Top 12 Essential Oils for a Cough

You might be finding it difficult to breathe correctly and you might even be up all night coughing due to a lingering head cold. It’s just that time of the year, and you won’t go anywhere without seeing people coughing into their arms and wiping their noses. If your cough won’t go away, it’s time to visit the doctor. However, if you are still stuffed up from a head cold that has traveled down to your chest leaving you miserable...there’s an essential oil for that. In fact, there’s multiple! Essential oils contain antibacterial and soothing properties to potentially reduce the duration of your sickness and make you feel so much better – instantly! Check out the top 12 essential oils that combat a nasty cough below.

Top 12 Essential Oils for a Cough


1. Peppermint Essential Oil

Known best for containing menthol, peppermint essential oil is great for a cough and an itchy throat. If you take a trip down the medicine aisle for colds, so many products will be labeled ‘mint’ or ‘menthol,’ and this is by no coincidence. One study showed that menthol inhalation makes people simply feel better, enough said!  

Peppermint Essential Oil

The cooling sensation of menthol acts as a numbing agent and relaxes the bronchial muscles within the windpipe according to another study. You can breathe in peppermint oil directly or use it in a carrier oil as a menthol rub. Pregnant women and children under 8 are advised against using peppermint essential oil.


2. Eucalyptus Essential Oil

By far the most popularly used essential oil to treat a cold and cough is eucalyptus essential oil. In fact, if you take another trip down the medicine oil to purchase a cold suppressant, you’ll probably be taking in eucalyptus oil without even knowing it! Many products contain eucalyptus oil’s main compounds called either cineole or eucalyptol. Here’s a short list of what eucalyptol can do, according to Alternative Medicine Review’s study: fight the bacteria that causes the illness, relieve pain and inflammation, reduce muscle tension, and make you feel better all around! 

Eucalyptus Essential Oil

Eucalyptus essential oil can easily be found online and all-natural products containing the oil can be found online as well or in all-natural grocery stores. Many people add the oil to a bath or shower walls to inhale the steam while relaxing. Another popular method is by using it as a chest rub in a carrier oil.


3. Rosemary Essential Oil

Rosemary essential oil acts a lot like eucalyptus essential oil - even containing the same compound called cineole. Cineole has shown in research studies to reduce inflammation and break up mucus. According to another study, rosemary oil can relax the muscles in the trachea which will ultimately relieve the respiratory system. This worldwide plant grows almost everywhere and is often used as a chest rub for the common cold and cough.

Rosemary Essential Oil


4. Thyme Essential Oil

A powerful antimicrobial to fight respiratory distress, thyme essential oil can be used to combat tract pathogens in the respiratory system. Research shows that the best way to reap the benefits of thyme essential oil is by diffusing it rapidly and inhaling it directly. 

Thyme Essential Oil


5. Frankincense Essential Oil

You can easily use frankincense essential oil in a bath and inhale the steam to help relieve cold symptoms such as a cough. The oil is great for respiratory infections and can all-around boost your mood. Though most commonly used in perfumes or incense, it is also very valuable in treating asthma, bronchitis, head colds, coughs, and catarrh. 

Frankincense Essential Oil


6. Oregano Essential Oil

Oregano doesn’t just season your food to perfection, its essential oil can treat numerous ailments. The oil contains a powerful compound called carvacrol which is an antimicrobial agent that fights off germs and bacteria. If your cough is caused by a virus or a bacterial infection, oregano essential oil can help treat it effectively. 

Oregano Essential Oil


7. Tea Tree Essential Oil

Another good option for fighting bacterial infections is tea tree oil. Though it is most commonly used topically for open wounds and acne, when inhaled, tea tree oil harbors the same infection-fighting properties. In order to inhibit bacterial growth, diffuse tea tree oil in boiling water or your diffuser and inhale it directly. 

Tea Tree Essential Oil


8. Geranium Essential Oil

Geranium extract is highly studied and researched, with many positive benefits that have prevailed. The oil is connected with helping to relieve upper respiratory tract infections such as bronchitis. One study even showed that administering liquid drops of geranium oil relieved common colds and reduced their duration. Researchers also concluded that out of many studies, all but one showed that geranium relieved cough symptoms. Try adding a few drops to your diffuser or in your bath to get rid of your cough!

Geranium Essential Oil


9. Cinnamon Essential Oil

Cinnamon is another essential oil that is being studied all over the world for its infection-fighting properties and agents that help it combat a cold and cough. The spice commonly used in baking in cooking actually has a reputation for fighting bronchitis and preventing the spread of bacteria. One study found that inhaling cinnamon essential oil while it’s in a gaseous state (for a short period of time) can stop respiratory tract pathogens from spreading.

Cinnamon Essential Oil


10. Cypress Essential Oil

Cypress works a lot like bergamot and nutmeg essential oil and even contains the same molecule called camphene. This molecule can reduce respiratory tract fluid according to studies. To help reduce your congestion and cough, steam cypress oil in a bowl of hot water and breathe in the aroma. 

Cypress Essential Oil


11. Nutmeg Essential Oil

In studies, nutmeg essential oil has shown to decrease respiratory tract fluid within rabbits. So, why not give it a shot? Inhaling nutmeg essential oil has the potential to make a big difference if you are suffering from a cough or other respiratory issues. 

Nutmeg Essential Oil


12. Bergamot Essential Oil

This citrus fruit tastes like an orange but looks like a lime. Its essential oil is made from the rind of the fruit and is used to treat many conditions such as the common cold and cough. If inhaled, bergamot essential oil can relieve congestion because it also contains the powerful molecule known as camphene. According to one study, inhaling camphene can reduce respiratory tract fluid. 

Bergamot Essential Oil

 

The History of Using Essential Oils to Treat Cold and Cough

For thousands of years, essential oils have been used by cultures all over the world to treat nearly every impossible ailment. Ancient Egypt is the true birthplace of essential oils - they were used to treat illnesses, make perfumes, and they were even used in the embalming process. Using essential oils for medicinal practices were a part of everyday life and the most common way to heal from illnesses and associated symptoms.  

What is now known as Eastern Medicine, or Ayurvedic Medicine, was the primary way of caring for illnesses thousands of years ago. In fact, ancient people would use a very common method that we use today to get the essence out of a plant - by distilling and using animal fat to bring out the oil. Ayurvedic medicine began in ancient China and India - another place that began capturing the essence of plants thousands of years ago. 

The decline of using natural remedies for illnesses happened around the 19th century due to vaccines being created and the invention of medicine that we still find on shelves today. However, over the past 20 years, essential oils have made a comeback in treating minor ailments such as cold and cough, rather than using over-the-counter medicines. In the past 20 years, we have seen a steady rise in the study of essential oils and their healing properties as well as research proving health benefits of inhaling essential oils.  

All-natural medicine is climbing its way up to the top in terms of methods of healing, and more than likely, you see ads for essential oils on a daily basis as well as see them in stores for fair prices. They won’t be going anywhere soon due to common research and studies proving their health benefits happening every day!

 

The Best Ways to use Essential Oils

There are so many incredible and easy ways to get essential oils in your body and reap the amazing benefits of having no cough and a clear head. These are all very conventional ways to take care of yourself with essential oils and you don’t even need fancy equipment (though it is tempting) to intake the essence of your plant choice. Let’s take a look at the most common ways people utilize essential oils as well as how to do it yourself! 

1. Use a Diffuser - Aromatherapy

Diffusers are one of the most common pieces of equipment used to inhale essential oils. Over the years with the rise in popularity of using essential oils, diffuser choices are far and wide, as well as expensive to very inexpensive. Most diffusers work by adding water and a few drops of your favorite essential oil then pushing the ‘on’ button. You’ll see the steam start blowing out of the top, and from there, you can easily inhale the steam and start feeling better. Always clean your diffuser between uses so there is no mold or algae build up. Aromatherapy is the most popular way to get essential oils into your body.

2. Steaming Method - Aromatherapy

If you don’t have a diffuser, don’t worry! You can have your own DIY diffuser and all you need is a bowl of boiling water, your favorite essential oil, and a towel to wrap around your head. Simply boil some water and add a few drops of the essential oil you’re going to use, then wrap the towel around your head and inhale the steam for a few minutes. Do this 2-4 times a day to relieve symptoms of a cold and cough.

3. A Rub - Topical Application

The second most popular way to enjoy the benefits of essential oils is by rubbing it directly onto your body in the form of massage. Not only will the essential oils seep through your pores, but you will also be breathing the scent in. Many chest rubs for cold and cough already contain essential oils and essential oil compounds within them! You can make your own chest rub for your cough by mixing any of the oils listed above with a carrier oil such as coconut oil. Mix the two together and apply to an area that you can easily breathe in! You can also purchase pre-made and all-natural essential oil rubs online.

4. Eating or Drinking Essential Oils

Warning! Not all essential oils are edible. Many on the list above would not be very good to drink or eat. But some of them you will see on everyday labels of drink and food products! Lavender has become a very popular addition in food and beverages, and even though lavender isn’t listed above, it is the most popular essential oil to treat almost every ailment, even a cough! Though the taste may not be all ‘there’ yet, herbs are extremely powerful and in order to receive the many benefits, eating them is sometimes necessary! 

 

Final Thoughts

Used for thousands of years to treat the common illnesses and symptoms that follow, essential oils are there for you when you’re tired of taking over-the-counter medicine that can potentially cause other problems. It’s a natural way to take care of the annoying symptoms of a head cold such as congestion and cough, and there are many essential oils you can choose from to aid in your recovery. 

Always remember, if your cold and cough persist for longer than a week, seek medical attention. We are not licensed professionals, nor do we intend to be, we just speak on the power of essential oils that have proven benefits in studies and research. Always talk to your doctor or physician if your cough is accompanied with other uncomfortable symptoms that make you unable to perform daily tasks. 

Essential oils are a tried and true method that can heal many different ailments, and the oils listed above will push so many positive benefits on you and will overall calm your tired body down. When used appropriately, essential oils can make you feel like a brand-new person!

 

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