Essential Oils for Coughs: 5 Ways to Relieve Coughing

Updated in September 2023
Scientifically proven

Essential oils for coughs, like eucalyptus, rosemary, thyme and lavender, contain properties that help to relieve coughs. They can be used to complement the treatment recommended by your doctor.

Aromatherapy is a natural therapy that utilizes essential oils to treat various health conditions and symptoms. Since all oils can be inhaled, this therapy is an excellent approach for managing respiratory illnesses.

Although these oils are natural, essential oils should always be used as directed by an aromatherapist or other healthcare professional, as symptoms may worsen in some cases, especially in children or people with greater sensitivity to odors.

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Best oils for coughs

To help manage coughing, some of the best, scientifically proven essential oils include:

  1. Eucalyptus
  2. Peppermint
  3. Tea tree oil
  4. Thyme
  5. Rosemary
  6. Lavender
  7. Oregano

This therapy can be used to complement treatment prescribed by your doctor. In addition to treating coughs and calming the upper respiratory tract, aromatherapy can also has an antiseptic effect, preventing the development of viruses and bacteria in the lungs that are prone to developing into pneumonia.

How to use essential oils for coughs

To benefits the medicinal properties of each essential oil, you can utilize the following methods: 

1. Inhaling the vials

Inhaling directly from the essential oil vials is the most complete way to treat the body. It allows for the oil particles to come in direct contact with the lung muscles, which can also quickly reach the brain, and promote homeostasis in the body.

To perform these inhalations correctly, take a deep breath with your nose close to the mouth of the bottle. Hold the air for 2 or 3 seconds and then exhale through your mouth. Initially, you should take 3 to 5 inhalations, 10 times a day, then increase to 10 inhalations, 10 times a day. Before going to sleep, you can also perform 10 minutes of inhalation, especially if your cough is interrupting your sleep.

2. Putting drops on your pillow case

Add 1 or 2 drops of your desired essential oil to your pillow case. You can also use a small scent bag that can be placed under the pillow so that you can enjoy its aroma while you sleep.

3. Using an oil diffuser

Another way is to use an oil diffuser so that the aroma is dispersed into a room. Add 1 or 2 drops into to the equipment as per manufacturer's instruction. This can be a good strategy to use during the day and at night.

4. Using a bowl of hot water

Another way is to use essential oils for a cough is to add the oil to a bowl of boiling water. The oil will evaporate with the hot water into the air to aromatize the room, which is then inhaled gradually.

5. Massaging the oil on your chest

Mix 2 drops of your desired essential oil with 1 tablespoon of any vegetable oil, like sesame or coconut oil. Massage this into the chest. A chest massage helps to decongest the nose, making it a great option for application after bathing and before going to sleep.

To complement these natural treatments, you can also drinking ginger and cinnamon teas. Check out other home remedies for coughs that you can use.