Eucalyptus essential oil
One of the best known oils is that of Eucalyptus, which is present in a number of over the counter remedies especially vapour rubs. These remedies contain the compound eucalyptol or cineole which are the essential oils key components.
Eucalyptol was found to have an antimicrobial effect, which may help to ward off infections. This was in a study that was published in the Alternative Medicine Review.
Eucalypol may also help to relieve symptoms which occur as a result of the cold or cough such as pain, reduce inflammation and muscle tension.
Rosemary essential oil
This is a common herb and contains cineole compound like eucalyptus.
The journal Cough published a study where rosemary was found to break up mucus and reduce inflammation.
Peppermint essential oil
This oil is in a number of over the counter products for respiratory conditions.
A component of peppermint oil is menthol. When inhaled, menthol produces a cooling effect which may help to soothe the throat.
A study carried out in 2013 showed that when a healthy person used peppermint oil it helped to relax the bronchial muscles in the windpipe. This may explain why peppermint oil can ease the breathing in people with coughs.
Frankincense essential oil
Frankincense is derived from a tree in the genus Boswelli. Commonly present in perfumes and incense.
Traditionally frankincense has been used due to its effects on the respiratory system and has been used to help relieve coughs, catarrh, asthma and bronchitis.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea Tree oil has been shown to have an antimicrobial effect, and may therefore inhibit the growth of bacteria that cause respiratory condition and sinus problems
Inhaling Tea Tree oil may help to relieve the effects of a cough.
Any of these oils can be used individually or as a combination.
The way in which these essential oils can be used:
- Added to water in a diffuser.
- Add to boiling water and inhale the steam
- Mixed with a carrier oil (almond oil or grapeseed oil) and used on the chest.
Article written by Shirley Marriott