Essential Oils for a Sore Throat


A sore throat can be painful, thanks to the dry, scratchy irritation that is often worse when we swallow. Fortunately, the vast majority of cases of a sore throat are due to transient viral infections such as the common cold (CDC, 2019). Therefore, in most cases, treating the sore throat means reducing pain while also reducing the cough or underlying cause as well.


Conventional treatment involves using over the counter cough syrups, steam showers, and patience. However, over the last decade, new research has discovered that pediatric cough syrups offer little to no benefit. One meta-analysis looked at 27 studies with over 5,000 children and found that minimal effect was found with use of commonly used OTC cough syrup on older children and adults, but that children received absolutely no benefit from consuming the drug (Sutter,, 2015).

Furthermore, while roughly 10% of American children consume OTC cough and cold medicine each week, professionals warn that these drugs are not tested for either effectiveness or safety on children. Reports of serious side effects dominate the scientific literature (Shefrin & Goldman, 2009). The US national surveillance system for adverse drug events found that in 2004-2005, complications from consuming cough syrup resulted in over 7,000 visits to the ER in children younger than 12.


Essential oils have been used in folklore to treat a cough, reducing the irritation that leads to a sore throat. However, clinical research substantiating those effects is sparse, with one study focusing on a commercially produced vapor rub and another focusing on essential oils not typically found through aromatherapy companies (Hasani, 2003; Hernández, 2018).

Evidence points to essential oils being more effective at directly treating the pain and inflammation of a sore throat, with herbal solutions for the underlying viral infection and its accompanying symptoms. To achieve this effect, a small batch essential oil-based throat spray can be used to spritz oils such as peppermint and ginger directly on the affected area.


Our team uses a honey and vodka base with ginger and peppermint essential oils to reduce both inflammation and pain. This small batch spray can be used on otherwise healthy adults or adopted for use with children 7 and older. You can request the formula by entering your name and email below. For personalized recommendations or formulas, speak with your local certified aromatherapist.


De Sutter, A. I., Lemiengre, M., & Campbell, H. (2003). Antihistamines for the common cold. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, (3).

Hasani, A., Pavia, D., Toms, N., Dilworth, P., & Agnew, J. E. (2003). Effect of aromatics on lung mucociliary clearance in patients with chronic airways obstruction. The Journal of Alternative & Complementary Medicine9(2), 243-249.

Hernández, J. J., Ragone, M. I., Bonazzola, P., Bandoni, A. L., & Consolini, A. E. (2018). Antitussive, antispasmodic, bronchodilating and cardiac inotropic effects of the essential oil from Blepharocalyx salicifolius leaves. Journal of ethnopharmacology210, 107-117.

Shefrin, A. E., & Goldman, R. D. (2009). Use of over-the-counter cough and cold medications in children. Canadian Family Physician55(11), 1081-1083.


Meet Dr Hawkins

Dr. Hawkins brings 20 years of expertise in the integrative health field to her role as Executive Director of the Franklin School of Integrative Health Sciences and the leader of our clinical research team.

She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Health from Union Institute and University, a Master’s Degree in Health Education & Promotion from the University of Alabama, a post-graduate certificate in epidemiology from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, a PhD in Health Research from Middle Tennessee State University, and is completing the post-doctoral Global Scholars Research Training Program at Harvard Medical School. She also holds certifications in numerous natural health fields including aromatherapy, aromatic medicine, herbalism, childbirth education, and labor support.