Essential Oils for Cough

Posted by Wen Dan Jiang on

Essential Oils for Cough

Essential oils are compounds that contain volatile polymeric substances of plant and have a pleasant aroma.

These oils are used in medicine and cosmetology. Some of them have a calming, relaxing effect; others are successfully used to facilitate breathing with cough and runny nose, increase overall tone, and improve sleep.

Aromatherapy began to be used to treat various diseases for a very long time. Many essential oils help cure colds faster. The simultaneous use of medications and essential oils contribute to better expectoration and suspension of coughing.

Which cough is normal, and which is not?

An infrequent cough is considered a common reaction because it secrets sputum accumulated in the larynx. Even completely healthy children can cough up to 14-15 times a day, freeing the respiratory organs from small particles. Often this happens after waking up. In breast-fed infants, coughing may be caused by the penetration of milk into the respiratory tract.

Frequent wet cough is considered a protective reaction of the body, which appears when irritants are present in the respiratory tract. Such a cough can accompany colds, bronchitis, pneumonia, as well as rhinitis, and sinusitis. A prolonged wet cough may indicate asthma, whooping cough, and tuberculosis.

The first symptoms to be alarming are:

  • an unexpected lingering coughing fit;
  • the mucus of green color or with blood streaks;
  • loss of appetite;
  • chest pain;
  • the presence of wheezing during coughing;
  • accompaniment of wet cough with asthma;
  • high temperature, which lasts more than 2-3 days, in young children - more than a day;
  • the presence of a wet cough for a week, sometimes more;
  • the excrement of blood residues.

If one or more of the above indicators are present, you need to seek medical help immediately. Especially if the child is coughing, who produces moisture much more complicated than adults.

Causes  of cough

Some common causes of cough are:

  • Asthma
  • Tuberculosis
  • Postnasal drip
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Infections
  • Flu and cold

Advantages of treatment of cough with essential oils

  • helps to fight the symptoms of the cough,
  • easy to use
  • have a pleasant smell (aromatherapy is an essential part of treatment)
  • are of natural origin,
  • can be used in adults and children.

10 essential oils for cough

The ten essential oils below may help to relieve a cough:

  1. Eucalyptus essential oil

Many people use Eucalyptus essential oil without realizing the health benefits. A study found that eucalyptol has an antimicrobial effect, and it can fight against the bacteria that cause illnesses. It can also help to relieve pain, reduce inflammation, and ease muscle tension that can result from flu or cold-weather (Sadlon & Lamson 2010).

A person should:

  • add a few drops of eucalyptus essential oil to one ounce of carrier oil and rub the mixture onto the neck, chest, and throat.
  • inhaling the steam after adding Eucalyptus essential oil
  1. Peppermint essential oil

Natural care products for cough often contain peppermint essential oil.

Menthol is received from peppermint. When we inhaled menthol, it creates a cooling sensation, and it can numb or soothe scratchy throat and cough.

A study has defined that when a healthy person uses peppermint essential oil/menthol, it can help to relax the bronchial muscles (muscles of the windpipe.)

The methods of using Peppermint essential oil:

  • add the oil in boiling water and inhaling
  • blend other topical oils and use it
  • adding the oil to a diffuser

Children and pregnant women are not advised to use peppermint essential oil. (Meamarbashi & Rajabi, 2013)

  1. Rosemary essential oil

Rosemary is a well-known garden herb. Like Eucalyptus essential oil, it also contains the compound cineole. A study found that cineole may help to reduce inflammation. (Fischer & Dethlefsen, 2013)

  1. Frankincense essential oil

Frankincense essential oil is derived from the trees of the genus Boswellia. It is often used in Ayurveda treatment and perfumes.

Since ancient times, it has been valued for its magical effect on the human respiratory system and used to treat bronchitis, catarrh, coughs, and asthma.

  1. Oregano essential oil

According to Friedman M. (2014) Oregano essential oil has a high level of a potent compound that is called carvacrol. A study found that carvacrol can fight against many types of germs because it contains an antimicrobial agent. That is the reason it is highly recommended to treat viral or bacterial causes of a cough.

  1. Thyme essential oil

Like Oregano essential oil, Thyme essential oil also contains a high level of carvacrol. It has similar effects in protecting against or completely eliminating bacterias and viruses. This treatment is suitable for easing nasal breathing, relieving muscle pain, and headaches for colds. It is completely ready for use, can be used in both adults and children from 3 years old.

  1. Geranium essential oil

A review of studies reported that a geranium essential oil also known as Pelargonium sidoides was traditionally an effective herbal cough treatment. It also has a refreshing floral scent, and you can add it to a diffuser or a warm bath for treating cough, cold, and flu.

  1. Cinnamon essential oil

A study found that cinnamon can protect against germs or viruses that cause respiratory problems. Adding a few drops of cinnamon essential oil to a in a topical blend may provide relief from a cough.

  1. Tea tree essential oil

Tea tree oil (Melaleuca) can inhibit the growth of bad bacteria that cause sinus infections, viruses, germs, and respiratory issues.

Crushed tea tree leaves and essential oils have been inhaled by Australian Aborigines to treat coughs, flu, fever, and colds. Moreover, inhaling tea tree oil may also help to ease the effects of a cough. (Meamarbashi & Rajabi, 2013)

  1. Cypress essential oils

The essential oils of cypress contain camphene, a compound similar to camphor.

When you inhale cypress essential oils, camphene can have a cooling, refreshing effect. This oil also has antioxidant properties, which can help to protect cells from damage and kill harmful germs.


Sadlon, A. E., & Lamson, D. W. (2010). Immune-modifying and antimicrobial effects of Eucalyptus oil and simple inhalation devices. Alternative medicine review : a journal of clinical therapeutic15(1), 33–47.

Fischer, J., & Dethlefsen, U. (2013). Efficacy of cineole in patients suffering from acute bronchitis: A placebo-controlled double-blind trial. Cough, 9(1), 25. doi:10.1186/1745-9974-9-25

Meamarbashi, A., & Rajabi, A. (2013). The effects of peppermint on exercise performance. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 10(1). doi:10.1186/1550-2783-10-15

Friedman M. (2014). Chemistry and multibeneficial bioactivities of carvacrol (4-isopropyl-2-methylphenol), a component of essential oils produced by aromatic plants and spices. Journal of agricultural and food chemistry, 62(31), 7652–7670.

Wagner L, Cramer H, Klose P, Lauche R, Gass F, Dobos G, Langhorst J: Herbal Medicine for Cough: a Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Forsch Komplementmed 2015;22:359-368. doi: 10.1159/000442111

Meamarbashi, A., & Rajabi, A. (2013). The effects of peppermint on exercise performance. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 10(1). doi:10.1186/1550-2783-10-15

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