For the past couple of weeks, we have been dealing with the effects of smoke inhalation and poor air quality here in Sedona, Arizona due to a wildfire that was started on May 20, 2014. Sedona is normally known for its clear air and skies, so the effect felt by the smoke from the fire is an unusual event for this area. Instead of blue, sunny skies, the area for many miles around the fire has been covered in a dense smog – similar to conditions endured in large cities such as Los Angeles

Essential Oils for Smoke Inhalation: Photo credit, Sharon Falsetto (copyright)
Essential Oils for Smoke Inhalation: Photo credit, Sharon Falsetto (copyright)

However, there are various essential oils that you can use to help to deal with the side effects of smoke inhalation of wildfires – or if you live in area that consistently has poor air quality. Here are some suggestions.

Remember to consult a qualified health care practitioner if effects are serious or if you have ongoing medical conditions. If you have babies and young children, are pregnant, or are elderly, you should take extra precautions too as these groups are considered more sensitive and vulnerable to such conditions.

Side Effects of Wildfire Smoke and Poor Air Quality

The side effects of inhaling wildfire smoke and dealing with poor air quality are similar to those suffered by people with respiratory conditions; these include:

  • runny and/or stuffy nose

  • itchy and/or runny eyes

  • itchy throat

  • dry mouth

  • tightness in the chest/difficulty breathing

  • “burning” sensation in the eyes, nose, ears, and throat area.

Essential Oils for Smoke Inhalation

Several of the tree essential oils are suitable for use with respiratory conditions; combine with a citrus essential oil to freshen up the air:

  • eucalyptus

  • cedarwood

  • cypress

  • juniper

  • pine

  • tea tree

  • myrtle.

Conditions such as asthma, bronchitis, coughs, and colds may also be relieved by the therapeutic effects of the above essential oils.

How to Use

The most effective way to disperse essential oils for respiratory conditions is to use some type of aromatherapy diffuser. There are many different types of aromatherapy diffusers available including:

  • electric diffusers

  • nebulizers

  • plug-in diffusers for the car and your laptop

  • terracotta diffusers

  • fan diffusers.

The above types of aromatherapy diffusers are discussed in more detail in Authentic Aromatherapy. Amounts to use of each essential oil will depend upon personal circumstances and the type of diffuser that you choose to use.

You can also use the steam inhalation method; fill up a bowl with warm water, add a few drops of essential oil, cover your head with a towel, and inhale.

Learn More About Aromatherapy with Sedona Aromatherapie

If you would like to learn how to use essential oils effectively and safely for more health conditions, consider the Sedona Aromatherapie Certification in Professional Aromatherapy course. For more details, visit the courses home page.


  • Author is a certified aromatherapist

  • Falsetto, Sharon, 2014, Authentic Aromatherapy, US: Skyhorse Publishing

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