Vaporizers help soothe a cough by raising the moisture level in the air. People suffering with a cough due to colds, flu or allergies breathe easier when humidity levels rise from the use of a vaporizer. Many people find the warm mist from a vaporizer sufficient by itself, but several aromatic oils can help to quiet a cough when added to the vaporizer’s water. In most cases, just a few drops of oil are needed.
Look near the vaporizers in your retail store to find bottles of camphor-based vaporizer additive. According to WebMD, camphor was originally made by distilling the bark and wood from camphor trees. Today's camphor is manufactured from turpentine oil. Camphor works by stimulating nerve endings that relieve symptoms such as pain and itching. People have long turned to inhaling camphor vapors as a way to reduce the urge to cough.
Oil of eucalyptus is steam distilled from the leaves of certain species of fragrant eucalyptus trees. It has a long history of use as a decongestant and expectorant—a substance that helps expel mucus through coughing. Not only does eucalyptus help to clear a stuffy head and quiet coughs, it contains substances that make it a natural disinfectant. When diffused through a vaporizer, eucalyptus helps heal any infection lurking behind a cough, and provides a cleansing freshening to the air as well.
Menthol, which is present in abundance in peppermint oil, helps in clearing the respiratory tract. Just a few drops added to a vaporizer and inhaled will quiet coughs and ease congestion. Spearmint contains nearly no menthol, but works similarly to peppermint oil in helping to clear nasal and chest secretions and quiet coughs. Spearmint’s lower menthol levels make it safer than peppermint for treating children’s coughs. Peppermint and spearmint feature antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties.
Like mint, rosemary oil is a natural antiseptic, making it effective for the treatment of respiratory infections. Rosemary oil is unmatched in its abilities to help heal respiratory problems, and has been used since ancient times to treat a variety of illnesses. It has antispasmodic properties making it particularly helpful in treating the symptoms of bronchial asthma.
Adding anything but water to your vaporizer can damage plastic parts. Use oils sparingly, and clean the vaporizer after each use.
People who are pregnant or breastfeeding, who suffer with allergies or take prescription medications should consult a physician before self-treating a cough by inhaling aromatic oils from a vaporizer.
Based in Atlanta, Georgia, Angela Tedson has been writing slice-of-life articles since 2005. Her work has appeared in "Southern Family" magazine and "Angie's List" magazine. Tedson holds an Associate of Arts degree from the Art Institute of Atlanta.