

Here are the ways to make use of essential oils for getting rid of cough:

  • Gently massage the diluted essential oil or oils’ blend on your chest and around the neck
  • Add a few drops of essential oil to a bowl of hot water and inhale the vapor for a few minutes
  • Mix the essential oils in warm water used for bathing or with other spa products
  • For a minute directly inhale the aroma of the oil from the bottle or an oil-soaked cotton ball
  • Ingest a few drops of oil diluted in a glass of warm water (only those oils fit for internal consumption.

Risks and Warning

As essential oils contain highly potent compounds in concentrate form, they should be used with extreme caution.

The U.S Food and Drug Administration does not monitor, certify or verify the quality and effectiveness of essential oils. It is wise to buy essential oils from reliable manufacturers and sellers with an established market reputation.

Dosage and use of essential oils are not specified by any competent authority in the field. Do not use more than a few drops of essential oils at a time for safety reasons.

Always discuss the use of essential oils with your doctor to avoid possible interactions of the oils with medication for other health conditions.

The use of essential oil is not recommended for infants, pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers, and patients under prolonged medication.

Essential oils are the only complementary alternative remedy for cough. If the condition of cough does not improve within 24 hours of using the essential oils, it is important to meet your doctor for a proper medical examination and treatment.

Do a skin patch-test of essential oils before use as some of the oils may cause allergic reactions in some people.

Use only 100 percent therapeutic oil for the treatment of cough and cold to get the best results.

The Bottom Line

A severe cough is a nuisance that can disturb your work, sleep, and ability to breathe comfortably.

Many people turn to over-the-counter (OTC) products for getting relief from a common cough and cold. However, most of those products are ineffective for both children and adults. OTC products can also produce serious side effects if used for a long period.

It is easy and beneficial to use essential oils to relieve coughs instead of OTC products. Essential oils indeed lack definitive research on their usefulness in the treatment of cough but traditional home remedies vouch for their effectiveness.

Use essential oils with caution as they contain potent compounds that can cause allergic reactions. Introduce only one of the oil at a time and dilute them with any of the carrier oil before use.

Do not delay medical treatment if you have a severe cough with other associated symptoms.

Using essential oil for cough is an effective, safe and convenient home remedy with very little chance of any side effects.