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Using Essential Oils for Coughs

Coughing is your body's response to something irritating your throat or airways and has many causes. Using essential oils for coughs caused by allergies, colds, or similar conditions can bring some relief. However, if you develop an unexplained cough, seek medical advice.

Essential oils commonly suggested for coughs include eucalyptus, ginger, hyssop, lemon,  rosemary, and thyme.

Carton of woman coughing into her elbow, with the words Using Essential Oils to Help Relieve Coughs

Dry vs. Mucus Coughs

Coughs can be either dry or include mucus.

The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy suggests the following blends of essential oils for coughs.

Blend the oils in a dark-color glass bottle. Apply a small amount of blend to your back and chest at least twice a day.

Dry Cough Relief

  • 3 drops eucalyptus radiata essential oil
  • 2 drops thyme linalol essential oil
  • 1 teaspoon carrier oil

Mucus Cough Relief

  • 2 drops eucalyptus radiata essential oil
  • 2 drops thyme linalol essential oil
  • 1 drop tea tree essential oil
  • 1 drop geranium essential oil
  • 1 teaspoon carrier oil

Aromatherapy: A Holistic Guide to Natural Healing with Essential Oils suggests the following blends to help relieve coughs.

Combine all the ingredients in a dark-color glass bottle. Twice a day, massage a little of the blend on the upper chest and back and lower neck (front and back).

Dry Cough Relief

  • 2 tablespoons carrier oil
  • 12 drops eucalyptus essential oil
  • 6 drops hyssop essential oil
  • 3 drops pine essential oil
  • 3 drops lemon essential oil

Moist Cough Relief

  • 2 tablespoons carrier oil
  • 12 drops eucalyptus essential oil
  • 8 drops hyssop essential oil
  • 4 drops rosemary essential oil

More Essential Oils for Coughs

Blend the following essential oils in a dark-color 5-ml dropper bottle:

  • 36 drops eucalyptus smithii
  • 24 drops cedarwood
  • 12 drops pine
  • 8 drops myrtle (green or orange)

Ways to use:

  • Bath: Add 4 to 6 drops of the blend to 1 teaspoon castile soap. Stir into bath water.
  • Inhaler: Place about 20 drops of the blend on the blank wick of an aromatherapy inhaler. Use as needed.
  • Massage: Mix 8 drops of the blend with 4 teaspoons carrier oil. Massage over chest, throat, and back.

Source: The Complete Aromatherapy and Essential Oils Handbook for Everyday Wellness

Cough with a Cold Back Rub

  • 2 tablespoons jojoba oil
  • 3 drops roman chamomile essential oil
  • 3 drops balsam fir essential oil
  • One-ounce glass or PET plastic bottle

Add jojoba to bottle. Drop in essential oils. Close bottle and then shake gently to mix.

To use: Shake gently. Apply a small amount of the blend to the back of the neck and back before bedtime or as needed during the day. Do not use on children under age five.

Source: Essential Living

Cough-Relieving Bath Salts

  • 5 drops pine essential oil
  • 5 drops eucalyptus essential oil
  • 5 drops niaouli essential oil
  • 2 tablespoons carrier oil
  • 3 cups Epsom, pink Himalayan, or sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon milk (optional for adults, recommended for children)
  1. Stir the essential oils and carrier oil into the salt.
  2. Put the mixture in a jar with a lid. Let sit for 24 hours.
  3. Stir again.
  4. Run a bath. Stir in 1/2 to 1 cup bath salt and the milk.
  5. Store the salts in a jar with a tight-fitting lid and in a cool, dark place for up to three months.

Source: Essential Oils for Healing

Steam Inhalation

Blend the following essential oils:

  • 1 drop thyme
  • 2 drops sage
  • 2 drops cypress
  • 2 drops niaouli
  • 3 drops hyssop

Use half the blend (5 drops) for one steam inhalation:

  1. Drop the essential oils into a bowl of hot (not boiling) water.
  2. Cover your head with a towel.
  3. Close your eyes and place your face above the steaming water, making sure you stay  a comfortable distance from the heat.
  4. Breathe in the steam for about five minutes (less time if you're getting too hot).

You can repeat 2 or 3 times a day.

Source: Complete Aromatherapy Handbook: Essential Oils for Radiant Health

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