Can I Use Essential Oils If I Have Asthma or Bronchitis?

What essential oils are safe for allergies and bronchitis
One common question in people having respiratory problems like bronchitis, asthma, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is: how can I use essential oils safely if I deal with these conditions?


Asthma is the inflammation of bronchial passages and it disturbs the normal function of the airways reaching the lungs that allows you to breathe. Asthma and allergies often go hand-in-hand, especially in cases of allergic asthma.
There are some triggers which can provoke an asthma attack, including: allergic reactions, irritants such as smoke and air pollution, stress, fragrances, dust, mold and others. Essential oils can also trigger asthmatic symptoms, especially if they are used at a strong a concentration. Fragrance is also a potential asthma trigger, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).


Is diffusing essential oils safe for your lungs if you have respiratory conditions?


The external use of an essential oil probably won’t put you at risk for anything, unless you happen to have allergies or other respiratory conditions.
However, some essential oils can benefit people with respiratory condition.
While the evidence is mixed, if you have bronchitis, asthma, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), you should use essential oils with caution. Check with your doctor first, but many experts agree that you should choose a clean organic brand, follow the manufacturer’s instructions and your doctor’s advice.
When used appropriately, essential oils can be an effective part of a natural treatment plan for asthma. Asthma is known for getting worse when a person experience stress or anxiety.


How can you safely use essential oils for asthma?


If you are diagnosed with asthma or other respiratory conditions, use essential oils with caution, despite their potential breathing benefits. Check with your doctor or aromatherapist practitioner especially if you have been diagnosed with respiratory conditions.
Avoid using strong essential oils such as Eucalyptus, Peppermint, Thyme or Ginger undiluted or inhaled directly from the bottle. Instead, diffuse them in an ultrasonic diffuser according to the manufacturer’s instructions or apply them topically diluted in a carrier oil.
“The strong odors emitted by essential oils may contain volatile organic compounds, or VOCs. VOCs are chemical gases that worsen air quality and can irritate the lungs.”, according to Melanie Carver, vice president of community health services for the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.
Start with diluted blend with just a couple of drops and increase gradually. Use a 1% dilution when using essential oils topically.


What essential oils may help with bronchitis and asthma?


1. Eucalyptus Oil


Eucalyptus oil is commonly used for cold relief and is known for helping open up the airways, which can help improve the bronchial restriction. It has been shown to help clear the sinus congestion and inflammation in the lungs and airways.
Eucalyptus has an active component, citronella, which has analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects.
A scientific review suggests that a component of eucalyptus oil known as eucalyptol has the ability to reduce respiratory spasms and thin out mucus. Eucalyptol has shown therapeutic benefits in inflammatory airway conditions, including asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Research has also indicated that the inhalation of eucalyptus oil produces a cold sensation in the nose, which makes it a great natural decongestant.


Eucalyptus 100% Pure Therapeutic Grade Essential Oil
Edens Garden Eucalyptus 100% Pure Therapeutic Grade
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2. Peppermint Oil


Peppermint oil is another top essential oil for coughing, colds and other breathing conditions. Like Eucalyptus oil, Peppermint oil is often used to cleanse the lungs and open up the bronchial passages.
A study published in the European Journal of Medical Research suggests that peppermint oil has impressive anti-inflammatory effects that can benefit chronic inflammatory conditions like bronchial asthma.


Cliganic USDA Organic Peppermint Essential Oil, 100% Pure Natural
Cliganic USDA Organic Peppermint Essential Oil, 100% Pure Natural



3. Thyme Oil


Thyme oil has powerful antiseptic properties which can support the respiratory function. It is also known to be so good at killing off bacteria that live in the respiratory tract. Thyme oil has even been shown to fight antibiotic resistant bacteria.


Gya Labs Thyme Essential Oil (10ml) - 100%Gya Labs Thyme Essential Oil 100% Pure Therapeutic Grade
Gya Labs Thyme Essential Oil 100% Pure Therapeutic Grade
4. Ginger Oil


Is another potent essential oil for respiratory conditions such as colds, coughs, allergies and bronchitis. Research suggests that the active component of ginger oil  (gingerol) may provide an alternative for people with respiratory conditions like asthma, alone or in combination with other accepted forms of treatment.


NOW Essential Oils Ginger Oil 100% Pure
NOW Essential Oils Ginger Oil 100% Pure
5. Lavender Oil


Lavender is known for its relaxing and sedative properties, so using a calming essential oil like lavender can be helpful in people with brochitis, asthma and other respiratory conditions.
An animal study shows how the inhalation of lavender essential oil can inhibit allergic inflammation and decrease mucous production, making it an alternative therapy for bronchial asthma.
Calming and soothing, Lavender essential oil may be especially effective if stress triggers your asthma condition.
Once you’ve found an essential oil / essential oil blend that does not irritate your respiratory system and in particular trigger your asthma symptoms, it’s important to proceed with care and monitor the benefits as well as your reactions.
Edens Garden Lavender 100% Pure Therapeutic Grade
Edens Garden Lavender 100% Pure Therapeutic Grade
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How to use essential oils for bronchitis, asthma and other respiratory conditions


Aromatherapy diffusion – start with a small quantity, even less than the one recommended by the manufacturer and increase gradually, and at the same time monitor your reactions. Diffuse for only 10-15 minutes in the beginning and increase gradually.


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Topically on your skin – you can also apply an essential oil topically dilluted with a generous amount of carrier oil to prevent skin or nose irritations.


Inhaler – you can also take your essential oils with you on-the-go.


Vicks VapoInhaler, Portable Nasal Inhaler
Vicks VapoInhaler, Portable Nasal Inhaler



Considerations and caution


The bottom line is that if you have asthma, you should use essential oils with caution.
People respond differently to different essential oils, so the response can be personal. If you are being treated for asthma, bronchitis and other respiratory conditions, talk to your doctor first before trying essential oils for respiratory conditions.
Strong smells can trigger asthma attacks, so start with a low concentration and diffusion frequency. You only need a drop or two to experience their benefits.
It is important to make sure that the essential oils are 100 percent pure, therapeutic grade and certified organic. This will minimize your chances of allergies and asthma attacks, while maximizing the safety and potential therapeutic benefits.
And always remember to discontinue your essential oils if you experience any health issues and check with your doctor immediately!

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