Coughing is a distressing ailment to go through. It is usually caused by mucus trapped in the back of the throat, which your body is naturally trying to expel through coughing, in order for the fluid not to clog your wind pipes and keep you from breathing. It can also be caused by certain infections of the lungs or of the upper airway passages. Another cause for it might be an allergy, which tends to give you a dry cough and a runny or stuffy nose, due to the itchy feeling in your throat.
Some of the diseases naturally associated with coughing are the common cold, the flu, the croup, in children, asthma or chronic bronchitis. Deep bronchial afflictions may also lead to severe coughing cases, especially wet ones, combined with nasal drip, scratchy throats or congested noses.
There are many treatments, pills and syrups which one can take. Of course, there has always been a heated debate as to whether pills actually help alleviate a cough or if it’s just placebo. An interesting fact is that the American Academy of Pediatrics has stated a while back that using cough medicine is supported by very little evidence and thusly, they do not recommend it to be given to children.
Honey has always been a referred cure. Apart from that, it is known that our bodies have the ability to fight coughs on their own, without any aid. Cough, just like fever, will be cured in 10 days, if left untreated.
So, having all that in mind, as well as the fact that it is always better to turn to nature with such superficial pains and ailments, instead of medicine and antibiotics, there are a lot or remedies and, mostly, essential oils we can use at home to speed up the healing process when one coughs.
First of all, it’s important to know that, when using these 12 oils, they should be divided up based on the recipient’s age. This means that a toddler’s treatment should be different than an adult’s. The 12 oils are: cypress oil, ginger, lemon, eucalyptus, patchouli, ylang-ylang, sage, cherry, lavender, rose petal, cinnamon and coconut. Let’s see exactly how to use them.
Essential oils for colds and coughs during pregnancy
Everything changes when you’re pregnant. Suddenly there are a lot of food restrictions, alcohol and caffeine consumption is forbidden and no medicines are allowed whatsoever, out of fear of damaging the unborn. But what happens if the mother develops a cough? Fortunately, nature has an answer, through some simple and reliable home remedies you can use. Almost all of them involve essential oils, such as: cypress oil, fir needle, ginger and lemon.
However, you should be on your guard and carefully do your homework before using them, because even if they are safe, they do come with some warnings. For example:
- Try to avoid ingestion, as to not harm the baby. Use the oils on your skin surface or inhale their vapors. Should you insist on ingesting them, do it sparingly and heavily diluted in water or tea.
- Avoid using them, if possible, in the first trimester, as the baby is just now forming.
- Run the diffuser for 10-15 minutes at a time. Remember pregnant women are very sensible to smell and they will throw up.
- Don’t use them daily.
- Do not add them to the birthing pool if you are giving birth in water. They don’t mix in, seeing as they are oils and might cause some burns to the new-born.
Essential oils for coughs in toddlers
Babies may be difficult to deal with when they are sick and have a sore throat. They get moody and don’t take things such as pain, irritations, congestion or coughing very lightly. They also have trouble sleeping and breathing very often, which will keep you on the edge of your seat and out of bed as long as the more or less severe ailment lasts. They’re also reluctant in taking drugs, usually. And seeing as most cough medicine is syrup based, they refuse it because it tastes bad. Apart from that, most doctors will tell you not to give syrup to children under the age of six, so what do you do with infants?
The answer comes once again from essential cough oils, which are, incidentally, very tasty as well, so you’ve got that problem covered. You can use some lemon oil, ginger, which you can add to their hot teas, buckwheat honey, which is not oil, but works wonders and is incredibly sweet and tasty, Eucalyptus oil, which will decongest the nose and airways. See below some simple recipes for making home-made cough remedies based on these oils.
Essential oils for coughs in older children
Older kids may be allowed some more things than toddlers, but that doesn’t mean they won’t behave in the same way when they’re sick. Therefore, the same tasty healing treats work for them as well: the classic lemon and ginger, but you can also add others, which are mild sedatives as well, like lavender or chamomile. You can also try patchouli and ylang-ylang, both good for this purpose, but be careful with the dosage. They have very strong smells and they are difficult to take in even for adults.
You can also try to temporarily eliminate dairy from their diet, because all milk-based foods increase the production and secretion of mucus in the throat area. Phlegm will be a lesser problem if you do this. Add instead plenty of herbal teas, mixed with the very same essential oils we’ve been presenting for coughs. Add to the list sage oil, cherry stems and cherry oil or wild cherry bark. You can procure all these at your local drugstore or market.
Essential oils for coughs in adults
Everything we mentioned so far works for adults as well, because the principles are the same. However, you can think of the essential oils for coughs usage as a pyramid, with the unborn at the top, which are the most fragile and the adults at the bottom, which can have almost any kind of oils. Therefore, on top of everything we’ve said so far, we can add olive oil rubbed directly on the skin in the throat region. If you warm it up a bit, just enough, not too hot, it will work miracles on your vocal chords and release some of the mucus held in the back of your throat.
Hot baths filled with essential oils are recommended for adults as well. Just remember brevity is your friend here, because hot water and strong oils can make you dizzy and nauseated. Try adding some eucalyptus in the bath water, rose petal oil, lavender, pear or cinnamon, to unclog your airways and cure the cough. Breathe in the vapors and relax in the warm water.
Essential oils for coughs in dogs
It’s called kennel cough and yes, your furry friend can get it too. It’s usually a very dry cough, like the animal has something logged in its throat, complete with persistent whooping and wheezing. It’s one of the most widespread canine diseases in the world, it’s highly contagious, but it’s not fatal, just like in humans. The treatment resembles the human one, as well. Most veterinarians choose to act just like physicians do and simply let the disease run its natural course until it’s cured. Otherwise, you can try giving your dog some honey or some coconut oil. Most dogs actually love their sweet and fragrant taste, so it will be easy for you to feed it to them off a spoon.
However, you should be careful about plant and flower based essential oils. Remember that most plants and flowers are toxic to dogs, even if they are good for us, humans. So, either you do some thorough research so as to not risk poisoning your dog or you refrain from giving it to them altogether and stick to honey and coconut essential oil as a remedy.
Here are some recipes for home-made cough treatments, which you can whisk away in your own kitchen in no time.
- For feeding some lemon and ginger extract to your toddler, try adding it to some plain hot water or some sweetened tea.
- Eucalyptus oil should be rubbed on the skin, especially at night, for both children and adults alike, rather than ingested. So try mixing a few drops with any plain oil based carrier, such as olive oil or even whipped butter and massage the chest.
- You can add some drops of orange, mint, lemon or ginger oils to a table spoon of honey and eat it a few times a day. It will cure your cough in no time.
- In order to make vapor rub, mix together ¼ cup coconut oil, ¼ cup shea butter, 20 drops peppermint essential oil, 15 drops of lavender oil, 10 drops of lemon oil and 25 drops of eucalyptus essential oil. Make sure they are combined very well and store them in a clean glass or ceramic jar, somewhere cool and dark.
- If you’re brave, you could also try making your very own cough drops at home, using essential oils, as follows: mix together 2 cups of sugar, ½ cup of water, ½ cup of honey and ¼ cups of butter. Put them in a pan and boil them together until they reach a molasses like consistency. If a bit of the boiling mixture turns to brittle candy when poured into cold water, you’re there. Add drops of whichever of the cough essential oils you feel like. Take it off the stove, leave it to cool and then fashion the candy in the shapes you want.
There are many recipes out there for using essential oils as a cure for the cough or when having colds. Practice has proven that they actually work better than store bought medicine, they are cheaper and, of course, a lot more natural. So there’s no reason you shouldn’t give them a try!