Essential oils extracted from plants are primarily used in aromatherapy to treat a wide range of ailments, including asthma. Aromatherapy involves inhaling or massaging the essential oils to reap their therapeutic benefits. Use of essential oils for asthma has been backed by positive testimonials, which has led to their widespread acceptance in treating these respiratory problems. Essential oils assist in opening up the constricted airways in asthma, thereby, helping to breathe easier.
Aromatherapy for Asthma
Aromatherapy Chest Rub
Using aromatherapy chest rub can be effective in relieving symptoms of asthma. The essential oils in them display anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic activity that can help decrease episodes of asthma attack. Applying the chest rub during an asthma attack may actually help stop the respiratory distress within minutes. However, in most cases, rubs containing essential oils are used to prevent an asthma attack.
Chest rubs made from lavender and chamomile essential oils are effective to treat asthma. To make it, add 2 drops of chamomile oil to 8 drops of lavender oil. Now combine this mixture with 20 drops of carrier oil such as jojoba or sweet almond oil. Apply this blend two times in a day to keep asthma attacks at bay.
When catching breath in asthma seems difficult, steam inhalation with lavender oil may come to your rescue. Add 6–10 drops of lavender essential oil into a bowl of hot water. With the addition of lavender essential, inhaling the resulting steam has a high therapeutic value, and can provide immediate relief from asthma attacks.
Peppermint oil acts as a natural antihistamine which can also contribute to manage asthma effectively. Histamines are released into the body after exposure to an allergen, which often leads to an asthma attack. Antihistamines negate the actions of histamines, which help to control asthma symptoms, and makes us feel better. So, to ease breathing, inhaling steam with peppermint oil is recommended. Combine a drop of peppermint oil with a teaspoon of carrier oil, such as coconut oil, and then massage the mixture on the chest area, back, and even on the soles of the feet. Do this regularly, and you will surely notice improvement in your condition.
Frankincense Essential Oil
Frankincense essential oil has a long history of use as an anti-asthmatic and immune booster. Simply diffusing undiluted Frankincense essential oil and inhaling its aroma can be effective to improve the condition. Putting a few drops of frankincense essential oil on your handkerchief, and then inhaling it regularly can also help soothe your respiratory tract.
Other Essential Oils
Peppermint oil acts as a bronchodilator, meaning, it widens the air passages, thereby, allowing free flow of air into the lungs. It is soothing to the respiratory tract, and can alleviate breathing problems associated with asthma. Putting a few drops of peppermint oil in the nebulizer (containing distilled water) and then inhaling the mist can help clear the lungs. Other essential oils that can contribute in improving breathing in asthma are eucalyptus oil, marjoram oil, and ginger oil.
Diffusers available in different types are devices that help to spread the fragrance of essential oils in a room. Asthma symptoms may improve when the fragrance diffused in the room is inhaled. For diffusing purposes, one can use lavender oil or blue tansy oil as they are known to make breathing easier in asthma patients.
Ideal Time to Use Aromatherapy
As far as usage of aromatherapy chest rub is concerned, the best time would be to apply it in the interval between two consecutive asthma attacks. Aromatherapy is more of a preventive measure, and is used to reduce incidences of asthma attacks. However, there is no harm if you feel better when applying chest rubs during an asthma attack. Also, you need to use aromatherapy in conjunction with your medical treatment, and not as a replacement for prescribed drugs. Regular use of aromatherapy can definitely reduce the dependency on prescription medicines.
A sniff test is extremely important before you use essential oils for asthma. Many times, inhaling scented products aggravates symptoms of asthma. Asthmatics may suffer from a severe reaction, if they are overly sensitive to the scent. As most essential oils have a strong fragrance, sniff the one that you will be using to ensure that you are comfortable with its smell.