Peppermint oil is commonly used for treatment of the common cold, cough, sinus infections, respiratory infections, and inflammation of the mouth and throat, including sore throats. It’s also used for digestive problems, including heartburn, nausea, vomiting, morning sickness, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), cramps of the upper gastrointestinal (GI) tract and bile ducts, upset stomach, diarrhea, bacterial overgrowth of the small intestine, and gas.
Peppermint essential oil contains menthol, which provides a cooling sensation and a calming effect to the body. Research indicates that the antioxidant, antimicrobial and decongestant properties of peppermint essential oil can help alleviate your sore throat. Menthol also helps to sooth and calm sore throats as well as thin mucus and break up coughs. (2) (3)
Today, oil from the eucalyptus tree appears in many over-the-counter cough and cold products to relieve congestion. The health benefits of eucalyptus oil are due to its ability to stimulate immunity, provide antioxidant protection and improve respiratory circulation.
Originally referred to as “eucalyptol” by the scientific community, the health benefits of eucalyptus oil come from a chemical now known as cineole, which is an organic compound shown to hold astounding, widespread medicinal effects — including everything from reducing inflammation and pain to killing leukemia cells! (4)
Clove essential oil is useful for boosting the immune system, so it is extremely useful at discouraging and relieving a sore throat. The sore throat benefits of clove oil can be attributed to its antimicrobial, antifungal, antiseptic, antiviral, anti-inflammatory and stimulating properties.
A study published in Phytotherapy Research found that clove essential oil shows antimicrobial activity against a large number of multi resistant Staphylococcus epidermidis. (7) Its antiviral properties and ability to purify blood increases resistance to a multitude of diseases, including sore throats. (8)
How to Use
Aromatherapy is the therapeutic use of plant-derived, aromatic essential oils to promote physical and psychological well-being. One main way to use essential oils for aromatherapy is to inhale the smell or aroma of an essential oil.
When the scent of an essential oil is inhaled, molecules enter the nasal cavities and stimulate a firing of mental response in the limbic system of the brain, including the regulation of stress or calming responses such as heart rate, breathing patterns, production of hormones and blood pressure. Aromatherapy can be obtained by using essential oils as direct inhalations, in a bath, in a vaporizer or humidifier, fan, vent, perfume, cologne, or through aromatherapy diffusers.
An easy way to regularly practice direct inhalation is to add one to two drops of an essential oil into the palms of your hands and rub them together to spread the oil. Next, cup your hands over your nose and take 5–10 deep and slow breaths. You can also add two to three drops of an essential oil to a cotton ball and place it inside your pillow or in any place that will be easy to smell it.
Another excellent way to soothe a sore throat is by inhaling the steam of boiling water containing a few drops of some of the essential oils I just mentioned. Simply fill a big bowl with hot water and drape a towel over your head to create a tent and breathe in the steam.
Topical application of an essential oil involves placing an essential oil on the skin, hair, mouth, teeth, nails or mucous membranes of the body. When the oils touch the body, they penetrate rapidly.
Since pure essential oils are so potent, it’s important to dilute them before using them on your body. You can dilute an essential oil by blending it with a carrier oil (such as olive, jojoba, sweet almond, or coconut oil) or a natural unscented lotion. Add 5–10 drops of essential oil to to two tablespoons of carrier oil or natural unscented lotion. You can then apply the blended oil or lotion directly to an area of the body that will benefit the throat like the neck, chest, behind the ears, or bottoms of the feet.
Always consult a specialist and conduct a patch test before proceeding with caution as essential oils may react differently for different individuals. Infants, children, pregnant women, seniors and people with severe illnesses should not use essential oils internally except under the supervision of a physician. If pregnant, check with a professional before using essential oils externally on your body as well.
If your sore throat is severe or lasts longer than one week, seek medical attention.