16 Essential Oils for Sore Throat and How to Use Them

We all suffer from this now and often.

In fact, sore throat is a common problem that causes pain and discomfort.

A sore throat may seem to be alarming. Yet, it is good to know that it’s a minor ailment that usually goes away on its own. This means that you do not, usually, need medical treatment to get rid of sore throats [1].

Most of the time, it’s a sign of a common cold or some other viral infection [1].

However, there are also cases when it is caused by a bacterial infection, such as in strep throat triggered by Streptococcus pyogenes [1].

Even so, it is not bacteria that cause a sore throat to occur, even viruses are the reason for sore throats. And, this may not be that essential for you to know but it is really important that you get immediate relief from this illness.

Here are some essential oils for sore throat relief at home. You can try these natural treatments and get rid of a strep throat fast.

By reading the following article, you will find:

  • 16 essential oils for sore throat remedy
  • How to use essential oils for sore throat

16 Essential Oils for Sore Throat Remedy


1. Peppermint Oil

Peppermint along with much other herbal medicine is a favorite item across ages. In fact, it is one of the oldest medicinal plants on earth. Ancient civilizations like the Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians used peppermint to cure many illnesses [2].

Over the years, scientists have explored its oil extract and found it to be useful in treating common ailments including cold and its symptoms [2].

In India, it remains a popular home remedy for a sore throat and throat irritation [3].

A 2011 study confirms that it has a broad spectrum of antibacterial effects which includes activity against pathogens that cause strep throat infection [3].

Findings from this study suggest that peppermint’s antimicrobial agents make it a viable treatment for a sore throat and other similar conditions such as mouth and throat irritation and typhoid disease [3].

Peppermint oil can be topically applied to the throat area or inhaled as steam.

When you apply it on the skin, it will leave a cooling sensation that can soothe an irritated throat.

Just make sure that you dilute it first in a carrier oil as it can cause skin irritation when used in pure form.

What You’ll Need:

  • 5 drops of peppermint oil
  • 1 bowl of hot water
  • 3 drops of peppermint oil
  • 1 teaspoon of almond oil

Recommended Directions:

  • Mix five drops of peppermint oil in hot water.
  • Inhale the steam.
  • Do this remedy twice a day for one week.
  • Combine three drops of peppermint oil and almond oil.
  • Apply a few drops of the oil mixture on the throat area.
  • Leave it on for a few minutes.
  • Wipe it off with a clean towel.
  • Repeat this technique several times a day for one week.

2. Eucalyptus Oil

A sore throat can also be caused by tonsilitis, a condition characterized by swelling and infection of the tonsils [4].

With its proven analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties, eucalyptus can ease the pain and tone down swelling caused by tonsillitis [5].

It doesn’t stop there, it also works to kill the source of the problem.

Multiple studies hypothesized the strong inhibitory effects of eucalyptus.

It is because of this, the eucalyptus can inhibit viruses and bacterias that infects the respiratory tract, including the throat [6, 7].

Of the 120 viral and bacterial isolates that were included in the study, eucalyptus was particularly powerful against Parainfluenzae, H. influenzae, S. maltophilia and S. pneumoniae [6].

In fact, it even works on drug-resistant bacteria, a 2010 study explains [8].

Iranian researchers recommend further investigation of this matter to evaluate the potential of eucalyptus as a treatment for many respiratory ailments [7].

What You’ll Need:

  • 6 drops of eucalyptus oil
  • 1 bowl of hot water

Recommended Directions:

  • Pour eucalyptus oil in hot water.
  • Take in the steam.
  • Repeat two to three times a day for one week.

3. Clove Oil

Clove can be found in many parts of the world including Indonesia, Zanzibar, Pemba, and the Spice Islands [9].

It is primarily used for adding flavor to dishes but eventually, it has also become well-known as an antimicrobial [9].

So it’s no surprise that it’s now commonly used as a remedy for various bacteria-related illnesses like a sore throat.

Research published in the Journal of Scientific Research documented clove oil’s ability to suppress the growth of Streptococcus pyogenes, among other strains of bacteria [9].

By inhibiting the activities of this bacterial strain, it can prevent the irritation from worsening and turning into a more serious infection.

Because it’s also a remedy commonly used for painful conditions, clove can also provide relief for the pain and discomfort caused by the swelling of the throat.

What You’ll Need:

  • 5 drops of clove oil
  • 1 teaspoon of olive oil

Recommended Directions:

  • Dilute clove oil with olive oil.
  • Gargle mixture for one to two minutes.
  • Spit it out.
  • Rinse mouth with water.
  • Do this remedy twice a day for one week.

4. Lemon Oil

Vitamin C has long been established as an efficient way to prevent and treat the common cold and its symptoms [10].

This powerful nutrient does not only appear to control viral respiratory infections, it can also help boost the immune system and make the defense against harmful pathogens stronger.

It’s no wonder lemon juice, which is packed with vitamin C, is often used for this illness.

When it comes to essential oils, oil extracted from this citrus fruit can also be a boon for those suffering from a sore throat due to colds or other causes. In fact, lemon oil is one of the top essential oils for sore throat relief.

Lemon oil has been proven to have analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties that can be beneficial for people with throat pain and irritation [11, 12].

Unlike other essential oils that cannot be taken orally, lemon oil is safe to consume.

However, take note that you cannot drink it in undiluted form as it is too strong.

It’s very important to dilute it first in water, tea or fruit juice before drinking.

What You’ll Need:

  • 5 drops of lemon oil
  • 1 glass of warm water

Recommended Directions:

  • Stir lemon oil in water.
  • Drink concoction once a day for three days.

5. Oregano Oil

Oregano oil has been well established in scientific research as an antioxidant and antimicrobial [13].

Even in low concentrations, oregano can sufficiently inhibit the growth of various bacterial strains, including those that can cause throat infection [14].

Susceptible to its bactericidal actions are bacterial strains such as Klebsiella pneumonia, Streptococcus pyogenes, and Staphylococcus aureus, among others [14].

It can also inhibit the activities of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) [14].

Carvacrol is one of oregano oil’s components identified to support its antimicrobial properties [15].

This oil can, therefore, help alleviate the problem of a sore throat by killing the source of infection.

If your throat irritation keeps on coming back even after you’ve used antibiotics, you can try using oregano oil which works on drug-resistant microbes.

What You’ll Need:

  • 3 drops of oregano oil
  • 1 teaspoon of olive oil

Recommended Directions:

  • Combine the two ingredients.
  • Gargle the mixture for one minute.
  • Spit it out and gargle warm water.
  • Repeat remedy twice a day for four to five days.

6. Thyme Oil

A staple in many kitchens, thyme is often used to add a unique flavor and minty aroma to dishes.

Did you know that it’s also a potent remedy for a sore throat?

In 2011, researchers from Poland discovered that thyme inhibited 120 bacterial strains that cause infection in the oral cavity and respiratory tract [16].

In fact, thyme is noted for having the strongest antibacterial activity against all strains, including those that are no longer susceptible to antibiotics [16].

Similar results were obtained from an earlier study published in the Phytotherapy Research Journal [17].

Researchers from Italy discovered that this oil has toxic effects on major respiratory tract pathogens such as Streptococcus pyogenes, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Klebsiella pneumonia, and Haemophilus influenzae [17].

It appeared that thyme has the ability to suppress the growth and spread of these bacterial strains in the respiratory tract [17].

Like lemon oil, thyme oil can also be ingested orally. But you also have to dilute it first before taking it in.

What You’ll Need:

  • 5 drops of thyme oil
  • 1 glass of warm water

Recommended Directions:

  • Add thyme oil to water.
  • Drink the solution.
  • Do this once a day for three to five days.

7. Juniper Oil

Traditional healers from Turkey relied on juniper for treating diseases related to infection and inflammation such as colds, cough, bronchitis, and hemorrhoids [18].

This herb is also widely used in Europe, North America and Asia as a gastroprotective, diuretic and antiseptic agent [19]

Clinical data from a 2003 study shows that it works on various strains of bacteria [20].

To complete this experiment, researchers from Poland isolated microorganisms from the patients confined in the Regional Hospital of Gdańsk [20].

Some of these pathogens were resistant to antibiotics and medications commonly prescribed by doctors [20].

It was noted that the antimicrobial actions of juniper may be due to the high concentrations of alpha-pinene, p-cymene and beta-pinene [20].

All these are reason enough to use juniper oil for treating sore throat and infection.

What You’ll Need:

  • 5 drops of juniper oil
  • 1 teaspoon of olive oil

Recommended Directions:

  • Mix juniper and olive oils.
  • Gargle oil mixture for one to two minutes.
  • Spit it out.
  • Gargle warm water.
  • Repeat once a day for one week.

8. Lavender Oil

Many people use lavender to relax and calm their senses.

Did you know lavender has been utilized since the First World War for its antibacterial properties [21]?

Not only has lavender been proven as a strong antibacterial for pathogens affecting the respiratory tract, it’s also highly effective as an anti-inflammatory and analgesic [22, 23].

This means that you can use this oil to alleviate the unpleasant symptoms caused by throat irritation.

Also, whether inhaled or applied topically, lavender has the ability to induce relaxation and calmness.

Since even minor conditions like a sore throat can cause anxiety and stress, you can take advantage of lavender’s relaxation effects to make yourself feel better.

What You’ll Need:

  • 10 drops of lavender oil
  • 1 bowl of hot water

Recommended Directions:

  • Pour oil into the hot water.
  • Inhale the steam until the water is no longer hot.
  • Repeat daily for one to two weeks.

9. Sage Oil

A group of Jordanian scientists probed the analgesic effects of sage essential oil [24].

Results reveal that sage is an effective way to ease pain and bring comfort [24].

In a 2012 experiment, sage has been proven to be a strong anti-inflammatory and antinociceptive [25].

According to the findings, the ursolic acid, carnosol, and oleanolic acid in sage contributed to its therapeutic activities [25].

These properties make sage essential oil a suitable remedy for a sore throat and similar respiratory infections.

What You’ll Need:

  • 3 drops of sage oil
  • 1 teaspoon of sweet almond oil

Recommended Directions:

  • Dilute sage oil with sweet almond oil.
  • Gargle the mixture for one minute.
  • Do not swallow the mixture.
  • Do this treatment once a day for one week.

10. Tea Tree Oil

With more than 100 bioactive components, tea tree oil has strong antimicrobial activities against a broad spectrum of viruses and bacteria [26].

It doesn’t come as a surprise that it’s included in the list of remedies for a sore throat, a condition caused by these harmful pathogens.

Tea tree oil has been found to be a powerful bactericidal agent for Streptococcus pyogenes [26].

Apart from this, it’s also an anti-inflammatory that can help in toning down swelling in the throat [26].

When using tea tree oil, you get a two-fold action: destroying the cause of infection and alleviating symptoms such as pain and inflammation.

What You’ll Need:

  • 5 drops of tea tree oil
  • 1 teaspoon of olive oil

Recommended Directions:

  • Mix the two oils in a small cup.
  • Swish oil mixture inside your mouth for one minute.
  • Spit it out.
  • Gargle warm water.
  • Follow this remedy once a day for three days.

11. Hyssop Oil

Highly valued for its medicinal properties, hyssop is widely cultivated in Central Europe, Southern Europe, North Africa and Western Asia [27].

Its oil extract is a popular tool in folk medicine, used to relieve many types of infection including colds, cough, bronchitis, asthma and sore throat [27].

Its antiviral and antibacterial properties can be attributed to the presence of active compounds such as caffeic acid, tannins, pinocamphone, isopinocamphone and beta-pinene [27].

Scientists from Turkey noted that hyssop has the ability to control at least eight strains of infection-causing bacteria and 10 strains of fungi and yeasts [28].

It’s one of the essential oils listed to have the capability to inhibit plaque formation of pathogens that bring disease [29].

What You’ll Need:

  • 3 drops of hyssop oil
  • 1 teaspoon of olive oil

Recommended Directions:

  • Dilute hyssop oil with olive oil.
  • Transfer the oil blend in a small cup.
  • Gargle the mixture for one to two minutes.
  • Spit it out.
  • Rinse mouth with warm water.
  • Use this technique once or twice a day for three days.

12. Cinnamon Oil

As stated in a study conducted in France, Streptococcus pyogenes is a major cause of tonsilitis, a condition characterized by throat irritation and inflammation [30].

To see how this bacterial strain responds to essential oils, scientists exposed Streptococcus pyogenes to 18 essential oils using a disc diffusion method [30].

Of all the essential oils tested, cinnamon was among with the strongest inhibitory effects against this bacterial strain [30].

Another study probed the efficacy of various essential oils reported that cinnamon showed the highest bactericidal actions particularly on bacterial strains that have grown resistant to antibiotics [31].

What You’ll Need:

  • 3 drops of cinnamon oil
  • 1 teaspoon of almond oil

Recommended Directions:

  • Put the two oils in a small cup.
  • Mix well.
  • Rinse mouth with this mixture.
  • Do this for a minute or two.
  • Repeat remedy three times a day for two to three days.

13. Frankincense Oil

Frankincense essential oil comes from the steam distillation of the milky sap or resin of the sacred Boswellia sacara tree. This tree grows in plenty in Somalia. [32]

From ancient time onwards frankincense resin and oil is an inseparable part of religious ceremonies.

In many cultures, people believe that the heavenly aroma of frankincense is pleasing to the gods.

In the modern times, the health communities have had a renewed interest in the medicinal values of frankincense oil.

In fact, the extraordinary chemical compounds of this herbal oil have a lot of therapeutic benefits to offer.

Frankincense oil balances the sebum levels in your body and tones your skin. Traditionally frankincense oil is popular for all sorts of skin diseases. [32]

Apart from healing your skin frankincense oil can manage cold, cough, sore throat, flu, boost your immune and nervous system and improve your mood and heart health.  [33]

The herbal oil is rich in antimicrobial, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, astringent, and anti-depressant properties.

These key components in the oil work actively on relieving sore throat, cough, nasal congestion, laryngitis, bronchitis, etc. [32]

The aromatic oil can clear up the phlegm in the respiratory tract and give you ease from inflammations, blockage, and pain.

What You’ll Need:

  • 4-5 drops of frankincense oil
  • 1 bowl of hot water

Recommended Directions:

  1. Add the oil to the warm steamy water.
  2. Cover your head with a towel and inhale the steam long and deep.
  3. Repeat the process twice daily to relieve sore throat and clear the airways.
  4. Alternatively, Add 3 drops of eucalyptus oil to a tablespoon of carrier oil such as coconut, almond, or olive oil.
  5. Massage the oil solution on your chest, throat, and above the lymph nodes.

14. Rosemary Essential Oil

Woodsy and citrusy fragrant rosemary essential oil comes from the leaves of rosemary plants.

Rosemary plant has many important uses in the Mediterranean region. [34]

Rosemary essential oil is  fantastic choice when it comes to healing sore throat at home.

Rosemary, essential oil is rich in anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antispasmodic, sedative, and expectorant properties. [34]

These beneficial components make rosemary oil a potent agent to fight respiratory illnesses such as sore throat, nasal congestion, bronchitis, asthma, cough, etc.

The oil has the ability to boost your immune system and ward off the harmful pathogens responsible for sore throat.

The aromatic oil can also manage skin problems such as acne, acne scars, dermatitis, eczema, cuts, bruises, and so on.  [35]

 What You’ll Need:

  • 8-10 drops of rosemary oil
  • A diffuser or
  • 1 bowl of hot water

 Recommended Directions:

  1. You can add the oil to a diffuser and disperse the protective vapor in the room.
  2. The process will aid your immune system and help you relieve sore throat.
  3. Alternatively, add the oil the steamy bowl of water.
  4. Inhale deeply to ease your throat and nasal passages.
  5. Repeat the process twice daily for a speedy recovery from sore throat.

15. Ginger Oil

Ginger or scientifically Zingiber officinale is one of the inseparable parts of Indian cuisines. [36]

Ginger shares a common plant family with turmeric and cardamom. Hence, ginger has immense therapeutic values like all other Indian spices.

In fact, ginger has important place in 4700 years old Ayurvedic and Unani medical practices.  [36]

Ginger oil comes from ginger roots or rhizomes. Ginger oil has a strong aroma and yellow color.

There are over 115 chemical components present in ginger oil. Among these the highest level is that of gingerols. [37]

Gingerol is the most important antioxidant and anti-inflammatory property in ginger oil.

It can boost your immune defense, kill the harmful microbes, cleanse your lymphatic nodes, and respiratory tract. [37]

Thus, ginger oil becomes your perfect solution for sore throat problem.

What You’ll Need:

  • 2-3 drops of ginger oil
  • Cotton ball

Recommended Directions:

  1. Soak a cotton ball with few drops of ginger oil.
  2. Now place the cotton ball near your nasal passages and inhale deeply.
  3. The process will clear up the airways and relieve sore throat.
  4. Alternatively add 3 drops of ginger oil to a carrier oil and massage it on your throat before you go to sleep.
  5. Continue the treatment until you beat sore throat.

16. Garlic Oil

You can never miss the strong smell and flavor of garlic, can you?

Garlic is a must ingredient for countless dishes around the world. But garlic is not just a popular spice.

Each clove of garlic is a store house of many medicinal components. [38]

The number of medical researches on the therapeutic values of garlic is more than 5100 and counting.

All of the researches support that garlic is a super food that can cure even the toughest of human illnesses such as cancer, and heart diseases. [38]

Garlic oil has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compound namely accilin.

This key component in garlic can help you get rid of sore throat. Garlic oil can bring ease and comfort to the pain and irritation in the throat. [39]

The potent antimicrobial components in the oil can kill the bacteria that may be responsible for strep throat.

Moreover, garlic oil can soothe cold, flu, cough, and headache that come with sore throat. [39]

What you’ll Need:

  • 4-5 drops of garlic oil
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut or almond oil

Recommended Directions:

  1. Mix garlic oil with your chosen carrier oil.
  2. Now apply the oil solution on your chest and throat and massage well.
  3. Repeat this treatment every night before you sleep.
  4. Continue the process for a week for sound sleep and to cure sore throat.

Some Q&A About Sore Throat


Q. Is there a way to stop sore throat spreading in my home?
A. To be honest, there is no way to prevent a sore throat. However, if you do not want it to spread to others members in your home then you can try the following ways:

  • Keeping hands clean and regularly washing it.
  • Maintaining a distance with the person who has a sore throat.
  • Not sharing food or utensils while they are used by someone.
  • Always use an antiseptic cleaner to clean the dishes.
  • Quitting smoking or not smoking at all.
  • Always wearing a mask when going out so that polluted air is not inhaled.

Q. Can my sore throat worsen?
A. Yes, it can worsen. When sore throat condition gets worse it becomes a strep.

Q. If I get a strep from a sore throat, then what should I do?
A. Usually, strep throat is a more complex form of a sore throat. It happens when the bacterial infection becomes worse.You can find our list of home remedy for strep throat to relieve it. However, if you find that your throat condition is not improving at all then, consult a physician as soon as possible!

Bottom Line


Although a sore throat can go away on its own after a few days or weeks, you don’t have to suffer that long.

You can resolve this issue right away with the help of these essential oils for sore throat treatments.

If you find this article to be helpful, then do let us know in the comments sections.