essential oils for sore throat

Want a natural remedy that gives quick relief from the pain, dryness and scratchiness of a sore throat? Then you should definitely get your hands on these essential oils for sore throat relief.

And what’s great about essential oils is that they work for sore throats caused by viruses and bacteria.

So, to help you get started, this post is a simple, all-in-one guide, where you will get the inside scoop on:

  • Which essential oils to use for throat pain.
  • Essential oils that are proven to work for strep throat.
  • Simple essential oil blends that you can use.
  • Additional home remedies to bring you more relief.

Alrighty, let’s dive into these essential oils, shall we?!

Note: this post contains affiliate links and I may earn a commission if you use them.


At a basic level, a sore throat is simply an inflamed throat.

That inflammation is usually caused by a virus (as opposed to say, strep throat, which is caused by bacteria).

So, in order to alleviate sore throat pain with essential oils, you need oils that are:

  • anti-inflammatory
  • analgesic (i.e. relieve pain)
  • antimicrobial 

All of the essential oils listed below have a combination of all of the above properties.

So, let’s take a look at each of them to see how they help sore throats.

1. Peppermint Oil

sore throat essential oils peppermint

Many mainstream vapor rubs, throat lozenges and cough medications contain an ingredient called menthol.

Menthol happens to be one of the main ingredients in peppermint oil.

So, it’s no surprise that peppermint oil, has been shown to be antibacterial and an antioxidant.

In fact, a study from 2013 revealed that peppermint is particularly effective at killing oral pathogens.

2. Ginger Oil

Ginger essential oil is a potent pain relieving and anti-inflammatory oil that contains hundreds of healing compounds.

Research shows that three compounds – gingerol, shogaol and paradols – contribute to ginger’s anti-inflammatory properties.

In addition, studies confirm that ginger is an effective natural remedy for sore throat, cough and the common cold.

3. Eucalyptus Oil

Just like peppermint, eucalyptus is also used in several over-the-counter vapor rubs and cough/cold medications.

This makes sense since research confirms that the essential oils made from various parts of the eucalyptus plant and from various eucalyptus species, all have antibacterial properties.

4. Frankincense Oil

It’s hard to talk about essential oils without mentioning frankincense!

Frankincense is one of the best known anti-inflammatory oils available to us.

In fact, it’s used for various anti-inflammatory conditions, including the pain related to arthritis, bursitis, tendonitis.

But the question is, does frankincense help sore throats?

Yes, according to the Science Direct medical database, one of the “non-pain” uses of frankincense is in the treatment of sore throats. 

5. Thyme Oil

Thymol is an anti-inflammatory and antibacterial compound found in thyme oil.

Research shows that thymol is beneficial for overall oral health and for sore throats (source).

As a matter of fact, thymol is so beneficial for oral health that it’s one of the main ingredients in Listerine mouthwashes!

6. Oregano Oil

Oregano isn’t just for pizza and tasty Italian dishes…oregano is actually a powerhouse when it comes to killing viruses, bacteria and fungi.

So, just how effective is oregano when it comes to fighting microbes?

Well, studies show that oregano kills MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), which is an antibiotic-resistant bacterium (3, 4).

In addition, oregano oil has been shown to work effectively in both liquid and vapor form. 

Based on all this, it’s no wonder that oregano oil is a great natural remedy for a sore throat!

7. Lemon Oil

Just like peppermint and eucalyptus, lemon (flavoring) is used in some over-the-counter throat lozenges.

This is most likely due to the fact that lemon oil is antimicrobial and also an antioxidant (source).

8. Clove Oil

The stronger your immune system is, the easier it is to recover from a sore throat.

And this is where clove oil comes in.

Not only does clove oil support the immune system, but it also:

  • Lowers inflammation
  • Kills fungi, viruses and bacteria
  • Has antiseptic properties

Furthermore, clove oil contains eugenol, a natural compound that is known to crush pain and inflammation, while also fighting infection (source).

essential oils for sore throat woman with hand around neck

9. Tea Tree Oil

Native to Australia, tea tree oil is a potent antimicrobial and antiseptic (source).

Historically, tea tree oil has been used to treat sore throats, coughs and congestion. 

10. Cinnamon Oil

Cinnamon oil is very beneficial for the respiratory system because it improves circulation, supports the immune system and reduces the symptoms of sore throat and congestion.

So, how does cinnamon do all this?

Mainly through plant compounds called phenylpropanoids.

These phenylpropanoids are anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and antifungal, making them ideal for treating sore throats.

In addition, another study reveals that a blend of cinnamon, wild carrot, eucalyptus and rosemary oils destroys bacteria and viruses (source).

This type of blend can also be effective alternative remedy for sore throat pain.

11. Lavender Oil

sore throat essential oils lavender

Lavender is a soothing and relaxing oil that also has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties.

So, just how effective is lavender at killing microbes?

Well, one review states that lavender kills various antibiotic-resistant bacteria (such as MRSA), as well as streptococcus (which causes strep throat).

12. Sage Oil

A 2009 study showed that when sage, in combination with echinacea, is an effective natural treatment for sore throats.

In that study an echinacea/sage spray was tested against a chlorhexidine/lidocaine spray.

The researchers concluded that “an echinacea/sage preparation is as efficacious and well tolerated as a chlorhexidine/lidocaine spray in the treatment of acute sore throats.” (source).

13. Lemongrass Oil

In addition to being anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial, lemongrass oil has an uplifting scent that can also boost mood when you’re battling a sore throat.

Studies indicate that lemongrass contains an ingredient called citral which provides serious relief from arthritis, ulcers, migraines and other inflammatory conditions.

14. Hyssop Oil

Hyssop is a member of the mint family and it has historically been used to treat sore throats and respiratory illnesses (source).

15. Juniper Berry Oil

Juniper berry is frequently used a sore throat remedy, as well as for respiratory infections, muscle aches and arthritis pain (source).

In addition, juniper berry oil boosts the immune system, which is critical for getting rid of a sore throat fast.

16. Sandalwood Oil

Both Chinese medicine and Ayurveda use sandalwood as a treatment for various conditions, including sore throat (source).

However, it’s worth knowing that in some parts of the world, sandalwood trees are endangered due to illegal harvesting.

So, if you’d rather not contribute to this as a consumer, just make sure that the essential oil brand you use follows ethical sourcing practices. 

Or you can skip sandalwood altogether and use one of the many other remedies from this post.

17. Rosemary Oil

rosemary oil

Rosemary oil provides a combination of pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties that can improve throat pain (source).

And as I mentioned earlier in this article, a combination of rosemary, cinnamon wild carrot and eucalyptus oil has been shown to be both antiviral and antibacterial.

18. Thieves Oil

If you’re an essential oil aficionado, then you’re probably familiar with the thieves oil blend.

The thieves blend is said to be an old remedy from the 15th century. It is usually made of:

  • Cinnamon oil
  • Eucalyptus oil
  • Clove oil
  • Lemon oil
  • Rosemary oil

Depending on which brand you buy the blend from the ingredients, ratios and name of the blend will vary.

But one thing’s for sure: by combining these oils you are benefiting from a powerhouse blend that fights inflammation, pain and microbes!


In the previous section, we already saw that lavender oil has been shown to kill streptococcus pyogenes (the bacteria that cause strep).

And turns out that there are actually a few other oils that can kill that pathogen.

In a 2013 study, the effectiveness of more than a dozen essential oils on streptococcus pyogenes was evaluated. The oils used in that study were:

  • Winter savory
  • Clove
  • Palmorosa
  • Ho Wood
  • Cinnamon 
  • Lemongrass
  • Oregano
  • Thyme thymol (which is thyme with high levels of thymol)
  • Peppermint
  • Thyme thujanol
  • Sweet marjoram
  • Lavender
  • Cajuput
  • Tea tree
  • Basil
  • Niaouli ct 1,8 Cineole
  • Ravintsara
  • Rosemary cineole (rosemary with high levels of cineole)

The final results showed that:

  • Cinnamon, lemongrass, thyme thymol, oregano and winter savory are most effective at inhibiting streptococcus pyogenes. Cinnamon, in particular, gave the best results.
  • Basil, niaouli ct 1,8 Cineole, ravintsara and rosemary cineole did not have any effect on the bacteria.
  • All the other other oils had some level of effectiveness against streptococcus pyogenes.

So, based on research, the best essential oils for strep throat are cinnamon, lemongrass, thyme thymol oregano and winter savory.


Throat Massage Oil

  • Combine 2 drops lemon oil and 2 drops lemongrass oil in 1 tablespoon of liquid carrier oil (like almond oil).
  • Massage over the throat area as needed several times a day.

Essential Oil Throat Gargle

  • Place 2 drops of peppermint oil and 1 drop of lavender oil into 1 tablespoon of warm water.
  • Gargle for 30 seconds.
  • Repeat every 4 to 6 hours as needed.

Essential Throat Spray

Ingredients + Supplies

4 drops lavender oil

3 drops peppermint oil

3 drops eucalyptus oil

1 ounce glass spray bottle

Distilled water

How to Make

  1. Fill the bottle most of the way with water.
  2. Add in the oils.
  3. Close the bottle and shake well to blend.
  4. Always shake before using and then spray towards the back of your throat.


As we’ve seen, essential oils have immune-boosting, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and pain relieving properties that make them one of the best natural remedies for sore throats.

I hope the information in this post has given you some clarity as to which essential oils to use for both viral and bacterial sore throat pain.

Now I’d love to hear from you…are there other essential oils that you like to use for a sore throat?

Leave your feedback below 🙂

Related Posts:

5 Tips On How To Use Thieves Oil For Sore Throat

How to Use Peppermint for a Sore Throat

4 Powerful Essential Oils For Pain and Inflammation