Cannot use Guaifenesin? Use Essential Oils Instead!

Guaifenesin and Dextromethorphan

What is Guaifenesin?

Guaifenesin is an expectorant that is usually mixed with dextromethorphan (DM) in over-the-counter (OTC) medications to help with cold, cough, mucus, and phlegm symptoms. An expectorant is what helps dissolve the mucus. Some essential oils that you could diffuse or apply that help with immune system support are Eucalyptus, Marjoram, Frankincense, Helichrysum, and Cardamom. Specifically, this combination is found in Mucinex DM, which is something my husband and I have taken for years when we get sick, and going to a doctor is unnecessary. Now if we get REALLY sick, and nothing is helping, then of course we take ourselves to the doctor to get whatever treatment is necessary. We’re all human, and running to the doctor for every little thing is just not realistic. Sometimes we have to self-treat!

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What is Dextromethorphan (or DM)?

Dextromethorphan is just a cough suppressant. If you’re coughing and phlegmy, then you would want an OTC with both ingredients. Just in case you did not know this, Mucinex DM was a prescribed medication until 2014, when it was then moved to an over-the-counter medication1. Since it is now an OTC, anyone is able to purchase it.

The Backstory

Normally I do not check the interactions of OTC medications with prescribed medicines. The reason is because I was not on any other medications, therefore what could the OTC interact with? Anyway, about mid-year this past year, I began having some major symptoms that resulted in it being found out that my spinal accessory nerve was damaged from a really bad car accident I was in Christmas Eve of 2003. I have had neck and back problems since then, but they suddenly got worse without anything else happening in my life. Multiple doctors suspect aggravation from normal use, which is nothing I could have prevented.

Because of the damage that took months to figure out by the way, I am now on a bunch of medications I never used to have to take. It’s kind of scary when you’re perfectly healthy, then suddenly you’re taking something major like gabapentin, among other medications. Suffice to say, when I got sick in November, I probably should have checked for interactions between Mucinex Dm and all of the new medications that I’m now on; however, I did not.

The sad part about this is, is that I actually went to the doctor a few days after falling ill because I was coughing so bad, and I couldn’t sleep because of it. I gave the doctor (actually he was a Physician’s Assistant) my new list of medications, and even told him what I was taking from over-the-counter, which was only tylenol at the time because my head hurt so bad. Do you know what he told me to do? He told me to continue taking tylenol and also to take some Mucinex DM and something else (that I didn’t have). He also prescribed me an antibiotic and some crappy cough syrup that didn’t even work, so I ended up throwing that crap out! Here I was, back in the same place I started with no relief from coughing in order to sleep. I also, as he suggested, added Mucinex DM into the mix that night and the following morning.

Well…. the next morning when I was upstairs trying to get some stuff done (still feeling crappy), I began feeling out of place (out of body-like) and really light-headed and dizzy. I told my husband and since he used to be a Navy Corpsmen, he knew that I was probably having some sort of interaction from the medications, or taking too much of something. Turns out, I wasn’t taking too much of anything, but I was having a reaction to the ingredient guaifenesin, because it is not supposed to be used with one of the medications I was on for my current issues. Why the PA didn’t check or know that is beyond me, as I am NOT a doctor. In any case, I’ve continued to be sick off and on since then because of our crazy weather! I live in Georgia, and since then it has been hot one day, cold the next, etc. When the weather changes rapidly and is not consistent, I tend to get a cough, runny nose, phlegm, fever, etc. I’m also prone to pneumonia so I have to be careful when it’s really cold out.

I ended up having to go back to the doctor this month, and again they double-checked that the medications I was on was current. I told the nurse I was not taking any OTC medications because they react with my prescribed medications. She notated on my file that I have an ‘allergy’ to guaifenesin, so that they could find an alternate prescription for me if needed. Later when the doctor came in, she said there was nothing she could prescribe, but that I could take Mucinex DM! I was floored by this! The nurse had just notated my file and the reason why and this doctor is recommending that very medicine to me? This not only tells me that people don’t pay attention to medical files, but that doctors and PA’s do not always check interactions between prescribed and OTC medications. Unbelievable!

So what did I do?

I began using my essential oils of course! I have the book Modern Essentials, Sixth edition, and refer to it ALL the time.


I am not an essential oil guru that has years and years of training, however, I am a quick learner and I do my research. Everybody should be doing their own research on how to use essential oils, especially before using internally, or using on young children (which I have two of, 5 and 6 years old). So I pulled out my handy book and looked up my symptoms. My main symptoms have been congestion, lots of mucus, and coughing. I decided on a mixture of oils to help with immune system support that I could use internally. That means that I would be placing a certain number of drops of certain oils into a veggie capsule.

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veggie capsule with essential oils

I decided to use one drop of Frankincense, one drop of Ginger, one drop of DigestZen, and one drop of Cardamom.

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my immune system blend

I have been doing this for almost two weeks, one capsule in the morning, and one capsule at night before bed. Almost immediately my nose is clear and dry (instead of being runny) and I can breathe normally. The mucus in my throat seems to be a lot better as well. Just to re-iterate, I am not taking any over-the-counter medicine, nor any prescribed medication for immune system support. The only medications I am taking is for my nerve, neck/back, and anxiety issues.

Throughout the day if I feel the need, I also take On Guard® Protecting Throat DropsOn Guard® Softgels, and Breathe® Respiratory Drops.

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doTERRA drops

Product Information Pages

If you click on the product name, or essential oil names above, the link will take you directly to doTERRA’s product page for that specific essential oil. This will give you the description, uses, directions for use, and cautions of each oil. Additionally, you will see the primary benefits, ingredients, aromatic description, AND the retail and wholesale pricing. You will see that wholesale is 25% off of the retail price. If you use essential oils all the time like I do, then becoming a wholesale customer OR wellness advocate would be a great way for you to save money on your essential oils, as well as have the opportunity to earn cash-back in points if you participate in LRP (Loyalty Rewards Program). If you want to know what LRP is, then CLICK HERE to read my post about it.

Wholesale Customer or Wellness Advocate

There is a fee of $35 to sign up as a wholesale customer for one year. Each additional year is only $25. A wholesale customer will enjoy a 25% product discount, loyalty rewards points (if you elect to participate in LRP), the ability to get the product of the month (each month), and shipping rewards points (similar to LRP). A wholesale customer does not have to sell anything, nor place orders every single month. There is no auto-ship, unless you participate in LRP (which you can opt out of at any time). If you use essential oils and share them with your family and friends, then signing up as a Wellness Advocate would be your best option so that you could earn commission.


  1. Doheny, K. (2014). What is Mucinex DM (Dextromethorphan & Guaifenesin)? Retrieved from

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