6 Essential Oils For A Sore Throat
This content was updated for accuracy and relevance on November 22nd, 2020
You wake up with a full schedule ahead of you, needing to feel your best so you can tackle a long list of tasks. But what’s this? A gnawing, raw feeling in your throat?
If only there were some way to nip that sore throat in the bud so you could get on with your day...
You may already have an arsenal of aids that call upon plants’ healing powers, including eucalyptus-infused cough drops and chamomile tea. Did you know that essential oils can also help combat sore throats and other related symptoms?
In this short article, we'll go over six of our favorite natural essential oils for sore throat support. We'll also discuss the safest, most effective ways to use them.
How Essential Oils Can Help Sore Throats
The most frequent cause of sore throats is a viral infection, and a scratchy throat is often a symptom of the common cold. While there’s no cure for the common cold, essential oils may help to relieve your symptoms. How does it work?
When your body senses a threat, it creates inflammation to fight off the invading pathogen. This can manifest as soreness, redness, and other forms of physical discomfort.
Powerful anti-inflammatory essential oils can help clear inflammation, lessening your symptoms as your body continues to fight the virus.
The best essential oils for sore throats have anti-inflammatory properties (or antibacterial properties) when inhaled or used in aromatherapy.
Next, we’ll take a closer look at our six favorite essential oils for sore throats and other cold symptoms.
Long prized in India, Sandalwood is used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine for the following purposes:
Treating surface wounds
Strengthening the respiratory system
Sandalwood’s ability to clear topical inflammation is one of its most well-studied properties, and you’ll find the pure essential oil in luxury skincare products of all kinds.
However, a 2012 review of Sandalwood’s properties notes that this oil is also effective at clearing inflammation in the mouth and throat.
Edens Garden Sandalwood Around the World oil combines the most potent healing properties from Indian, Australian, and Hawaiian Sandalwood, making it perhaps the best essential oil to use for a sore throat.
As an added bonus, its warm and woody aroma will help you feel grounded, calm, and ready to persevere in spite of any lingering symptoms.
Eucalyptus essential oil is a well-known remedy for all kinds of respiratory complaints. In fact, the herbal, camphor-rich aroma may come to mind every time you get sick (if your parents used Vicks Vaporub to help you get through your childhood illnesses).
There are good reasons why this plant and its extracts are used to treat sore throats in cultures around the world.
Eucalyptus oil is:
- Antiseptic and antibacterial – One study highlights the antibacterial action of Eucalyptus and notes its usefulness in alleviating sore throats, as well as other cold symptoms.
- Anti-inflammatory – In a study of 60 patients, researchers found that a throat spray containing Lemon Eucalyptus and Eucalyptus globulus was able to reduce sore throat and associated inflammatory symptoms in just twenty minutes. Peppermint oil, Rosemary oil, and Oregano oil may also have the same effects in a spray.
It’s also thought to help reduce coughing and congestion. That’s why this essential oil is ideal for diffusion, and for homemade chest rubs (think of an all-natural Vicks Vaporub).
Note that Eucalyptus essential oil is an especially potent ingredient, and is not generally safe for young children. Even with older children, use cautiously, or swap for Lavender essential oil.
3. Tea Tree
Tea Tree essential oil is another anti-inflammatory powerhouse that is often used as a natural remedy for sore throat pain. Eucalyptus and Tea Tree are cousins. Hence, the two have some similar properties. Tea Tree oil is known to be:
Recent research suggests that, when diffused or applied topically, Tea Tree can directly act on some microbial cells to prevent their spread. This means it might help to reduce the severity of a cold (whether its root cause is viral or bacterial).
In addition, Tea Tree is anti-inflammatory, especially when applied topically. This makes it a popular additive to skin and hair products. While more studies are needed to gauge its efficacy on the respiratory tract, there are some signs Tea Tree might help with sore throat inflammation, too.
4. Red Thyme
Red Thyme has been used as a medicinal herb since the Middle Ages. In the intervening centuries, this popular culinary herb has served as a folkloric cure for ailments including:
A 2017 study revealed Red Thyme’s antimicrobial properties fight against oral pathogens. While this study was conducted in test tubes, its results, along with traditional lore, indicate that diffused Red Thyme oil may be effective in soothing a sore throat.
Bright, acidic Lemon is often added to household cleaning solutions because it is highly antibacterial and antiviral. These qualities also make it one of the best essential oils for a sore throat.
There’s a reason why Lemon oil is a frequent addition to cough drops or other throat lozenges!
As you know, sore throats are often accompanied by other cold-like symptoms, including fatigue, sniffles, and headaches. Some Lemon essential oil benefits include:
Relaxing your body
Focusing your mind
This uplifting aroma also pairs well with most other essential oils.
6. Guardian Synergy Blend
Are you overwhelmed by all the options for your sore throat? With the Guardian Synergy Blend, you don’t have to choose.
This energizing, immune-boosting diffuser blend contains:
Warm and energizing, this oil can help your immune system beat your cold and go about your day as usual.
Once you’ve purchased it or another essential oil to treat your symptoms, follow our suggestions below to ensure safe and effective use.
How To Use Essential Oils For A Sore Throat
Now that you know what essential oils are good for a sore throat, you’re likely eager to put your oils to work.
Though it may seem counterintuitive, we don’t recommend that ingest or gargle with essential oils for a variety of reasons.
While some brands recommend essential oils for internal use, individual health, weight, medical history, and other factors can make ingesting essential oils risky.
When you swallow an essential oil, you put highly concentrated plant matter in contact with vulnerable mucous membranes.
If you are interested in consuming essential oils, consult with a medical doctor and a certified aromatherapist.
With that out of the way, let’s take a look at the ways you can use essential oils to treat sore throats.
One way to experience an essential oil’s beneficial effects is to apply it to the front and back of your neck, along the throat.
To apply your essential oils topically, try roll-on essential oils. In fact, one of EG’s go-to’s for sore throat is the Sandalwood roll-on. For a more tailored sore throat remedy, see our recipe below.
Throat Coat Roll-On
Supplies: 10 ml empty Roll-On bottle
- 5 drops Sandalwood
- 3 drops Tea Tree
- 2 drops Eucalyptus (for children, swap Eucalyptus for Lavender oil)
- 10 ml of carrier oil (such as Fractionated Coconut oil)
Add a few drops of your oils to your Roll-On and shake gently to combine. Then, apply to the front and back of your neck, along your throat. Reapply throughout the day.
Diffusions and Steam
You may also inhale your essential oils by steam inhalation or diffusion.
Consider adding a diffuser to your bedroom, your car, or anywhere else you spend significant time throughout the day.
To create a steam, simply:
Bring water to a simmer
Fill a large, heat-proof bowl ⅔ full with the heated water
Add 2 drops Guardian essential oil blend
Close your eyes and place your head over the bowl with a towel draped over your head and shoulders
Breathe deeply for five minutes (or longer)
Now that you know more about the best essential oils for sore throat support, try using your selected oils until you're feeling better. However, if your symptoms persist or worsen, remember to consult with your physician about the proper pain relief for your condition (i.e. tonsillitis, seasonal allergies, a runny nose, the flu, a cold, strep throat, a bacterial infection, etc.).
Ready to experience botanical healing? Get started with our Health & Wellness Set which is available in a set of 3 or 6 essential oils.
“Sacred Sandalwood.” Maharishi Ayurveda. https://www.mapi.com/ayurvedic-knowledge/plants-spices-and-oils/sandalwood-is-sacred.html
Kumar, A. N. Arun, et al. “Sandalwood: History, Uses, Present Status and the Future.” Current Science 103.2 (2012): 1408–1416. JSTOR, jstor.org/stable/24089347
Mulyaningsih, Sri et al. “Antibacterial activity of essential oils from Eucalyptus and of selected components against multidrug-resistant bacterial pathogens.” Pharmaceutical Biology 49.9 (2011). https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21591991/
Ben-Arye, Eran et al. “Treatment of upper respiratory tract infections in primary care: a randomized study using aromatic herbs.” Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine (2011). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2967840/
Carson, Christine, K. A. Hammer, and T. V. Riley. “Melaleuca alternifolia (Tea Tree) Oil: a Review of Antimicrobial and Other Medicinal Properties.” Clinical Microbiology Reviews 19.1 (2006): 50-62. https://cmr.asm.org/content/19/1/50.short#sec-17
Fani, Mohammadmehdi, and Jamshid Kohanteb. “In Vitro Antimicrobial Activity of Thymus vulgaris Essential Oil Against Major Oral Pathogens.” Journal of evidence-based complementary & alternative medicine 22.4 (2017): 660-666. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5871273/