The Best Essential Oils for Sore Throat Relief

Speed up recovery time by using these 8 essential oils.
The Best Essential Oils for Sore Throat Relief

You know the feeling. You throat is constricted and every swallow feels like you’re in the middle of the Sahara desert without water. Drinking liquids can be a challenge and it feels like the pain just doesn’t go away. Having a sore throat is no fun.

You don’t have to take antibiotics or medications with serious side effects every time you get sick. Essential oils have the power to alleviate symptoms of the common cold. They can help to soothe a sore throat and defeat the streptococcus bacteria that cause infections such as strep throat. They also smell and taste great so you don’t have to choke down disgusting syrups or suck on artificial throat lozenges.

Sore throats are characterized by scratchiness, swelling, and irritation that can make swallowing difficult and uncomfortable. Chest congestion and a runny nose can often accompany sore throats. You may also experience a fever or feelings fo the chills.

Sore throats occur for a variety of reasons ranging from infection to irritation from stomach bile. The most common cause of sore throat is illness or infection from bacteria. You can also get a sore throat from smoking and allergies. The good news is that you can alleviate the pain symptoms and speed up recovery time by using these essential oils.

Best Essential Oils for Sore Throat

1. Eucalyptus Essential Oil

Eucalyptus is one of the most common staples in home remedies designed to treat the common cold. Eucalyptus oil is extracted from the eucalyptus tree and recognized by the Latin name Eucalyptus radiata. The fresh tingling fragrance helps to open airways and reduce swelling that causes sore throats.

This oil is a key ingredient in many over-the-counter cold and flu medications. The main benefit of eucalyptus is that it relieves congestion. It can also improve respiratory circulation and eliminate mucus that causes throat irritation. Researchers believe eucalyptus sore throat benefits come from a compound known as cineole. Cineole is particularly beneficial in reducing inflammation that can cause difficulty swallowing.

2. Lemon Essential Oil

Lemons are powerhouses when it comes to immune health. They remove toxins from the body and their high concentration of vitamin C helps to ward off infections. Lemon oil is extracted from the rind of the lemon fruit and is sold by the botanical name Citrus limon. It boasts antibacterial properties that help to eliminate harmful bacteria. It also naturally cleanses the body of toxins and impurities while emiting a bright, sunshiny scent.

Chemical compounds in lemon oil also help to increase salivation, which helps keep a sore throat moist. A study published in BioMed Research International found that lemon essential oil was able to reduce pain and inflammation. This is essential for people who are seeking relief from the pain of a sore throat.

3. Juniper Berry Essential Oil

Juniper berry essential oil is derived from the juniper tree and is known as Juniperus communis. It has a woody, spicy aroma that induces calm and relaxation. Juniper berry oil is commonly found in household cleaning products thanks to its antibacterial properties and sweet, woodsy smell. Native Americans used the oil to treat infections and heal wounds. This essential oil contains more than 80 active ingredients that boast antifungal and antioxidant powers. Juniper berry oil is antispasmodic, which helps to reduce muscle contractions that result in the urge to cough. This helps to reduce throat pain caused by dry cough and excessive muscle contractions.

4. Oregano Oil

Oregano essential oil is extracted from the oregano plant known as Origanum vulgare. Oil of oregano boasts antiviral properties that help to alleviate sore throat pain caused by viruses. It also helps to defeat bacteria such as Klebsiella pneumonia, which can cause pneumonia and severe cough that can irritate the throat. Oregano oil is an expectorant that helps to reduce congestion and mucus production. It also has anesthetic qualities that help to numb pain in the throat.

5. Peppermint Essential Oil

Peppermint tea is a go-to favorite for many people when they get sick. Peppermint oil is derived from the leaves of the peppermint plant known as Mentha piperita. Peppermint oil can help to alleviate sinus infections and respiratory infections in addition to soothing a sore throat. A 2015 study found that peppermint oil was as effective as Garamycin — an antibiotic used to treat bacterial infections. The main component of peppermint oil is menthol, which provides a cooling effect. The slight tingling sensation helps to soothe a burning throat. Menthol also induces a calming effect that helps to relax throat muscles that are inflamed. The menthol in peppermint also helps to loosen phlegm that can irritate the throat.

6. Tea Tree Essential Oil

Tea tree oil is also known as melaleuca oil is derived from the Melaleuca alternifolia tree. It features a strong piney fragrance that invigorates the senses. The fragrance helps to open up airways and relieve a stuffy nose. Tea tree oil is an expectorant that reduces mucus production to soothe a sore throat. This oil also features antiseptic and antibacterial properties that help to eliminate the root cause of sore throats.

7. Clove Essential Oil

Clove oil is extracted from the clove plant known as Syzygium aromaticum. It is often used in medications thanks to its sweet, yet spicy scent. Clove oil is famous for its use in promoting oral health and dentistry. It has powerful anesthetic properties that help to numb feelings of pain. The main chemical component of clove oil is eugenol. Dentists use eugenol to reduce localized pain and swelling. It’s most often used in the treatment of fillings and tooth extractions. Eugenol also kills germs that can cause cavities and infections.

A study published in Acta Bio-Medica found that clove oil and cinnamon oil are both effective in treating the streptococcus bacteria that causes strep throat. The Journal of Dentistry also published a study documenting the power of clove oil in treating pain. Researchers found that clove oil was as effective as benzocaine gels — an anesthetic commonly used as a topical pain reliever and in cough drops. Using clove oil can help to alleviate the pain symptoms of a sore throat.

8. Thyme Essential Oil

Thyme oil is an effective agent in fighting bacteria that can cause sore throats. It helps to support immune and respiratory help while reducing inflammation. A study conducted in the United Arab Emirates examined the effect of thyme essential oil on more than 100 strains of bacteria. The results demonstrated clove oil ahs significant antiseptic activity in the digestive and respiratory tracts. This study also showed that thyme oil helps eliminate bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics.

How to Use Essential Oils to Soothe Throat Pain

Topical Application

You can relieve the pain of a sore throat by applying any of these essential oils directly to your skin. Always apply essential oils topically using carrier oil such as coconut oil, jojoba oil, or olive oil. Topical application allows the skin to absorb the oil quickly. Add 6 to 8 drops of essential oil to a heaping tablespoon of carrier oil. Blend well and gently massage into the throat, neck, and chest area.

Oral Use

There is a raging debate in the industry on whether essential oils can safely be consumed. Many experts caution against consuming pure essential oils due to their high concentration of chemical compounds. The FDA has certified some essential oils as generally safe for consumption. You can find the list of FDA-approved essential oils here. The National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy has an extensive database of guidelines for using essential oils and taking them orally.

Many of these sore throat oils can be consumed orally, when done cautiously. Only use the highest quality essential oils for oral consumption. Many lower quality oils are full of synthetics that can cause harmful side effects when ingested. Purchase essential oils from reputable brands that clearly state where and how the oil was grown and produced. We recommend that you use essential oils topically and as inhalation whenever possible.

Methods of oral consumption include taking essential oil capsules, drinking tea, or adding oils to recipes. Remember that is often takes hundreds of pounds of leaves to make a single bottle of essential oil. If you consume just one drop, you are likely ingesting the equivalence of several cups of herbal tea.

Always follow the guidelines on the essential oil when using. Add 1 single drop of essential oil to a large 32-ounce jug of water or to hot water to brew large batches of tea. You can also substitute oils for spices in foods, just make sure to do so according to instructions and proper dosage. If you are hesitant about taking essential oils orally, you can gargle with them instead. Add 1 drop of the essential oil to a glass of warm water. Gargle for 30 seconds before spitting the mixture into the sink.

Toxic Oils

While some of these oils may be consumed orally, there are a few that you should never ingest. Never consume tea tree oil or eucalyptus oil orally as they are toxic.

Symptoms of toxicity include dizziness, vomiting, seizures, and shallow breathing. Contact your poison control center if you experience any of these symptoms while using essential oils.


One of the most common and effective ways of soothing a sore throat with essential oils is aromatherapy. Each time you inhale the aroma of essential oils, miniscule molecular and chemical compounds enter your body. These compounds are responsible for the variety of health benefits and can alleviate sore throat pain.

There are many ways you can inhale essential oils to soothe a sore throat. Add a few drops of essential oil to a hot bath or pot of boiling water for steam inhalation. This is particularly useful for removing phlegm that can irritate the lining of the throat. You can also place 2 drops of essential oil in your palms and rub them together. Place your hands beneath your nose and mouth and inhale deeply for a few minutes. Alternatively, you can soak a cotton ball in essential oils and place them under your pillow or on your nightstand to inhale while sleeping.

The easiest way to inhale essential oils is by adding them to a diffuser. There are several different types of diffusers, but the most effective are nebulizer and ultrasonic diffusers. Simply add 2 to 3 drops of essential oil and breathe deeply. Some diffusers allow you to set a timer so you can release oils periodically throughout the day or consistently for a few minutes.

Feel Better With Essential Oils

You can treat symptoms of sore throat with essential oils whether you have a viral infection or irritation airway because of allergies. Bacterial infections are no match for the powerful chemical compounds and antioxidants in essential oils. The antimicrobial properties help to eliminate bacteria and get you on your way to feeling healthy again fast. Anti-inflammatory properties help to reduce inflammation that can make it difficult to swallow.

These natural remedies are a great alternative to medicated sore throat treatments. They taste and smell great so you don’t have to suffer taking medications that taste gross. Essential oils also boost your immune system so you can prevent the next cold from taking root. Pick one essential oil or use them all to feel better in no time.

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