4 min read

Extracts or essential oils have been used for their medicinal properties since centuries. They have been used as a supplement and also for treating various medical conditions. The use of essential oils has grown in popularity in recent times. 

Essential oils have aromas and different compounds in them which can be beneficial for your respiratory tract and lungs. For treating respiratory problems, essential oils need to be inhaled. You can add these oils in a steamer and inhale the vapor. Inhaling the steam gently relaxes your respiratory tract and decongests any blocked sinuses or respiratory pathways. Some essential oils also provide anti-inflammatory properties that can be extremely beneficial for people suffering from bronchitis, asthma and sinusitis. There are specific plant extracts which are effective for treating respiratory problems although most essential oils have beneficial properties. Let us look at some plant extracts that are specifically good for treating respiratory problems:


1. Peppermint

Peppermint is commonly used in the form of a herb. It also consumed in the form of tea. Essential oils derived from peppermint can help reduce symptoms of bronchitis and asthma. It can be used in a diffuser and it can also be used topically on the skin. 

2. Lavender

Lavender is a common ingredient in home fresheners, perfumes and fragrant soaps. What most people do not know is that lavender possesses anti-inflammatory properties. Essential oil of lavender can reduce the inflammation that is caused by sinusitis, asthma and whopping cough. It is most commonly used in diffusers and vaporizers. We are all familiar with the hoarse sensation that we experience when we are suffering from cough or cold. Adding a few drops of lavender oil to a diffuser and inhaling the vapors can soothe your throat and respiratory tract.

3. Clove

Clove is a commonly used spice in the culinary world. The flower of the clove plant contains oils which can be extracted and used for its health benefits. Essential oils of clove can help reduce the common symptoms that come along with most respiratory diseases such as chest pain, wheezing and breathing difficulties. Clove oil can work on more than one type of respiratory problems as it doesn’t target the actual disease but rather manages the symptoms of the actual disease. 

4. Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus oil is used as an ingredient in industrial chemical processes and it is also used in cosmetics and soaps. Essential oil of eucalyptus is effective in managing the symptoms of sinusitis and bronchitis. They can also be effective in treating the respiratory congestion that is cause by common cold and pneumonia. However eucalyptus oil is toxic for young kids and children so it should not be used by minors.

5. Rosemary

The essential oil of rosemary is the most effective plant extract for dealing with respiratory issues. Rosemary oil contains aliphatic compounds which relax the smooth muscles of the trachea (windpipe) and alveoli of the lungs. This means that your breathing becomes more relaxed and your oxygen intake increases significantly. Therefore, rosemary oils are especially effective for reducing cough and wheezing.

Essential oil of rosemary is also a very power decongestant. It decreases the production of sputum and phlegm which is responsible for blocking your respiratory pathways. 


1. Aromatherapy

The best way to use an essential oil for respiratory problems is by inhaling the vapors of the extract. You can mix two to three drops of an essential oil with water and steam it in a diffuser. When you inhale the vapor that contains essential oils, the compounds are directly delivered to the tissues of the trachea and the alveoli (units of the lung). You should practice aromatherapy everyday so that the effects are prolonged and permanent. 

2. Diffusers

A diffuser or humidifier is a device that disperses oil or any other liquid by atomizing it in the form of an invisible mist. Essential oils can be used in these diffusers. The use of diffusers with essential oils is not confined to respiratory problems. Most essential oils contain chemical compounds that possess antibacterial and disinfecting properties. These chemicals prevent the development and proliferation of air borne pathogens and can keep the air cleaner. You are at a lower risk of contracting any chronic or acute respiratory problems if you breathe clean air for the most part. 

3. Epsom Salts Baths

Aside from aromatic use of essential oils, they can be also used in the form of Epsom salt baths. You can add some drops of essential oil along with Epsom salt to draw a therapeutic bath. You can only practice this if you have a bathtub or Jacuzzi. Your skin can directly absorb these essential oils from the pores of the skin. Epsom salt baths are good not just for respiratory problems, but for all kinds of health issues such as arthritis and skin problems. 


Always avoid the self-administered use of essential oils. Some people have a different reaction to essential oils due to pre-existing medical conditions or allergies. Apart from providing remedy for respiratory problems, essential oils can also trigger respiratory attacks so always make sure that you consult a doctor before you administer anything independently.

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