How to Use Eucalyptus Oil for Cough?

Undoubtedly eucalyptus is one of the best essential oils to use for upper respiratory conditions. However, it can be problematic for children if not used skillfully. Eucalyptus is best used topically but applied only to children’s backs in very small dilutions. It works best when added into creams, lotions and massage oils and can be helpful if used as eucalyptus is used in Traditional Australian medicine, as an inhalant. 

In this article, we’ll break down some of the best ways of how to use eucalyptus oil for cough complaints. We’ll start with the most difficult bit and work backwards.

How to Use Eucalyptus Oil for Coughs in Children?

Eucalyptus essential oil is rich in a constituent called 1, cineole. Famously, this has tremendous antimicrobial, antibacterial, antibiotic properties. It is tremendous for helping to alleviate coughs and colds, however, another of its effects is to slow respiration. For this reason, we do not use eucalyptus essential oil for children’s coughs, unless they are not responding to any other essential oils.

Before we try eucalyptus, we would want to try Frankincense, Tea Tree, Myrtle or Niaouli Oils, All of which would be safer for children than Eucalyptus Essential Oil.

Should they be unsuccessful in making any difference, use Eucalyptus in very tiny dilutions for children.

We would recommend a maximum dilution of 0.25%. This equates to one drop of essential oil in 1 tablespoon of carrier oil. This should only be applied to their backs, never close to their faces.

Associate all across their backs so that the active constituents can absorb through the skin into the bloodstream and start to heal the lungs from the inside.

How to Use Eucalyptus Oil for Coughs in Adults?

The only other safety concerns of how to use Eucalyptus oil for coughs would be during the first 16 weeks of pregnancy. We would always recommend avoiding any essential oils during these first delicate few weeks. Other than that, Eucalyptus is safe for grown-ups at a maximum dilation of 3%.

If you have got good control of your breathing, and you can do it without setting yourself off coughing worse, it can be a great idea to hold the bottle of essential oil in your hand with the top off, then to gasp the fumes of the essential oil. Traditionally, in Australia, healers would burn the Eucalyptus branches for the smoke to be inhaled. This works in a very similar way. The active constituents are taken directly into the lungs to be able to start the healing from the inside.

You could also try adding a couple of drops to a bowl of hot water and putting a towel over your head.

Be warned that your nose will run terribly if you do this however it does help you to breathe more easily.

How to Use Eucalyptus Oil in The Bath?

Using essential oils in the bath can be tremendously helpful in conditions like this because you attack from three different standpoints. As we lie in the water, millions of pores open, making tiny gateways for essential oils to absorb through the skin and into the bloodstream. This is particularly useful with oils like Eucalyptus and Tea Tree that are bursting with antimicrobial and antibiotic constituents.

In the same way, we inhale the constituents that go to our brain and influence our thoughts and emotions. Eucalyptus is uplifting, penetrating and invigorating. Extremely useful if you feel very under the weather.

Fumes from the Eucalyptus are liberated by the warm water and made into steam. They are taken up our noses, travel around our respiratory system and end up in our lungs.

Two important details to know are that researchers now know that it will take 19 minutes for all the essential oils to penetrate through the skin and into the bloodstream. It’s important that you stay in the bath for at least 20 minutes, ideally for half an hour.

Also, you will remember from school that oil and water do not mix. Hence, when essential oil is going to bathwater, regardless of there being 50+ gallons, they remain undiluted. If you have a bad cough or cold you may consider adding other oils with antimicrobial properties like Clove or Cinnamon. These are very hot, sharp and powerful and are skin irritants. You must dilute your essential oils into a carrier oil before adding them to the warm water to protect your skin.

It’s worth pointing out that oil makes baths very slippery. Please be careful as you get out and ensure that you give it a wipe round so that you protect the next person getting into it.

There is No Need to Massage Eucalyptus for Coughs

How to Use Eucalyptus Oil for Coughs

It can seem a bit misleading that all the data you read about how to use Eucalyptus oil for coughs and colds tend to talk about massage oils. This does not mean that you need to have a massage to use them. Oil is simply the best way to dilute and transport them, but you could just as well use a bit of moisturizer or a lotion to apply it. Clearly though, if you give someone a massage, you’ll be able to spread the oil right across the back and chest, giving the oils the best chance of getting to infected areas of the lungs.

In the same way, it is not necessary to try to massage it onto your chest all the time. If you're working, for instance, it can be difficult not least because oil can damage your clothes quite badly.

Be clear that essential oil is absorbed through the skin and goes into the blood system to travel around the whole system. Essential oils have a very clever way of finding their way to the places that need them.

For this reason, then, it can often be really helpful to simply rub the essential oil preparation into the inside of your wrist where there is a good blood supply. You’ll be able to see the blue veins that will absorb these oils and channel them around the circulation until they get to the lungs.

How To Use Eucalyptus Oil For Cough Complaints?

Just to clarify, Eucalyptus is equally as useful for acute conditions such as coughs, colds, laryngitis, bronchitis as it is for more complex and chronic conditions such as chronic bronchitis, COPD and emphysema.

Other essential oils that can really help in these long-term conditions are things like Frankincense, Myrtle, ravensara and myrrh.

How Often To Apply Eucalyptus For Coughs?

Essential oils work cumulatively, which means that every time you add a bit more you can expect the effects to get stronger. We see this a lot in clinical trials where women have had oils for painful periods for instance. They have some relief in the first month, but when the next month comes round thief pain is much less. So, it’s important to build up the oils. 

For an acute infection like this, it can be really effective to use it as often as you remember, 5,6 or even 7 times a day. 

Remember that it will take 20 mins for the oils to absorb, and so if you apply more during that time, you're not really adding anything. Do it at least an hour apart. 

One of the people’s key concerns about how to use Eucalyptus oil for coughs is that they might overdose. But that’s not really an issue if you are using Eucalyptus Oil topically. The body takes what it wants then just excretes the rest as waste products. 

DIY Recipes to Use Eucalyptus Oil for Coughs

Massage Oil for Tickly Cough

Safety: Not suitable for children under 6 and not during pregnancy (Ravensara) 

Massage Oil for Chesty Cough

Safety: Not suitable for children under 6 and not during pregnancy (Ravensara). Hyssop also makes this a problematic blend for people who suffer from any kind of delusory condition like psychosis or schizophrenia.


In summary, there are several ways of how to use Eucalyptus oil for cough complaints. As stated, take six or seven gasps of the essential oil. Add a couple of drops into some carrier oil and either add to your bath or massage it in. Be careful of using Eucalyptus on children unless you have a clinical diagnosis from a doctor of bronchitis, and then only use it in tiny dilutions of 0.25%. In all other cases use Frankincense or Myrtle instead. 

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