The winter months are upon us and that means cold and flu season. While there are many preventative steps you can take to try to prevent a cold it seems almost inevitable that someone in your family will catch a cold at some point in the next couple of months. This means a cough that will inevitably lead to a sore throat.
Over-the-counter medications may help to ease this problem. But what about those of us looking for a natural and more holistic sore throat remedy?
Here are the best essential oils for helping to ease the ache of a sore throat.
1. Peppermint Essential Oil
One of the most popular essential oils for use as a sore throat remedy is peppermint oil. It has been shown to have antimicrobial aspects that affect oral pathogens which may cause colds and other illnesses. (1)
In addition to its antimicrobial properties, peppermint oil contains menthol which is an active ingredient in many cough drops and throat lozenges. Peppermint is also a decongestant and can help with sinus congestion when diffused into the air.
Suggested Use for Peppermint Essential Oil
Use an essential oil diffuser with peppermint oil to disperse it into your home. If you don’t have a diffuser, simply put a pot of water on the stove to simmer and add several drops of peppermint oil to the pot of water. On top of being a sore throat remedy inhaling the steam vapors can help relieve chest congestion as well.
Peppermint oil can also be used as a gargle to aid with pain relief. Drop a few drops into a glass of warm water, with or without salt, and gently gargle for up to a minute. Be sure to spit and rinse when you are done gargling.
Alternative Uses for Peppermint Oil
- Peppermint oil is great for aromatherapy.
- Use it as topical pain relief for aching muscles.
- Gargle peppermint oil mixed with water to help with bad breath.
2. Eucalyptus Essential Oil
The oil from eucalyptus leaves has antibacterial qualities that can help boost the immune system and shorten the length of a cold. (2) Eucalyptus can also be found as a primary ingredient in many conventional cough and cold products to relieve congestion and has and has analgesic properties as well. (3) These benefits, combined with many others, makes eucalyptus an excellent essential oil to have in your cold-fighting arsenal.
Suggested Use for Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Because eucalyptus helps with congestion as well as throat soreness it is best to use this oil as an inhalant. It may be mixed with other oils and diffused to create a pleasantly scented mist to breathe or mixed in a pan of boiling water and inhaled through the mouth. You can also mix this with shea butter and coconut oil to make a chest rub to aid in congestion.
Alternative Uses for Eucalyptus Oil
- Mix the oil in a spray bottle to use as a disinfecting cleanser.
- Inhalation of eucalyptus oil can also help with asthma relief.
- The pleasant smell of eucalyptus makes for excellent aromatherapy.
3. Thyme Essential Oil
This culinary herb can also be used as a common home remedy for a sore throat. The antimicrobial properties of thyme essential oil have been known to reduce harmful household pathogens which may weaken the immune system. (4) Not only is thyme essential oil used in all-natural household cleaners, but it can also be used to soothe muscle spasms caused by coughing which can be a source of your sore throat.
Suggested Use for Thyme Essential Oil
Mix thyme oil with a carrier oil to create a chest-rub to help relieve congestion and sore throat or add to a diffuser and allow the thyme oil to enter the air.
Alternative Uses for Thyme Oil
- The disinfecting properties of thyme oil make it an excellent household cleaner.
- Treat minor wounds and skin conditions by using thyme oil as an antiseptic.
- Stimulate hair growth and ease dandruff by adding a few drops of thyme oil to your shampoo or conditioner.
4. Tea Tree Essential Oil
First brewed as a tea from leaves of the Melaleuca Alternifolia tree, giving it the name “Tea Tree”, the medicinal properties of this plant have been recognized for centuries. The antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory aspects of this essential oil not only help to reduce pain but help prevent the spread of harmful bacteria as well which can cut the time of your cold down significantly. (5) The pleasant aroma of tea tree oil is sure to add a calming effect and relax you as well.
Suggested Use for Tea Tree Essential Oil
Tea tree oil is best ingested as an inhalant with a hot water source. Either add a few drops to your hot water humidifier or add some to a pot of simmering water on the stove. It helps if you gently inhale the steam vapors as they rise from the source.
Tea tree oil can also be used as a topical antiseptic and analgesic. Mix with a carrier oil or use shea butter and coconut oil to create a salve to rub on your chest or around your nostrils.
Alternative Uses for Tea Tree Oil
5. Lemon Essential Oil
Have you ever had a cup of tea with lemon to soothe your aching throat during a cold? The reason that remedy has been passed down is that the juice has astringent properties that help shrink your swollen throat tissues. Lemon essential oil also has antioxidant properties that can help to prevent or kill bacterial infection and viruses. (6)
Suggested Use for Lemon Essential Oil
While you can add lemon oil to your diffuser or a simmering pot of water, it is best used as a salve for congestion or ingested. The best way to ingest lemon oil is to put a few drops into some warm water with honey to ease your throat pain.
Alternative Uses for Lemon Oil
- Use lemon essential oil as a wooden furniture polish.
- Disinfect your kitchen and keep it smelling fresh by adding a few drops of lemon oil to your usual cleaner.
- Add to your dishwasher detergent for spot-free dishes.
6. Clove Essential Oil
Clove oil has a natural analgesic aspect that helps soothe aches and pains and has also been shown to reduce the probability of getting the flu. (7) This makes clove essential oil one of the most suggested oils for use as a sore throat remedy as well as a remedy for other cold and flu symptoms.
Suggested Use for Clove Essential Oil
Add a couple drops of clove oil to an ounce of water and put into a small spray bottle for an all-natural throat spray. Because this oil is very potent it is best to start with smaller amounts until you find what works best for your body.
Alternative Uses for Clove Oil
- Clove oil of the oldest natural remedies for indigestion and nausea.
- To use as an anti-inflammatory add to a carrier oil like almond oil and rub into the affected area.
- In small amounts, clove oil can be used as an effective method of treating toothache relief.
7. Hyssop Essential Oil
Although hyssop is a lesser-known essential oil it still packs a punch with its healing aspects. Like thyme, oil hyssop has antispasmodic properties which makes it useful for reducing a cough which leads to a sore throat. (8)
Suggested Use for Hyssop Essential Oil
Use as a cough syrup by thoroughly mixing one drop of hyssop oil with a tablespoon of honey and swallowing.
Alternative Uses for Hyssop Oil
- Hyssop oil aids with digestion though it should be diluted before being ingested.
- Because it is good at soothing sore muscles hyssop oil works well as a massage and bath oil.
- To help with acne or achieve firmer skin hyssop oil can be used as a facial astringent for firmer skin.
When used properly and responsibly these seven different essential oils are sure to help soothe your throat from the aches and pains of a cold or flu. When combined with each other or even other essential oils there can be powerful added benefits.
Of course, it is a good idea to use preventative measures such as taking supplements for your immune system. However, when a cold cannot be avoided it is best to be prepared with as many all natural remedies for a sore throat as possible.