An Essential Oil & Herb Travel Kit is helpful to pack on a trip because it is small and easy to use. Once you get all the items of your kit together, it can be useful for all kinds of ailments, from bug bites to insomnia. Plus, the kit is certainly handy to have at home as well! Below is a list of what to include in your Essential Oil & Herb Travel Kit, along with some easy on the go recipes for various situations.
Items to Include in Your Essential Oil & Herb Travel Kit
Lavender essential oil
Peppermint essential oil
Eucalyptus essential oil
Ginger root or ginger chews
2 travel size bottles of jojoba or sweet almond oil
2 travel size spray bottles of witch hazel or vodka
2 travel size bottles of aloe vera gel (store bought to include preservative)
1 ounce of ground oats
3 peppermint tea bags
3 chamomile tea bags
Electrolyte powder or coconut water (see hydration below)
Emergen-C powder or garlic (see immunity below)
Apply aloe gel to a sunburn. Avoid on wounds. Avoid during pregnancy and with very small children; for a severe sunburn, see a Doctor. Discontinue if irritation occurs. Or, if you have a blender and some ice handy, try this quick aloe slushy recipe to apply on a burn.
In this mega review, studies point towards aloe being effective in treating burns; more research is needed. From: Maenthaisong, R., Chaiyakunapruk, N., Niruntraporn, S., & Kongkaew, C. (2007). The efficacy of aloe vera used for burn wound healing: a systematic review. burns, 33(6), 713-718.
In a burn wound clinic, burns treated with aloe healed faster than those treated with vasoline. From: Visuthikosol, V., Chowchuen, B., Sukwanarat, Y., Sriurairatana, S., & Boonpucknavig, V. (1995). Effect of aloe vera gel to healing of burn wound a clinical and histologic study. J Med Assoc Thai, 78(8), 403-9.
Burn wounds treated with aloe healed better than those treated with silver sulphadiazine. From: Shahzad, M. N., & Ahmed, N. (2013). Effectiveness of Aloe vera gel compared with 1% silver sulphadiazine cream as burn wound dressing in second degree burns. J Pak Med Assoc, 63(2), 225-3
This bug repelling essential oil blend should be applied more often than a commercial bug spray, but is a natural alternative that does not contain toxic DEET. The essential oils could be mixed with either a carrier oil to make a rub or witch hazel to make a spray. So pull out your Essential Oil & Herb Travel Kit and give this recipe a try.
In 2 ounces of jojoba oil, add 8 drops each of lavender, peppermint, and eucalyptus essential oils. Shake well. Skin patch test a small area before applying all over the body. Discontinue use if irritation occurs. Not for very young children or pregnant ladies. For children over 3, dilute with more carrier oil based on weight. For a 75 pound child, use the same amount of essential oil in twice as much (4 ounces) of carrier oil.
Here are a few more complex bug repelling recipes to make ahead of time and bring along for your trip:
In this double blind randomized study of over 4000 participants, the use of a bed net treated with a natural insect repellent whose key ingredient was Eucalyptus maculata citriodon, was effective in repelling the mosquito that causes malaria. Hill, N., Lenglet, A., Arnez, A. M., & Carneiro, I. (2007). Plant based insect repellent and insecticide treated bed nets to protect against malaria in areas of early evening biting vectors: double blind randomised placebo controlled clinical trial in the Bolivian Amazon. bmj, 335(7628), 1023.
Essential oils can be efficient, and safer repellents for humans and the environment. In this mega analysis on insect repelling essential oils, Cymbopogon (lemongrass) spp., Ocimum (basil) spp., and Eucalyptus (eucalyptus) spp. are the most cited. Key constituents cited include α-pinene, limonene, citronellol, citronellal, camphor and thymol.
Lavender, rosemary, and eucalyptus essential oils and their oxygenated monoterpenoids presented insecticidal activity against A. obtectus. From: Papachristos, D. P., Karamanoli, K. I., Stamopoulos, D. C., & Menkissoglu‐Spiroudi, U. (2004). The relationship between the chemical composition of three essential oils and their insecticidal activity against Acanthoscelides obtectus (Say). Pest management science, 60(5), 514-520.
Lavendula stoechas (lavender), Helichrysum italicum and Laurus nobilis (bay) oils reduced attractivity of yellow fever mosquitoes with promising results from Calamintha nepeta (calamint), and Rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary). From: Drapeau, J., Fröhler, C., Touraud, D., Kröckel, U., Geier, M., Rose, A., & Kunz, W. (2009). Repellent studies with Aedes aegypti mosquitoes and human olfactory tests on 19 essential oils from Corsica, France. Flavour and Fragrance Journal, 24(4), 160-169.
Essential oils of Eucalyptus globulus, Lavender officinalis, Rosemarinus officinalis, and Thymus vulgaris showed repellent activities against the mosquito: Culex pipiens pallens. Thyme was the strongest and constituents that were effective included alpha-terpinene, thymol, p-cymene, carvacrol, and linalool. From: Choi, W. S., Park, B. S., Ku, S. K., & Lee, S. E. (2002). Repellent activities of essential oils and monoterpenes against Culex pipiens pallens. Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association, 18(4), 348-351.
Peppermint oil on human skin was effective against three mosquito species. From: Ansari, M. A., Vasudevan, P., Tandon, M., & Razdan, R. K. (2000). Larvicidal and mosquito repellent action of peppermint (Mentha piperita) oil. Bioresource Technology, 71(3), 267-271.
Peppermint essential oil is proved to be a very effective larvicide and repellent against dengue vector mosquitoes. From: Kumar, S., Wahab, N., & Warikoo, R. (2011). Bioefficacy of Mentha piperita essential oil against dengue fever mosquito Aedes aegypti L. Asian Pacific journal of tropical biomedicine, 1(2), 85-88.
Essential oils from the following plants and their effectiveness as a mosquito repellent was reviewed: Cymbopogon nardus, Eucalyptus maculata, Cymbopogon excavatus, Mentha piperita, and Azadirachta indica. From: Gupta, D. K., Chouhan, M., & Gupta, R. A. (2018). Herbal Mosquito Repellent Formulation from the Essential Oil: A Review. International Journal of Pharmacy & Life Sciences, 9(2).
There are a variety of things that can make us itch, like bug bites, poison ivy, and allergic reactions. Try making one of these two recipes from the items in your Essential Oil & Herb Travel Kit when itching happens:
Mix 10 drops of peppermint essential oil with 1 ounce of jojoba oil. Shake well. Skin patch test a small area before applying to the affected area of the body. Apply to affected area. Discontinue use if any irritation occurs. Not for very young children or pregnant ladies. For children over 3, dilute with more carrier oil based on weight. For a 75 pound child, use the same amount of essential oil in twice as much (2 ounces) of carrier oil.
Mix equal parts of the ground oats and jojoba oil. Apply to itchy area for about a half hour. Rinse with cool water. Safe for small children and pregnant women.
Applications of menthol and cooling reduced skin itching. From: Bromma, B., Scharein, E., Darsow, U., & Ring, J. (1995). Effects of menthol and cold on histamine-induced itch and skin reactions in man. Neuroscience letters, 187(3), 157-160.
A blend of guar gum hydrogel with peppermint essential oil reduced itching in patients with burn scars in this multicenter controlled study of 74 patients that had severe burns. From: Wu, J., Xu, R., Zhan, R., Luo, G., Niu, X., Liu, Y., … & Lau, J. Y. N. (2016). Effective symptomatic treatment for severe and intractable pruritus associated with severe burn-induced hypertrophic scars: A prospective, multicenter, controlled trial. Burns, 42(5), 1059-1066.
A triple-blind clinical trial of 96 randomly selected pregnant women with itching, showed peppermint essential oil 0.5% in sesame oil reduced itching. From: Amjadi, M. A., Mojab, F., & Kamranpour, S. B. (2012). The effect of peppermint oil on symptomatic treatment of pruritus in pregnant women. Iranian journal of pharmaceutical research: IJPR, 11(4), 1073.
Fifty patients suffering from chronic itching showed reduced symptoms with the topical application of 5% dilution peppermint essential oil. From: Elsaie, L. T., El Mohsen, A. M., Ibrahim, I. M., Mohey-Eddin, M. H., & Elsaie, M. L. (2016). Effectiveness of topical peppermint oil on symptomatic treatment of chronic pruritus. Clinical, cosmetic and investigational dermatology, 9, 333.
Colloidal oatmeal (Avena sativa) has been used for centuries as a topical treatment for various skin conditions and was used in a blind study on twenty-nine female subjects with mild to moderate itching on their dry lower legs. The oatmeal significantly improved skin dryness, texture, and itch intensity. From: Michelle Garay, M. S., Judith Nebus, M. B. A., & Menas Kizoulis, B. A. (2015). Anti-inflammatory activities of colloidal oatmeal (Avena sativa) contribute to the effectiveness of oats in treatment of itch associated with dry, irritated skin. Journal of Drugs in Dermatology, 14(1), 43-48.
Active colloidal oatmeal moisturizer showed effectiveness in this randomized, double-blind, controlled clinical study. From: Kalaaji, A. N., & Wallo, W. (2014). A randomized controlled clinical study to evaluate the effectiveness of an active moisturizing lotion with colloidal oatmeal skin protectant versus its vehicle for the relief of xerosis. Journal of drugs in dermatology: JDD, 13(10), 1265-1268.
This overview of oatmeal (Avena sativa) shows research for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can be useful in topically treating pruritus, atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, and viral and fungal infections. From: Pazyar, N., Yaghoobi, R., Kazerouni, A., & Feily, A. (2012). Oatmeal in dermatology: a brief review. Indian Journal of Dermatology, Venereology, and Leprology, 78(2), 142.
Lavender has shown in multiple research studies to help reduce insomnia and stress. For lavender aromatherapy, place 5 drops of lavender essential oil on a cloth and wave the cloth around the room. Or, put that cloth inside or near the pillow case, avoiding direct contact with skin. You could also mix 10 drops of lavender essential oil with 1 ounce of jojoba oil and make a massage oil to rub on the body. For children, dilute at a greater amount, proportional to adult body weight. Discontinue use with any topical irritation.
Also, if you happened to pack a few bags of chamomile tea in your Essential Oil & Herb Travel Kit, brew some up. Chamomile has shown in multiple studies to help with insomnia! Here is how to make chamomile tea from fresh or dried chamomile.
After 12 weeks of lavender aromatherapy, midlife women with insomnia had improved quality of sleep. From: Chien, L. W., Cheng, S. L., & Liu, C. F. (2011). The effect of lavender aromatherapy on autonomic nervous system in midlife women with insomnia. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2012.
Participants inhaled lavender, vanillin, and vetiver or an unpleasant ammonium sulfide while sleeping; the authors concluded the olfactory system may provide a path to manipulate respiration in sleep. From: Arzi, A., Sela, L., Green, A., Givaty, G., Dagan, Y., & Sobel, N. (2010). The influence of odorants on respiratory patterns in sleep. Chemical senses, 35(1), 31-40.
Nighttime exposure to lavender aroma relieves sleepiness at awakening in young Japanese students. From: Hirokawa, K., Nishimoto, T., & Taniguchi, T. (2012). Effects of lavender aroma on sleep quality in healthy Japanese students. Perceptual and motor skills, 114(1), 111-122.
Chamomile may help reduce insomnia. From: Zick, S. M., Wright, B. D., Sen, A., & Arnedt, J. T. (2011). Preliminary examination of the efficacy and safety of a standardized chamomile extract for chronic primary insomnia: a randomized placebo-controlled pilot study. BMC complementary and alternative medicine, 11(1), 1.
If your travel plans include a lot of physical exercise and bag hauling that you are not used to, muscles can get achy! Try mixing 8 drops of peppermint essential oil and 2 drops of lavender essential oil with 1 ounce of jojoba oil to make a massage blend for the sore area. Shake well. Skin patch test a small area before applying all over the body. Not for very young children or pregnant ladies. For children over 3, dilute with more carrier oil based on weight. For a 75 pound child, use the same amount of essential oil in twice as much (2 ounces) of carrier oil.
Menthol showed potential as a topical analgesic. From: Green, B. G., & McAuliffe, B. L. (2000). Menthol desensitization of capsaicin irritation: evidence of a short-term anti-nociceptive effect. Physiology & Behavior, 68(5), 631-639.
Menthol improved the analgesic efficacy of tetracaine gel, likely in related to enhanced percutaneous permeation. From: Liu, Y., Ye, X., Feng, X., Zhou, G., Rong, Z., Fang, C., & Chen, H. (2005). Menthol facilitates the skin analgesic effect of tetracaine gel. International journal of pharmaceutics, 305(1), 31-36.
Acupressure using lavender, rosemary, and peppermint was more effective than just acupressure alone in relieving shoulder pain in stroke patients. From: Shin, B. C., & Lee, M. S. (2007). Effects of aromatherapy acupressure on hemiplegic shoulder pain and motor power in stroke patients: a pilot study. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 13(2), 247-252.
Topical application of menthol on humans affects nociceptors to reduce pain. From; Wasner, G., Schattschneider, J., Binder, A., & Baron, R. (2004). Topical menthol—a human model for cold pain by activation and sensitization of C nociceptors. Brain, 127(5), 1159-1171.
Acupressure with aromatic lavender oil reduced neck pain. From: Yip, Y. B., & Tse, S. H. M. (2006). An experimental study on the effectiveness of acupressure with aromatic lavender essential oil for sub-acute, non-specific neck pain in Hong Kong. Complementary therapies in clinical practice, 12(1), 18-26.
Headaches can occur for a number of reasons: stress, tension, congestion, hormones…
Try rubbing some peppermint essential oil diluted in jojoba on your neck and shoulders. For adults, combine 10 drops of peppermint essential oil in 1 ounce of jojoba oil. Shake well. Skin patch test a small area before applying all over the body. Not for very young children or pregnant ladies. For children over 3, dilute with more carrier oil based on weight. For a 75 pound child, use the same amount of essential oil in twice as much (2 ounces) of carrier oil.
For children and pregnant ladies, try blend 2 drops of lavender essential oil in one ounce of jojoba oil. Shake well. Skin patch test a small area before applying. Not for babies under 6 months.
Peppermint and eucalyptus oil improved cognitive ability and was mentally relaxing. Peppermint also reduced headache. From: Göbel, H., Schmidt, G., & Soyka, D. (1994). Effect of peppermint and eucalyptus oil preparations on neurophysiological and experimental algesimetric headache parameters. Cephalalgia, 14(3), 228-234.
A menthol solution applied to the forehead and temporal area reduced the migraine headache pain. From: Borhani Haghighi, A., Motazedian, S., Rezaii, R., Mohammadi, F., Salarian, L., Pourmokhtari, M., … & Miri, R. (2010). Cutaneous application of menthol 10% solution as an abortive treatment of migraine without aura: a randomised, double‐blind, placebo‐controlled, crossed‐over study. International journal of clinical practice, 64(4), 451-456.
Topical application of peppermint essential oil reduced neuralgic pain. From: Davies, S. J., Harding, L. M., & Baranowski, A. P. (2002). A novel treatment of postherpetic neuralgia using peppermint oil. The Clinical journal of pain, 18(3), 200-202.
A 10% peppermint oil in ethanol solution efficiently alleviates tension-type headaches. From: Göbel, H., Fresenius, J., Heinze, A., Dworschak, M., & Soyka, D. (1996). [Effectiveness of Oleum menthae piperitae and paracetamol in therapy of headache of the tension type]. Der Nervenarzt, 67(8), 672-681.
Inhalation of lavender essential oil may reduce migraine headaches. From: Sasannejad, P., Saeedi, M., Shoeibi, A., Gorji, A., Abbasi, M., & Foroughipour, M. (2012). Lavender essential oil in the treatment of migraine headache: a placebo-controlled clinical trial. European neurology, 67(5), 288-291.
Antimicrobial / Antiseptic Cleaner
Does your cabin or hotel room look a little sketchy. Essential oils have shown in research to have a variety of antimicrobial potential against various pathogens. Spray down the door knobs, handles, and countertops with a blend of essential oils for synergistic effectiveness against multiple organisms. Pull out your Essential Oil and Herb Travel Kit and give this recipe a try. In a spray bottle, mix 10 drops each of your three essential oils (lavender, eucalyptus, and peppermint) with 2 ounces of witch hazel or vodka and two ounces of water. If handy, add a pea sized squirt of any kind of liquid soap or shampoo. Shake and spray as a general all purpose cleaner. Remember that pets and small children may be sensitive to the aromas, so offer proper ventilation and avoid spraying in their close proximity.
In a mega-analysis of over 500 studies on essential oil antimicrobial activity, spices and herbs of thyme, origanum, mint, cinnamon, salvia and clove had the strongest antimicrobial properties. From: Kalemba, D., & Kunicka, A. (2003). Antibacterial and antifungal properties of essential oils. Current medicinal chemistry, 10(10), 813-829.
This article summarized antimicrobial research on essential oils with strong research on topical and antiseptic uses, as penetration enhancers, and in fighting medicine resistant species. From: Solórzano-Santos, F., & Miranda-Novales, M. G. (2012). Essential oils from aromatic herbs as antimicrobial agents. Current opinion in biotechnology, 23(2), 136-141.
Eucalyptus and tea tree showed an antibacterial effect against MRSA. From: Sherry, E., Boeck, H., & Warnke, P. H. (2001). Percutaneous treatment of chronic MRSA osteomyelitis with a novel plant-derived antiseptic. BMC surgery, 1(1), 1.
Origanum onites, Mentha piperita, Juniperus exalsa, Chrysanthemum indicum, Lavandula hybrida, Rosa damascena, Echinophora tenuifolia, and Foeniculum vulgare were tested for antimicrobial activity. From: Andoğan, B. C., Baydar, H., Kaya, S., Demirci, M., Özbaşar, D., & Mumcu, E. (2002). Antimicrobial activity and chemical composition of some essential oils. Archives of pharmacal research, 25(6), 860-864
Eucalyptus smithii and J. communis were active against bacteria biofilms and may be useful as an inhalatory treatment of chronic and/or recurrent upper respiratory tract infections. From: Camporese, A. (2013). [In vitro activity of Eucalyptus smithii and Juniperus communis essential oils against bacterial biofilms and efficacy perspectives of complementary inhalation therapy in chronic and recurrent upper respiratory tract infections]. Le infezioni in medicina: rivista periodica di eziologia, epidemiologia, diagnostica, clinica e terapia delle patologie infettive, 21(2), 117-124.
Mentha piperita (peppermint), Mentha pulegium (pennyroyal), Mentha spicata (spearmint), Pelargonium graveolens (geranuim), Rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary), Thymus leptobotrys (thyme), Thymus pallidus (thyme), Thymus satureioides (thyme) and Citrus limon (lemon) essential oils of Morrocco were steam distilled and minimum inhibitory concentrations were assessed against ten bacteria strains (Enterobacter cloacae, Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Salmonella Typhimurium, Listeria monocytogenes, Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Enterococcus faecalis, Streptococcus equinus and Streptococcus pyogenes), two yeasts (Candida albicans and Candida glabrata) and two fungi (Aspergillus niger and Penicillium funiculosum). Two thyme species showed the strongest antimicrobial properties while peppermint, spearmint and T. pallidus gave intermediary results. From: El Asbahani, A., Jilale, A., Voisin, S. N., Aït Addi, E. H., Casabianca, H., El Mousadik, A., … & Renaud, F. N. (2015). Chemical composition and antimicrobial activity of nine essential oils obtained by steam distillation of plants from the Souss-Massa Region (Morocco). Journal of Essential Oil Research, 27(1), 34-44.
Decadent eating, high altitudes, illness, and too much motion can all cause indigestion. Ginger, aloe, and peppermint have been used as age old remedies to help with digestive complaints. Here are a few ideas.
Chew ginger candies or make ginger tea by soaking the sliced root for 15 minutes in hot water and straining. Here is an easy recipe for ginger candies to make ahead.
Make peppermint tea from the herb, chew peppermint flavored gum, or use peppermint essential oil for aromatherapy. (Peppermint essential oil is not advised for use with those pregnant, very young children, and other medical concerns.)
For constipation, aloe can be helpful. Follow the instructions on the aloe gel container.
Here is some research.
A combination of celandin, aloe vera and psyllium was an effective laxative in constipated patients. From: Odes, H. S., & Madar, Z. (1991). A double-blind trial of a celandin, aloevera and psyllium laxative preparation in adult patients with constipation. Digestion, 49(2), 65-71.
In a double blind study, aloe gel was effective in treating the symptoms of ulcerative colitis. From: Langmead, L., Feakins, R. M., Goldthorpe, S., Holt, H., Tsironi, E., De Silva, A., … & Rampton, D. S. (2004). Randomized, double‐blind, placebo‐controlled trial of oral aloe vera gel for active ulcerative colitis. Alimentary pharmacology & therapeutics, 19(7), 739-747.
In a study of 25 patients who were also using other medicines, a synergistic blend of Pimpinella anisum (anise), Foeniculum vulgare (sweet fennel), Anthemis nobilis (Roman chamomile) and Mentha piperita (peppermint) resulted in nausea relief. From: Gilligan, N. P. (2005). The palliation of nausea in hospice and palliative care patients with essential oils of Pimpinella anisum (aniseed), Foeniculum vulgare var. dulce (sweet fennel), Anthemis nobilis (Roman chamomile) and Mentha x piperita (peppermint). International Journal of Aromatherapy, 15(4), 163-167.
Peppermint essential oil inhalation may be useful in treating postoperative nausea. From: Lane, B., Cannella, K., Bowen, C., Copelan, D., Nteff, G., Barnes, K., … & Lawson, J. (2012). Examination of the effectiveness of peppermint aromatherapy on nausea in women post C-section. Journal of Holistic Nursing, 30(2), 90-104.
Peppermint essential oil reduced postoperative nausea. From: Tate, S. (1997). Peppermint oil: a treatment for postoperative nausea. Journal of advanced nursing, 26(3), 543-549.
Peppermint and spearmint reduced chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting. From: Tayarani-Najaran, Z., Talasaz-Firoozi, E., Nasiri, R., Jalali, N., & Hassanzadeh, M. K. (2013). Antiemetic activity of volatile oil from Mentha spicata and Mentha× piperita in chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. ecancermedicalscience, 7, 290.
Seventeen randomized clinical trials for the herbal treatment of non-ulcer dyspepsia were reviews. Nine studies involved peppermint and caraway and showed promising results. More research is necessary. From: Thompson Coon, J., & Ernst, E. (2002). Herbal medicinal products for non‐ulcer dyspepsia. Alimentary pharmacology & therapeutics, 16(10), 1689-1699.
Ginger, peppermint, aniseed and fennel, citrus fruits, dandelion and artichoke, melissa and chamomile have digestive enhancing activities. From: Valussi, M. (2012). Functional foods with digestion-enhancing properties. International journal of food sciences and nutrition, 63(sup1), 82-89.
In nine studies, peppermint oil improved gastrointestinal health. From: Grigoleit, H. G., & Grigoleit, P. (2005). Gastrointestinal clinical pharmacology of peppermint oil. Phytomedicine, 12(8), 607-611. From: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.phymed.2004.10.006
Reasons for peppermint oils spasmolytic effect on the gastrointestinal tract are discussed. From: Grigoleit, H. G., & Grigoleit, P. (2005). Pharmacology and preclinical pharmacokinetics of peppermint oil. Phytomedicine, 12(8), 612-616.
Peppermint essential oil relaxed digestive smooth muscle. From: Hills, J. M., & Aaronson, P. I. (1991). The mechanism of action of peppermint oil on gastrointestinal smooth muscle: an analysis using patch clamp electrophysiology and isolated tissue pharmacology in rabbit and guinea pig. Gastroenterology, 101(1), 55-65.
In a multi-center, double blind, randomized study of over 500 cancer patients, ginger intake significantly reduced chemotherapy induced nausea. From: Ryan, J. L., Heckler, C. E., Roscoe, J. A., Dakhil, S. R., Kirshner, J., Flynn, P. J., … & Morrow, G. R. (2012). Ginger (Zingiber officinale) reduces acute chemotherapy-induced nausea: a URCC CCOP study of 576 patients. Supportive care in cancer, 20(7), 1479-1489.
In a randomized double blind study of 120 women with post operative nausea, ginger powder intake significantly reduced day surgery nausea and vomiting. From: Phillips, S., Ruggier, R., & Hutchinson, S. E. (1993). Zingiber officinale (ginger)–an antiemetic for day case surgery. Anaesthesia, 48(8), 715-717.
It can be troublesome to travel with congestion. Inhaling peppermint and eucalyptus aromas can help reduce respiratory complaints, although they may not be appropriate for very small children, those pregnant, and those with asthma. Here are a few ideas for reducing congestion:
Sprinkle three drops of eucalyptus or peppermint on a hot wet hand towel. Place a dry towel around your neck and shoulders and then set the hot prepared towel over top. Wear for about 15 minutes.
In a shower, sprinkle about three drops of eucalyptus or peppermint on a hand towel. Set it on the floor while taking a hot shower.
In a pot of hot water, sprinkle about 3 drops of eucalyptus or peppermint. Put a towel over your head and inhale. Avoid getting burned.
Chew peppermint gum or suck on peppermint lozenges.
Make peppermint tea from the dried or fresh herb: Here are instructions on how to make Peppermint Tea.
Inhalation of eucalyptus, camphor, and menthol improved airway and breathing of those affected by the common cold. From: Cohen, B. M., & Dressier, W. E. (1982). Acute aromatics inhalation modifies the airways. Effects of the common cold. Respiration, 43(4), 285-293.
In this double blind, placebo controlled, multi-center, placebo controlled study with 242 patients, 200 mg of cineole three times a day reduced airway inflammation in COPD. From: Worth, H., Schacher, C., & Dethlefsen, U. (2009). Concomitant therapy with Cineole (Eucalyptole) reduces exacerbations in COPD: a placebo-controlled double-blind trial. Respiratory research, 10(1), 69.
A combination of pinene, limonene, and cineole improved mucous clearance. From: Dorow, P., Weiss, T. H., Felix, R., & Schmutzler, H. (1987). [Effect of a secretolytic and a combination of pinene, limonene and cineole on mucociliary clearance in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease]. Arzneimittel-Forschung, 37(12), 1378-1381.
In a randomized double blind study of 42 patients with nasal congestion, a nasal spray with Capsicum annum and eucalyptol taken over two weeks reduced symptoms. From: Bernstein, J. A., Davis, B. P., Picard, J. K., Cooper, J. P., Zheng, S., & Levin, L. S. (2011). A randomized, double-blind, parallel trial comparing capsaicin nasal spray with placebo in subjects with a significant component of nonallergic rhinitis. Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, 107(2), 171-178.
1,8-cineole was shown to improve symptoms of bronchial asthma. From: Juergens, U. R., Stöber, M., Schmidt-Schilling, L., Kleuver, T., & Vetter, H. (1998). Antiinflammatory effects of euclyptol (1.8-cineole) in bronchial asthma: inhibition of arachidonic acid metabolism in human blood monocytes ex vivo. European journal of medical research, 3(9), 407-412.
This article summarized the use of Eucalyptus citriodora, Eucalyptus globulus, Mentha piperita, Origanum syriacum, Salvia fruticosa and Rosmarinus officinalis in treating respiratory ailments. From: Rakover, Y., Ben-Arye, E., & Goldstein, L. H. (2008). The treatment of respiratory ailments with essential oils of some aromatic medicinal plants. Harefuah, 147(10), 783-8.
1,8-cineol controlled airway mucus hypersecretion by cytokine inhibition, and may be a useful treatment to reduce symptoms of asthma, sinusitis and COPD. From: Juergens, U. R., Engelen, T., Racké, K., Stöber, M., Gillissen, A., & Vetter, H. (2004). Inhibitory activity of 1, 8-cineol (eucalyptol) on cytokine production in cultured human lymphocytes and monocytes. Pulmonary Pharmacology & Therapeutics, 17(5), 281-287.
In a randomized double blind placebo controlled study of 152 patients, 100 mg of cineole three times a day reduced symptoms of accute sinusitis. From: Kehrl, W., Sonnemann, U., & Dethlefsen, U. (2004). Therapy for Acute Nonpurulent Rhinosinusitis With Cineole: Results of a Double‐Blind, Randomized, Placebo‐Controlled Trial. The Laryngoscope, 114(4), 738-742.
Camphor, eucalyptus and menthol stimulate cold receptors in the nose to improve airflow. From: Burrow, A., Eccles, R., & Jones, A. S. (1983). The effects of camphor, eucalyptus and menthol vapour on nasal resistance to airflow and nasal sensation. Acta oto-laryngologica, 96(1-2), 157-161.
In participants with the common cold who inhaled a mixture of aromatic vapors of eucalyptus, menthol, camphor, breathing was improved. From: Cohen, B. M., & Dressier, W. E. (1982). Acute aromatics inhalation modifies the airways. Effects of the common cold. Respiration, 43(4), 285-293.
A peppermint lozenge improved airflow in those suffering from the common cold. From: ECCLES, R., JAWAD, M. S., & MORRIS, S. (1990). The effects of oral administration of (—)‐menthol on nasal resistance to airflow and nasal sensation of airflow in subjects suffering from nasal congestion associated with the common cold. Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, 42(9), 652-654.
A constituent isolated from peppermint essential oil helped alleviate the nasal symptoms of allergic rhinitis. From: Inoue, T., Sugimoto, Y., Masuda, H., & Kamei, C. (2002). Antiallergic effect of flavonoid glycosides obtained from Mentha piperita L. Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin, 25(2), 256-259.
Menthol inhalation affects the cool receptors and a person’s perception of improved breathing. From: Lindemann, J., Tsakiropoulou, E., Scheithauer, M. O., Konstantinidis, I., & Wiesmiller, K. M. (2008). Impact of menthol inhalation on nasal mucosal temperature and nasal patency. American journal of rhinology, 22(4), 402-405.
Stimulation by menthol of the major palatine nerve and its sensory nerve endings in the nasal mucosa increased nasal opening. From: Naito, K., Komori, M., Kondo, Y., Takeuchi, M., & Iwata, S. (1997). The effect of L-menthol stimulation of the major palatine nerve on subjective and objective nasal patency. Auris Nasus Larynx, 24(2), 159-162.
Cold receptor stimulation of the upper airway during nasal inhalation of menthol reduced the sensation of respiratory discomfort associated with difficult breathing. From: Nishino, T., Tagaito, Y., & Sakurai, Y. (1997). Nasal inhalation of l-menthol reduces respiratory discomfort associated with loaded breathing. American journal of respiratory and critical care medicine, 156(1), 309-313.
Peppermint essential oil inhalation may be an effective complementary treatment for pulmonary tuberculosis. From: Shkurupiĭ, V. A., Kazarinova, N. V., Ogirenko, A. P., Nikonov, S. D., Tkachev, A. V., & Tkachenko, K. G. (2001). [Efficiency of the use of peppermint (Mentha piperita L) essential oil inhalations in the combined multi-drug therapy for pulmonary tuberculosis]. Problemy tuberkuleza, (4), 36-39.
Hydration is important when exercising outside and sometimes water alone isn’t enough. Some electrolyte drinks you buy at the store can be loaded with sugar. Coconut water is an excellent choice over sugared, colored electrolyte drinks, but not always easy to travel with on a plane. So, I prefer to bring my own electrolyte powders that are light, healthy, and easy to pack in my Essential Oil & Herb Travel Kit. Brands can include: Zipfizz, Vega Sport, and Nuun. Just mix with water. But if you have easy access to coconut water, it is a great source of calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, and phosphorus.
Nobody wants to get sick while traveling. Crowded areas and enclosed plains or busses are two places where we are especially susceptible to catching a bug. There are a variety of herbs that can help boost immunity such as garlic, elderberry, St. John’s wort, and echinacea. Proper amounts of vitamins C, D,and zinc may also help. I like to pack some powdered immunity boosts that can blend easily with water such as EmergenC.
Nutrition, including vitamins C, D, and zinc, play a role in optimal immunity. From: Maggini, S., Maldonado, P., Cardim, P., Fernandez Newball, C., & Sota Latino, E. R. (2017). Vitamins C, D and Zinc: Synergistic Roles in Immune Function and Infections. Vitam Miner, 6(167), 2376-1318.
By: Kathy Sadowski, MS in Aromatherapy, RA (ARC), NAHA and AIA Professional Member, LMT
This categorized compilation of research articles does not necessarily imply that there are adequate results to demonstrate safe and/or effective human use. These statements are not meant to diagnose, treat, or cure any diseases. The information at this page has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Consult a Doctor before using herbs and essential oils if you have medical conditions, are taking medications, or have questions.