Cough Relief With Essential Oils

Cough syrups are some of the most chemical loaded products with artificial colors and flavorings added (does anyone really like the flavor?).  You can green up your cold & flu remedies quickly by having some basic food grade, Therapeutic Grade essential oils on hand when a cough begins.  While traditional cough syrups are really drugs to suppress or force a cough, essential oils work with your body’s chemistry and not only build up your immune system, many are fighting the bacteria & viruses causing your symptoms.  Essential oils have been researched for their expectorant capabilities,  replace your menthol & camphor loaded cough products with pure plant extracts.

My most recent check on Amazon for “cough medicine” indicated 1242 options. Expectorants, suppressants, decongestants, non-drowsy,  you get the picture.   The back of the label will most likely be filled with side effect and cautionary information.  Our family deals with coughs from colds and allergies naturally without all the man-made chemicals found in these over the counter drugs.  Essential oils have been our best form of defense with taming coughs.  The first thing we do when a cough occurs is to have a spoonful of agave nectar with a drop of lemon essential oil added to it.  The lemon soothes a dry, scratchy throat  and can boost your immune system as well.  For adults, add a drop of  Thieves to this spoonful for a super charged boost in immunity.  The Thieves will also relieve any soreness in the throat.

There are specific essential oils that are helpful for coughs: Eucalyptus Radiata, Eucalyptus Globulus, Ravansara, and wintergreen are especially effective.  Young Living has made a couple of essential oil blends that we use for coughs and colds in the winter.  R.C. is one of the most used oil blends in our home – it has four different kinds of eucalyptus in it  plus peppermint, lavender, cypress and pine essential oils.  At the first sign of a cold or cough, we apply a drop or two to each foot.   Commercial Eucalyptus oils on their own can be too potent for children, but when it is combined with more gentle oils of lavender and cypress it is a great choice for kid’s colds & coughs.  For children under 3 dilute a drop with a 1/2 teaspoon of a carrier oil and massage onto the feet.

Raven is another Young Living blend of ravansara, wintergreen, Eucalyptus radiata, lemon and peppermint essential oils.    The ravansara encourages expectoration and the wintergreen, eucalyptus and peppermint essential oils open up airways.  We find just one application of the oils onto the feet at bedtime is enough to settle a cough for sleep.  For children and those with asthma apply the oils to the soles of the feet.  For adults, massage the oils into the chest, add to bath water or place a drop in a bowl of warm water and breathe deeply.

Alternating application of R.C with Raven may be a powerful remedy with coughs.  Layering the oils increases the synergy between the oils.  For adults, apply 2 drops of R.C. mixed with V-6 oil to the chest area, then 2 drops of Raven on top.  This can also be done on the bottoms of the feet concentrating on the lung area points of reflexology.  For children, mix 1 drop of essential oil with a tsp of V-6 carrier oil or olive oil (or lavender essential oil which acts like a carrier oil), massage onto the bottoms of feet, cover with cotton socks and rest.   If you are using Young Living’s therapeutic grade oils you may not even have to dilute oils when applying to the soles of the feet.  Last week my 8 year old had a cough that started with fall allergies.  I rotated oils, one day applying them every hour (the time it takes for the body to metabolize the oils).  I took 2 drops of 2 different oils  (RC & Raven , for example), rubbed them between my hands and held my hands on the soles of her feet a few minutes.  Her face would light up as she said she could feel her chest relaxing.  Within minutes she’d have a healthy cough to expectorate the junk.

Frankincense also offers powerful respiratory support and it has the benefit of reducing anxiety, often associated with violent coughing spells.  Frankincense is also a very gentle oil as long as it is not filled with chemicals or synthetics.  I use Young Living’s Frankincense neat (undiluted) on the chest or soles of the feet.  Frankincense is very soothing to the respiratory tract especially when diffused.

Drinking plenty of fluids and foods rich in vitamin C are essential to feeling better.  For those with asthma, always apply essential oils to the soles of the feet.  For any persistant cough or difficulty breathing make sure to seek medical care right away

This information is not meant as a substitute for medical care, if you are sick, contact your doctor for advice.

Farid A. Badria, Eman A. Mohammed, Mohammed K. El-Fadrawy, et al (2004).  Natural Leukotriene inhibitor from Boswellia (frankincense): A potential for treating bronchial asthma. Altern & Comp Therapies. 10 (5) 257-265.

Inouye S, Takizawa T, Yamaguchi H. (2001). Antibacterial activity of essential oils and their major constituents against respiratory tract pathogens by gaseous contact.  J Antimicrob Chemo. 47: 565-573.

Larrondo J, Agut M, Calvo-Torras M. (1995). Antimicrobial activity of essences from Labiates. Microbios. 82: 171-172

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6 Responses to Cough Relief With Essential Oils

  1. zora holderberg February 6, 2013 at 5:51 pm #

    Where can I purchase thses products from?
    I am interested in the ‘Eucalyptus radiata’ and ‘R.C essential oil blend.

    I live in East Maitland N.S.W

  2. Susan P February 7, 2013 at 9:53 am #

    Hi Zora, Young Living products are shipped all over the world! You can even become a distributor in Australia and get wholesale pricing for personal use and business. Just visit my website and select Sign Up Here, all you have to do is order a Start Living Kit for $40 (prices may vary slightly by country) and order any products you’d like. You’ll get wholesale pricing for life as long as you order 50PV per year to stay active – no monthly minimums. Otherwise you can just order from the product line through the same link and get shipped to you for retail. Cheers!

  3. Jill February 6, 2015 at 3:24 am #

    Our 7 year old woke up in the night very congested. He was frantic about blowing his nose so he could breathe through it. However that wasn’t working. The first thing I did was mix RC and Raven in coconut oil. Then I applied them to our son’s chest. He said after a few minutes it was hard to breathe so I applied more coconut oil to his chest to dilute the oils more. My husband is allergic to pine and didn’t know if my son may be also which could cause him to have difficulty breathing. What other oils have worked for you for congestion that is pine free? Thanks!

  4. Susan P February 14, 2015 at 11:22 am #

    RC contains pine, but Raven doesn’t. Having an allergy to pine essential oil depends on whether it is to the sap or the needles and doesn’t necessarily mean one will have an allergy to an essential oil.

    Our family has used lavender, frankincense and lemon for sinus congestion as well as some targeted acupressure along the sinus points on the face and around the eyes. We have also applied lemon essential oil to the lymph glands and done gentle massage (downward in the front of neck) to help increase fluid flow out of the sinuses in the head. EO’s can work to open up the sinuses just by breathing them in, but if the drainage has no where to go, the effects will only be temporary. Good luck!

  5. valleygirl February 18, 2015 at 2:50 am #

    This is the first time I have seen about having asthma and applying oils to the bottoms of the feet instead of on the chest. My son is 5. I have used oils on his chest diluted since he was 3 with no problems. If he tolerates it fine, is that ok? Or should I switch at this point? He has undiagnosed asthma (I think it’s allergy related only) and any cold tends to settle in his chest.

  6. Susan P February 20, 2015 at 8:17 am #

    Some essential oils like cinnamon, clove and lemongrass are “hot” oils and can irritate respiratory passages. Perfumes, synthetic fragrances and household chemicals can also be irritants and should be avoided. Applying EO’s to the feet works effectively with Vitaflex points on the feet while avoiding the potential irritation to respiratory passages or for those sensitive to aromas. If you are diluting the oils appropriately and things are working well, this is how EO’s can be used gently to support healthy people & kids. You could also use the soles of the feet for application or just stay with what is already working!

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