10 Uncommon Essential Oils for Respiratory and Immune Support

With the flu season upon us once again and the recent increase in Covid cases in Singapore, many of us are looking for natural ways to boost our immunity, how to stop ourselves from falling ill or natural remedies to help us recover quickly from cold and flu viruses. While a healthy lifestyle including regular exercise, eating well and practicing good hygiene are important, we can also consider natural and homeopathic remedies to help support our immunity and respiratory health all year round.

Essential oils are often highlighted as a component of holistic health and herbal remedies that can be employed at home to bolster our immune system. But what are essential oils, and how do they work? Essential oils are natural and volatile oils extracted from plants, mainly through steam distillation. Each essential oil has its unique therapeutic properties that capture the plant's essence. Some researchers have suggested that the volatile aromatic components that make up essential oils are formed as part of the plant's defence system against external threats.

While household names such as Peppermint, Lavender, Tea Tree and Eucalyptus essential oils have earned their reputation as natural immune boosters, there exists a treasure trove of some lesser-known and more uncommon essential oils, each with their own distinct and wonderful therapeutic properties.

In this article we will look at 10 Uncommon Essential Oils and how they can be used to help support our respiratory health and boost our immune system naturally.

Eucalyptus Blue Mallee

There are over 750 different species of Eucalyptus trees, primarily native to Australia. Eucalyptus trees are well known and valued for their aromatic leaves, with Eucalyptus Globulus being one of the most commonly used species for essential oil production.

Eucalyptus Blue Mallee essential oil, a variety of Eucalyptus, is distilled from the leaves of the Eucalyptus polybractea tree. Compared to other Eucalyptus essential oils, it is high in 1,8-cineole, also known as eucalyptol. The high eucalyptol content gives Eucalyptus Blue Mallee a distinctively sharp and invigorating aroma, creating a sensory experience unlike any other Eucalyptus essential oils. Eucalyptol is known to possess antimicrobial properties, which supports your immune system by providing a natural defence against external viruses.

Eucalyptol also contributes to the expectorant and decongestant properties of Eucalyptus Blue Mallee, making it a wonderful essential oil for supporting your respiratory system naturally. Its crisp aroma is a breath of fresh air and makes it an ideal companion for addressing common respiratory issues such as cough, colds and sinus congestion.

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Bergamot Mint

Distilled from the leaves of the Mentha citrata plant, Bergamot Mint is a delight for the senses with its distinctive citrusy and minty aroma.

Compared to other members of the mint family, Bergamot Mint is rich in monoterpenes such as linalool and linalyl acetate, and only contains a small amount of menthol. This makes it a much more gentle and less intense alternative compared to Peppermint and Spearmint essential oil.

Bergamot Mint has expectorant properties and is excellent when used to soothe our respiratory tract, ease congestion and promote clearer breathing. The presence of linalool, recognised for its immune boosting properties, adds a layer of holistic wellness to Bergamot Mint essential oil as it helps strengthen our immune systems and create a natural shield against environmental threats such as viruses.

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Spike Lavender

Lavender essential oil (Lavandula angustifolia) is a popular and universally known essential oil, but have you heard of Spike Lavender?

There are currently more than 45 different species of Lavender. Spike Lavender, also known as wild lavender, is distilled from the flowering tops of Lavandula latifolia. Compared to other varieties of Lavender, Spike Lavender is rich in linalool, cineole and camphor. This gives it a sharp, herbaceous and slightly woody aroma. It is a versatile essential oil with soothing and invigorating properties.

Spike Lavender is an excellent essential oil to ease cold and flu symptoms as well as soothe coughs due to its potent anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. It is an expectorant and strongly anti-catarrh, making it useful to dissolve, loosen and expel mucus. Beyond its respiratory benefits, Spike Lavender also invigorates our senses and contributes to mental clarity, supporting our overall health and wellbeing.

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Cajeput is distilled from the leaves and twigs of the Melaleuca cajuputi tree, an evergreen tree that can grow up to 30 metres tall. Cajeput is a disinfecting and purifying essential oil with antiseptic and antibacterial properties.

Extremely rich in 1,8-cineole, Cajeput is expectorant and mucolytic. It supports our immune and respiratory systems when we are unwell by giving immediate relief to our congested nose and throat. The warm and camphorous aroma of Cajeput essential oil also works to revitalise our senses when we feel that our sinuses are stuffy or when we have a blocked nose, making it an ideal choice for supporting our respiratory health while contributing to an overall sense of wellbeing.

Cajeput essential oil is especially useful at the first signs of any cold or flu symptoms as it has potent antiviral and expectorant properties and can work swiftly to address symptoms and give our immune system a boost.

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Cypress essential oil is distilled from the leaves of the Cupressus sempervirens tree. It has a earthy yet refreshing aroma, evoking the serene and calming imagery of green forests. It introduces a grounding aroma that soothes our senses, making it an excellent addition to any blend.

Cypress essential oil is best known for encouraging circulation, regulating our blood flow and detoxifying our lymphatic system, which can support a healthy immune system.

It is also an excellent essential oil that can support our respiratory system when we are unwell. Cypress contains mostly alpha-pinene and delta-3-carene, and has been widely used in healing practices for centuries to treat respiratory tract infections due to its decongesting and expectorant properties.

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Niaouli c/t Cineole

Niaouli essential oil is distilled from the leaves of the Melaleuca quinquenervia tree, which comes from the same family as Tea Tree essential oil. There are many different types of Niaouli essential oil derived from trees with different and distinct chemotypes, with the main varieties being rich in linalool, cineole, nerolidol and viridiflorol.

Niaouli c/t Cineole essential oil is distilled from a cineole-dominant chemotype. It is high in 1,8-cineole and also contains moderate amounts of alpha-pinene, limonene and alpha-terpineol, giving it strong antibacterial and antiseptic properties.

Its high 1,8-cineole content contributes to its expectorant properties, making it a go-to essential oil for promoting clear breathing. Niaouli c/t Cineole essential oil is also excellent when used to clear congestion in our lungs by breaking down mucus, decongesting airways, easing breathing discomfort, increasing our immunity as well as stimulating blood and lymph circulation.

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Ravensara essential oil is distilled from the leaves of the Ravensara aromatica tree and has a captivating fresh and medicinal aroma.

Known as a "cure all" essential oil, Ravensara essential oil has strong antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral and overall disinfecting properties. This makes it excellent when added to a blend for diffusing as it helps to purify the air and naturally cleanse the environment from germs and pollutants.

Ravensara essential oil is rich in 1,8-cineole and also contains limonene, which exhibits strong anti-inflammatory properties. It can help soothe our respiratory system when we are unwell, strengthen our immune system and sharpen our mind. Its expectorant properties can aid in clearing any congestion in our airways, making it a soothing balm for easing respiratory discomfort.

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Rosalina, also known as Lavender Tea Tree, is a very gentle and soothing essential oil.

Distilled from the leaves of the Melaleuca ericifolia tree, Rosalina is rich in linalool and 1,8-cineole, making it an excellent essential oil for promoting respiratory comfort while giving us emotional balance. It has decongesting properties and can be used to combat ailments of the respiratory system or sinus allergies.

The gentle and floral scent of Rosalina essential oil also helps to relieve stress, anxiety and tension, while providing stability and centering our emotions, which can be useful in helping support our immune system and general state of mind. Due to its mild nature, this essential oil is suitable for diffusing around unwell children, ensuring a safe and gentle aromatic experience.

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Rosemary c/t Cineole

Rosemary is a beloved plant with many versatile applications. Spiritually, Rosemary is believed to be the herb of protection, promoting clarity of thought and enhancing our connection to the divine.

While Rosemary essential oil is popularly known for its application in helping with hair loss and stimulating our mind and memory, it is also a wonderful essential oil to use for supporting our health. Rosemary c/t Cineole essential oil is distilled from a cineole-rich chemotype of the Rosemary plant, containing not only high amounts of 1,8-cineole but also camphor and alpha-pinene.

Recognised for its clarifying and energising effects, Rosemary c/t Cineole essential oil is excellent when used to promote easy breathing, clear our mind and improve our mental awareness. It is supportive of our immune system by bolstering our natural defenses against common ailments. The warm, herbaceous and refreshing scent of Rosemary uplifts our spirit and encourages a sense of vitality, creating a harmonious balance between mental clarity and physical wellbeing.

We recommend only using Rosemary c/t Cineole essential oil in the daytime, as using it in the evenings and at night can keep us awake due to its stimulating properties.

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Thyme c/t Linalool

Known for its gentle nature, Thyme c/t Linalool is a calming and cleansing essential oil that is rich in linalool (over 70%). This gives it a gentle yet impactful approach to respiratory care.

A natural purifier with a reputation for its antibacterial properties, Thyme c/t Linalool supports our immune system and makes it less inviting to germs and viruses. It is excellent when used to foster a healthy respiratory environment.

Thyme c/t Linalool is also antispasmodic, which can give relief from coughing and relax our respiratory system.

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Incorporating essential oils in our life is one of the best and easiest ways to naturally protect ourselves and our families from viruses and fight illnesses.

If crafting your own DIY essential oil blends isn't your preference and you are not sure where to start, why not try our Breathe Easy Blend? This is an expectorant and decongesting blend of essential oils, formulated by a Certified Aromatherapist to help regulate and support our respiratory health. Diffuse this to purify the air and breathe in its refreshing and soothing aroma, or use in steam inhalation to provide relief for congested sinuses, blocked nose and sore throats. It is also available as a roll-on for topical use (roll on your pulse points such as wrists and breathe in deeply) and an aroma inhaler (designed for portability and convenience, simply inhale from the inhaler stick as and when needed).

It is important to remember that aromatherapy is a complementary holistic health practice and should always be used to complement professional healthcare and medicine. Before starting on your own home remedies, always consult a healthcare professional if you have any questions or concerns, and especially if you have pre-existing conditions or are pregnant. Finally, always remember that essential oils are concentrated and should always be used safely and properly diluted (Please read our Dilution Guidelines here). When using essential oils, it is important not to exceed the maximum dermal use level (please visit each essential oil page for more information). Essential oils that are high in 1,8-cineole should not be applied to or near the face of infants or children below the age of 3.

We hope you have found this article useful and informative as you explore the diverse world of essential oils beyond the commonly known ones. Incorporating essential oils into your daily routine is an easy and natural way to support your respiratory health, strengthen your immune system and boost your overall wellbeing. If you have any questions or would like to share some of your favourite blends, please reach out in the comments section below!

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