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respiratory diseases

Parts of this were taken with permission from Essential Oils Overview and Reference Guide, published by: The Family Tree, 2008


Respiratory SystemAs the muscle surrounding the thoracic cavity contract the lungs expand bringing air through the nasal passage and trachea down through the bronchial tube to the left and right bronchus.  These tubes on the interior of the lungs divide and subdivide ending in small bronchiole that then terminate with the alveoli.  It is here that oxygen from the air is diffused into the blood traveling through nearby capillaries and hence delivered into the bloodstream where it is taken to all the cells of the body. The unwanted carbon dioxide in the bloodstream is released into the lungs for exhalation.  In an adult there are 300 million alveoli making this life-giving Alveoliconversion 15 to 18 times a minute. There are a number of diseases that can compromise this process and affect the quality of life.  Some of the most common respiratory diseases are described below.  The most common have links to more detailed discussion on other pages while the remaining are discussed on these pages.

Pneumonia (see also pneumonia)

This is usually a bacterial or viral infection within the lungs.  The infection can occur in the air sacs (alveoli) deep in the lungs or the air passages (bronchial tubes).  As it spreads it inhibits the critical transfer of oxygen from outside air into the bloodstream that then feeds the cells of the body. 

Asthma  (for more information see also asthma)

Asthma is an inflammation or a muscle constriction of the bronchial tubes that then limits the amount of air that can be delivered in or out of the lungs.  The triggers for asthma are varied and include airborne allergens or pollutants, spasmodic cough, or it may be exercise induced.  For some it is a continual shortness of breath and for others episodes come in “attacks” interspersed with normal breathing.


This is usually a slow developing disease.  The small bulbs at the ends of the bronchial system called the alveoli are compromised limiting the amount of oxygen that can be delivered into the blood steam.  Loss of strength and stamina result as well as this requires the heart to work harder and leads to other complications.

Chronic Bronchitis (for more information see also bronchitis)

With bronchitis there is an excess of mucus in the bronchial tubes usually stemming from some form of external irritant.  The body’s reaction to the excess mucus is to expel it by coughing.  If the irritant continues the cough continues resulting in chronic bronchitis.  Cigarette smoke is a common irritant leading to this malady.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

This refers to a group of diseases the most common of which are emphysema and chronic bronchitis.  Their common characteristic is that oxygen is not delivered to the bloodstream either because airflow is blocked or the assimilation of oxygen into the bloodstream is compromised. Of course either makes it difficult to breathe.  The Mayo Clinic states that COPD is the leading cause of death and illness worldwide.

The most common cause of COPD is smoking and it is a preventable disease by simply not smoking or quitting as early as possible. 

Cystic fibrosis (more information see also cystic fibrosis)

This is a genetic disorder wherein the mucus that is normally produced by the body is deficient in water content, thereby is too viscous or thick.  This in turn makes it difficult for the normal process of expulsion of mucus and hence unwanted toxins from the lungs and bronchial tubes.  Collaterally the digestive system is also affected.  Damage to the bronchial passages may then lead to more susceptibility to bacterial or viral infections as well as breathing problems with the accompanying persistent coughing.

Lung Cancer (for general information see cancer)

This is the most common cancer in U.S. males.  It is also the leading cause of cancer deaths among U.S. males and now exceeds breast cancer in number of cancer deaths among U.S. women.  The most common types of lung cancer involve the uncontrolled growth of cells in the lining of the bronchial tubes.  Continual exposure to irritants can lead to the formation of these malignant and rapidly growing mutated cells.  Eventually in the process, as the number of malignant cells increase, some may dislodge and be carried in the blood or lymph to other parts of the body. 

Tuberculosis (for more information see also tuberculosis)

Pulmonary tuberculosis is a bacterial infection of the lungs.  The bacteria may infect other parts of the body but the high levels of oxygen and blood in the lungs make them an ideal target location.  Tuberculosis, until the 1980s, had become very rare.  With diseases that weaken the immune system becoming more common it too has also recently become more common.  The infection is spread through coughing, sneezing  or other exchanges of air from the lungs.

[additional search terms lungs, pulmonary, respiratory, breath, breathe, breathing, emphasyma, emphasema, tuberculosys]

Oils, blends & products recommended:

Oils & Blends:  Grounding Blend, Respiratory Blend, Eucalyptus, Frankincense, Lemon, Peppermint

Essential oils based products: GI Cleansing Formula, Basic Vitality Supplements (LLV), Probiotic Defense Formula

Also consider: Cinnamon, Clove, Oregano, Cleansing Blend, Sandalwood, Wild Orange

Suggested protocols:

see also cough, pneumonia, asthma, bronchitis, cystic fibrosis, cancer, tuberculosis

COPD, chronic bronchitis, emphysema

Although reversing the damage to lungs is not instantly possible help can be provided from essential oils by opening the air passages to the lungs thereby increasing the oxygen available.  Most direct of these techniques is using the (...) Respiratory Blend or a similar blend of essential oils.  Respiratory Blend includes the oils Eucalyptus, Laurel leaf, Lemon, Melaleuca, Peppermint, and Ravensara. 

Aromatically applying this blend is most commonly recommended.  Some simply apply 2 or 3 drops nightly to their upper lip, just under the nostrils, so it may be inhaled during the sleeping hours.  For instant results others have used the cup and inhale technique.  Here 1 or 2 drops are placed in the palm of the hand, the hands are rubbed together and then held over the nose while the aroma is inhaled deeply.  Another technique is to use a diffuser where the blend can be diffused in the atmosphere for long-term inhalation.  Other oils can be used or blended if Respiratory Blend is not available.  Look primarily to those oils mentioned above blended to your special needs or preference.

Coupling this with topical application of 1 or 2 drops of the blend to the chest and trachea area or the bottoms of the feet provides added effect for many.

For chronic cough also see cough.

One of the most common cause of COPD (emphysema and chronic bronchitis)  is smoking and it is a preventable disease by simply not smoking or quitting (easy to say) as early as possible.  (Essential oils can be helpful in overcoming some addictions.  See the page on addictions

Suggestions from real experience

I have COPD and I use Respiratory Blend nightly. I rub it on my chest and lung area and go to bed with my hand cupped near my nose. It opens up the lower passages of the airway and lets you breathe deep a bit before you fall asleep.

I also put a drop or two of Grounding Blend on my feet to make sure blood cells are delivering a better supply of oxygen to the lungs.  Also, to keep mucus thinned out, I have a pitcher of water in the refrigerator with Lemon or Wild Orange drops in it to drink. I also use Peppermint during the day to keep "lack of oxygen" headaches away. Pony


Long Term Helps

For longer term benefits use techniques that strengthen the immune system and the body’s overall homeostatic balance.  This will highly benefit someone with COPD since their quality of life has already been compromised with this debilitating disease.  Anyone with this problem should consider the following steps:

·  Weekly (or more frequently) Massage Blend technique.  This is a massage type application of eight various oils and blends designed to reduce stress, toxic insult, inflammation, and autonomic imbalance.

·  Daily supplement the diet with nutritional supplements such as the (...) Basic Vitality Supplements (LLV) Pack.  This provides necessary antioxidants, omega fatty acids, vitamins, and chelated minerals to add vitality and support overall wellness.

·  Concurrent with these two steps begin with an overall body cleanse and rebuilding of the good microorganisms in the gut.  This can be done using the (...) products GI Cleansing Formula followed by Probiotic Defense Formula.  GI Cleansing Formula is a 10 day regimen with essential oils capsules designed to destroy harmful pathogens in the digestive system.  Probiotic Defense Formula is a five day regimen, taking a capsule three times daily, that resets and re-colonizes the friendly digestive flora.

Experiences and Testimonials of others

Submissions directly to  EverythingEssential.me.  Our thanks to:


Suzanne - I love your oils. "Respiratory Blend" is an incredible oil.  I have a neighbor who suffers from severe lung problems and he tried some on his upper lip and immediately felt relief and could breathe much better. Thanks, (...).

Yvette - Hi, I have a question from a friend.  She has a respiratory problems.  I suggested for her to use the Respiratory Blend.  My husband not only uses Respiratory Blend but also Cinnamon bark, Oregano, and Clove. Diffusing these oils does help.  He also applies it on the feet.  He uses it orally neat so he is pretty tough, others should dilute it. Is there something else she can use to help her breathe better?

Pat - You are so right with using the Respiratory Blend, it to proves to be completely satisfactory to a lot of those who use it.  Also strengthen her by suggesting a cleanse from inside. Tthe GI Cleansing Formula followed by the Probiotic Defense Formula protocol is super, couple this with the nutritional supplements found in the Basic Vitality Supplements (LLV) supplements.


Momof6 - I have a question that a person at work asked.  Is there anyone who knows which oils might benefit some one with MAC Lung Disease?  Here is some information she gave me. “Mycobacterium avium intracellulare” (MAI) or “Mycobacterium avium Complex” (MAC) is an atypical NON-TB germ (micro-organism). MAC is related to the tuberculosis germ, but is not contagious and the MAC microbes live in the environment. It comprises more than one type of microorganism (both M. avium and M. intracellulare). It causes two types of lung disease. One type results in multiple nodules in the lungs and is referred to as “nodular disease”. The second type is associated with cavities in the upper parts of the lung that mimic tuberculosis. This type of disease is referred to as “upper lobe cavitary disease”.

Dian - Try Cleansing Blend in the diffuser, rub it on her back in the lung area, down her sides starting from under the arm just below the armpit and on the upper chest area were the top of the lungs are.

Pat – The topical application of the Respiratory Blend and Frankincense oil applied as others have suggested increases the oxygen supply. Also strengthen her by suggesting a cleanse using GI Cleansing Formula followed by the Probiotic Defense Formula as well as the Basic Vitality Supplements (LLV) pack for the proper nutritional supplements.

energy4life - The husband of a friend of mine has cystic fibrosis, and is closely monitored by his doctors. In November, my friend bought a diffuser and some oils. Right around that time, they both got H1N1, and were very ill. The H1N1 turned into pneumonia for my friend (thankfully, not for her husband though.) They diffused lots of Lemon throughout this time, as well as Geranium.

On an outing this evening, my friend announced to everyone that if it wasn't for the (...) oils and her diffuser, she is sure that she would have ended up in the hospital. Then she told me that her husband went for an MRI last week, to track his cystic fibrosis, and his doctors were very excited to see that his lungs are in comparable condition to what they were 10 years ago. Apparently a big improvement from the last MRI. Most significantly, the lower portion of his lungs were in excellent condition (it is not good if there is a lot of congestion very deep in the lungs, for a cystic fibrosis patient). I was thrilled to hear this, and just want to share about what a great oil Geranium is! I have also used it with another client for shingles with excellent results.


Chris - An 83 years old friend has been having a difficult time.  She can't go out and do the things she would like to do because she has problems breathing and becomes exhausted quickly.  After an auto accident where she had no apparent injuries she has been experiencing more difficulty breathing.  Her huffing and puffing is most noticeable and more pronounced with any activity like getting out of chair and walking across a room.  

Brooke - The lungs function to exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide and they keep the body supplied with the oxygen necessary to keep cells alive.  Essential oils books recommend Frankincense and Sandalwood either applied topically (diluted with carrier oil) to the lung area flow or diffused into the air to help with increase the oxygen supply.

It also would be helpful for her to apply Breath, Eucalyptus, and Sandalwood on the bottoms of her feet.  (Other oils that are also recommended are Joyful Blend (Elevating Blend) and Protective Blend for possible infections). The recommendations also say to apply to oils or blends to the chest, sinuses, neck or reflex points on the feet.


Sunny - For as long as I can remember, I have had trouble getting enough air while breathing at night.  I'll lay down to sleep and my nasal passages will be totally free.  However, when I wake in the morning, my nose will be totally blocked up.  Even when I arise and blow my nose, this action doesn't remove the blockage.  Only by standing upright and proceeding about my day does the blockage gradually clear up.

Last week, two neighbors of mine told me how they use a drop or two of Respiratory Blend under their nose when they go to sleep at night.  It helps them to get a better night's rest.  I've tried this for 3 days now and I cannot tell you what a blessed, welcome relief it is to awake in the morning and be able to take a deep breath through my nose!

Additionally, I find that I'm sleeping more soundly (sometimes don't wake up in the middle of the night) and get up feeling like I have more energy right off the bat, which in turn contributes to a more positive attitude.

Ramona - Awesome story!  We LOVE Respiratory Blend at our house too!  Perfect for asthma!

LaReita - Dr. Susan Lawton also suggested that the pillows and the bed itself contain agents that our bodies do not like.  (Pillows and mattresses usually contain synthetic fragrances and dyes as well as petrochemicals, both known to disrupt our breathing.) She suggested that for pillows and beds to once a month spritz with Clove and Peppermint.


Joni - Does anyone know what can be done for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis? I'm thinking Respiratory Blend just to help open up the lungs and increase breathing capacity.  Any other oils that would be helpful?

Pony - I have COPD & I use Respiratory Blend nightly. I rub it on my chest and over my lung area, put on a light t-shirt and go to bed with my hand cupped near my nose. It feels so good! It opens up the lower passages of the airway if you breathe deep a bit before you fall asleep. You can feel the warmth as the oil penetrated your rib areas.

I also make sure to put a drop or two of Grounding Blend on my feet to make sure those blood cells are running freely in order to better supply the oxygen to the lungs.  Also, to keep mucus thinned out I have a pitcher of water in the refrigerator with Lemon or Wild Orange drops in it to drink. Use Peppermint during the day to keep those "lack of oxygen" headaches away and breathe deeper, slowly.

Pat - My brother also has COPD and he uses the Respiratory Blend and it really helps him a lot.

Protocols folks recommend for children



Diet and Nutritional complements to essential oils


What Science & Research are saying

98th General Assembly of the American Society of Microbiology
Dr. Diane Horne, Weber State University

Synopsis (by Robert James)

Research found that some essential oils, Oregano, Thyme and Rosewood oils, in particular, create an autolytic reaction in organisms, including Streptococcus pneumonia.

Dr. Horne told the 98th general assembly of the American Society of Microbiology about the serendipitous discovery of the impact of the oils on cells such as Streptococcus pneumonia. A co-researcher was spraying aromatic oils in the laboratory. "When I looked at the S. pneumonia that I was preparing for another experiment, the cells were just falling apart," Dr. Horne reported

The best results occurred with Oregano, Thyme and Rosewood and intermediate inhibition of the pathogens was achieved with Cinnamon oil and Clove oil, Dr. Horne said at a poster presentation at the meeting. Dr. Horne pointed out that the oils also showed efficacy against E. coli and several species of fungi.


Anti-inflammatory effects of Myrtol standardized and other essential oils on alveolar macrophages from patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Eur J Med Res. 2009 Dec 7;14 Suppl 4:205-9.;  Rantzsch U, Vacca G, Dück R, Gillissen A.;   St. George Medical Center, Robert-Koch-Hospital, Leipzig, Germany.



Myrtol standardized is established in the treatment of acute and chronic bronchitis and sinusitis. It increases mucociliar clearance and has muco-secretolytic effects. Additional anti-inflammatory and antioxidative properties have been confirmed for Myrtol standardized, Eucalyptus oil, and Orange oil in several in vitro studies.


The aim of this study was to prove the ability of essential oils to reduce cytokines release and reactive oxygen species (ROS) production derived from ex vivo cultured alveolar macrophages.


Alveolar macrophages from patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD, n=26, GOLD III-IV) were pre-cultured with essential oils (10(3)-10(-8)%) for 1 h and then stimulated with LPS (1 microg/ml). After 4 h and 20 h respectively a) cellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) using 2',7'-dichlorofluorescein (DCF), and b) TNF-alpha, IL-8, and GM-CSF secretion were quantified.


In comparison with negative controls, pre-cultured Myrtol, Eucalyptus oil and Orange oil (10-4%) reduced in the LPS-activated alveolar macrophages ROS release significantly after 1+20 h as follows: Myrtol -17.7% (P=0.05), Eucalyptus oil -21.8% (P<0.01) and Orange oil -23.6% (P<0.01). Anti-oxidative efficacy was comparable to NAC (1 mmol/l). Essential oils also induced a TNF-alpha reduction: Myrtol (-37.3%, P<0.001), Eucalyptus oil (-26.8%, P<0.01) and Orange oil (-26.6%, P<0.01). TNF-a reduction at 1+4 h and 1+20 h did not vary (Myrtol: -31.9% and -37.3% respectively, P= 0.372) indicating that this effect occurs early and cannot be further stimulated. Myrtol reduced the release of GM-CSF by -35.7% and that of IL-8 only inconsiderably.


All essential oils tested have effective antioxidative properties in ex vivo cultured and LPS-stimulated alveolar macrophages. Additionally, Myrtol inhibited TNF-a and GM-CSF release best indicating additional potent anti-inflammatory activity.



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NOTE: The advice shared in this site has not been evaluated by the FDA. The products and methods recommended are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease, nor is it intended to replace proper medical help. As members offer or look for answers, kindly understand that essential oils work to help to bring the body into balance - thus helping the body's natural defenses to restore homeostasis. Essential oils are not used to "treat" medical problems.