Some days I get home, and maybe because of the environment I was in that day, or perhaps a weather change, my lungs feel tight and I can’t breathe quite right. Those days, I turn on my diffuser and use essential oils for asthma control.
Although asthma is more common in children than adults, I didn’t grow up with asthma. I didn’t have any respiratory problems until I left home and was in college. Maybe it had something to do with moving from a dry and clear-skied desert (Palm Springs) to the smoggy outskirts of Los Angeles. After I graduated with my bachelors, Orange County was no better. One winter I even developed bronchitis. Yikes!
Since then, I’ve always had an emergency inhaler on my person and taken an over-the-counter daily pill to manage my asthma. I stay away from environments that may trigger an attack (cats and dust). When I’d forget to take my pill while in a questionable environment or the change of seasons, I’d start wheezing again (though it may not appear until that night).
However, recently I have weaned myself off taking the daily pill. It’s important to have emergency measures available (I still carry my inhaler, though I haven’t used it in several months), but I’d rather not rely on a daily crutch if I can help it. So how did I go pill-free for managing my asthma?
I wish I could point to one thing directly and say “That was the solution!” In a research study, which takes many people and funds, they would control for other factors. I made a few changes. As a result, these changes (and perhaps some I haven’t thought of) may have contributed to the change.
Exercising for Asthma Control
For almost two years now I have engaged in a regular yoga practice about 3 times a week. Maintaining a healthy weight and exercising is good for your overall health -we all know this!
But, did you know that obese children are more likely to develop asthma? I have not found any studies to confirm that exercising regularly can control asthma symptoms. However, it make sense because exercise strengthens the lungs. Yoga in particular can help build lung capacity.
In addition, yoga alleviates stress and makes me feel amazing!
Research on Essential Oils for Asthma Control
Recently, I started learning about essential oils. Essential oils can be dangerous. I warn anyone not to take them internally or use directly on the skin without a carrier oil. Essential oils also should obviously not replace medicine when your doctor recommends treatment. Because there is not a lot of research around essential oils, I have experimented a bit myself to see what works.
I did find a couple of sources to support using specific essential oils for asthma:
- Lavender essential oil inhalation suppressed allergic airway inflammation and mucous cell production in a study with mice.
- Eucalyptus essential oil is effective on respiratory bacteria and viruses, including the flu.
The Big List of Essential Oils for Asthma Control
However, most of the stories out there are anecdotal. There just isn’t much research done around essential oils. Anecdotally, other oils are said to be support asthma and the respiratory system, including:
|Essential Oils for Asthma|
|Essential Oil||Properties||Benefits||Aroma||Typical Cost|
|Lavender||decongestant, sedative||calming, stress-relief, sleep||floral, light||~$10 on Amazon|
|Eucalyptus||decongestant, antiseptic, expectorant||invigorating||fresh, strong||~$8 on Amazon|
|Peppermint||decongestant, antihistamine||invigorating, focusing||menthol, cool||~$9 on Amazon|
|Tea Tree||expectorant||invigorating||medicinal, sharp||~$7 on Amazon|
|Roman Chamomile||sedative||calming, sleep||fruity||~$10 on Amazon|
|Frankincense||expectorant||calming, uplifting||spicy, woody||~$17 on Amazon|
|Oregano||antibacterial, anti-fungal||invigorating, energizing||sharp, herb||~$9 on Amazon|
|Clove||antispasmodic, analgesic, decongestant, anti-inflammatory||invigorating, relief||spicy, woody||~$6 on Amazon|
|Thyme||expectorant, antibacterial||invigorating||fresh, medicinal, herb||~$12 on Amazon|
All I can say that I have made changes to my lifestyle that include regular yoga and essential oil diffusing and I feel great! I rarely have an asthma reaction these days (unless I am bad and hang out around cats). While I don’t think anyone should rely completely on essential oils for treatment, I certainly think they help!