The use of essential oils is a great option available for patients with pulmonary fibrosis who are considering using natural supplements as a way to better manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life. These oils are basically extracts that are taken from parts of plants, flowers, and fruits and have strong therapeutic qualities. Below are some essential oil suggestions, based on individual symptoms as experienced by PF patients.
For pain: Lavender, lemongrass, peppermint, ginger or black pepper.
For stress: Bergamot, grapefruit, sandalwood, tangerine or jasmine.
For headaches: Lavender, peppermint, marjoram or Roman chamomile.
For a sense of well-being: Frankincense, lavender, rose, mandarin, neroli or helichrysum.
For sleep: Lavender, neroli, jasmine, marjoram or Roman chamomile.
Below is also a list of different oils, both oral and/or topical, along with their relative lung and health benefits:
(i) Cod liver oil
Cod liver oil contains fatty acids and can improve lung health. It contains Vitamin D and has been shown to reduce lung inflammation, as well as minimize the symptoms of pulmonary fibroids. A common dose for liquid cod liver oil is 1-2 teaspoons per day, but it can also be taken in capsule form.
Eucalyptus has many benefits, including its ability to act as a decongestant and expectorant, in addition to providing some level of pain relief, and even strengthening the immune system. Eucalyptus oil can be used either topically as a diluted oil or as an ingredient in creams; it can also be used as an inhalant by adding a few drops of eucalyptus oil or a handful of leaves to hot water or a vaporizer and deeply inhale the steam vapor for five to 10 minutes (please be careful to not burn yourself), or you can even use a few drops of eucalyptus oil in a warm bath or shower.
Lavender is another oil that is beneficial to those with preexisting lung conditions because it acts as an antioxidant and helps the body fight off disease progression; it is also known for its ability to lower rates of stress hormones, which helps in symptom management. A common way to use lavender oil is by combining it with either jojoba or sweet almond oil and massaging into the skin or adding to a warm bath. Lavender oil can also be used in an aromatherapy vaporizer or even added to a cloth or tissue and inhaled.
Bergamot is another essential oil that can help with pulmonary patients’ symptoms because it is antibacterial and antifungal, both of which help protect the body and keep it healthy. A unique property of bergamot is its ability to reduce negative feelings as well as fatigue; having a more positive mindset has been shown to positively impact chronic symptoms as well. Bergamot oil can be added to a cloth or tissue and inhaled, added to a warm bath, or used in an aromatherapy vaporizer. Please do not inhale this oil directly from its bottle and only use a few drops at a time.
Many of these essential oils can be found in various forms, including as topical oils or capsules, at supermarkets such as Whole Foods or Sprouts. Online carriers such as Amazon also often have these oils available for purchase.
It is important to remember that supplements are not “one size fits all.” Please always consult with your doctor or healthcare professional prior to incorporating new therapies and/or making any significant changes in your health/lifestyle habits.