Be aware that there is NO WAY to predict what oils can or will trigger an attack in an individual. Quite obviously, if you know you are allergic to, let's say pine and spruce trees, then avoid the use of the various conifer (needle) oils. If most flowers bring on an attack, avoid the floral oils, and so on.

Any oil you intend to try should first be "tested." Put a drop of the essential oil on a tissue or cotton ball and hold it at arms length from the sufferer. If it seems well tolerated, gradually bring it closer until the tissue or cotton ball is right under the nose. If it can be inhaled with no negative effects it is safe to try.

Do not try testing more than two essential oils per day, separated by several hours.


Please don't use any of the essential oils in a steam inhalation during an asthma attack. The use of steam almost always worsens the attack.


There are two oils that are said to have 'antihistamine like' properties and are said to prevent asthma attacks.

There are authorities who state that Blue Tansy oil (tanecetum anuum) can halt an asthma attack in its tracks (Jeanne Rose is one of them.)...and I have clients who say that diffusing a bit of this oil in an aromalamp each morning has allowed them to cut way down on allergy medications. Blue Tansy may prove useful both as an antihistamine to help prevent attacks, and as a treatment during an attack.

Ammi visnaga (khella) oil is supposed to have a similar effect, however it's only fair to say that most people enjoy the scent of blue tansy (sweet and apple scented) and find the scent of ammi reminiscent of last years coffee grounds. The drug Intal (cromolyn sodium) has its origins from ammi visnaga. Khella Oil must be used (by inhalation) on a daily basis, not just when an attack threatens.


One of my French mentors wrote, years ago: "Asthma is a tricky thing, different circumstances can trigger attacks in different people, so caution is important here. A large number of Essential Oils have(or are reputed to have) effects on the respiratory system, which isn't very surprising considering that they are breathed in and that scents are often very pleasant things. A large number (many of the same ones as above) will also carry warnings that they may trigger an asthmatic attack. Also, not a surprise when you consider things."

It is because of the oils' powerful effects on the respiratory tract that well tolerated essential oils can bring swift relief to Asthma sufferers.


The following oils are listed in order by both their ability to be tolerated without causing a reaction, and their effectiveness.

Blue Tansy (tanecetuum anuum)
Jeanne Rose states that Blue Tansy is a natural source of theophylline, a bronchiodilator,which would explain its being recommended for asthma crisises. And many sources write ofthe links between childhood asthma and adult eczema and other dermatitis conditions. Although we do not recommend internal usage, she says she personally uses one drop of this oil on a sugar cube for bring her asthma attack to a halt.
Kurt Schaubelt extolls this magnificent deep indigo oil for its antihistaminic/anti-allergin  properties. He suggests using it (applied to the solar plexus) in blends for asthma, or diffusing it in blends for emphasema...blending Pine, Cypress and just a touch of this lovely Tansy. (Obviously it is first necessary to test all the oils before blending!)

Hyssop montana/canescens (ex decumbens)
My French mentor writes that in his experience this particular Hyssop (and no others!) is the safest essential oil to use with Asthma sufferers. It appears that the pino-camphone content in this hyssop chemotype is very low so I believe there is no toxicity, compared with the other hyssop types. I have years of experience with it, mainly with diffusers and really love the oil! Best results with asthma patients, little children and allergic people. He says it is the first oil he will reach for in cases of Asthma. This hyssop ssp montana/canescens (ex decumbens) is only found in the Haute Provence, France.
Blue Tansy and this Hyssop are the first two essential oils I would test.

Myrtle Myrtys communis.
Soft, gentle respiratory oil, very good for use with children, normally well tolerated. A very gentle expectorant that can ease coughing while loosening tight mucous.

Litsea Cubeba
Litsea, sometimes called May Chang, has a clear lemony scent that also has bronchio-dilator and antispasmodic effects. It is normally well tolerated, but should be tested. It also blends aromatically well with amni visnaga (see above) and makes inhalation of the Khella Oil a lot more palatable.
Cypress Oil Cupressus sempervirens

All of the conifers may help with respiratory problems. Cypress, in addition, is an antispasmodic which can help relieve bronchial spasms. However, any of the "Evergreen" oils can cause an allergic reaction to many people, so please be very sure to test this with your asthma patient. (See test method above.)
My mentor suggests, if the above oils are all well-tolerated, a blend of one drop each of Hyssop, Litsea, and Cypress inhaled from a cotton ball when breathing first begins to feel constricted. If this blend, or any single oil proves effective you might want to look at making a personal inhaler for the patient to carry with him.

Essential Oils: Try them in this order: Hyssop, Myrtle, Cypress, Lavender,
Litsea cubeba, Petitgrain (or Mandarine) for stress and anxiety relief.


For inhalation:

Hyssop Essential Oil and Cypress Essential Oil and Litsea cubeba Essential Oil:
One drop of each on a cotton ball to smell at will whenever breathing feels
constricted. Try the combination and if the effect is positive, mix as
follows. In a small colored glass bottle (amber or cobalt) mix equal parts of the three oils. (1 15 ml (1/2 ounce) bottle will hold one measuring teaspoon of each oil.)

For Massage:

Myrtle Essential Oil and Lavender Essential Oil and Petitgrain Essential Oil (or Mandarine Essential Oil): This is a more complicated mixture. You will also need some carrier oil - Jojoba or Fractionated Coconut are our favorites, but use what you have available. For your trial of this mixture, take one tablespoonful Oil, add 7 drops Myrtle Essential Oil, 3 drops Lavender Essential Oil, and 3 drops Petitgrain Essential Oil (or Mandarine Essential Oil). Use this as a massage oil on the patients BACK, not chest. If the
reaction is a good one, mix up some more as follows: 7 TBS Carrier Oil (this should be what is left in your 4 oz bottle if that is what you bought).

Add 1/2 tsp Myrtle Essential Oil, 1/4 tsp Lavender Essential Oil and 1/4 tsp Petitgrain
Essential Oil (or Mandarine Essential Oil). This is a massage oil
for his back. It can also be used on his wrists or ankles. It should be
used every 15 minutes or oftener during an attack. It will not hurt him to
use it once or twice a day as a regular thing if he thinks it makes his
condition better.

Author's Bio: 

Over 15 years experience sourcing, selecting and making available highest quality therapeutic essential oils and aromatherapy products, founder of Nature's Gift, Inc., author of Essential Oils and Aromatics.