When I first began using essential oils I was warned to be careful because they would set off my asthma. I am happy to say that in my case that has never happened. As a matter of fact some oils have shown to benefit the asthma sufferer. Every individual reacts differently to scents, so if your asthma is set off by odors then this article is not for you. However, if essential oils do not trigger your attacks, then keep reading.
There are several essential oils that can benefit those with asthma, most notably Hyssop decumbens (Hyssopus officinalis var decumbens). A mentor of mine shared the story of relieving a severe attack her husband was having in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. His asthma was eased by inhaling this hyssop and it reduced the care he required, much to the surprise of the medical staff.
An article researching the ways to treat asthma mentions that there is no cure for asthma, and that some people are looking for more natural treatments. “The therapeutic capabilities of essential oils are nothing new and may be helpful for some people with asthma. The following oils have some evidence to suggest a health benefit for people with asthma.” The examples they offer include “Eucalyptus (because) research suggests that eucalyptus oil may have anti-inflammatory properties,” and also “Lavender (because) it has natural sedative and anti-inflammatory characteristics that may help people with asthma.” The article does warn that certain oils “can trigger asthma symptoms and attacks. Essential oils are not recommended for people with asthma who are very sensitive to smells and whose symptoms are easily triggered by them.”
Aromatherapists have other essential oils that they include in asthma diffusion blends, including Blue Tansy (Tanacetum annuum), Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens), Khella (Ammi visnaga), May Chang (Litsea cubeba), and Roman Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile). Some oils are chosen for their ability to dilate bronchioles in the lungs to make breathing easier, while others act as antihistamines to reduce inflammation and some are antispasmodics. Before making a blend, have the asthmatic quickly smell one drop of the individual oil on a cotton ball to see of they have a reaction, and then choose accordingly from the list above.