Do you know that you can use an essential oil for sore throat? When used correctly, essential oils can alleviate the inflammation and discomfort. Find out more about this as you go through the article.
What are Essential Oils?
Essential oils are chemical substances extracted from plants. It has hydrophobic properties that tend to repel against water and volatile that quickly evaporates when exposed to air. Essential oils are also called aetherolea, ethereal, or volatile oils. They are also termed as the oil of plants from which they’re collected, for example, oil of cinnamon. The term essential is used because it captures the essence or fragrance of the plants from which it’s originated. This is not to be confused with how “essential” is used to describe indispensable nutrition needed by the body like essential amino acids or fatty acids.
Essential oils are usually processed through distillation using steam. Other extraction process includes cold pressing, solvent extraction, resin tapping, expression, sfumatura, and absolute oil extraction.
Essential oils are commonly used for aromatherapy. Its pleasant odor induces relaxation and calmness. Many believe that it also has healing properties, thus, using it as alternative medicine. However, its overall relevance in medicine is yet to be scientifically proven and may cause adverse health problems if used improperly like allergies or skin irritations.
Brief Historical Perspective of Essential Oil Use
The earliest record of essential oil production and use was found in the writings of Ibn Al-Baitar, an Andalusian chemist, pharmacist and physician that lived from 1188 to 1248 AD.
In the last decades, essential oils progressively revived its popularity when public interest for aromatherapy grew. Aromatherapy is a form of alternative medicine that primarily uses essential oils or other aromatic substance for medicinal purposes. It’s often combined with carrier oils and used as massage oils or diffused in the air by heating it over a candle flame, burnt incense, or using a nebulizer.
9 Essential Oils for Sore Throat
Sore throat, also called pharyngitis, is a common viral infection especially during cold seasons that is usually caused by either flu or colds. The tissues in the throat are inflamed causing irritation and pain that seems to aggravate every time you swallow.
Essential oils are generally used for aromatherapy. However, it also provides treatment for sore throat—it eases inflammation and discomfort caused by sore throat irritation. The following are examples of essential oils commonly used for sore throat treatment:
It contains antifungal, anti-microbial, antiseptic, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce irritation around the infected area. It’s also well-known to enhance the immune system.
One study observed that clove essential oil reacts against bacteria called Staphylococcus epidermidis. It also shows that its antiviral properties improve the body’s ability to cleanse the blood, thus, enhances its defense viral or bacterial infections.
Other than its antimicrobial and potent antioxidant properties; it’s also known to strengthen the immune system, nervous, respiratory, and digestive system.
A study was conducted in 2011 to test how thyme oil would react to a certain type of bacterium. The bacteria were isolated from patients with genitourinary, oral cavity, and respiratory infections. They observed that thyme oil has a strong response against the bacterium strains. It also showed effectiveness against strains that are antibiotic-resistant.
Peppermint is among the best essential oil for sore throat. Its extracts are believed to possess a number of medicinal properties. It’s usually used for treating common infections like cough, sinusitis, colds and, sore throat. It also used in the treatment of various digestive system problems like diarrhea, heartburn, irritable bowel syndrome, stomach upset, vomiting, nausea, stomach cramps, and hinders bacterial development in the intestines.
Its menthol content provides a relaxing and calming sensation to the mind and body. Studies say that the menthol content in a peppermint essential oil contains a potent amount of antimicrobial and antioxidants that ease inflammation caused by a sore throat.
Eucalyptus is one of the most common ingredients used in coughs, colds, and sore throats medications. It provides numerous health benefits that can be attributed to its rich antioxidant content, the ability to strengthen the immune system and, enhance respiratory function.
Also known as eucalyptol, it contains a chemical compound called cineole. Research shows that this compound show signs that it reduces inflammation and eases the pain. It also showed that it may eliminate leukemia cells, but this claim is still subject to further research.
The use of hyssop essential dates back in ancient times. In fact, there were also references to its use in the Bible. In those eras, it’s primarily used as a cleansing herb in sacred places. Ancient Greek physicians like Hippocrates and Galen used hyssop essential oil for throat and mouth inflammations and respiratory problems.
Hyssop essential oil contains antiseptic compounds that fight off infections and harmful bacteria. It isn’t only effective on the sore throat but also on other viral and bacterial infection including lung inflammation.
Aside from its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial compounds, the lemon essential oil is rich in antioxidants that help flush harmful toxins in the body and stimulates lymph drainage that cleanses the skin and rejuvenates energy.
Its high level of vitamin c is especially effective on sore throat because it stimulates salivation that maintains moisture in the throat.
Juniper berry essential oil is commonly used in cleaning products, air freshener and aromatherapy mixtures because of its woodsy and sweet odor. Some research even suggests that juniper berry essential oil is not only effective on sore throats but also one of the best natural treatments for muscle pains, arthritis, fatigue, and respiratory infections.
One study found that juniper berry essential oil may contain an approximate of over 85 active compounds including antifungal, antibacterial, and potent amounts of antioxidants.
A study made in 2013 showed that tree tea oil has antimicrobial contents that help protect the body from harmful pathogens. Tea tree essential oil efficacy is not only limited to the sore throat but also on rejuvenating and purifying the skin.
The plant itself already possesses a number of health benefits and medicinal use. Studies have shown that oregano essential oil has abundant amounts of antiviral and antifungal properties. It also shows effective remedy parasite infections.
Oregano essential oil is effective either in vapor or liquid form and its efficacy as antimicrobial properties is not affected even when placed in boiling water.