Living with a cold or cough is no fun at all. Not only will your throat be a constant nagging pain, but you’ll likely wake yourself up regularly through the night in coughing fits and annoy everyone in your office. It hurts to talk and it seems like it sticks around for ages after the cold is gone.
But there’s no need to simply wait for your cold to go away like a powerless victim. If you know the right things to add to your diet, then you can potentially soothe your throat and encourage a speedier recovery.
There are actually many home remedies, supplements and foods that can improve a sore throat but here we’re going to look at the best essential oils for a sore throat.
How Essential Oils Help a Sore Throat
First, let’s consider how essential oils might help your sore throat in the first place.
To best understand this, you should first consider the different kinds of sore throat and why they are painful. Perhaps the most common type of sore throat then is the kind caused by viral or bacterial infection. One of the most common is ‘strep throat’, which is a bacterial infection that causes the throat or pharynx (the tube that carries food to the esophagus) to swell up and become inflamed. This makes it sore, irritable and potentially even difficult to breathe and swallow.
Essential oils help this by a) reducing the inflammation, b) reducing the pain and discomfort and c) killing the responsible bacteria. Some can also help to boost the immune system, helping the body to more quickly dispel the invaders.
Our aim then is to use the right combination of analgesic, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory oils to soothe and heal the throat.
How to Use Essential Oils for a Sore Throat
The best essential oils for sore throat can be used in a number of ways. The most obvious choice is throat inhalation/aromatherapy. Here, you will used plant-derived aromatic oils and burn them in your vicinity. Breathing them in can then affect the throat directly, as well as potentially improving your mood and helping you to relax.
As added bonuses, this method can stimulate the breakdown of mucus in order to remove a blocked nose and tickling in the throat and chest. It can also help to encourage the production of hormones like serotonin which are naturally analgesic.
To start with your own aromatherapy sessions, you can use a vaporizer, a humidifier or an oil burner/oil diffuser. The great thing about burning essential oils is that it is passive: you can set the oil to burn while you go about other things and simply inhaling the air in the room will then have a curative and soothing effect.
Other options include rubbing essential oils into your chest, especially before bed, which will allow you to inhale the fumes as you sleep. This can be a great way to clear sinuses in particular.
And what you may not have realized is that it is also possible actually consume essential oils orally. Just mix a little oil into a glass of water and you can get analgesic benefits for your throat. Just make sure that the oils you choose are suitable for oral consumption and that you buy from a reputable source. Make sure to do a little research here: oils that are diluted or blended with synthetic compounds can be very toxic. Look out for the marking ‘GRAS’ which is designated by the FDA. This means it is safe for human consumption.
The Best Essential Oils for Sore Throat Treatment
With that all in mind, what are the best essential oils for treating a sore throat?
Peppermint works particularly well for treating colds, coughs and other conditions that might lead to a sore throat. This is because peppermint oil contains menthol, which is what makes it act and smell like strong mint. This should provide a cooling and tingling sensation which is very soothing and calming for any discomfort.
Moreover, the substance is also great at breaking up mucus which could be causing a tickle and making you cough. On top of that, peppermint oil is an antimicrobial, meaning that it could help to treat some infections. And finally, it’s also antioxidant meaning that it can help to boost the immune system and improve general health.
To use this kind of oil, apply a little to your chest just before bed.
Another good choice is lemon oil. This is great for giving you a boost in energy and helping you to feel fresh: things that certainly can’t hurt when you’re down with a cold. Lemon oil is high in vitamin C, meaning it is great for boosting the immune system to drive out the cold faster. And on top of all this, lemon oil can increase the rate of salivation, which not only lubricates the throat but provides more anti-bacterial properties of its own!
Clove oil is a powerful oil that can strengthen the immune system. Further, it seems to combine all of the things that you might want from the best essential oils for sore throats: antimicrobial, antifungal, antiviral, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic. All this means that it can help you to combat the cold and reduce the symptoms at the same time. This one is best inhaled just when you start to notice the cold coming on!
Another minty oil that is great for breaking up mucus. At the same time, the chemical component called cineole is packed with medicinal benefits and is particularly good at combating inflammation in particular. It’s currently the subject of a lot of research and there is hope that it might provide a useful treatment for leukaemia.
This is a popular herb and a great essential oil. That’s thanks to antifungal and antiviral properties and in one study it was found that it could even combat parasitic infections. In other study, it was shown to be effective combating the MRSA super bug!