Essential oils have antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties that prevent respiratory diseases. These are volatile in nature and can easily reach the upper and lower respiratory tracts on inhalation. These have multiple compositions and thus have a complex mode of action. Essential oils provide very effective treatment in various respiratory tract infections. Essential oils have an anti-bacterial effect, and these oils have been used extensively in the food industry, healthcare, and the cosmetic industry.
1. Peppermint Essential Oil:
Peppermint oil is obtained by the process of steam distillation from the fresh aerial parts of the Mentha piperita species. The active chemical constituents of peppermint oil are menthol and menthone.
Menthol has analgesic properties and is helpful in headaches, muscle pain, and inflammation. Menthone has analgesic and antiseptic properties that prevent respiratory diseases. Menthone also has invigorating properties that provide the oil its energizing properties.
It is used to treat the symptoms of cough and cold. The peppermint oil has cooling and warming sensations due to which leaves the skin numb and calms redness and inflammation. It is also used as a cooling chest rub to get relief from cold and congestion.
Take three to four drops of peppermint oil in hot water and inhale the vapors to get relief from congestion.
Peppermint oil I totally safe when taken orally in the recommended dosage. An excessive dosage of peppermint oil can be toxic. Some people may suffer from side effects like allergic reactions and heartburn.
2. Eucalyptus Essential Oil:
Eucalyptus oil is obtained by the process of steam distillation from the fresh leaves of various species of Eucalyptus. It is pale yellow in color and has a pungent odor.
The active constituents of eucalyptus oil are responsible for its anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and bronchodilator properties that prevent respiratory diseases. It is considered an immune-boosting oil that is apt for use in aromatherapy. Eucalyptus essential oil has the potential to eliminate or reduce harmful infections and airborne bacteria on contact. People who are suffering from congestion due to the sinus can diffuse this oil and clear the blocked nasal pathways. Eucalyptus oil provides symptomatic relief from cough, cold, bronchitis, and other respiratory tract infections.
It is advised not to use this oil in pregnancy or lactation without seeking the advice of healthcare professionals.
3. Anise Essential Oil:
Anise oil is extracted by steam distillation of dried fruits of Pimpinella Anisum. It is a thin and clear oil that contains anethole as its active constituent. The other major constituents of anise oil are alpha-pinene, anisaldehyde, beta-pinene, camphene, linalool, cis, and trans-anethole, and safrol.
Anise oil has relaxant and antispasmodic properties, due to which it relaxes the contractions in the body and provides relief from coughs, cramps, convulsions, obstructed blood circulations, stomach aches, and chest congestions.
It has significant expectorant property due to which it loses the mucus formed in the respiratory tract and provides immediate relief from chest congestion, cough, breathing problems, asthma, inflammation in the respiratory tract, and prevent respiratory diseases. Due to its anti-bacterial property, it can also be added to an oral antimicrobial rinse with proper dilution. It is also paired with thyme oil, which makes one of the best-loved antimicrobial combinations.
Anise oil is present in the seeds, due to which the seeds are used for smoking to treat various respiratory disorders. Researchers have found that breathing could improve significantly in the case of inflamed or congested airways by inhalation of anise oil.
Indications: Use anise oil for a topical massage and use it by inhalation during respiratory illness.
4. Fennel Sweet Essential Oil:
Fennel Sweet Essential Oil is obtained by steam distillation from the ripe fruits of Foeniculum vulgare. This essential oil is a clear, pale-colored liquid with a characteristic odor. The active constituents of the oil are fenchone and trans‐anethole.
Fennel Sweet Essential Oil is used as an expectorant in the treatment of congestion, cough, and cold. It has rich anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties that prevent respiratory diseases. It is known to promote respiratory and digestive comfort and soothe muscle spasms. It is recommended for catarrhs of the upper respiratory tract, especially in children. It is used in cough syrups (antitussive and expectorant property), stomach and bowel remedies(pediatrics), lozenges, and juices.
Fennel oil also has antioxidant, liver protectant, hormone balancing, and holistic healing properties.
The presence of trans‐anethole in this oil has oestrogenic activity because of which fennel oil may affect hormone therapy, oral contraceptive pill, and hormone replacement therapy if taken in excess quantity. Some people may also experience certain allergic reactions if taken in excess.
Taking fennel oil along with cancer-treating drugs like tamoxifen might decrease the effectiveness of tamoxifen. It is recommended to use fennel oil in such conditions only after discussion with your healthcare professional.
5. Tea Tree oil:
Tea tree is obtained by steam distillation from the terminal branchlets of Melaleuca alternifolia. The active ingredients are monoterpenes, such as terpinen‐4‐ol, γ‐terpinene (10‐28%), and 1,8‐cineole.
Tea tree oil has rich anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and anti-bacterial properties that prevent respiratory diseases. It provides effective symptomatic relief from sinus congestion.
Tea tree oil is a natural alternative to synthetic medications. The expectorant property of this oil makes it effective in providing relief from congestion and respiratory tract infections. Many people use this oil as a natural, antimicrobial, non-toxic air freshener that helps in the removal of harmful bacteria and viruses from the environment.
Take two to three drops of oil in steaming hot water and inhale the aromatic vapors with a towel draped over the head.
It is recommended not to use tea tree oil in pregnancy without taking the advice of your healthcare professional.