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Aromatherapy & Respiratory Ailments

Essential Oils to Reduce Symptoms of Respiratory Conditions

Essential oils are a natural and effective way to reduce many of the symptoms of respiratory illness caused by viruses or bacterial infections.

The common cold, the most common disease in the world, is an upper respiratory infection caused by the cold virus. Symptoms typically include aching muscles, fatigue, listlessness, chills and possibly a fever.

Colds Can Lead to Other Infections

After experiencing a cold, some people, particularly those with compromised immune systems, may be diagnosed with an additional disease such as pneumonia, laryngitis, bronchitis, sinusitis or pharangitis. These conditions are often caused by a virus and generally attack the lower respiratory system. Additionally, those with asthma can see an increase in symptoms (for more information on using essential oils in asthmatics, see Aromatherapy and Asthma).

  • Pneumonia: Pneumonia is a disease that affects one or both lungs and is carried by bacteria, virus or fungi. People are more susceptible to pneumonia after they have had a cold because their lungs are weakened from fighting the cold. Many people are unaware that they have pneumonia and may be diagnosed with “walking pneumonia;” others may experience a high fever, coughing, fatigue, chest pain and other symptoms.
  • Laryngitis: Laryngitis is the inflammation of the voice box or larynx. This inflammation causes hoarseness and sometimes loss of the voice.
  • Bronchitis: Bronchitis is often called a “chest cold” and occurs when the airways in the lungs are inflamed and there is an over-production of mucus, causing the body to cough and expel the mucus.
  • Sinusitis: Sinusitis occurs when inflammation in the sinuses causes pain around the jaws, ears, eyes, nose and cheek area, sometimes described as feeling like a huge headache. In addition, large quantities of “infected-looking” mucus is produced.
  • Pharyngitis: Pharyngitis, the inflammation of the throat or pharynx, can lead to swollen tonsils (tonsillitis) making it difficult to swallow.

Essential Oils and Respiratory Conditions

At the onset of any of the post-cold conditions, add one drop of Eucalyptus radiata essential oil to a bowl of hot water. Place a towel over the head and the bowl and breath deeply. This will ease symptoms right away and go on working with the deeper problems. Eucalyptus radiata essential oil is a powerful expectorant, decongestant and anti inflammatory oil and the moisture content of the steam is also beneficial. An interesting side effect from this treatment is that it also provides a wonderful deep cleanse facial.

Aromatherapy Recipes for Respiratory Conditions

There are many aromatherapy recipes for treating the symptoms of respiratory infections. Here are a few:

Using essential oils is an easy, natural and effective way to reducing many of the symptoms of respiratory illness caused by viruses or bacterial infections.


Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford. “Upper Respiratory Infection (URI or Common Cold)”. As viewed on website March 2, 2010.

New York Times: Health Guide. As viewed on website March 2, 2010.

Web Md: Lung Disease & Respiratory Health Center. As viewed on website March 2, 2010

*This is educational information and any opinions expressed here-in do not replace professional medical advice. If you are ill, see a suitably qualified medical practitioner.*

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