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Best Essential Oils For Colds And Congestion And How To Use Them

Essential oils are a popular natural treatment. People use them to relieve sinus congestion, unblock a stuffed nose, and promote sinus drainage. Essential oils are made by extracting and concentrating oils from plants. Plants have phytochemicals that can have many health benefits.  

As more bacteria become resistant to antibiotics, some researchers are looking for a solution by studying essential oils’ antiviral and antibacterial properties. Here’s what to know about using them for a cough or a respiratory tract infection.

Essential oils for medical purposes

There are many causes for someone to cough, including the common cold, flu, or chest infection. Essential oils may help to soothe the throat, reduce inflammation, and clear away mucus.

Mareefe/ Pexels | Diffusing essential oils can actually help increase the atmospheric oxygen in a room

The medical community views essential oils as a complementary alternative therapy rather than a medical treatment. These oils should be used with caution, as there are no approved guidelines about dosage or strength.

Peppermint oil

Peppermint oil contains menthol. This compound may affect the mucus receptors in the nose, helping to open the airways and clear mucus. Peppermint oil contains menthol. This compound may affect the mucus receptors in the nose, helping to open the airways and clear mucus. Studies show that peppermint may fight bacteria, especially one that triggers sinus congestion. Peppermint also helps to reduce inflammation and treat the infection. 

A person can try making a steam bath by placing a few drops of the oil in a bowl of warm water and breathing in the steam for a few minutes until the stuffiness and other symptoms subside. Alternately, a diffuser can fill the air with this essential oil.

Eucalyptus essential oil

Eucalyptus essential oil can be used to calm a cough in several ways. A person may want to try adding a few drops of eucalyptus oil to 1 ounce of carrier oil and rubbing the mixture onto the chest and throat or diluting eucalyptus oil in boiling water and inhaling the steam. Eucalyptol has an antimicrobial effect and fights off bacteria that cause illness. Oil from eucalyptus fruit had the most antibacterial activity, even against some drug-resistant bacteria. The product also helps reduce inflammation, relieve pain, and ease muscle tension resulting from a cold or flu.

Anna Shvets/ Pexels | Less than 1 percent of the entire plant species population, produces essential oil

How to Use Essential Oils to Treat Coughs

Essential oils are used as part of aromatherapy. You can inhale them in a number of ways:

Straight from the bottle

This is the simplest method. Just open the bottle and take some deep breaths.  

Steam inhalation

Fill a bowl with hot water and add a few drops of essential oils. Bend your head over the bowl, put a towel over your head and the bowl, and breathe deeply.   


Put a few drops on a cotton ball and inhale as the oil evaporates.  

Pixabay/ Pexels | It wasn’t until the 20th century that the term “aromatherapy” was used


A diffuser releases small particles of oil into the room. Mix water and essential oils and turn on the diffuser to use it. The instructions will tell you what water-to essential-oil-ratio to use.  

Apply topically

Don’t put essential oils directly on your skin. Instead, dilute them first with another oil like jojoba or coconut oil. You can put the mixture in a roller bottle to make it easier to use.

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