Essential Oil Use with Pulmonary Fibrosis

Essential Oil Use with Pulmonary Fibrosis
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With increasing interest in natural remedies for the management of disease symptoms, discussion about the uses of essential oils flourishes. Advocates for oil companies, such as dōTERRA or Young Living, will tell you that there are “unlimited” benefits and uses for these oils to help you live a healthier life.

I have friends and family who swear by the uses of essential oils and have completely removed products in the home that they believe are filled with toxic chemicals. A 2012 study in Molecular Medicine Reports indicated that diffusing essential oils can inhibit airborne bacteria growth. For some friends and family, essential oils are preferable to candles, which result in small amounts of smoke entering a room’s air. For those living with a lung disease such as IPF, diffusing essential oils could be ideal, as the air we breathe needs to be as clean as possible to avoid exacerbation and illness.

The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center recently shared a Facebook post warning that essential oils could be toxic to pets if ingested. People commented on the post, questioning therapeutic uses for essential oils: Just how safe are they?

I am not a wellness advocate, nor am I trained in the uses of essential oils, so please consider this a disclosure that I am not endorsing or opposing the use of oils in this column. However, many people have been posting about the benefits of essential oils, particularly relating to lung diseases, and I wanted to outline the uses of oils that I have found particularly beneficial.

It is important to recognize that the quality of essential oils can differ between companies. Therapeutic oils have different “grades” of quality. Unfortunately, many essential oils are not as pure as claimed. Pure essential oils, such as dōTERRA and Young Living, are more expensive, and while I usually am one to choose cheaper products, essential oils are not something I prioritize saving money on. You can read more about the therapeutic grades of oils at dōTERRA‘s and Young Living’s websites. This is the only information that I can confidently encourage people to be cautious of when choosing essential oils.

Following are some of the ways that I have already integrated essential oils into my daily living, or strive to in the future:

  • dōTERRA toothpaste: Made with essential oils that are safe to go in your mouth, this toothpaste is gentle on my gums and teeth. Due to medication side effects, I am extremely sensitive to strong tastes, and store-bought toothpaste seems to burn my mouth and gums. I enjoy the natural flavoring of the dōTERRA toothpaste, and don’t find the taste or smell overwhelming.
  • Diffusing oils at night: There’s controversy about whether inhaling essential oils helps with breathing. However, I simply enjoy diffusing oils at night because it helps me sleep. My favorite combination is peppermint, eucalyptus, and lavender essential oils. It creates a nice, calming environment for sleep.
  • Natural cleaners: Both dōTERRA and Young Living offer natural cleaning products that are free of toxic chemicals. While I don’t use these in my home all of the time, I want to use them more often on surfaces that touch things that come in contact with my mouth, such as countertops, sinks, and faucets. In some areas of my home, I just feel more comfortable using these cleaners than store-bought cleaners.
  • Breathing sticks/roll-ons: When I catch a cold, not being able to breathe due to congestion terrifies me, so I will do whatever I can to breathe better. I find the dōTERRA “EasyAir” roll-on ball or breathe stick helps clear my sinuses and congestion quickly. It’s similar to Vicks VapoRub, but I know the contents are natural, and it works better and lasts longer than Vicks.

To reiterate, I am not a wellness advocate. However, I have found particularly helpful uses for essential oils in my home. Maybe you will find the same if you try them.

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Note: Pulmonary Fibrosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Pulmonary Fibrosis News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to pulmonary fibrosis.

Charlene is a fiercely independent 30-something woman who can’t sit still. She loves coffee, wine tasting, playing with her dog, and spending time on the beach with her family. She’s a lover of all things travel, and never passes up an opportunity for a dip in the ocean! A proud Canadian, Charlene was diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) in 2016 after 13 months of investigation into sudden shortness of breath, a chronic cough, and unusual fatigue. IPF has forced her to slow down, but she’s slowly learning the value of quality versus quantity in everything she does.
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Charlene is a fiercely independent 30-something woman who can’t sit still. She loves coffee, wine tasting, playing with her dog, and spending time on the beach with her family. She’s a lover of all things travel, and never passes up an opportunity for a dip in the ocean! A proud Canadian, Charlene was diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) in 2016 after 13 months of investigation into sudden shortness of breath, a chronic cough, and unusual fatigue. IPF has forced her to slow down, but she’s slowly learning the value of quality versus quantity in everything she does.
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29 comments

  1. Lea says:

    Thank you for sharing this Charlene!

    Self care is so incredibly important. Essential oils can be helpful. I don’t do fragrances, because of allergies, but I sure do reap the benefits of adding oils to my supplements and foods. Specifically, cannabis oil and a high quality extra virgin olive oil will increase my oxygen saturation level ever so slightly. Oils are not a miracle, but do make a difference!!

    • Charlene Marshall says:

      Thank you so much for reading and connecting Lea. As always, I love hearing from you and I’m so glad to hear how you use oils!

  2. Alice says:

    I was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis 2015. I was put on high doses of prednisone in 2016. In December 2017 I was hospitalized for 14 days with pneumonia. I was on oxygen 24/7 and the bottom lobes of my lungs are destroyed! I lost hope because my doctor said he have no idea how long I have to live but Glory be to Almighty for leading to Best Health Herbal Centre. I purchased pulmonary fibrosis herbal remedy from Best Health Herbal Centre, the herbal remedy slowed the progression within 5 weeks of usage, 80-85% success rate! This gives me great hope it will reverse my pulmonary fibrosis totally.

    • Christine Chavez says:

      I have been diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis this month and am doing alot of research having never smoked don’t know how it started. Thanks for your information its very encouraging.

      • Charlene Marshall says:

        Hi Christine,

        Thanks for reading my columns and for getting in touch with us via the comments. I’m really sorry to hear of your recent PF diagnosis, and hope you’re being gentle with yourself as you adjust to the news. I remember that time well and it was one filled with a lot of emotions for me. Glad you’ve found our site, and if you have a moment to check out the Pulmonary Fibrosis forums: https://pulmonaryfibrosisnews.com/forums/ there is a lot more information on there, and theyre filled with really wonderful, supportive people who are also living with PF. Feel free to connect anytime!

        Warm regards,
        Charlene.

        • Patricia Williams says:

          Thank you for the link Charlene. Sometimes I have a hard time finding you. I will add it to my home page. I also use essential oils. Have been putting them on my chest, back and feet since diagnosis in October 2018. I also did use them. Bless you in the new year and always.

          • Charlene Marshall says:

            Hi Patricia,

            Thanks for reading my columns and reaching out via the comments. It is nice to hear from you — I’ve learnt a lot since writing this column on essential oils, especially about the importance of making sure they are therapeutic grade oils. Cheaper ones often have additives that aren’t good for us, so ensuring they are pure is really important. I don’t use them as much as I used to, but would rather try something natural for ailments (such as a headache) compared to medications. Glad they’re helpful for you.

            Kind regards,
            Charlene.

    • Charlene Marshall says:

      Hi Jina,

      Thanks for your question.

      Do you mean which brand of oils do I use, or which actual oil do I find most helpful for pulmonary fibrosis? I can answer both for you 🙂

      I use doTerra oils (or Young Living) because of their therapeutic grade certification (TGC). This means that there is nothing added to the oils, including chemicals or fragrances that are not pure oil. This TGC is important to me to know I am only ingesting pure essential oils through diffusing.

      In terms of the oils I prefer for scents, my favourites right now are: cinnamon, peppermint and lavender. Hope this helps!

      Charlene.

    • Charlene Marshall says:

      Hi Kristy,

      The essential oil brand I use is either Young Living or DoTerra. Both can be found online, and the reason I choose these oil companies is the way their oils are sources, and they are certified pure therapeutic grade (CPTG) oils which is really important to me. Some oil brands can have artificial scents or ingredients and these brands are pure oil which is the healthiest for us.

      In terms of the scents that I like from these companies, I find the following are helpful for me:

      Lavender – helps calm me and let’s me sleep better.
      Peppermint – soothing and when mixed with eucalyptus, I think it helps me breathe better
      and I also really like a scent of DoTerra’s called OnGuard. It is their immunity blend and it has cinnamon in it!

      I can’t endorse the use of oils for IPF of course, and the literature isn’t likely conclusive (I’ve never done a literature search) on linking essential oil use to the benefits of chronic illnesses like IPF. However, my thoughts are that they aren’t going to hurt us, and they make me feel better mentally since the smells are soothing so this is primarily why I use them 🙂

      Enjoy!

      Charlene

  3. Sherry Byars says:

    I have been using a diffuser and essential oils for over a year now when I go to sleep. I find the added moisture really seems to help with my cough and dry mouth symptoms. I use Young Living Oils, and feel that it is best to use therapeutic grade oils. That is my personal opinion, and they are expensive. I read about the oil blends for different problems that someone else posted. I think I will try them as well.

    • Charlene Marshall says:

      Hi Sherry,

      Thanks so much for reading my columns and for getting in touch regarding this topic. I also really love the essential oils, especially when diffused into my room at night for bedtime. Young Living is a great oil company to purchase from, especially their therapeutic grade guarantee makes me feel good about how I use the oils. Have you ever added any of them to water? There are some that are safe for internal ingestion (make sure you always read which ones first on the labels) but I like adding a drop of peppermint to my water. I find it is refreshing and helps my throat often as well. Goodluck in trying some new oils 🙂

      Cheers,
      charlene.

  4. VIVIAN ESCOTT says:

    Hi Simone, this sounds great! I was dx in 2014 for IP. On o2 oxygen, but I seem to be getting shorter of breathe.
    I am going to the website to try this. Do I need to
    consult with my doctor first. Any other advice will help

    • Charlene Marshall says:

      Hi Vivian,

      It probably wouldn’t hurt to consult your doctor re: essential oil use and IPF. Be especially careful with the oils and ensuring they are properly diluted if you’re using them in the bath as an example, or on your skin. And, if you ingest them, please make sure they are safe to do so by reading the label on the side of the bottle. Those are just my cautions from one essential oil user to another. Also, keep the oils away from flowing oxygen or your cannula, just in case they are a fire hazard. These are the reasons you should definitely consult your doctor and/or oxygen provider first. I primarily use oils in my diffuser (away from my tanks and concentrators) or a drop in a glass bottle of water. Hope this helps
      Charlene.

    • Charlene Marshall says:

      Hi Raisa,

      I’m not sure the name of the herbs you’re referring to. I use essential oils as much as possible for different IPF-related symptoms/troubles, and my favourites are peppermint (for nausea, headaches), lavender (to improve sleep) and an immunity strengthening blend of cloves, cinnamon, etc. (the doTerra version of this is called OnGuard). Not sure if this is what you’re looking for?

      Cheers,
      Charlene.

    • Charlene Marshall says:

      Hi Leisha,

      Not sure if your question was for me or Simone, but I am happy to share with you which essential oil brand I use to help me live with IPF. They don’t cure our lung disease, but in my experience, essential oils can be helpful in the management of symptoms (ie. helping with insomnia, or the chronic cough, I use lavender and peppermint oil respectively). I use the brand doTerra as they are certified pure oils and the company stands by their process of obtaining pure essential oils. I know Young Living is good too, there are lots available on the market. My only advice is to be sure the oils you’re using are certified pure/therapeutic grade oils to be sure there aren’t any chemicals in them. Hopefully this helps.
      Charlene.

  5. khalid khan says:

    thank you every one who are suffring fromipf my dearfriends my GOD gives us good and healthy life i am situffring also my doc said u must have 3 tab a day 200 mg it took 2 weeks to get back i drink hot water i use to caugh now i am doing pretty good he or she said ab the herbel remedyi am going to buy itmy age is 68i amfrom pakistan i will pry for ur good healththank u

  6. Rachel B says:

    I just learned, today, that my Mother has IPF. Ugh! My Grandmother, 1 of 6 children, died from IPF and so did 3 of her siblings. One died from lung cancer and one is still living. Since my Grandmother passed away and then her siblings started to die from IPF our family learned abou the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation. My mother has been going to the University of Tennessee where they are doing research on IPF through this foundation and having biopsies of her lungs. Her cousins have participated as well. Even DNA testing has been done but inconclusive. So IPF has been monitored in my family so far. Just so happens that for the last couple of months I have been looking into essential oils for healing colds etc. I cam across this book “The Healing Power of Essential Oils” by Eric Zielinski D.C. It is very informative on a molecular level and on the holistic level. I would recommend that you read or listen to this book and find your own method and oils for comfort, healing and enjoyment.
    In speaking with my mother today about IPF I mentioned the potential possibility of healing with essential oils and the “what if” to this therapy. We, as a family, have exhausted all efforts. We have seen the outcome. We have nothing else to loose in trying essential oils.

    What I have gathered so far from this book is that Frankensense, Ylang Ylang and Myrrh are pretty much golden. So here we go. We are starting off with some Frankensense oil blended with others like lavender, eucalyptus and sweet orange. You must always have a base oil like olive oil, almond, coconut oil if you are to apply to the skin. My mother will be applying her oils topically as well as in a diffuser.

    Just curious how everyone on this post is doing now? Since it has been a while.

    • Charlene Marshall says:

      Hi Rachel,

      Thank you for reading my columns and getting in touch via the comments. So sorry to hear of your Mom’s IPF diagnosis – this disease sure is cruel and relentless. Be gentle with yourselves the next few weeks – I remember how difficult it was when I first learnt of my disease too. Yes the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation (PFF) is an excellent resource and facility for patients and their families, glad you’re involved in the work they are doing. I do love the use of therapeutic-grade oils for various things, including comfort and better breathing. While I can’t endorse the effectiveness, I don’t believe they have caused me harm and I find them quite calming. I use doTerra but I would imagine any type of therapeutic grade oil (quality!) would be worth exploring. Let us know how you make out with the oils you try – if nothing else I find eucalyptus really good in keeping my airways and sinus’ clear, which most people probably would 🙂

      Keep us posted and please stay in touch. Your Mom is in my prayers!
      Charlene.

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