Cough, sore throat, congestion or runny nose are symptoms of cold. These symptoms can be bothersome. (1)

Don’t worry! It is easy to clear the respiratory system from the harmful microbes, dust or other irritants. (2)

But if it’s a persistent cough, you need medical attention. It can be a sign of common cold, allergies or other illness.

Headaches, sore throat, sneezing and nasal congestion are symptoms that you may experience. (3)

Try using essential oils before reaching over for sugary cough syrups.

Essential oils are very potent when it comes to curing coughs. The antibacterial components inherent in them fight off coughs and cold. No wonder, people have been using them as antidotes to all kinds of ailments for centuries.

20 Best Essential Oils for Cough Relief

1. Frankincense Essential Oil

Frankincense comes from the milky white sap of Boswellia trees. It is grown in African and Arabian regions. (5)

Frankincense resin is burned as incense for its relaxing and calming effects. This resin warm into Frankincense oil which has a sweeter and earthier aroma.

essential oils for cough reliefFrankincense oil comes with natural antiseptic, astringent, anti-inflammatory and expectorant properties. It cures coughs and respiratory illness. (6)

Frankincense oil unclogs phlegm in the respiratory tract and lungs. It can relieve bronchitis-related congestion. You can inhale this oil and mix it with your hot bath.

2. Oregano Essential Oil

Oregano essential oil comes from the dried wild oregano flowers and leaves. This therapeutic oil has a spicy aroma and golden color. Oregano oil has powerful anti-microbial effects of reducing a cough and respiratory ailments.

essential oils for cough relief

Massage and sublingual administration are popular methods to get the best out of this therapeutic oil for cough treatment. (7)

3. Eucalyptus Essential Oil

This essential oil comes from the dried leaves of eucalyptus. Apart from medical benefits, it has versatile usage in the industrial field.

Eucalyptus essential oil has potent anti-bacterial properties. It can fight off the pathogen bacteria of the respiratory tract. It provides immediate relief to cough.

essential oils for cough relief

You can dilute this oil in water. Consume it for alleviating coughs, asthma, and inflammations of the respiratory tract. Steam therapy and adding to a hot bath are other ways of benefiting from this magic herbal oil.

4. Tea Tree Essential Oil

This cheap herbal oil is well-known for curing fungal and bacterial infections. Distilled from the tea tree plant, this oil has a pale yellow color and mothball-like odor. (8)

The antiseptic & antibacterial components of tea tree oil can cure coughs, and congestion.

essential oils for cough relief

You can inhale its steam by adding a few drops of it in hot water or use it for your hot bath to stop a cough from developing.

5. Lemon Essential Oil

Lemon is the storehouse of vitamin C, and people hail it as a cure-all fruit. Lemon essential-oil originates from the evaporative oil glands of lemon peels.

The powerful anti-inflammatory components of lemon oil ease coughs and sore throat. This citrus-scented herbal oil is full of antioxidants. It can cure respiratory infections, pains, swollen glands, and flu.

essential oils for cough relief

If you are suffering from a sore throat then add a few drops of lemon oil to your next cup of tea. You can also massage and inhale the oil.

6. Lavender Essential Oil

Lavender oil is well known for a host of therapeutic properties. This popular herbal oil comes from the evergreen foliage. Lavender is grown in Northern Africa.

essential oils for cough relief

Lavender contains anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antidepressant, antiseptic and antimicrobial properties.

You can get a message with this oil, add it to your hot bath or use it as a hot compress. It will relieve you from coughs, nasal congestion, throat infection.

7. Lemongrass Essential Oil

Lemongrass is a common ingredient in soups and seafood. We get a pale yellow-colored oil from the tall spiky leaves of lemon grass plants. This lemony scented oil is lemongrass oil.

This health-promoting oil has antibacterial, fungicidal, antiseptic and antimicrobial components. These are effective elements to fight inflammation and respiratory disorders.

Inhalation and massaging of lemon oil helps to relieve colds and flu.

8. Peppermint Essential Oil

Peppermint oil comes from peppermint plants. It is well known for its cooling menthol fragrance. The organic compound-menthol can treat clogged up airways, body pains, and coughs.

essential oils for cough relief

If you inhale it through a vaporizer, it helps to clear up the phlegm in your respiratory tract. The rosmarinic acid found in this herbal oil can also curb asthma and tuberculosis. (9)

9. Cinnamon Leaf Essential Oil

Cinnamon is one of the most valuable spices in the world. Cinnamon comes from the evergreen Laurel plant family, a native of Sri Lanka.

The oil extracted from the leaves of this plant is Cinnamon leaf oil. This sweet flavored, musky-scented oil has excellent medicinal values. The main organic compound of cinnamon oil is phenol. It is rich with antiseptic and antimicrobial properties.

These are active components to fight off coughs, cold and flu. If you inhale it, you will get immediate relief from chest congestion and coughs.

10. Clove Bud Essential Oil

Clove is a fragrant spice used in Indian and Chinese cuisine. Clove is a natural anesthetic to relieve toothaches and fight bad breath. We get clove oil from the evergreen clove tree.

It is important oil in aromatherapy because of its all-around health benefits. It has versatile use in the pharmaceutical and skin care industry.

essential oils for cough relief

Clove bud oil has antiseptic, antifungal, antimicrobial and aphrodisiac properties. This spicy and warming herbal oil is effective to relieve the congested coughs in the chest.

11. Grapefruit Essential Oil

Grape is one of the citrus fruits abounding in nutrients and antioxidants. Grapefruit oil originates from the peels of grapes. It has extraordinary health benefits and practical uses.

Grapefruit oil can detoxify your body and improve the function of lymph glands. (10)

essential oils for cough relief

Limonene is the most important organic constituent of this herbal oil.

Limonene is full of antimicrobial properties. It fights inflammation and infection of the throat and coughs.

12. Sandalwood Essential Oil

Sandalwood is an essential part of Ayurveda (11). It is popular for its exotic lingering fragrance.

Sandalwood essential oil comes from the heartwood of the evergreen sandalwood tree.

essential oils for cough relief

This therapeutic herbal oil works for physical as well as spiritual wellness. This natural oil is a potent anti-inflammatory agent to cure a cold and flu.

13. Basil Essential Oil

Basil is one of the common herbs in our kitchen. People use this herb for all sorts of home remedies. Basil essential oil comes from the leaves of this foliage. (12)

essential oils for cough relief

This spicy and sweet-scented oil is enriched with antibiotic and anti-inflammatory properties. It can clear congestion in the respiratory tract and nasal passage. It also combats throat infection, fatigue, and body aches.

14. Juniper Berry Essential Oil

If you love your peg of gin, you must know about juniper. Juniper is a vital flavor in alcoholic drinks.

Juniper berry essential oil comes from the berries that grow in the evergreen shrub Juniper. It has both medical and spiritual benefits.

Juniper berry oil is colorless and has a fruity fragrance. It has anti-rheumatic, antiseptic and astringent properties to relieve pains, fatigue, and coughs. (13)

15. Thyme Essential Oil

Thyme oil comes from the evergreen herb-thyme belonging to the mint family. Its healing properties are anti-rheumatic, antibacterial and calming components.

There are over 300 varieties of thyme like herbs. Oil produced from each of them has different chemical properties and therapeutic benefits. Some may irritate the skin. (14)

essential oils for cough relief

Make sure to read the label before picking up your thyme oil. Oil from thyme linalool of France is the safest and potent agent for a cold.

You can add a few drops of thyme essential oil to the hot water for a steam therapy. It works magic to dissolve respiratory congestion and treat flu. Massage and inhalation can help relieve the old coughs from the chest.

16. Clary Sage Essential Oil

Clary sage essential oil comes from the sticky fragrant leaves of clary sage plant. This essential herbal oil improves memory and vision and treats strained eyes. (15)

essential oils for cough relief

Clary sage oil contains medicinal properties. It’s anti-spasmodic, fungicidal and anti-bacterial components can ward off coughs, colds, and flu. Clary sage oil is anti-depressant as well and can enhance mood.

You can massage or inhale it through steam therapy. It’ll give you relief from a sore throat and other respiratory ailments.

17. Ginger Essential Oil

Ginger is one of the critical elements of Ayurveda. Since ancient times people are using it for home remedies and as a culinary ingredient.

The spicy and warm Ginger essential oil comes from ginger roots. It keeps intact all the medical benefits of raw ginger.

essential oils for cough relief

This essential oil is rich in anti-inflammatory properties. If you massage this oil or inhale it, it’ll give instant relief from a runny nose and sore throat. It is an ideal decongestant for deep set coughs.

18. Rosemary Essential Oil

The sacred rosemary plant has a set of health benefits and culinary uses. The citrus fragrant rosemary essential oil comes from this celebrated lavender-like plant.

Rosemary oil has therapeutic properties to treat colds, sore throat, and flu. The scent of this oil provides relief from coughs and cures respiratory allergies.

essential oils for cough relief

Its antiseptic property is useful for infections in the respiratory tract. Its antispasmodic component wards off bronchial asthma. (16)

19. Cypress Essential Oil

People associate cypress tree with the immortal soul. It is because Cypress belongs to a 17 million-year-old tree family. Cypress oil comes from this evergreen dark- green foliage tree. (17)

essential oils for cough relief

Cypress oil a sore throat for its medicinal properties. This herbal oil stops fluid congestion in the lungs.

It’s a natural anti-inflammatory to relieve colds and flu. It also contains anti-toxic and antispasmodic properties. Thus, it is ideal for curing respiratory illness.

20. Pine Essential Oil

Pine essential oil comes from the steam distillation of the foliage of pine tree. It provides a wide range of health wellness.

The antibacterial & antiseptic properties of pine oil helps to relieve cold and flu.

essential oils for cough relief

The potent decongestant effect cures respiratory inflammation and infections. It’s a tonic for aches and pains as well.

The Best Ways to Use Essential Oils for Treating Cough

Below listed are some of the best ways to use essential oils as a natural remedy for a cough. You can follow any of them according to your convenience.

essential oils for cough relief


You need a diffuser for aromatherapy. Add a few drops of your chosen essential oil into a diffuser to ward off a cough and other cold-related symptoms.

A diffuser breaks down the oil into smaller molecules. These disperse in the air to create a safe atmosphere that is free of virus and bacteria. (18)

Topical Application

It is the practice of applying the essential oils on your skin, nails, teeth or mouth. Be careful about the high potency of some of the essential oils.

You can dilute them with any carrier oils like coconut, almond or avocado oil to prepare blend. You can use the blend on a congested chest or a sore throat.

Oral Application

You can consume some pure and safe essential oils. Otherwise, you can try a sub-lingual application.

It is taking a few drops of essential oil under your tongue and let it dissolve there for cough relief. You can add a few drops of essential oil to your cup of tea, water or meal for the same result.

Massage Oil

Massaging the chest and throat with blends of essential oils is an effective way to get rid of cold and flu.

Mix 4 drops of lemon essential oil, 4 drops of tea tree essential oil, 4 drops of lavender essential oil and 4 tsp. of carrier oil (coconut or almond) to create massage blend.

Hot Bath

Adding essential oils to your hot bath is another natural way to heal coughs and colds. Make a blend using 2 drops of thyme essential oil and 6 drops of tea tree oil for your hot bath.

Tips and Precautions

  • Dilute the oil with the help of healthy carrier oils or other usable elements. This is a mandatory step especially in the usage of any potent essential oil.
  • The second most important step is to make a patch test before the topical application. For this, apply a tiny amount of the oil to a small part of your skin to check for irritation.
  • If you are allergic to any of the mentioned essential oils, refrain from using it.
  • Children can use essential oils but in small doses.
  • Pregnant women should consult health care expert before using them. (19)
  • Be careful in case of using certain high potent essential oils. Don’t overdo as they may cause discomfort and irritation.

When To See A Doctor?

If your cold stays for too long and doesn’t tend to go away with the help of essential oils, consult a doctor.

Bottom Line

All the essential oils mentioned above are worth trying to get rid of a cough, sore throat and congestion.

Essential oils are nature’s gift to treat ailments. They can become our companions on a healing journey.

Hope this article came to your benefit. For any queries or confusions, ask us by leaving a comment in our comments section below.

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