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.
Subscribe and Save
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.
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.
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.
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.
Subscribe and Save
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.
The AroMini BT employs AromaTech unique nebulizing technology. This preserves the aromatic integrity of the oils, allowing for longer-lasting diffusion, evenly distributed scent that leaves no residue. Designed to suit spaces of all sizes, the Aromini BT allows unrivalled user control, with the ability to adjust fragrance intensity as desired.
Learn more about the AroMini BT diffuser and the nebulizing diffusion technology which preserves the most therapeutic properties of the oil.
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.
Considerations and caution