Can essential oils be an effective treatment for asthma?
Getting the right asthma treatment is essential to living a quality life despite having this chronic illness. In fact, if asthma is NOT treated, there can be serious complications down the line. But many of us really don't enjoy being tied to a daily or twice daily inhaler, not to mention having to use a supplementary rescue inhaler if we exert too much or come into contact with one of our triggers.
And asthma treatment is also expensive, so if you don't have prescription coverage from health insurance, the costs can be hard to manage. Of course, the costs of not treating asthma are potentially even higher.
This is the reason why so many people who have asthma seek out more natural alternative treatments. I wrote about this a few years ago in my post on Natural Alternatives to Traditional Asthma Treatment. Most so-called natural therapies are relatively low risk, but they also cannot usually substitute for traditional treatment. Think of them more as an add-on, or complementary.
Recently, I was introduced to the possible benefits of essential oils for asthma by someone passionate about the subject. This lady truly believes that essential oils have helped her lead a higher quality of life, despite severe seasonal allergies and asthma.
As a nurse, I have a certain skepticism about some of the claims she made while I met with her, but as a seeker and an asthma sufferer who hates taking medicine, I was also intrigued enough to do some deeper research... or at least to attempt to do so. Unfortunately, while there is a lot of information available, not much of it is what I would call credible.
But let's take a look at what we do know.
Facts About Essential Oils
Have you heard of aromatherapy? Well, that's basically what we're talking about. Essential oils are highly concentrated plant oils that come from the aromatic compounds of a plant. They are extracted from the flowers, leaves, roots and other parts of certain plants.
The oils can be mixed with lotion or a carrier oil and applied to the skin or they can be inhaled, either directly or via a diffuser. In some cases, you might even mix them with water or milk and drink them. They are said to promote well-being and stimulate healing.
Unfortunately, there has not been a lot of credible scientific research done to prove whether or not essential oils are actually able to have positive effects that go beyond placebo. But there have been a few studies that suggest the following oils show promise in treating certain health issues:
- Lemon oil (lifts mood, lessens stress)
- Tea tree oil (helps heal a variety of skin conditions)
- Lavender (good for anxiety & insomnia)
- Rosemary (decrease stress, increase alertness)
- Peppermint (headaches, nausea, irritable bowel syndrome)
Will Essential Oils Treat Asthma?
Most lay websites you'll find do claim that all sorts of different essential oils can help asthma, as did the lady who inspired this article. But what can you really believe?