Many people choose to utilize essential oils for asthma, as they can reduce respiratory inflammation and prevent a severe reaction to the triggers from asthma. By definition, asthma is the chronic inflammation of the airway, typically caused by certain triggers in the environment, or through physical activity. An asthma attack is basically an allergic reaction, in which the immune system overreacts to a trigger, sending a rush of blood and histamines to the respiratory tracts. This can cause a release of mucus in the airways and swelling of the respiratory tracts, making it difficult to breathe. When combined with the inflammation of the tissues, this can cause spasms in the respiratory system, causing wheezing and coughing.
Some of the most common triggers for asthma include cigarette smoke, animal dander, changes in weather, physical exertion, respiratory infections, sulfides in certain foods and beverages, perfumes, environmental pollutants and chemical irritants. With such a wide range of potential triggers, asthma is an unpredictable and dangerous condition. Some asthmatic attacks can be fatal if rapid treatment (via an inhaler or essential oil) is not administered. Some people develop asthma as they get older, while others are genetically predisposed and suffer from this condition from childhood. Due to the potential risks of asthma attacks, pharmaceutical treatments are highly recommended by doctors, but essential oils for asthma, particularly in mild cases, can be very effective.
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List of Best Essential Oils for Asthma
With its immune-boosting properties, as well as its expectorant and antibacterial abilities, thyme oil is ideal for asthma sufferers, as it can clear out the excess mucus in the respiratory tracts and eliminate infections that can exacerbate asthma symptoms.
How to Use – This essential oil can be added to a steam inhalation treatment, or mixed with other aromatic compounds or carrier oils and applied to the chest, where it can be inhaled throughout the night for clear breathing in the morning.
There are certain sedative and anti-inflammatory properties of lavender oil that make it ideal for treating asthma. It can reduce swelling in the respiratory tracts and soothe muscle contractions, preventing the bronchospasms that can cause wheezing.
How to Use – You can add lavender oil to a warm bath and inhale deeply from the aromatic fumes, or mix lavender oil with jojoba oil and apply it to the chest as a vapor rub. After 20-30 minutes, you can wipe your chest clean, as the smell can be quite potent.
One of the active ingredients in eucalyptus oil, eucalyptol, is a known expectorant that can also break up excess mucus in the respiratory tracts, making it easier to breathe, while also soothing inflammation in the throat and breathing passages.
How to Use – Add 4-5 drops of eucalyptus oil to a pot of steaming water, cover your head with a towel, and breathe deeply so the microparticles of the oil can do their essential work in your respiratory tracts.
Asthma symptoms are often compounded or exacerbated by respiratory infections and a weak immune system; oregano oil is packed with antibacterial and antiviral compounds that can boost your respiratory health and make your immune system less susceptible to overreactions in the form of asthmatic attacks.
How to Use – Do not use this oil in an inhaler or room diffuser, as it can cause breathing difficulties. However, when rubbed on the chest, neck or throat, it can absorb into the skin and provide relief.
Tea Tree Oil
When an irritant or asthma trigger enters the body, it stimulates an immune system response in the form of excess mucus production and inflamed airways. Tea tree oil can directly counter this response by the body and prevent a serious asthma episode.
How to Use – Due to the potency of tea tree oil, it should only be inhaled, rather than topically applied. Add 5-6 drops to a pot of steaming water, cover your head with a towel and breathe deeply for rapid, soothing relief.
This is one of the best essential oils for asthma, as it can not only reduce inflammation in the airways, but also prevent allergic reactions by the body. It will cut through mucus and relieve tightness in the chest, promoting normal, healthy breathing, even in the midst of an asthma attack.
How to Use – Many people choose to diffuse frankincense oil into the air for all-day relief from respiratory conditions, although applying a diluted version of this oil (with coconut oil) to your chest at night can help you breathe normally all night for uninterrupted sleep.
The anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic properties of this popular essential oil make it the perfect choice for asthma patients; it can prevent the respiratory tracts from seizing up when an allergen is detected, while also easing muscle tension in the throat so breathing can continue without interruption.
How to Use – Clove oil has a wonderful aroma, making it a popular choice in room diffusers, as well as steam inhalation treatments. Some people choose to mix it with a carrier oil (such as almond or olive oil) and use it as a chest rub. However, sensitivity to this oil is quite high, so never place the undiluted oil on the skin.
Armed with decongestant, anti-spasmodic, soothing and anti-inflammatory properties, peppermint oil is an excellent remedy for asthma sufferers, even during an asthma attack. It can open the breathing passages and prevent an asthma attack from becoming more severe.
How to Use – You can topically use peppermint oil on your chest to promote good respiratory health, or add a few drops of this oil in a steaming pot for an inhalation treatment. Adding 10 drops to a warm bath and inhaling deeply as you soak is also a good approach for asthma.
This legendary anti-inflammatory oil is able to soothe respiratory inflammation and support the immune system, making it less likely to overreact to potential triggers. It can also function as an expectorant to eliminate excess mucus from the throat and lungs, making asthma attacks less severe.
How to Use – You can add a few drops of chamomile oil to a cup of chamomile tea for a direct treatment of the respiratory tracts, although you can also inhale this oil during a steam inhalation treatment to help you keep your breathing clear all day.
A Word of Warning
The inhalation or application of essential oils for asthma can be extremely effective, but there are a number of risks associated with essential oil use. Allergic reactions can be common, along with skin inflammation and gastrointestinal distress (when consumed). Furthermore, some essential oils are slower acting than others, so in the midst of an asthma attack, they may not provide the instantaneous relief that is necessary. If you are an asthma sufferer, it is critical that you speak to your doctor about the severity of your condition and the potential risks of using essential oils for asthma. Severe cases of asthma can result in impaired or completely blocked respiratory function, so great care should be taken when treating this potentially fatal form of inflammation.