Essential oils are extracted from plants. They are produced using a process of distillation. Steam is passed through a vat filled with the plant, herb or flower. The steam is condensed, as it passes through a coil, resulting in a combination of flavoured water and oil. Because oil and water repel one another, the oil rises to the surface and can then be seperated from the water.
Traditionally, essential oils have been used by aromatherapists as well as other complimentary practitioners, such as massage therapists. Lots of people use essential oils at home, as natural air-fresheners or as part of their health and wellbeing routines. Lavendar oil is a popular choice – its relaxing scent is known to help people relax and wind down before bedtime. Citrus oils like lemon or grapefruit essential oil are also widely used.
Essential oils are also used medicinally. They contain chemical compounds which have been shown to provide healing benefits. In this blog post we’re going to look at 5 essential oils which are known to help treat coughs and colds.
- Thyme Essential Oil
- Eucalyptus Essential Oil
- Rosemary Essential Oil
- Peppermint Essential Oil
- Cinnamon Essential Oil
1. Thyme Essential Oil
Thyme is commonly used in cooking. It’s a fragrant herb with small, dark green leaves. It grows well in the UK and is often found in gardens. There are several varieties of thyme, but they all contain the chemical compound thymol. Studies have shown that thyme oil can be used as an antibacterial treatment for respiratory conditions. It is thought to relieve tickly coughs.
Researchers have concluded that thyme oil should be used in high concentrations over a short period of time. One way to benefit from essential oils is to put a few drops on your pillow before bed. Altnernatively, adding a few drops to a bowl of hot water before inhaling the scented steam under a towel works well too.
2. Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Eucalyptus is native to Australia, famous for being the sole food of koalas. Research has shown that eucalyptus oil helps the body deal with bacteria. Eucalyptus oil is commonly found in products which aid congestion, such as chest rubs. Studies have confirmed that eucalyptus does relieve congestion when used in chest rubs applied before bed.
For inhilation, 12 drops of eucalyptus oil added to a mug of boiling water up to three times per day is recommended.
3. Rosemary Essential Oil
Another culinary herb, rosemary is often found growing in gardens. Many people don’t realise that as well as tasting great, rosemary also has medicinal properties. Studies show that rosemary can calm the muscles in your trachea, providing some relief from coughs and colds. As well as this, rosemary has been shown to be beneficial to those suffering with asthma.
Like other essential oils, rosemary essential oil can be inhaled by adding a few drops to a mug or bowl of hot water. This should have the effect of relieving your cough, relaxing the muscles in your throat.
4. Peppermint Essential Oil
Peppermint oil contains menthol which is commonly thought to aid congestion. There’s little evidence to support this claim, but studies have shown that inhaling menthol does make people feel better. It has a cooling effect, which seems to provide some relief from nasal congestion. You might have experience this effect whilst sucking on an extra-strong mint!
Inhaling peppermint infused steam is definitely worth a try if you’re suffering from a cough or cold. It may not offer a cure directly, but it could make your head feel clearer, which is always a good thing.
5. Cinnamon Essential Oil
Cinnamon has been used to treat bronchitis. Studies have shown that cinnamon essential oil can help stop respiratory tracht pathogens. Like thyme oil, cinnamon is best used in high concentrations over a short period of time. Cinnomon oil works against common bacteria, preventing it from reproducing. Next time you have a cough or cold, try diffusing cinnamon oil into the air or inhaling a few drops in a bowl of hot water.
There are many more essential oils which can help relieve the symptoms of coughs and colds. Geranium oil, bergamot oil and numeg oil have all been associated with treating respiratory infections.
At BeeVital we harness the power of nature for your health. Our Propolis & Honey Throat Spray contains eucalyptus oil and peppermint oil along with fennel and star anise which are also known to tackle bacteria. It’s a convenient way to benefit from the amazing healing properties of these plants, without having to take a bowl of hot water out and about with you!