11 Essential Oils for Coughs (Application & Recipes)

Best Essential Oils for Coughs

Let’s take a look at some of the oils that show a great deal of promise in addressing a cough and how best to use them for this purpose.

As always, look for the purest and highest quality oils.

cinnamon oil

1. Cinnamon Bark Oil

Drinking a tea made with lemon, honey, and a drop of therapeutic cinnamon bark oil can ease a sore throat and help to break up phlegm.

This mixture can also help to raise immune function.

Cinnamon has natural antibacterial and immune boosting compounds and is warming for the lungs.

Cinnamon is considered a top essential oil for coughs.

2. Eucalyptus Oil

Eucalyptus oil has a distinct and robust aroma that loosens mucus when inhaled.

An excellent method of application is to pour boiling water into a large bowl that is approximately the diameter of your face.

Alternatively, you could fill a small sink. Place 2 or 3 drops of eucalyptus oil in hot water.

Cover your head with a towel and lean over the bowl, making sure the steam isn’t so hot that it will burn you.

While you cover your head, take a few deep breaths through your nostrils and mouth.

Repeat until there isn’t any steam remaining.

This process loosens the mucus in your lungs and nasal passages.

It would be best if you did this 2 or 3 times per day until you can expel the mucus from your lungs and can blow your nose freely without severe congestion.

You can also place jojoba oil into a small jar with a couple of drops of eucalyptus oil to use as a medicated chest rub.

Rub this salve on your chest before going to bed to help warm the area around your lungs, loosen phlegm, and clear your sinuses for better breathing throughout the night.

3. Frankincense Oil

When used as a healing balm, frankincense oil has been shown to relieve the inflammation that puts a constricting pressure on the chest causes labored breathing.

Place one drop in 2 ounces of coconut oil and rub on the chest 2 to 3 times per day until the tightness subsides.

Frankincense is anti-inflammatory and is great essential oil for coughs.

4. Lavender Oil

Lavender oil is one of the most versatile essential oils.

It has the power to encourage relaxation and sleep.

A few drops of lavender essential oil in a hot bath with Epsom salts will soothe aching muscles and relax congested lungs; this is very helpful before retiring for the night.

Place a drop or 2 of lavender essential oil on your pillow or rub a drop on the soles of each foot before going to bed.

You will feel calmer, cough less, and get the sleep you need when dealing with a cold or flu.

5. Lemon Oil

Therapeutic grade lemon oil can be used as a gargle to soothe a sore throat and to ease the post nasal drip that often precedes a cough.

1 or 2 drops of lemon essential oil in 8 ounces of warm water with a 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt makes an effective gargle.

Lemon essential oil can also be added to a hot bath to help with congestion and detoxification.

Lemon oil is high in antioxidants needed to combat damaging free radicals.

6. Oregano Oil

Oregano oil is known to have broad-spectrum antibiotic properties.

This oil is naturally high in vitamins C and A as well as in minerals that are essential for combating colds.

The herb is very warming.

This warm quality is soothing to the throat and lungs.

Taking one drop of therapeutic grade oil of oregano in water two times per day will help to reverse the symptoms of a cold.

Oregano oil can also be used to wipe away germs from communally touched surfaces.

7. Peppermint Oil

Peppermint oil is known to have antiviral and antibacterial properties.

It’s a go-to essential oil for coughs.

Pure, food grade peppermint oil can be taken internally by adding just one drop to a 12 to 16-ounce water bottle.

Sip on this throughout the day for energy and for clearing an infection.

Diffusing the oil in an essential oil approved water based diffuser will help to clear the atmosphere in a small area of airborne microbes.

Peppermint can also be inhaled through steam, similarly to eucalyptus oil, to help clear the nasal passages and to soothe a dry cough.

8. Rosemary Oil

Rosemary has been used to relieve the discomforts of bronchitis and asthma.

This oil works best by diffusing it to quiet a cough and congestion.

Many practitioners also use Rosemary oil as a broad-spectrum antibiotic against drug-resistant bacterial infections.

9. Thyme Oil

The antimicrobial and antiseptic qualities of thyme oil make it one of the best oils for sanitizing surfaces and cleaning linens.

You can add 5 to 10 drops of essential thyme oil into water in a 4-ounce spray bottle to use as a cleaning agent on doorknobs, yoga mats, countertops, bathroom fixtures, kitchen faucets, keyboards, and phones.

Spray and wipe over the surface, and this will help to kill the germs that can spread from a surface to a human.

Add a few drops of thyme oil to your laundry soap in the dispenser.

This addition will help to sanitize the contaminated bed linens and pajamas from the previous night of coughing, sniffling, and sneezing.

It will also discourage mold growth that can trigger allergy related coughs and congestion.

You can combine thyme with eucalyptus and clove oils for a stronger sanitizing effect.

10. Thieves Oil

Thieves Oil is a blend of essential oils.

It contains cinnamon bark, clove, eucalyptus, lemon, and rosemary.

Historians say that thieves used this oil to protect themselves from the plague while robbing the homes of their ill victims.

The blend has antibacterial and antiviral properties.

It is powerful when diffused.

It also works like thyme oil to sanitize and clean surfaces to prevent germs from spreading.

11. Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is an essential oil that can be utilized in several different ways including topically and aromatically.

When tea tree oil is diffused, it is great for purifying the air due to its many antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-fungal properties.

Tea tree oil is also an effective expectorant which makes it an excellent choice to use in a vapor rub to help with coughs and congestion.

Essential Oil Recipes for Coughs

Lavender, Lemon, & Peppermint Gargle Cough Mix

  • 1 ounce of room temperature water
  • 2 drops of lavender oil
  • 2 drops of peppermint oil
  • 2 drops of lemon oil

Combine all ingredients into a glass.

Sip a small amount and swish and gargle the mixture.

Do this a few times per day.


Essential oils are a terrific and natural way to deal with coughs due to colds, flu, allergies, and irritants.

For the most part, essential oils are very safe to use.

Look for tested, high-quality essential oils for aromatherapy and diffuser uses.

Only use pure therapeutic oils when ingesting or using them on your skin.

Purchase organic whenever possible. And always dilute your essential oils.

As with any condition you are treating, please seek the appropriate allopathic or alternative medical advice.

Most therapies work best when combined with a healing diet, adequate rest, and movement.

A cough is no exception.

Essential oils are a wonderful adjunct to your healing journey.

You can find plenty of well-researched information on how to use essential oils for coughs and other ailments.

Article Resources:

Althea Press. (2015). Essential Oils Natural Remedies: The Complete A-Z Reference of Essential Oils for Health and Healing. Berkeley , CA.

Johnson, J. (2018, March 13). Twelve essential oils to relieve a cough. Retrieved October 14, 2018, from Medical News Today: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321199.php