Essential Oils for Bronchitis and How to Use Them

Disclaimer: Results are not guaranteed*** and may vary from person to person***.

Essential Oils for Bronchitis

About Bronchitis and Essential Oils for Bronchitis

Bronchitis is a condition in which your bronchial tubes become inflamed and mucus builds up in your lungs. You may have a hard time breathing while coughing excessively. There are many essential oils for bronchitis that can help you get rid of bronchitis symptoms, and make sure they don’t come back. This is because essential oils contain expectorant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties.

Bronchitis is often called a chest cold since symptoms are similar to a common cold, and include wheezing, sneezing, a runny nose, a sore throat, tiredness, muscle and back aches, headaches, a fever, and feeling cold easily.

Acute bronchitis often lasts up to 10 days; however, coughing may go on for several weeks. Chronic bronchitis will last several weeks, and often comes back. It is no wonder bronchitis is the fifth most common reason adults consult a doctor.

This article will focus on specific essential oils to use for bronchitis, and how to use essential oils for bronchitis. Some of these oils include eucalyptus oil, peppermint oil, tea tree oil, and frankincense oil.

In these next sections, you will learn what other essential oils help with bronchitis.

13 Best Essential Oils for Bronchitis

There are many essential oils that help alleviate mucus buildup, coughing, and other symptoms associated with respiratory tract infections like bronchitis and asthma.

What essential oils are good for bronchitis? Let’s take a look at 13 of the best essential oils for bronchitis, and research that shows how effective they can be.

1. Eucalyptus Essential Oil

A good place to start is with eucalyptus oil for bronchitis. It comes from the oil of the Eucalyptus globulus plant. It is an ideal oil for reducing congestion, coughing, and phlegm due its antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and expectorant properties.

Compounds in eucalyptus oil like cineole are able to reduce airway inflammation.

A study published in the journal Cough in 2013 found that cineole can significantly decrease coughing and improve breathing within a four-day period.

How do you use eucalyptus oil for bronchitis? For a steam bath, add 10 drops of eucalyptus oil to a bowl of boiling water. Then, place a towel over your head and lean over the bowl. Inhale for five to 10 minutes.

Also, combine a couple drops of eucalyptus oil with coconut oil, and apply to your chest.

2. Peppermint Oil

What about peppermint oil for bronchitis? Peppermint oil comes from the Mentha piperita plant. This oil has a cooling sensation with a calming effect on the body.

The antimicrobial and expectorant properties of peppermint oil allow it to clear the respiratory tract and relieve bronchitis symptoms. The menthol in peppermint oil is able to break down mucus buildup.

A 2010 study published in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that a spray with peppermint oil could immediately improve upper respiratory symptoms like coughing and a sore throat for a three-day period.

To ease your sore throat and unclog the sinuses, you can inhale peppermint oil straight from the bottle. A couple drops of peppermint oil can also be applied to your chest with a warm compress.

3. Lavender Oil

How does lavender oil for bronchitis work? Lavender oil (Lavandula angustifolia) is another effective essential oil with anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties that help reduce coughing, relieve headaches and congestion, and treat sore throats and infections.

Research shows that lavender oil can lower inflammation in the lungs and alleviate respiratory conditions such as bronchitis.

Lavender oil is also effective for soothing the joint and muscle pain that sometimes accompanies bronchitis and cold symptoms.

4. Tea Tree Oil

It is also a good idea to have tea tree oil for bronchitis on hand. Research published in the journal Clinical Microbiology Reviews in 2006 focused on the antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties of tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) oil.

The report suggests that inhaling tea tree oil can help with bronchitis symptoms while preventing excess mucus and calming the airways.

5. Sandalwood Oil

Sandalwood oil for bronchitis is another excellent option. Sandalwood (Santalum album) oil contains calming properties that help alleviate bronchitis symptoms, including inflamed airways, coughing, and sneezing.

A study published in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine in 2016 found that sandalwood oil helps clear the airways and boost the immune system.

The santalol in sandalwood essential oil has an effect on the nervous system, and helps with relaxation and reduces the severity of allergic reactions.

6. Thyme Oil

What about thyme for bronchitis? Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) oil is able to decrease the severity of respiratory infections and levels of inflammation in your airways while boosting your immune system in general.

The cineole in thyme is an expectorant that helps prevent the respiratory tract from clogging up and breaks up mucus. A study published in the journal Foods in 2016 reported that thyme essential oil is appropriate for bronchitis due to its ability to eliminate infections.

The major constituents of thyme oil include thymol, p-cymene, y-terpinene, linalool, and carvacrol.

7. Clove Oil

Another essential oil choice is clove oil for bronchitis. Clove (Syzygium aromaticum) oil contains anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antiviral, antioxidant, and immune-boosting properties that help you breathe better and allow you to fight respiratory infections like bronchitis.

A review published in the journal Phytotherapy Research in 2007 reported that clove oil contains compounds capable of treating bronchitis symptoms. Among these bronchitis-fighting compounds are eugenol, thymol, carvacrol, and cinnamaldehyde.

8. Common Sage Oil

What about sage essential oil for bronchitis? Sage is native to the Mediterranean, and has been used for centuries to treat coughs, throat inflammation, asthma, and bronchitis.

Like eucalyptus and thyme, common sage (Salvia officinalis) oil contains cineole. Overall, this essential oil is known for its antiseptic, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antibacterial properties. As a result, sage oil is able to ease bronchitis symptoms.

9. Frankincense Oil

Frankincense for bronchitis is also important, particularly as an essential oil. Frankincense (Boswellia sacra) oil contains anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that help reduce phlegm and soothe coughs.

The triterpenoids are the bioactive ingredients in frankincense oil responsible for its anti-inflammatory properties.

10. Oregano Oil

Another option is oregano oil for bronchitis. Oregano (Origanum vulgare) oil contains antiviral, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, expectorant, and antibacterial properties that help bronchitis symptoms by loosening phlegm and alleviating coughing.

The carvacrol in oregano oil is known to fight off infections such as bronchitis. Combine one to two drops of oregano oil with equal parts coconut oil, and take orally. Take for a maximum of two consecutive weeks.

11. Cinnamon Oil

You can also use cinnamon oil for bronchitis. Cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum) oil has been used for centuries to soothe inflammation, reduce mucus in the airways, and treat respiratory conditions, including the common cold, flu, asthma, and bronchitis.

Cinnamon oil contains antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antioxidant properties that make this essential oil effective for bronchitis treatment.

12. Lemongrass Oil

Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus) essential oil is another good bronchitis remedy. It is a useful remedy for bronchitis symptoms, including headaches, muscle aches, and fevers.

The antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antioxidant properties are also what make lemongrass essential oil excellent for bronchitis. Some of the active ingredients in lemongrass oil include citronellal, terpinolene, apigenin, and quercetin.

13. Aniseed Oil

Aniseed (Pimpinella anisum) oil contains antispasmodic, antibacterial, and expectorant properties. As a result, aniseed essential oil is able to alleviate coughing, the common cold, flu, asthma, and bronchitis symptoms.

Anise essential oil is able to loosen mucus or phlegm from the lungs and respiratory tract, and this can help give you relief from bronchitis.

Ways to Use Essential Oils for Bronchitis

In this section, we will examine how to use essential oils for bronchitis.

It is important to note that undiluted essential oils may irritate the skin. As a result, you will want to combine an essential oil with a carrier oil to avoid skin irritation.

The most common carrier oils include almond oil, jojoba oil, avocado oil, and coconut oil.

Use caution when applying the mixture to your face and neck since these areas can be sensitive. This is why it is a good idea to test a small area of your skin to determine whether you are allergic or sensitive before using an essential oil on a larger area of skin.

The following are ways you can use essential oils to help you treat your bronchitis symptoms:

  • Steam inhalation: Place several drops of your preferred essential oils in a large pot of water, and bring it to a boil. Let it cool slightly, and place the decoction in a bowl. Place a towel over your head and the bowl, and inhale the steam for a few minutes.
  • Bath soak: Combine 10 to 12 drops of essential oil with a carrier oil, and add this mixture to your bathwater. Soak in the bath for 30 minutes and inhale the steam. Add a cup of Epsom salt to enhance the effect that helps relieve your sore muscles and body aches.
  • Chest and back rub: A chest rub is an effective way to control coughing, phlegm, and pain at night. Combine six to eight drops of essential oil with a tablespoon of carrier oil, and rub it into your back and chest before bed. Sandalwood and lavender oils are great bronchitis essential oils with sedative effects that can also help you sleep. Another soothing rub contains peppermint oil, tea tree oil, eucalyptus oil, and an ounce of carrier oil.
  • Inhale from diffuser: It is also a good idea to inhale essential oils from a diffuser. Add five drops each of cinnamon oil, tea tree oil, lemongrass oil, and other oils of your choice to your diffuser. Inhale deeply to allow the healing power of your essential oils to alleviate your coughing and other bronchitis symptoms.
  • Tea light method: Place a half-ounce of essential oil in a small glass bowl, and sit it about three inches above a tea light—a small candle designed to warm essential oils. Light the tea light, and allow the oil to warm and evaporate into the air.

Essential Oil Blends

  • Diffuser blend: Combine one drop each of rosemary oil, lemon oil, and eucalyptus oil with two drops of peppermint oil and add to your diffuser.
  • Morning chest rub: Combine five drops each of black pepper oil, basil oil, and thyme oil with an ounce of a carrier oil such as coconut oil, avocado oil, or jojoba oil. Place your essential oil mixture in a small glass bottle that contains a roller-ball top. Rub the mixture on your throat and chest in the morning for cough relief and better breathing.
  • Nighttime chest rub: Combine five drops each of lavender oil, eucalyptus oil, and balsam fir oil with an ounce of carrier oil in a small glass bottle. Rub the mixture on your throat and chest before bedtime to calm your cough and help with sleep.
  • Homemade cough syrup: Combine a drop each of orange oil, lemon oil, frankincense oil, and peppermint oil with a teaspoon of honey. Swallow the mixture before bed, or when your cough is at its worst.
  • Bath salt mixture: Combine five drops of eucalyptus oil, eight drops of vanilla extract, a cup of Epsom salts, and a half-cup of baking soda in a medium-sized bowl until well blended. Store the mixture in an airtight container like a Mason jar. You will want to use a quarter-cup to half-cup of this mixture for relaxation, and to improve breathing during bronchitis.

Final Thoughts on Essential Oils for Bronchitis

Essential oils are a great option for bronchitis symptoms such as sore throats, coughing, headaches, sneezing, wheezing, and tiredness. This is due to the anti-inflammatory, expectorant, antibacterial, and antimicrobial properties of various essential oils.

In this article, we mentioned 13 essential oils for bronchitis, including eucalyptus oil, peppermint oil, lavender oil, tea tree oil, sandalwood oil, thyme oil, clove oil, sage oil, frankincense oil, oregano oil, cinnamon oil, lemongrass oil, and aniseed oil.

How do you use essential oils for bronchitis? You can use a steam inhalation, diffuser, bath soak, chest and back rub, cough syrup, and the tea light method. There are also a number of essential oil blends that can help with your bronchitis symptoms.

Also, be sure to consult your doctor if your bronchitis symptoms last more than three weeks, or if you can’t sleep due to your symptoms.

Also read:

Article Sources (+)

Sadlon, A., et al., “Immune-modifying and antimicrobial effects of Eucalyptus oil and simple inhalation devices,” Alternative Medicine Review, April 2010; 15(1): 33-47, PMID: 20359267.
Fischer, J., et al., “Efficacy of cineole in patients suffering from acute bronchitis: a placebo-controlled double-blind trial,” Cough, Nov. 2013; 9: 25, doi: 10.1186/1745-9974-9-25.
Worth, H., “Concomitant therapy with Cineole (Ecalyptole) reduces exacerbations in COPD: A placebo-controlled double-blind trial,” Respiratory Research, July 2009; 10: 69, doi: 10.1186/1465/1465-9921-10-69.
Ben-Arye, E., et al., “Treatment of Upper Respiratory Tract Infections in Primary Care: A Randomized Study Using Aromatic Herbs,” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Nov. 2010; 2011: 690346, doi: 10.1155/2011/690346.
Carson, C., et al., “Melaleuca alternifolia (Tea Tree) Oil: a Review of Antimicrobial and Other Medicinal Properties,” Clinical Microbiology Reviews, Jan. 2006; 19(1): 50-62, doi: 10.1128/CMR.19.1.50-62.2006.
Choi, S., et al., “Effect of Inhalation of Aromatherapy Oil on Patients with Perennial Allergic Rhinitis: A Randomized Controlled Trial,” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, March 2016; 2016: 7896081, doi: 10.1155/2016/7896081.
Satyal, P., et al., “Essential Oil Characterization of Thymus vulgaris from Various Geographical Locations,” Foods, Oct. 2016; 5(4): 70, doi: 10.3390/foods5040070.
Chaieb, K., et al., “The chemical composition and biological activity of clove essential oil, Eugenia caryophyllata (Syzigium aramaticum L. Myrtaceae): a short review,” Phytotherapy Research, June 2007; 21(6): 501-506, doi: 10.1002/ptr.2124.
“10 Essential Oils for Bronchitis Relief (Plus 6 Recipes and Application Tips),” Essential Oils Sanctuary, June 22, 2017;, last accessed July 27, 2018.
Lopresti, A.L., et al., “Salvia (Sage): A Review of its Potential Cognitive-Enhancing and Protective effects,” Drugs in R & D, March 2017; 17(1): 53-64, doi: 10.1007/s40268-016-0157-5.
Zhang, Y., et al., “Triterpenoid resinous metabolites from the genus Boswellia: pharmacological activities and potential species-identifying properties,” Chemistry Central Journal, Sept. 2013; 7: 153, doi: 10.1186/1752-153X-7-153.
Kawatra, P., et al., “Cinnamon: Mystic powers of a minute ingredient,” Pharmacognosy Research, June 2015; 7(Suppl 1): S1-S6, doi: 10.4103/0974-8490.157990.
Shah, G., et al., “Scientific basis for the therapeutic use of Cymbopogon citratus, stapf (Lemon grass),” Journal of Advanced Pharmaceutical Technology & Research, Jan. to March 2011; 2(1): 3-8, doi: 10.4103/2231-4040.79796.
Masood Ahmed Chaudhry, N., et al., “Bactericidal Activity of Black Pepper, Bay Leaf, Aniseed and Coriander Against Oral Isolates,” Department of Microbiology;, last accessed July 27, 2018