Essential Oils & Swollen Tonsils

Swollen tonsils are referred to as tonsillitis, which means inflammation of the tonsils. This condition is generally caused by bacteria or viral infection such as the common cold. Throat lozenges, cough medicines and antibiotics may be used to treat swollen tonsils; however, using essential oils as an alternative treatment may reduce swelling and discomfort 1. Always consult with your physician prior to self-treating any health condition.


Essential oils are described as natural odiferous compounds found in plant materials 1. They are insoluble in water. Most essential oils are derived from the leaves, bark and roots of plants 1. Many essential oils have medicinal properties and health benefits 1. Lavender oil, eucalyptus oil, lemon oil and tea tree oil are a few examples of essential oils that may be used as alternative treatments for certain conditions 1.


Swollen tonsils may be caused by the flu, common cold or bacteria. This type of bacteria may be passed from one person to another via coughing and sneezing. The flu virus or the common cold virus is generally the cause of tonsillitis in infants and preschool children; however, bacteria such as streptococcus, pneumococci, hemophilus and staphylocci are more likely to be the cause in adults.


Symptoms of swollen tonsils may or may not be accompanied by a cold or flu and may include difficulty swallowing, halitosis or bad breath, low-grade to mild fever and red swollen tonsils. In addition, you may have a white or yellow coating in the back of your throat or on the tonsils, and your lymph nodes may be enlarged or swollen in your neck.


Most cases of swollen tonsils or tonsillitis are treated with antibiotics; however, using essential oils to treat this condition may relieve soreness and reduce inflammation 1. To use as an herbal steam, boil 1 qt. of water and add 3 drops of your favorite essential oil, such as lemon oil, lavender oil or the eucalyptus oil. Place your head over the pot with a towel covering your head, and breathe the aroma. Tese oils may also be used in a warm bath or as a warm tea for sore throat relief.


Essential oils should not be used by women that are pregnant or breastfeeding 1. As with any health condition, consult your physician prior to using any herbal treatment. Persistent sore throats and swollen tonsils may lead to an obstructed airway and may be fatal.