Essential Oils for the Respiratory and the Immune System

5:25 AM Posted by jo

Immune System

Essential oils can be  very useful for the immune system. They are part of the plant's immune system and they assist in protecting the plant from fungi, parasites and viral attacks.
Many oils have immune-stimulant actions which boost the body's own defense. Immune Stimulants can strengthen the immune system by directly inhibit the micro-organisms or by stimulating the immune system. 

Cajuput, lavender, eucalyptus, lemon, rosemary, tea tree and thyme are immune stimulants.

Dr. Jan Valnet mentions the antiseptic powers of the essential oils. He lists eucalyptus, garlic, sandalwood, cinnamon, lavender, German Chamomile and peppermint as being very useful.

A correct lifestyle with the right diet, exercise and quality of life have the best effect on the lungs. The outer environment has to be free from pollutants but it is also important that the inner environment is in harmony. 

Aromatherapy may help with the healing process by assisting in elimination of toxins, by toning the tissues and by relieving the symptoms. Diet and lifestyle are very important to the health of the respiratory system. It is vital to consider the acid/alkaline balance in favor of alkaline forming food such as dark leafy vegetables. It is also wise to  reduce or preferable eliminate  refined sugar and refined wheat. It is  important to cut back or eliminate salt, sugar, tea, coffee and alcohol, and to reduce the intake of allergen causing agents such as wheat, dairy, artificial food additives etc. Increase the intake of wholesome food such as seeds, vegetables and fruit. Add intake of food high in Vitamin C.

Clinical trials and research have shown that essential oils may be very effective for respiratory problems. The best is to inhale the oils, use them in a chest and back massage, compresses, diffusers and oil burners. I like to add essential oils to massage oil and put it on my sinuses, chest or back. If I don't have massage oil at home I use body lotion without mineral oils of  since minerals prevent the oils from being absorbed by the skin. Compresses will also work. For a quick relief I sniff straight from the bottle. If you have a cough you can drop some oils under your pillow at night, and I used to drop cypress under my daughter's pillow when we lived in Wales several years ago. The moist climate made her cough a lot. If you don't want to put it on your sheets you can add some drops to a compress or wash cloth and tuck it inside the pillow case on the bottom side.

Several essential oils have anti-microbial actions and they work directly against the micro-organisms

Most essential oils are antiseptic to a certain degree, but these oils have historically been used  for the treatment of respiratory disorders such as flu, colds, tonsillitis, cough, sore throats and other infections:

cajuput, clove bud, lemon eucalyptus, lavender, lemon,  pine, rosemary,  hyssop var decumbens, tea tree and thyme.

Oils with antispasmodic properties calm spasms in smooth muscle tissue and have historically been used for asthma, whooping cough and dry cough. 

Cedarwood, cajuput, clary sage, cypress, sandalwood and thyme have antispasmodic properties.

Expectorant oils promote expulsion of phlegm by coughing or spitting. Expectorants may increase  the output of demulcent respiratory fluid. Or they may be used to alleviate coughing by assisting in the removal of the substance causing the cough, or assisting in making the respiratory fluid more demulcent. 

 Oils with expectorant properties are aniseed, cajuput, eucalyptus, fennel, frankincense, spike lavender, myrrh, pine, sandalwood and thyme.

Essential oils also have depurative properties that eliminate waste material and toxins, which makes the perfect environment for the germs to live in.

Angelica root, carrot seed, cypress, grapefruit, juniper berry, lemon and rosemary are all alteratives.

Before you leave:

I recommend that you always perform a skin patch test when you try a new oil.

Check out my safety page to make sure you are aware of any contrindications before you use essential oils. Some oils are not suitable when suffering from certain conditions. AlsoRead this Before You Start Using Essential oils. Some oils should not be applied prior to sun exposure so make sure you check this list before spending time in the sun.

Not sure how to apply the oils? Visit these pages to learn how to apply the oils:
If you're new to essential oils you might want to check out my Getting Started Guide. 


Johanna is an aromatherapist and she is passionate about educating people about health, essential oils, real food, natural remedies, and nutrition so they make healthier choices in their lives. 
Follow Johanna on twitter and facebook for more health tips and information.

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