8 Best Essential Oils for Sore Throats

Did you know that using essential oils can help alleviate or even prevent sore throats? Sore throats can occur throughout the year for various reasons, manifesting as irritation, scratchiness, or pain in the throat that tends to worsen when swallowing.

The throat or pharynx is the tube responsible for carrying food to the esophagus and air to the windpipe and larynx (voice box). A common sore throat is typically caused by a viral infection, while strep throat results from a bacterial infection, often stemming from various bacterial strains. Unfortunately, both types are highly contagious and can be transmitted through close contact with an infected person.

The most frequent culprit behind a sore throat is a cold or the flu. The onset of a cold or flu is often signaled by the initial discomfort and scratchiness in the throat. Other causes of sore throats include allergies, strep throat, mononucleosis, tonsillitis, smoking, or acid reflux.

In addition to the usual recommendations such as rest, proper nutrition, ample liquids, hot teas, and gargling, consider harnessing the natural benefits of essential oils to ease sore throat pain.

Top Essential Oils for Soothing Sore Throat

Essential oils have a wide range of applications, and if you’ve explored my other articles on essential oils, you might not be surprised to learn that they can be effective for treating sore throats too.

Here are some essential oils that can help alleviate the pain associated with a sore throat by killing germs, reducing inflammation, and promoting healing:


Peppermint oil is commonly used for various ailments such as the common cold, cough, sinus and respiratory infections, and throat inflammation, including sore throats. It is also utilized for digestive issues like heartburn, nausea, and upset stomach.

Peppermint essential oil contains menthol, providing a cooling sensation and calming effect on the body. Studies suggest that its antioxidant, antimicrobial, and decongestant properties can aid in soothing and healing a sore throat, while menthol helps to calm and thin mucus.


Lemon essential oil is renowned for its ability to detoxify the body, stimulate lymph drainage, boost energy, and purify the skin. Derived from the lemon peel, it is beneficial for sore throats due to its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.

Additionally, its high vitamin C content, saliva-inducing properties, and throat-moistening effects make it an excellent choice for soothing a sore throat.


Eucalyptus oil, found in many over-the-counter cough and cold products, is known for relieving congestion. Its health benefits include immune stimulation, antioxidant protection, and improved respiratory circulation.

The active compound in eucalyptus oil, cineole, has broad medicinal effects, including reducing inflammation and pain, and even exhibiting anti-leukemic properties. Incorporating eucalyptus oil into your routine can be a helpful step in combating a cold and soothing a sore throat.


Oregano, a well-known herb in oil form, is a smart choice for defending against a sore throat. Scientific evidence suggests that oregano essential oil possesses antifungal and antiviral properties. In fact, a study demonstrated that oregano oil treatment may be effective against parasite infections.

Notably, oregano oil has shown the ability to combat the superbug MRSA, both in liquid and vapor forms, and its antimicrobial activity remains potent even when heated in boiling water.


Clove essential oil is beneficial for boosting the immune system, making it highly effective in preventing and relieving a sore throat.

The advantages of clove oil for a sore throat can be attributed to its antimicrobial, antifungal, antiseptic, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and stimulating properties. Chewing on a clove bud can provide relief for a sore throat, as well as a toothache.


Hyssop, historically used as a cleansing herb in ancient times, was valued by physicians like Galen and Hippocrates for treating inflammation of the throat, chest, pleurisy, and other bronchial complaints in ancient Greece.

Hyssop oil’s antiseptic properties make it a potent substance for fighting infections and bacteria. Whether your sore throat is viral or bacterial, hyssop is an excellent choice for soothing a sore throat and addressing lung inflammation.


Thyme oil, known for its strong antioxidant and antimicrobial properties, has been a medicinal herb since ancient times. Thyme supports various body systems, including the immune, respiratory, digestive, and nervous systems.

Juniper Berry

Juniper berry essential oil, with its sweet, woodsy smell, is a popular ingredient in household cleaning products, aromatherapy blends, and fragrance sprays. It is widely used as a natural remedy for sore throat, respiratory infections, fatigue, muscle aches, and arthritis.

Research supports juniper berry essential oil’s effectiveness, revealing over 87 different active constituent compounds, including robust antioxidants, antibacterials, and antifungals.

How to Effectively Use Essential Oils for Sore Throat Relief

Essential oils can be a powerful remedy for soothing sore throats, and there are three main ways to use them: through inhalation, oral consumption, and topical application.

1. Inhalation

  • Aromatherapy: Inhaling the aroma of essential oils stimulates the limbic system in the brain, affecting stress, heart rate, breathing, hormone production, and blood pressure. You can practice direct inhalation by adding 1-2 drops of oil to your palms, rubbing them together, cupping your hands over your nose, and taking slow breaths.
  • Steam Inhalation: Add a few drops of essential oil to a bowl of hot water, create a tent with a towel over your head, and inhale the steam for relief. Be cautious not to burn yourself.

2. Oral Use

  • Ensure the oils are safe for ingestion, as not all are. Some essential oils are FDA-approved for internal use (GRAS designation). You can use essential oils in a gargle by adding 1-2 drops to half a glass of warm water and gargling. Do not swallow the mixture after gargling. You can also add a drop of oil to a glass of water, a teaspoon of honey, or use capsules.

3. Topical Application

  • Dilution: Due to their potency, dilute essential oils with carrier oils (olive, jojoba, sweet almond, or coconut oil) before applying to the skin. Add 5-10 drops of essential oil to two tablespoons of carrier oil or lotion.
  • Application Areas: Apply the diluted oil or lotion to beneficial areas such as the neck, chest, behind the ears, or the bottoms of the feet.

Recipes Using Essential Oils for Sore Throat:

  • Easy, Anti Sore Throat Steam Inhalation:
    • 3 drops clove essential oil
    • 3 drops juniper berry essential oil
    • Large bowl of boiling hot water
    • Directions: Add oils to boiled water, create a tent with a towel, and inhale the steam for 5 minutes.
  • Additional Gargle Recipe:
    • 3 drops lemon oil
    • 1 drop eucalyptus oil
    • Gargle for 10 seconds and then drink.

Risks and Cautions

  • Use therapeutic-grade essential oils.
  • Inhaled or topical use is generally safer than oral use.
  • Never ingest or apply undiluted essential oils without proper training or medical supervision.
  • Conduct a patch test and consult a specialist, especially for infants, children, pregnant women, seniors, and those with severe illnesses.
  • Seek medical attention if the sore throat is severe or lasts longer than one week.

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