Curing Coughs with Eucalyptus Oil

Disclosure: I am a journalist — not a medical professional. For medical advice, ask your physician.

Curing Coughs with Eucalyptus Oil {}

A couple months ago, I read about a simple home remedy for coughs. At bedtime, massage eucalyptus oil onto the foot soles of whoever is suffering with a cough. The cough will disappear.

What was this kind of magical foot elixir? Could eucalyptus oil really be that effective?

Then seasonal allergies and colds hit my family. Even though I was coughing for weeks, I didn’t remember the eucalyptus oil treatment. When my daughter started three weeks of coughing, I only thought to use honey as a cough suppressant and a vaporizer while she slept.

But this past weekend, my son started coughing. He looked and sounded miserable. I didn’t want him to have to suffer for weeks and the honey remedy just wasn’t cutting it. I made a special trip to a natural foods store to get some safe and natural cough syrup. I ended up with Hyland’s Cough Syrup 4 Kids, and it was amazingly effective in calming his cough.

As a quick explanation, children ages 4 and younger never, never, never should take cough suppressants like dextromethorphan or DM; cough expectorants like guaifenesin; decongestants like pseudoephedrine and phenylephrine; and antihistamines like brompheniramine, chlorpheniramine, and diphenhydramine. Because of this medical danger, I’m leery of giving my children any kind of over-the-counter (or prescription) medicine unless I know it is absolutely necessary. Over the past four years, I’ve started to try natural remedies first. Even though there has been a lot of trial and error, I am completely pleased with the effective remedies I’ve found.

While I was picking out the natural cough syrup, I suddenly remembered the eucalyptus oil remedy. Once I found the essential oil shelves, I chose a bottle of eucalyptus oil. It’s very important to read the fine print while shopping and choose the Eucalyptus Smithii variety — it’s safe for children. Other varieties of eucalyptus (and there are many) can be quite harmful.

When my son was ready for bed, I turned into Dr. Mommy and poured a tiny bit of olive oil into my palm, followed by several dashes of eucalyptus oil.

Note: To avoid skin irritation from an undiluted essential oil, it’s important to dilute the essential oil with a cold-pressed carrier oil like olive oil. Once the two oils are combined, it’s safe to massage them onto skin. It’s also important to not let children ingest eucalyptus oil.

While massaging the eucalyptus/olive oil mixture onto my son’s soles, I was reminded of my childhood sicknesses when my mom would massage Vicks Vapor Rub onto my chest.

After the fragrant massage, I covered his feet with socks. My little boy fell asleep silently – not coughing like he had for the past few nights. He did wake up coughing in the morning, and even though I was disappointed I tried it again at nap time. Suddenly, his coughing was gone.

I used it for the second night in a row, just to see what would happen.

His coughing has completely stopped.

Curing Coughs with Eucalyptus Oil {}

I don’t know how it works, and I know there’s no scientific confirmation, but I know the eucalyptus oil did cure my son’s cough. (He was sick. He typically stays sick for a couple weeks. He’s completely fine now.)

As I shared with my children, many times God’s medicine – natural things like oil from a eucalyptus tree – works better and faster than man’s medicine. I’m not particularly looking forward to our next round of colds and coughs, but when it hits I know what I will try right away.

What effective home remedies for coughs and colds have you used?

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Hilary Kimes Bernstein is a Christ follower, wife, mama, and journalist. She writes about making healthy decisions that honor God and happen to help the environment at Accidentally Green. Short and sweet - like her writing - Hilary is the author of several healthy living eBooks.

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Lovely comments

  1. Jamie Wolfe says

    I actually put eucalyptis oil with the water in the humidifier when they are sick. Good to know about the feet thing. There is a brand at giant eagle
    Called MATYS, it’s an all natural cough syrup, made by mom whose daughter had a heart condition and couldn’t take any meds (I do believe that’s the correct story) I bought some last year and took it myself. Thick like honey but it coated my throat like no other cough syrup. The other day while walking past the clearance section I spotted it in the cart for $1.00! Score! I was so excited! I picked us up a bottle as well as my mother in law who coughs all the time and has just been diagnosed with a heart condition. Also I got all natural deodorant for $1.00!

  2. says

    I’m going to try this. My two year old has been coughing since the weekend. It does sound like it is finally breaking up though. Thanks for the home remedy.
    found you via Women Living Well link up.

    Erica – We Three Crabs

  3. says

    I use Karvol (produced by Crookes Heathcare in England, I don’t know if it’s available in the US) they are capsules that contain “natural vapors that clear up blocked noses” (that’s what the package says ;-). You open the capsule and either pour it on the pillow or a cloth/handkerchief – it smells great and it really helps. Can be used from 3 months old.

    And there is a natural sirup made in Germany called Tannenblut (similar to Elderblut if you know that but i find the Tannenblut is more effective and less sweet) for relieving coughs and sore throats. It is safe for children and I also used during pregnancies and breastfeeding. If I feel my throat is starting to become sore I just take a tablespoon of it and it will cure before it gets worse…

    • says

      and one of my favorites also for coughs and colds… Transpulmin balsam (also made in germany but I seen it available in the US in Amazon). there is one for grown ups and a less stronger for children. it’s a balm that contains essential oils (eucalyptus and pine needle for children and peppermint and some others for grown ups.) basically it’s a natural version of vapo rub)

  4. says

    I have done this as well and it works wonderfully. With my children it doesn’t seem to last the entire night though. They would often awaken again around 1-3am in need of another dose. I found that putting my essential oil diffuser right by the head of their bed and diffusing the Eucalyptus as well as putting it on the feet was the power punch to keep them asleep all night. I also noticed when my son’s lungs were full of mucus that he needed to cough up the Eucalyptus didn’t work. A wonderful thing about natural healing is that if your body needs that cough to accomplish a purpose the natural methods won’t work as well.

  5. says

    Love this! I’ve used it with my children too. Between the honey tea and eucalyptus oil on the feet, we thankfully haven’t had to resort to medications. I love what you said about God’s cures. It really is amazing how much healing power He has put into His humble little creations like eucalyptus!

  6. Desi-Ann says


    I use the eucalytpus oil under the feet as well and it works very well. I usually use it with petroleum jelly or coconut oil though. I will try the olive oil next time.


  7. says

    I’m extremely pleased to find this great site. I need to to thank you for ones time just for this wonderful read!! I definitely really liked every bit of it and I have you saved to fav to check out new things in your blog.

  8. says

    Thank you for this excellent tip! I was up with my 2 year old last night and this morning I suddenly remembered eucalyptus oil as being effective for coughs. My google search brought up your site and your article was extremely helpful. Thank You! Plus, after reading your bio and looking around, I will definitely be bookmarking your site and coming back often!

  9. Adepeju Okeowo says

    My daughter has been coighing and my search for a natural way out on google brought me here and within just an hour of using eucalyptus oil for her, she is sleeping soundly. Thanks so much, you are God-sent!

  10. Adepeju Okeowo says

    I just used Eucalyptus oil for my daughter who has been coughing non -stop since morning, and within an hour of using it, she is sleeping soundly. Thanks so much, you are God-sent!

  11. Glamgran says

    I used the eucalyptus foot rub on my husband who had one of those irritating coughs for no obvious reason. Had not had a cold recently. It worked like a charm. Then I got thinking that if it works for ear ache and possibly ear infections there was no harm in trying it for my vertigo which I had been suffering with for about 5 weeks. Medication and specific exercises had relieved the severity of it, but it still hit me at unexpected moments, the worst being at the gym. So I have done the foot treatment for 5 nights now and have not had an attack since. The acid test was going to the gym last night. No movements caused my world to swim around.. What a godsend.
    I don’t think it matters what oil one dilutes the eucalyptus, coconut or olive so long as it is an inert carrier oil. In fact I used sweet oil as it was handy..

  12. Riaan says

    My 3 year old son had a bad consistent cough and i thought… if only i had viks to rub on his chest…
    Then i thought about it and realized that viks has Eucalyptus oil in it… which i have in the cupboard… googled “Eucalyptus oil cough” and found your site. Thought its either Eucalyptus foot or coughing all nite for the poor boy.

    Put pure Eucalyptus oil and olive oil (roughly 50/50) and rubbed on his feet, put socks on. Coughing stopped in about 10 minutes. 1 hour later and no coughing! (was every 5 minutes!)

    Thank you!

  13. delia says

    I’m not sure how old your son is but in regard to many if the other comments about using it on their young children …..please people do your own research …..eucalyptus can be extremely dangerous for children under the age of 10, especially if a fever is Involved . it can cause seziure , and completely shut down breathing . I know it sounds extreme but until you hold that non beeethjng sezing little one in your arm praying for the ambulance to show up quickly….. Ease remember the oils are a very powerful gift and to do your own research . (I’m totally not trying g to be snarky or jerky just passionate about proper EO use) Sam goes for the oil rosemary and no peppermint on children under 5

    • says

      Thanks so much for your warnings, Delia! I never let my children ingest eucalyptus oil. I’ve checked many recommendations … yet I’m still wondering if rubbing just a couple drops diluted with a carrier oil considered unsafe. Essential oils surely are powerful!

  14. Priyanka says

    Hi.. I read your artical and really wanted to try for my bro, Who is suffering from cough from long time.. and past from 2 days he is coughing badly, & vomitting coz of cough.. Hope this method will work out with him..

    Thank You,

  15. Lisa Harris says

    I love using Eucalyptus with Peppermint for a cough! But, Essential oils of this nature should be used with extreme caution in children under 2 years old…it can slow breathing.


  1. […] Every time my children start coughing, I pull out my bottle of eucalyptus essential oil. At bedtime, I mix a splash of olive oil with a half dozen dashes of eucalyptus oil, then massage the liquid onto the soles of my cougher’s feet. If I have extra oil left, I’ll also massage it into my son’s or daughter’s chest. I cover their feet with socks and tuck them into bed. Typically their coughs improve by the morning, and after a second night of eucalyptus oil treatment, their coughs disappear. It’s easy, economical, and safe. […]

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