Every year more than 34 million people suffer from asthma in America alone. (1)
Asthma is a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD. This medical condition gives you troubled breathing. An asthma attack happens due to a seasonal or food-related allergic reaction in your body. (2)
Your immune system may overreact to certain allergic triggers. This results in the rush of blood and histamines in your respiratory tract. The secretion of excess mucous swells up tightens and blocks the respiratory airways. (3)
This chronic inflammation of the respiratory tract and tissues gives you some of the painful asthma symptoms such as Wheezing, Coughing, chest pain, Breathlessness, faster breathing, rapid heartbeat, drowsiness, exhaustion, and dizziness. (4)
You may acquire asthma genetically or develop this condition as you grow older. Asthma is a fatal medical condition. You need medical help to keep this disease under control.
The multiplicity of asthma triggers makes asthma a very unpredictable medical condition. Using an inhaler is the first aid for relieving an asthma attack. But the sad part is that traditional asthma medications can only control the symptoms. In the long run, these drugs worsen the asthma condition. The over the counter treatments weaken your immune defense and make allergic and asthma attacks more frequent. Moreover, the medications affect the endocrine system of your body and have a long list of side effects such as skin disorders, weight gain, and mood changes. (5)
Apart from these negative impacts you also have to consider the huge medical cost of asthma treatment. According to American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, medical expenses for asthma went up to 56 billion dollars in the year 2007. (6)
That’s why; in the recent time’s people are turning to alternative treatments for asthma.
There are certain lifestyle changes and essential oil remedies to tackle asthma attacks and its symptoms at home.
The article reviews the efficacy and uses of some essential oils for asthma attacks.
Why Use Essential Oils for Asthma Wheezing and Cough Relief?
Using essential oils are holistic ways of treating asthma conditions.
Essential or volatile oils are the essence of various plants. They come from the leaves, fruits, flowers, barks, stems, and roots of the plants by the steam distillation process. Essential oils are inseparable ingredients in aromatherapy, cosmetics, and perfume and medicine industries. (7)
Essential oils are well known for their anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, analgesic, antidepressant properties. These health-promoting components can bring immediate relief to your asthma attack by clearing the mucous or phlegm-blocked respiratory tract.
They can encourage deep breathing and help you lower the inflammations and swellings of the lymph nodes. The aroma of these herbal oils can enhance your mood and transport you to a new level of relaxation.
9 Best Essential Oils for Asthma Attacks
1.Peppermint Essential Oil
Peppermint essential oil originates from the evergreen peppermint herbs. The medical use of this herb dates back to ancient Egyptian civilization.
Peppermint oil has extensive use in cosmetic and medical industries. Among a host of therapeutic components, it contains decongestant, anti-spasmodic, anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, and antifungal properties. (8)
These are potent agents to soothe your nervous system and unblock the respiratory airways.
Peppermint oil has the cooling effects because of menthol. If you topically apply this oil, it can boost the blood circulation and prevent the contractions of bronchial muscles.
As an effective decongestant peppermint oil can break up the accumulated phlegm in your nasal passages. Moreover, peppermint oil remedy is cheaper and more comfortable than the prescription drugs. (9)
2. Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender oil is well known for a host of therapeutic properties. This favorite herbal oil comes from the evergreen foliage- Lavender, grown in Northern Africa.
This sweet-scented herbal oil is rich in anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antidepressant, antiseptic, anxiolytic, anti-anxiety, sedative, and antimicrobial properties. (10)
From ancient time onwards this essential oil has been a potent remedy for various aches and pains, neurological and skin disorders.
Lavender oil can prevent bronchospasms by reducing the inflammations and swellings of the lymph nodes. Thus, the oil saves you from the painful wheezing.
According to a study, about 67% asthmatics suffer from weak adrenal capacity due to stress disorders and mood changes. Stress and anxiety can increase asthmatic attacks by lowering the immune function and raising the inflammations.
Lavender oil directly balances the serotonin level in your body. Thus, this herbal oil helps your limbic system and reduces the depression and anxiety to prevent asthma symptoms. (11)
3. Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Eucalyptus essential oil comes from the leaves of the eucalyptus tree. The two major chemical compounds in this aromatic herbal oil are alpha-terpineol and eucalyptol. These compounds are full of anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antiseptic, and analgesic properties. (12)
Eucalyptus oil is an ideal expectorant and promotes easy breathing. The active component eucalyptol helps to break up the mucus built up in the respiratory passageways. It can fight off the inflammations inside your respiratory airways and cure sinus pressures.
Thus, this herbal oil can prevent a mild asthma attack caused by respiratory disorders such as a cough, sore throats, cold, flu, etc. Apart from the analgesic and expectorant properties, this oil is also a great mood booster. A study has proved its beneficial effects in reducing stress and anxiety. (13)
4. Rosemary Essential Oil
Rosemary essential oil comes from the woodsy and citrus fragrant leaves of rosemary plants.
This amazing plant has a plethora of uses for promoting health and in Mediterranean cuisine. (14)
Rosemary essential oil is enriched with anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, antimicrobial, antidepressant, sedative, analgesic and expectorant properties.
These high-quality therapeutic components make rosemary oil an ideal remedy for headaches, migraines, whooping coughs, cold, sore throat, vaginal infection, respiratory allergies, etc.
Studies have proved the therapeutic potential of rosemary oil in relieving bronchial and allergic asthma. (15)
A recent study has proved the significant effects of rosemary oil in managing emotional disorders and stress as well. (16)
5. Chamomile Oil
Chamomile oil comes from the flowers of the perennial herb- chamomile.
This sweet and fruity scented oil has a wide array of medicinal uses. Along with a high level of anti-inflammatory properties, this oil also contains anti-spasmodic, antimicrobial, analgesic, carminative, antidepressant, tonic, antibiotic, and, antiseptic compounds.
Chamomile oil can relieve the muscle contractions and reduce the swellings of the respiratory glands. The herbal oil is ideal for clearing out the excess mucus from your lungs and nasal airways. Thus it helps you breathe smoothly. (17)
This highly relaxing oil can give you a good night’s sleep instantly by taking away all the stress and anxiety from your body and mind.
6. Oregano Essential Oil
Oregano essential oil is collected from the dried leaves of the oregano plants through steam distillation. It has a sharp camphoraceous aroma. This herbal oil is well known for its potent antioxidants, antispasmodic, antifungal, and antiseptic properties.
You’ll be surprised to know that the chemical compound of this oil is 71% phenols, which is antiseptic in nature.
If you have a weak immune defense you are likely to suffer from frequent asthmatic symptoms. Oregano oil contributes to preventing respiratory infections and improving your immune systems. (18)
7. Tea Tree Essential Oil
Tea tree oil comes from the melaleuca plant, a native to Australia. This herbal oil has versatile uses due to its more than 92 active chemical components. (19)
The expectorant compounds of tea tree oil help losing up the excess phlegm from the respiratory tract.
The mucous built up is largely responsible for an asthmatic cough and wheezing. Tea tree oil can counter the histamine trigger and prevent inflammations as well.
8. Frankincense Oil
Frankincense oil comes from the sacred Boswellia sacara tree, a native of Somalia. This essential oil has all the necessary components to enhance your immune and nervous system.
Thus, frankincense oil can keep inflammations at bay. The medicinal oil can treat swollen lymph nodes as well. (20)
The anti-anxiety abilities of this oil are remarkable. Inhalation of frankincense oil can lower heart rate and blood pressure. Thus it helps in promoting good emotions and stress-free mood.
9. Clove Essential Oil
Clove is an inseparable part of Indian cuisine. This aromatic spice is actually a flower bud from the evergreen clove tree. It is a native of Indonesia and Madagascar. Clove essential oil comes from the dried and crushed cloves.
This essential oil is popular in the health communities for its exceptional medicinal values. The oil has a wide range of therapeutically potent properties. The strong anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic compounds of clove oil make it an ideal agent for treating asthma. (21)
The oil helps to prevent muscle contractions in case of allergic reactions. Moreover, clove oil helps to clear out the excess mucous block in the respiratory tract. Thus clove essential oil works on asthma and its symptoms.
How to Use Essential Oils for Asthma Attacks?
When it comes to using the essential oils for treating asthma problem there are various methods to get the best out of them.
Let’s get to know some of the effective ways below:
Essential Oil Diffuser
Some of the best oils that you can use in this method are lavender, clove, and chamomile essential oils.
You can use an oil diffuser to spread your favorite essential oil throughout the air of your room.
For the process, dilute 3 drops of any of the essential oil with a carrier oil. Now pour this oil blend into the diffuser and experience the healing.
Essential Oil Massage
It is a great way to relieve the chest congestion from an excess mucus formation inside your respiratory tract.
You have to mix 3 drops of essential oil with any of the carrier oil such as jojoba, almond, coconut etc. and massage the blend gently on your chest for 15-20 minutes.
The process will bring immediate relief from the wheezing and other asthmatic symptoms. Peppermint, eucalyptus, frankincense, and lavender oils are the best candidates for this method.
Essential Oil Steam Therapy
A lavender oil steam therapy can break up the excess phlegm in the airways and reduce the inflammations.
You have to add 4 drops of lavender or tea tree essential oil in a steamy hot water bowl. Now gently stir the water. After that, cover your head with a towel and bend over the water bowl.
Inhale the steam with mouth and nose for 10- 15 minutes. The process will clear off the nasal passageways and help you breathe well.
Direct Inhalation Method
You can directly breathe in undiluted essential oil for preventing asthma attacks.
Lavender, peppermint, rosemary, etc. oils are excellent remedies for this method.
You can pour a few drops of your chosen oil onto a damp or warm handkerchief or a tissue paper for the inhalation process.
What Can Trigger an Asthma Attack? (22)
The allergic triggers may vary from person to person. Some of the common triggers include:
- Animal dander
- Changes in weather and temperature
- Strong perfume and cleaning products
- Cigarette smoke
- Air pollution
- Physical exertion
- Hormonal changes in women
- Reactions to certain drugs
- Mould spores
- Tree and grass pollen
- Infections, colds, and flu
Tips and Lifestyle Change for Controlling Asthma
The pollutants indoor and outdoor are responsible for triggering asthma attacks. You may not do much about the environmental pollution outside. But you can certainly control the pollutants and irritants at your home. Here are some of the tips to help you lessen the frequency of asthma attacks in your life. (23)
- Make your home a no smoking area.
- It’s advisable to discard all the chemical-based cleaning products at your home. There are simple and natural ingredients like baking soda and certainly essential to help you clean your home.
- Do not use aerosols at home if you are an asthmatic. It’s also advisable to avoid petroleum-based beauty products.
- Using a water filter can save you from chlorine in tap water.
- Vacuum clean your carpets and furniture on a regular basis to avoid dust mites.
- Use a dehumidifier in damp areas, and fix water leaks to reduce mold.
- Use bed sheets and pillowcases that are made of non-allergic materials.
- Keep your furry pets out of the room. It’s better to brush your pets regularly to remove and manage the fur.
- Cockroaches are allergic triggers. Keep good hygiene in and around your home so that there’s no epidemic of cockroaches.
When to Seek Medical Help
You should visit a doctor and seek medical help if the following conditions are affecting you in addition to asthma wheezing:
- This is your first attack of asthma wheezing.
- Shortness of breath, bluish tint on your skin, feeling confused.
- You cannot explain why you are wheezing in the first place.
- You have started wheezing as a severe allergic response to anything like a bee sting or any certain medication.
Your doctor can diagnose and prescribe you proper treatment options.
Some of the traditional medications for a moderate asthma are fluticasone bid, theophylline, or tiotropium. However, these medications should only be used under the prescription of a doctor.
The above discussed essential oils are the best deals for treating asthma attacks naturally at home.
However, you should not expect the good results overnight. Birgitta Lauren, an aromatherapist based in Los Angeles says,
“Reduction in asthmatic symptoms can take from 10 minutes to weeks.”
The remedies may not be effective during the attack or when you feel the asthmatic symptoms. You should go for an essential oil treatment only between the asthma attacks.
It’s advisable that you try out different essential oils and find out the most suitable one for your asthma treatments. Moreover, follow all the preventive measures and tips curb your asthmatic symptoms.