We include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission Here’s our process.
Healthline only shows you brands and products that we stand behind.Our team thoroughly researches and evaluates the recommendations we make on our site. To establish that the product manufacturers addressed safety and efficacy standards, we:
- Evaluate ingredients and composition: Do they have the potential to cause harm?
- Fact-check all health claims: Do they align with the current body of scientific evidence?
- Assess the brand: Does it operate with integrity and adhere to industry best practices?
The use of essential oils may appeal to you because of their natural qualities. They are extracted from plants grown around the world. When you use essential oils to relieve symptoms related to a health condition, it is known as complementary alternative therapy. These methods are considered to be outside of typical medical treatments.
In general, you use essential oils for the practice of aromatherapy. This is the act of breathing in oils to stimulate your body. You may also choose to apply diluted oils onto your body. They are also commonly diffused into the air with an essential oil diffuser. Essential oils should be used with care, as they are potent and unregulated. You should see your doctor for a serious cough or if you have another health condition.
1. Eucalyptus essential oil
Eucalyptus essential; oil is recognized for its ability to treat coughs and associated respiratory ailments like pharyngitis, bronchitis, and sinusitis, says this study. Analysis of Eucalyptus grandis showed immune enhancing effects acting as an efflux pump inhibitor, influencing the body’s ability to deal with bacteria.
Eucalyptus essential oil is being investigated as an anti-TB drug. Many products available in your pharmacy incorporate eucalyptus oil to relieve congestion, including some cough drops and vapor rubs.
For inhalation 12 drops of the essential oil in 3/4 cup of boiling water three times a day.
Vicks VapoRub, commonly used for coughs and colds, contains eucalyptus oil. It may be useful to find a recipe to make your own rub with eucalyptus oil at home or purchase a product that contains the oil at your local pharmacy.
2. Cinnamon essential oil
Cinnamon, frequently used as a spice in cooking and baking, has a history of helping with bronchitis. One study concludes the essential oil of cinnamon can be useful for stopping respiratory tract pathogens if emitted in a gaseous state for a short timeframe. Cinnamon essential oil acts against common bacteria reproducing.Try diffusing the essential oil into the air or inhaling a few drops diluted in a steaming bowl of water.
3. Rosemary essential oil
Rosemary is a plant found around the world. It can calm the muscles in your trachea, giving you respiratory relief. It is also tied to the treatment of asthma,
Like with cinnamon oil, try inhaling diluted rosemary oil for relief.
4. Nutmeg essential oil
You may find that nutmeg essential oil makes a difference when suffering from respiratory conditions. A
Try adding nutmeg essential oil to your diffuser to see if it helps your cough. Adjust the amount of nutmeg oil you diffuse based on the results of your congestion relief. Nutmeg helps loosen secretions (an expectorant).
5. Bergamot essential oil
You may find that bergamot oil relieves congestion. It contains the molecule camphene. Inhaling camphene is linked to helping relieve respiratory tract fluid,
Try bergamot essential oil in your diffuser or humidifier to see if it relieves your cough.
6. Cypress essential oil
Like nutmeg and bergamot, cypress oil contains camphene. This molecule may help
Fill a bowl with warm water and add a few drops of cypress oil to see if it has any affect on your cough and congestion.
7. Thyme essential oil
Researchers studied thyme and other essential oils to determine the best way to use them to fight respiratory tract pathogens. The study concluded that thyme should be diffused rapidly in a high concentration for a short period of time.
8. Geranium essential oil
Geranium extract is connected to helping with infections in the upper respiratory tract, including bronchitis. Researchers looked at several studies that measured the effect of geranium extract with coughs. All but one study showed a connection between the use of geranium extract and the relief of cough symptoms.
Look into geranium extracts or try a few drops of geranium oil in your diffuser or some diluted in oil in the bath to see if it helps relieve your cough and other associated symptoms
9. Peppermint essential oil
This common herb contains menthol. Many people use this essential oil for relief of congestion, although there is a lack of evidence that it actually helps.
To get the sensation of relief from your cough, you may want to try inhaling peppermint essential oil with your diffuser or a bowl of steaming water.
10. Lavender essential oil
Your cough may be a symptom of asthma. You may find that lavender essential oil helps your asthma symptoms.
Try inhaling lavender with steam inhalation, a diffuser, or diluted and put in a warm bath to see if it can help your cough.
Essential oils can be dispensed in a variety of ways. Oils in their pure form are very potent and generally require some type of dilution prior to their use. Do not apply essential oils directly to the skin. Mix them in a carrier oil. Usually the recipe is 3 to 5 drops in a carrier oils such sweet almond, olive, or warmed coconut oil. Methods to dilute essential oils include:
- Mixing them with carrier oils for direct application to the skin
- Adding them to a bowl of hot water to breathe in oil-infused steam
- Utilizing a diffuser, humidifier, or spray bottle to put them in the air
- Mixing them in an oil then adding to the bath or with other spa products
You may wish to inhale essential oils from the bottle directly, but only do this for a brief amount of time because of their potency. You should never ingest essential oils.
Essential oils should be used with caution. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not oversee the production of essential oil products, so the quality and contents of the oils can vary.
There are no specific medically endorsed dosages for essential oils. Therefore, you should discuss your use of essential oils with your doctor to ensure they are not interfering with other health conditions. Check in with your doctor if you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or taking other medications before using essential oils.
Do not put off seeing your doctor for a serious cough. Essential oils may give you some relief at home, but serious or persistent symptoms require a medical review and diagnosis.
Be aware that some essential oils may cause side effects or an allergic reaction.
Essential oils affect children differently and have not been studied. Talk to your doctor before you begin using essential oils with your kids. Pregnant and breastfeeding women have not been studied and extra care should be taken when using essential oils. Use oils that have been proven to be safe for infants, children, and pregnant and breastfeeding women, children, and babies.
It may be beneficial to try essential oils to relieve your cough. Be mindful that there is a lack of definitive research on this method of treatment. Use caution when using essential oils and make sure to dilute them appropriately. Introduce only one essential oil at a time. Never delay medical treatment if your cough is severe or you have other associated symptoms.