If you’re new to using essential oils, it’s only natural to question whether it’s a safe practice to adopt.
So before you decide to throw any ol’ type of oil in an essential oil diffuser, it’s important that you understand how they’re going to affect your lungs.
Fortunately, today’s article will cover everything you need to know about how using essential oils impacts your lungs and your overall breathing.
We’ll also go over the best essential oils for allergies and asthma symptoms towards the end of this post.
To start, let’s talk about how essential oils can help combat health problems associated with pollution.
You’ll Counteract Some of the Harmful Effects of Pollution
It’s no surprise that air pollution has reached an all-time high across the globe.
Between a natural increase in the population, greater industrialization, and the fact that we’re traveling much more than we used to as a society, pollution is just about everywhere you turn.
And you don’t need to live in a crowded city to feel the effects of it.
The problem is that pollution can wreak havoc on your lungs, both in the short and long term.
One study found that air pollution “can linger in your lungs for as long as a decade.”
Because of this, it’s essential that we learn to combat these harmful effects naturally.
Researchers in France decided to explore whether essential oils could do just that.
After several tests, they discovered that essential oils, and the compounds found within them, could in fact “counteract the inflammatory effects of particulate matter, such as that contained in polluted air.”
They also learned that the essential oils helped to reduce cytokines in the body, which can cause inflammation and even cell death if left untreated.
But reducing the harmful effects of pollution is just the beginning. Essential oils also help to reduce inflammation, as you’ll see next.
You’ll Also Help Reduce Inflammation
While more research is still needed, current studies support that essential oils like lavender have anti-inflammatory properties which may be beneficial to breathing.
Because of this, when you add lavender to an essential oil diffuser, you’ll start to naturally chisel away at any unwanted inflammation in your lungs.
Not only can this help open up tight airways, it can also relax them.
You’ll Relax Your Airways Which Can Help You Breathe Better
In addition to lavender, peppermint essential oils have been studied for their helpful respiratory benefits too.
This time, the peppermint oil vapors act as a cooling agent that can help relax tight, constricted airways and open your passageways for better breathing.
Not only that, peppermint may also help suppress your cough reflex, as reported by the LA Times. That makes it a must-have for cold and cough season.
Peppermint is also great for tackling this next issue.
You’ll Clear Out Nasal Congestion
Peppermint oils also help clear out any nasal congestion, as well as any mild pain or discomfort you may have in your sinuses.
By adding a few drops to an essential oil diffuser, you’ll score a natural relief that works almost instantly.
Plus, since oil diffusers work so fast, you can also use them to find relief after an asthma attack strikes out of nowhere.
You’ll Also Help Reduce the Symptoms of an Asthma Attack
“It appears that the [peppermint] oil may reduce asthma’s effect on bronchial smooth muscle,” according to Healthline, which “may help reduce the symptoms of an asthma attack.”
While essential oils shouldn’t replace your rescue inhaler or your doctor’s orders, they can help you bounce back quicker after an attack.
If you’re still feeling the effects of an attack even after you’ve taken your asthma medication, try supplementing using a high-quality peppermint oil. Simply add a few drops to an essential oil diffuser and try to inhale gently.
You may find that, with continued, daily use, your symptoms start to decrease over time.
Healthline also reported that “clove essential oil may help reduce symptoms such as wheezing, chest pain, and difficulty breathing,” making it another ideal option to reach for whenever you’re plagued by these frustrating (and sometimes scary) symptoms.
Up next, we’ll show you how essential oils also affect your respiratory rate.
You’ll Improve Your Respiratory Rate
In a small study of 20 students, researchers hoped to uncover what effect, if any, essential oils had on respiratory rate.
To test this, they split the group into two categories.
The first group nebulized a mix of saline and Citrus sinensis oil (a common orange or citrus scent) while the other group nebulized a mix of saline and Mentha spicata (common name: spearmint).
Lung tests were performed both before and after the students went running to see if there were any differences.
The result: both groups of students showed an improvement in their breathing after using the oils.
On top of that, both sets of students also significantly reduced how long it took them to run the same distance, even without using the oils.
While this study is too small to draw strict conclusions and more research is needed, it’s still a positive sign for using essential oils to improve lung function and respiratory rates.
Now that you have a better idea of how essential oils can affect your lungs, we’ll move on to the best oils to use for this purpose.
Top 6 Essential Oils for Allergies and Asthma
Not all oils can help improve the symptoms of asthma and allergies. Some can even aggravate the problem further.
That’s why it’s important to use the right oils here. Fortunately, the following list of essential oils can help you reap all the benefits we discussed today:
#1: Peppermint Essential Oil
If you’re looking to clear out a congested nasal passage and improve your breathing, reach for a peppermint essential oil.
As we talked about earlier, the cooling element of peppermint is also perfect for suppressing your cough reflex and soothing dry nasal passages.
#2: Lavender Essential Oil
Not only will lavender help your mind and body relax, it can also help reduce the inflammation that comes with asthma and allergy irritation.
If you’re highly stressed and congested, use a lavender oil in your essential oil diffuser and it will become your best friend.
#3: Clove Essential Oil
While clove essential oil is more commonly used in oral care, it can also work well to relieve asthma symptoms as well.
Due to its spicy, warm, and energizing nature, it’s the perfect oil to supplement with after an asthma attack.
#4: Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Eucalyptus is one of the best essential oils for allergies and asthma since it can relieve both sinus and nasal congestion.
It’s also been studied to help speed up the recovery process when you’re sick.
Plus, thanks to its clean, fresh scent, you won’t have any trouble relaxing and recharging when you diffuse it.
#5: Basil Essential Oil
Not only should you add fresh basil to your favorite dishes in the kitchen, you should also consider adding basil oil to your essential oil diffuser.
Thanks to its antibacterial and antiviral properties, it’s best known for combating common cold and flu symptoms.
Yet it also shines as an expectorant to help break up the mucus in your body and get rid of it.
Basil can even fight inflammation, fatigue, and pain. This trifecta of awesome health benefits makes it an excellent essential oil to keep handy in your medicine cabinet all the time.
#6: Tea Tree Essential Oil
There’s a reason tea tree oil is one of the most popular essential oils.
It works outstandingly as a first aid remedy for cuts and bruises and as an anti-itch solution for mosquito bites and dry skin. Bonus: It also helps you breathe better.
And just like with basil, tea tree oil has antiviral and antifungal properties to help you get over your cold and start to feel better sooner.
Start Breathing Better Today
If you’re someone who constantly suffers from asthma or allergy symptoms, consider using high quality essential oils in an essential oil diffuser.
People without allergies and asthma can also benefit from using essential oils since they help improve your athletic performance and combat harmful air pollution.
Have fun experimenting with each different oil to see which ones you enjoy.
If you can’t decide which oil to go with first, consider using an essential oil blend designed specifically for breathing better that combines the benefits of several different oils we discussed today.
By using essential oils daily, you’ll feel the effects working over time and naturally start to feel better. Your lungs will finally breathe a sigh of relief.