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The Best Essential Oils for Coughs

Whether your immunity is low or it’s the turn of the season, colds and coughs can impact anyone. Coughs can be caused by an upper respiratory infection (a cold or flu), asthma, bronchitis, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and other inflammatory airway issues.

woman coughing

But not everyone likes to reach for pharmaceuticals when there are natural options to consider, which is why more and more people are turning to essential oils for their cough-combating fix.

Both a wet cough and dry cough can be extremely uncomfortable for people of any age, but there  are some essential oils that contain potent natural properties capable of soothing, relieving and reducing respiratory distress.

So what essential oil is good for cough relief? Well, there are several. Essential oils are as diverse as nature itself, and there are plenty of different types you can use to help fight back against coughs and a scratchy throat of various causes.

Let’s take a look at how you can safely use Volant’s essential oils for coughs and which oils have the healing properties your body needs.

Content/Quick links

  • How essential oils can help you fight against coughs
  • Essential oils for coughs
  • Essential oils for respiratory support
  • Eucalyptus essential oil
  • Peppermint essential oil
  • Essential oils that help with dry cough
  • Organic cinnamon essential oil
  • Organic rosemary essential oil
  • Protective essential oil for the lungs
  • Organic tangerine essential oil
  • Essential oils for a wet cough
  • Essential oils with antimicrobial properties
  • Tea tree essential oil
  • How to use essential oils for coughs and flu
  • Facial steam
  • In a bath
  • In a massage
  • In a saltwater gargle 
  • In a diffuser 
  • Buying essential oil for coughs
  • Essential oil for coughs FAQs

How essential oils can help you fight against coughs

woman looking at essential oil

Essential oils can be absorbed by the body in a number of different ways: topically, or through the skin; internally, through the mouth and digestive system; and aromatically, through the olfactory system.

The olfactory system is the most popular entry point for essential oils, mostly because it feels natural to sniff and inhale their fragrance via aromatherapy. However, inhaling essential oils is also one of the most effective ways to receive their many benefits. Using a stylish high quality diffuser for this purpose is an excellent idea as it creates the ideal balance of oil in the air.

When you inhale an essential oil, the particles filter into your respiratory system, nervous system, bloodstream and amygdala (the emotional centre of the brain). Whatever natural properties that particular essential oil possesses can then begin to take effect.

Take lavender for example. This is an oil that has scientifically proven sleep-inducing and anti-anxiety effects. By inhaling this oil, you allow for fast transmission of its soothing compounds that take effect within a few minutes to an hour.

When it comes to soothing coughs, you can use oils that enhance breathing, soothe throat scratchiness and promote strong immunity to expedite the healing process. If the cough is related to a viral infection, you can also use an essential oil for cough relief that has antimicrobial properties.

Let’s take a look at what essential oil is good for cough relief, as well as essential oils that help with dry cough relief as opposed to a wet cough. We’ll also explore which oils can protect the lungs, help prevent issues that cause coughing and provide immune support for prevention and recovery.

Essential oils for coughs

woman showing essential oil set

These days, we have the luxury of having access to all kinds of essential oils without needing to gather or distill them ourselves. If you are experiencing a respiratory illness that causes wet or dry coughs, you can use these essential oils to help soothe soreness, reduce inflammation, break up mucus, enhance breathing and attack infections.

  • Eucalyptus
  • Peppermint
  • Cinnamon
  • Rosemary
  • Tangerine
  • Tea Tree

You can use single essential oils or create a blend that is specifically tailored to your health needs. Even if you just have one of these essential oils, they can provide natural support that feels good, smells good and provides some relief at the same time.

Let’s take a look at how to use these various oils for coughs.

Essential oils for respiratory support

Eucalyptus essential oil

volant eucalyptus essential oil

Eucalyptus essential oil Originally cultivated in Australia, eucalyptus leaves are still the primary food source of koala bears. But this herbaceous tree leaf is packed with powerful natural compounds that humans have been using for respiratory support for centuries.

Volant’s pure, organic Eucalyptus Essential Oil has a cooling, menthol-like fragrance that uplifts the senses. The chemical compounds found in eucalyptus oil, such as 1,8-cineole (aka eucalyptol), break up mucus membranes, both reducing the amount of mucus that builds up in the lungs and loosening it for more effective elimination.

In a 2020 review on eucalyptus oil for respiratory support, the authors discussed its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral, bronchodilatory and mucolytic properties. They suggested that eucalyptus is helpful for those suffering from asthma, bronchitis and COPD.

A 2013 study also determined that eucalyptus essential oil can reduce pain and inflammation, making it good for not only respiratory support but also for pain relief.

volant organic eucalyptus essential oil to relieve nasal congestion
volant organic eucalyptus essential oil to relieve nasal congestion
organic eucalyptus leaves
volant organic eucalyptus essential oil bottle packaging to relieve nasal congestion
volant white diffuser using organic eucalyptus essential oil to relieve nasal congestion

Organic Eucalyptus Essential Oil

13 €

Peppermint essential oil

volant peppermint essential oil

If you or your children are struggling to breathe due to a tight cough, our refreshing, uplifting Peppermint Essential Oil can deliver the breathing support you need. Not just that, but it can also help bring relief to nasal congestion or sinusitis.

Menthol is one of the principal active compounds in peppermint oil. Several decades ago, it was discovered that smelling menthol triggers cold receptors in the airway, which is partly responsible for the sensation of easier breathing. Recently, a study in COPD patients found that smelling menthol significantly reduced physical and psychological breathing effort, breathing discomfort, anxiety and fear during restricted breathing times.

 Another 2013 study found that peppermint essential oil helps relax the bronchial muscles, making it easier to breathe. It is for this reason that athletes and singers sometimes inhale peppermint or menthol before a big performance.

Inhaling both menthol and eucalyptus together has also proven to reduce coughing during a cough challenge in healthy subjects. And using menthol and eucalyptus together topically may help with decongestion and improve sleep quality.

volant organic peppermint essential oil to keep mosquitoes away
volant organic peppermint essential oil to keep mosquitoes away
organic peppermint leaves
volant organic peppermint essential oil bottle packaging to keep mosquitoes away
volant white diffuser using organic peppermint essential oil to keep mosquitoes away

Organic Peppermint Essential Oil

14 €

Essential oils that help with dry cough

A dry cough is an extremely unpleasant side effect of a variety of chest infections. Characterized by dryness, inflammation and an itchy, painful throat, the need for soothing relief is great with this kind of cough. Some of the essential oils that help with dry cough are cinnamon and rosemary.

Organic cinnamon essential oil

cinnamon essential oil

Despite its association with Christmas cooking, cinnamon essential oil is capable of several healing benefits when used in the right way.

Cinnamon essential oil, rich in cinnamaldehyde, has been shown to reduce airway inflammation and irritation, which are often the cause of a dry cough.

Cinnamon bark oil has also been shown to have powerful antifungal effects when vaporized against fungi that cause respiratory symptoms. Cinnamon bark oil has also shown potent antibacterial effects on airborne bacteria that cause respiratory tract infections, including drug-resistant bacteria. So to ward off airborne bacteria, or if you suspect mold to be the cause of your cough, try smelling or diffusing some cinnamon essential oil.

Volant’s Focus Blend includes cinnamon oil as well as vanilla bean, clementine and rosemary.

volant focus essential oil blend made with pure Vanilla Beam, Clementine, Rosemary, and Cinnamon
volant focus essential oil blend made with pure Vanilla Beam, Clementine, Rosemary, and Cinnamon
volant white diffuser using focus essential oil blend made with pure Vanilla Beam, Clementine, Rosemary, and Cinnamon
volant focus essential oil blend bottle packaging  made with pure Vanilla Beam, Clementine, Rosemary, and Cinnamon
woman studying using volant focus essential oil blend made with pure Vanilla Beam, Clementine, Rosemary, and Cinnamon

Focus

20 €

Organic rosemary essential oil

volant rosemary essential oil

The rosemary plant contains many natural healing properties. Volant’s Rosemary Essential Oil is organic, an important point when you’re directly inhaling or topically applying the oil. Rosemary oil contains the natural chemical compounds 1,8-cineole (aka eucalyptol) and camphor.

A study from 2018 found that rosemary essential oil is able to improve wheezing, coughing and coughed up phlegm in asthmatic subjects. It helped reduce inflammation and calm the muscles in the trachea, which becomes inflamed and irritated during a cough.

One study looked at the immediate effects of a spray containing eucalyptus, peppermint and rosemary essential oils on the symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections and found that the spray reduced sore throat, hoarseness and coughing.

Using camphor, menthol and eucalyptus together topically may also help with decongestion and improve sleep quality.

volant organic rosemary essential oil for hair growth
volant organic rosemary essential oil for hair growth
organic rosemary leaves
volant organic rosemary essential oil bottle packaging for hair growth
volant grey diffuser using organic rosemary essential oil to relieve stress and relax

Organic Rosemary Essential Oil

14 €

Protective essential oil for the lungs

Organic tangerine essential oil

tangerine essential oil

The peel of Citrus reticulata, which is known as both mandarin and tangerine, is a staple in Traditional Chinese Medicine for eliminating phlegm from the lungs and body and has been used for centuries for coughs, lung diseases and fluid retention.

Modern research has shown that Citrus reticulata extracts and essential oils reduce pulmonary fibrosis or thickening of the lung tissue and reduces inflammation and hyperresponsiveness in allergic reactions and asthma models.

Limonene, the main active compound in tangerine essential oil, has also been found to calm airway inflammation and reactivity in asthma models, and a recent review concluded that “Limonene has effective anti-inflammatory activity in both preventing and controlling respiratory system injuries.”

Tangerine essential oil can be found in Volant’s Clean Air blend to help purify the air and help you breathe easier as well as in our refreshing Ocean blend.

volant clean air essential oil blend made with pure Lemon, Myrrh, and Tangerine
volant clean air essential oil blend made with pure Lemon, Myrrh, and Tangerine
volant white diffuser using clean air essential oil blend made with pure Lemon, Myrrh, and Tangerine
volant clean air essential oil blend bottle packaging made with pure Lemon, Myrrh, and Tangerine
woman half body drinking wine with volant white diffuser using clean air and energy essential oil blends

Clean Air

18 €
volant ocean essential oil blend made with pure Amyris, Tangerine, Tea Tree, and Bergamot
volant ocean essential oil blend made with pure Amyris, Tangerine, Tea Tree, and Bergamot
volant grey diffuser using ocean essential oil blend made with pure Amyris, Tangerine, Tea Tree, and Bergamot
volant ocean essential oil blend bottle packaging made with pure Amyris, Tangerine, Tea Tree, and Bergamot
volant ocean essential oil blend made with pure Amyris, Tangerine, Tea Tree, and Bergamot

Ocean

20 €

Essential oils for a wet cough

woman coughing

Based on what we’ve learned above, our top recommendations for essential oils for a wet cough are eucalyptus essential oil, rosemary essential oil and tangerine essential oil.

On top of helping to break up mucus, eucalyptus is also a powerful antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, airway opener and pain reliever. This makes eucalyptus essential our top recommendation for a wet cough.

Rosemary essential oil has also been shown to improve sputum production in asthmatic subjects, making this our second choice of essential oils for a wet cough. In addition, as we’ve already seen above, both camphor (found in rosemary) and eucalyptus were ingredients in a topical ointment that has been shown to improve coughing.

Finally, tangerine essential oil’s rich history in Chinese medicine to reduce phlegm, fluid retention and as a smooth muscle relaxant makes it our third choice essential oil for wet coughing.

Essential oils with antimicrobial properties

If a viral or bacterial infection is causing a cough, Volant’s high quality essential oils that fight against unwanted bacteria and viruses could help bring the necessary relief. When it comes to antibacterial essential oils, organic tea tree oil is the king of the crop; however, eucalyptus and cinnamon essential oils can easily be added to this list.

Tea tree essential oil

volant tea tree essential oil

Tea tree oil is one of the oldest and most documented essential oils in history. It is rich in terpene alcohols and contains some cineole. Research has continuously shown that tea tree oil triggers the production of white blood cells, which are pivotal in any physical healing process and boosting immune function. It also reduces inflammation and kills certain types of bacteria and viruses such as Influenza and coronaviruses.

Using Volant’s Organic Tea Tree Essential Oil in conjunction with other chest-opening oils like eucalyptus or peppermint makes for a potent anti-cough combination that can help expedite anyone’s healing process while pairing it with more pleasant-smelling oils.

volant organic tea tree essential oil as antibacterial for skin
volant organic tea tree essential oil as antibacterial for skin
tea tree
volant organic tea tree essential oil bottle packaging for hair and skin
volant white diffuser using organic tea tree essential oil for aromatherapy

Organic Tea Tree Essential Oil

13 €

How to use essential oils for coughs and flu

There are lots of different ways to harness the healing benefits of essential oils. Now that you know what essential oil is good for cough problems and respiratory illness, we can dive into the different ways to use them effectively.

Facial steam

woman doing facial steam

A facial steam is one of the most popular and effective ways to reap the benefits of essential oils, especially when you have a cough. Simply pour boiled water into a large bowl and drop in a few drops of your chosen essential oils (a blend often works best).

Then take a large, clean towel and drape it over your head, creating a small steam room for your face. Set a timer for 10 minutes and take deep, measured breaths, making sure to inhale the healing steam.

In a bath

woman enjoying aromatherapy bath

If you want to create a similar steam effect, you can also run yourself a nice bath (the hotter the better, as you’ll create more steam) and drop in the essential oils of your choice mixed with a carrier oil like jojoba oil. Be sure to keep your chest submerged under the water and breathe deeply to get the most benefit.

volant jojoba carrier oil bottle. the most popular carrier oils  for essential oils because it can be used on your hair or your skin
volant jojoba carrier oil bottle. the most popular carrier oils  for essential oils because it can be used on your hair or your skin
volant jojoba oil carrier oil for your hair and skin
volant jojoba oil carrier oil packaging. best for hair and skin
volant jojoba oil carrier oil rich with the beneficial nutrients, including vitamins A, D and E, making it holistically great for your body.

Jojoba Carrier Oil

18 €

In a massage

woman enjoying facial massage

A facial, back and chest massage can work wonders for a tight chest or a cough. Dilute your oils with a carrier oil and rub your palms together to blend it well.

Then slowly work your fingertips over your sinus and nasal areas to soothe congestion. For the chest, start in the center and spread your hands outwards to open up the lungs. You can use the same motion on the back. This will also help to promote better circulation throughout the body.

In a saltwater gargle

woman gargling with salt water

If your throat is very scratchy or sore, you can attempt to fend off an impending infection with an antimicrobial salt water gargle. Mix some clean rock or sea salt into very warm water and add 2-3 drops of essential oil.

Take a swig and gargle at the back of your throat, remembering not to swallow! This method is particularly useful for viral throat or chest infections.

In a diffuser

woman inhaling aroma scent from volant diffuser

To help promote better breathability in your recovery space or to help kill any airborne pathogens, add a few drops of your favorite essential oils for cough problems to your diffuser. This will help to disperse the natural compounds into the air around you and help soothe your respiratory struggles via the air.

No matter which essential oils you choose to help fight against your respiratory troubles, if you’re going to use them topically, remember to perform a patch test beforehand to rule out any skin sensitivities or allergies.

volant clay essential oil diffuser for aromatherapy
volant clay essential oil diffuser for aromatherapy
volant's clay diffuser brings the joy of the Mediterranean into your home
volant clay diffuser parts unassembled
volant clay diffuser for diy bathroom spa

Clay Volant Diffuser

99 €

Buying essential oil for coughs

woman looking at essential oil blend

It’s easier than ever to buy quality, organic essential oils for yourself and your loved ones. Whether you are looking for essential oils that help with dry cough, improving sleep or simply make your home smell amazing, Volant has what you need.

Our range of pure essential oils is 100% organic and we’ve got single essential oils, blends, carrier oils and oil sets to suit your every need and preference. Don’t let coughs get the better of you this season. We’ve got the essential oils for coughs that help you to breathe easier and find relief.

Essential oil for coughs FAQs

Q: Can essential oils substitute cough medication?
A:
 Essential oils are not a replacement for cough medication, but they can play a hugely supportive role in the preventative and healing processes. Used frequently enough and in the right way, they can reduce inflammation, enhance breathing and fight back against infections.

Q: What is a carrier oil?
A:
 Carrier oils are neutral oils rich in fatty acids that can be used to dilute the potency of essential oils. Some popular choices include coconut, sweet almond, jojoba and grapeseed oils. 

Q: Can children use essential oils for coughs?
A:
 As long as there are no allergies present, it is perfectly safe for children to use essential oils – for sickness or otherwise. Some essential oils can produce mild skin irritation when used without a carrier oil (such as peppermint, cinnamon or oregano), but when diluted, they are completely safe to use. As a rule of thumb, keep essential oils away from the eyes and open wounds.

While some essential oils are safe to ingest in small amounts, at Volant, we do not recommend ingesting essential oils due to their high potency and risk of irritation compared with the rich benefits they confer when used externally.

Q: Is there a limit to how many essential oils you can use at once?
A:
 No. You can create your own blends of as many essential oils as you like or discover Volant’s extensive range of essential oil blends.

Put an End to Coughs Naturally

women holding essential oil blend

Coughs and colds are a common occurrence, especially during seasonal changes with ensuing germs and allergens. Arm yourself to fight back against the pathogens, allergens and inflammation that threaten your respiratory system with Volant’s organic essential oils that contain powerful, studied natural healing properties.

From breathe-easy eucalyptus and peppermint to antimicrobial tea tree essential oil to protective tangerine oil to the soothing and restorative rosemary and cinnamon oils, there is an essential oil for just about every cause of respiratory concern.

If you are experiencing painful coughing, nasal congestion, or a sore, dry throat, Volant’s essential oils can help support you on your journey to vitality. Disperse them into their air with one of our diffusers, drop them into a facial steam for soothing, respiratory relaxation, or massage them into your skin with a carrier oil to maximize their benefits.

It’s no longer necessary to exclusively rely on pharmaceuticals to get you through a common cold, or to do nothing and just ride it out – nature’s bounty has some of the most effective tools around.

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