Essential oils have various mechanisms of action, allowing them to treat different symptoms of an asthma attack.
Asthma is very common, with 1 in 13 people suffering from it in the United States.1 Fortunately, there are many essential oils that can help lower the chances of having an attack or alleviate its symptoms of wheezing and coughing. Read on to discover the best essential oils to prevent asthma attacks.
1. Eucalyptus: Reduce Inflammation
Inflammation is a key component of asthma attacks as people with asthma frequently have inflamed bronchial tubes. This may make the airways swell and fill with mucus.
Australian eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus) oil is great for taming bronchial inflammation, although it should not be used during an attack. The herb reduces the release of substances responsible for causing inflammation (cytokines), while its antibacterial properties can help eliminate respiratory infections that may otherwise trigger the attack. A safe and effective way to incorporate the oil from eucalyptus for asthma control is to keep a cloth saturated with the oil near your bed at night, or to take a steamy, relaxing bath with 10 - 15 drops of the essential oil.
2. Ginger: Decongest
Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is a renowned herbal remedy for nausea and indigestion. It is also great for relieving symptoms of allergies, like swollen nasal passages, by blocking histamine, a chemical behind allergic reactions.
During asthma attacks, there is an excess of mucus produced in the airways. This can further congest them, making it very difficult to breathe. Interestingly, the anti-histaminic action of ginger can prevent such congestion. Many people have found that drinking ginger infusions while inhaling its aroma can control stuffy noses and prevent asthma attacks from getting out of control.
3. Lobelia: Breathe Deeply
Lobelia (Lobelia inflata), also known as "Indian Tobacco," is a North American herb mostly known for its pale blue flowers. When consumed in small amounts, lobelia flower tea has proven effective for alleviating asthma and restoring normal breathing.
The active compound in Indian Tobacco is lobeline, an alkaloid that is known to stimulate the neurotransmitters in charge of regulating respiratory function. In addition, the steam of lobelia has mild expectorant and relaxant properties. The combination of both of those actions can help thwart an incoming asthma attack early on.
4. Lavender: Relax
Bronchial spasms with coughing spells are yet another troubling symptom of asthma. These spasms can be stimulated by many different factors that are hard to control - such as temperature - as well as those that can be modified, such as certain prescription drugs.
Lavender (Lavandula officinalis) essential oil has relaxation-promoting properties that can greatly lessen the severity, frequency, and duration of these spasms. In addition, it helps calm the anxiety that oftentimes worsens asthma attacks. Combining lavender oil with jojoba oil produces a powerful mix that can be rubbed on the chest for deep relaxation.
When choosing essential oils, make sure to find 100% pure products, as some have additives that will not be effective your asthma symptoms. When used regularly, these herbs can help restore your breathing and allow you to enjoy life more freely.
- Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. (2019). Asthma Facts and Figures. Retrieved January 29, 2021 from https://www.aafa.org/asthma-facts/