I am almost certain that everybody reading this article will have suffered a bout of sinus congestion at some point during their lives. There are many possible reasons for sinus congestion which commonly include viruses like the cold and flu, allergies and sinus infections. If you are suffering from chronic or long term congestion then it is advisable that you seek medical advice however most cases are less serious and can be treated very effectively a home.
Certain essential oils can be put to great use in clearing up your sinus congestion; they are natural, safe and extremely effective and could well save you an unwanted visit to the doctor. Conventional treatments for sinusitis congestion and underlying sinus infections can include antibiotics or antivirals. Neither of these are necessarily effective and can lead to bacteria becoming resistant when overused.
Essential oils are a popular option because they are able to penetrate affected sinus and nasal regions directly and they contain natural antibacterial, anti- inflammatory and expectorant properties, which can help you to recover fast with no adverse effects.
What are the best essential oils for sinus congestion?
When it comes to essential oils as a remedy for nasal and sinus congestion, there is no lack of choice in terms of the oil you use or the method of treatment. A variety of essential oils can be used to equal effect and they include the following all of which possess the natural healing properties to clear your sinuses efficiently and safely..
- Rosemary OilRosemary essential oil is a powerful healing oil with a delightful fragrant scent. It contains a wide variety of medicinal compounds including 1,8 cineole and limonene. The scent of this oil can help provide relief from congestion and soreness in the throat as well as helping to treat cold and flu symptoms including sinus congestion. It also has antiseptic qualities that make it useful in treating respiratory infections.
- Thyme OilThyme essential oil has antibacterial and antiseptic properties that are useful when you come down with a seasonal cold. It also has excellent expectorant qualities which means that it can help loosen mucus from your respiratory system and clear the sinuses from congestion.
When it comes to treating sinus congestion, it blends especially well with lemon, tea tree and eucalyptus oils but don’t worry if you don’t have them all because it is an excellent standalone treatment.
Bear in mind that thyme oil can be very potent and if it is not properly diluted may lead to a skin reaction. It should also not be used by people with high blood pressure and pregnant women should avoid it.
- Tea Tree OilTea tree essential oil is among the most popular and well-studied of all oils with a variety of proven medicinal uses. It is a powerful antibacterial and anti-fungal oil that works well on numerous respiratory problems including coughs, sore throats and sinus congestion.
It can be applied directly to the chest or neck or beneath the nostrils to help ease your breathing difficulties but be sure to dilute it first with a carrier oil.
- Lavender OilYou will certainly not be surprised to find lavender on this list of essential oils for sinus congestion. Let’s face it, there is not much that lavender cannot do for you both physically and mentally which is why it is considered to be a must in any essential oil cabinet.
Because it is considered to be a milder acting oil, it is also the safest and best oil to use when treating sinus issues in children.
Lavender oil can effectively relieve inflammation in the respiratory system while also fighting the germs that may cause a sinus or respiratory infection.
- Eucalyptus OilOne of the best natural remedies for the sniffles and other symptoms of seasonal colds, eucalyptus oil has excellent antibacterial, antifungal and antiseptic properties. It works especially well in relieving congestion from the upper airways and helps to loosen the build-up of phlegm which will have you breathing more comfortably in no time.
Simply combine it with a good quality base oil to create an excellent natural vapor rub or combine it with some other essential oils as directed later in the article.
- Peppermint OilPeppermint essential oil can provide near instant relief from congestion and is one of the most popular and effective remedies for respiratory difficulties. It has excellent expectorant and decongestant properties with cooling actions that are just perfect to unblock your sinuses and get your breathing back to normal.
It is the most effective essential oil for use as a standalone in a steam inhalation which you can read about later in this article.
- Geranium OilThis fragrant essential oil does not just smell good but can provide relief from sinus congestion especially when combined with another essential oil and used in a steam inhaler or diffuser.
It also combines well with equal amounts of peppermint, rosemary and eucalyptus oil to make a topical vapor rub.
- Roman Chamomile OilAmong its many other uses, roman chamomile can help relieve throat infections, pain and clear the sinuses from congestion.
- Oregano OilIf you are suffering from breathing issues as a result of the common cold, oregano oil is a powerful natural remedy. It can help ease congestion caused by sinus infections and improve your breathing because of its wide range of excellent medical properties.
- Sweet basil OilSweet basil essential oil is certainly not among the most popular oils but it can work wonders on sinus congestion and other respiratory problems like bronchitis because of its outstanding expectorant qualities. Add a few drops to your warm bath or combine with a carrier oil to make a great natural vapor rub.
- Juniper OilThis is another lesser used oil but one with the ability to help fight colds and reduce congestion in the respiratory system and the sinuses.
- Cinnamon Leaf OilCinnamon leaf oil has antiviral properties that can help to ward off colds and their symptoms. It is different from the more well-know cinnamon bark oil-so make sure that you get the right one for its sinus benefits.
Not all essential oils are created equal; make sure that you choose therapeutic grade essential oils from a reputable company.
Best ways to use essential oils for sinus congestion
Perhaps the easiest and most convenient way to use your essential oil for sinus congestion is to put a few drops of your chosen oil into the palm of your hands and cup them over your nose; inhale the vapors deeply for quick relief. You can do this on the go and use them whenever necessary but because the oils evaporate so quickly, you will need to re-apply your essential oil regularly.
Many undiluted essential oils can burn and sting when applied directly to the skin so adding a few drops of oil to a handkerchief and inhaling from the material might be preferable. Alternatively, you can inhale the oils directly from the bottle when necessary.
2. Steam inhalation
Steam inhalation takes a little more planning but it is a great way to ensure that you are inhaling all the therapeutic goodness of the oils and is a proven method of dealing with nasal and sinus congestion as well as respiratory difficulties.
- Boil up a sufficient quantity of water to fill a heatproof bowl or your bathroom sink.
- Add between 6 and 8 drops of your chosen essential oil and stir it well.
- Drape a towel over your head and shoulders and lean overt the sink or bowl being careful not to scald yourself on the water or seam.
Breathe the vapors in through your nose and mouth for at least 5 minutes if you can tolerate it. Repeat the process several times a day until your symptoms have cleared away.
Many people suggest that peppermint is the most effective essential oil for steam inhalation but the other oils listed above should prove almost equally effective.
If you have a range of oils, consider the following steam inhalation blend that comes highly recommended for fast and effective sinus relief.
Essential oil Inhalation Blend for Sinus congestion:
• Eucalyptus essential oil (2 drops)
• Thyme essential oil (2 drops)
• Peppermint essential oil (3 drops)
Essential oil diffusers are not just for show and scent. Nowadays, there are a wide variety of different diffusers available some of which are more effective than others in terms of therapeutic use. We recently reviewed he different types of diffuser and if you are unsure which one to buy, you can read a comprehensive breakdown here.
Diffusers are convenient for sinus congestion because you can leave them running near the bed overnight and they are also the best way to treat multiple people at once. About a month ago, our entire family came down with the same symptoms at the same time. To get the maximum benefit from diffusing your essential oils, position yourself as close as possible to your diffusing machine.
Assuming that you have one, you can use your humidifier or vaporizer to similar ends. In order to be effective, you will need to add around 20 to 30 drops of your chosen essential oil to your humidifier and run it in the room that you spend most of your time in. This method is especially effective if your sinus congestion is caused by allergies as humidifiers clear the air of pollens and other irritants that can cause or contribute to congestion.
5. Bath treatment
Unfortunately this is something that I am unable to do; most people in my part of the world have showers. Not designing a bathroom big enough to accommodate a bath was a significant oversight on my part because there is nothing quite like a warm, therapeutic bath to take away your pains.
If you would rather not lean over a hot sink, then a bath filed with healing essential oils is a great way to ease your sinus congestion as well as soothe any aching muscles. I feel envious just writing about it. Fill your bathtub with hot water but don’t add your essential oils until the water has finished running.
Adding the oils to running hot water is a sure fire way to lose them through evaporation. Once the tub is full, add around 10 drops of your chosen oil or oils to the tub and stir it in well. Take a long hot soak, allow the water to soak over you and breathe in the vapors for as much time as you want. It has been so long since I had a relaxing bath that I’m not sure I would ever get out.
Congested sinuses cause difficulties with breathing patterns and can also lead to sleeping problems so massage is a great way to ease the congestion and relax the body. By following a few easy steps, you can massage your essential oils into the affected areas to ease your congestion.
- Dilute your chosen oil or oils in a good quality base oil like sweet almond or jojoba oil.
- Gently massage and apply pressure to the neck, forehead and affected areas around the nostrils being careful to avoid contact with the eyes.
Suggested massage blend for sinus congestion
This is a recommended massage oil for sinus complaints, but you can use other oils depending on your preference. Always make sure that you dilute your essential oil with a base oil before applying it.
Essential oil Massage Blend for Sinus congestion
• Tea tree oil (2 drops)
• Geranium oil (3 drops)
• Peppermint oil (3 drops)
• Eucalyptus oil (3 drops)
• Rosemary oil (4 drops)
• Sweet almond or jojoba oil (10 ml)
7. Neti pot
A neti pot is a very effective tool for irrigating the sinuses and easing any nasal congestion. Neti pots are readily available, cheap and effective and can be used with water and salt solution alone or by adding essential oil to the mixture for even greater effect.
- Mix 3 or 4 drops of your chosen essential oil into 2 cups of warm, distilled water.
- Add a teaspoon of sea salt and allow it to dissolve.
- Mix the solution thoroughly and put it in the neti pot.
- Bend over and tilt your head to the side.
- Carefully pour the solution into the top nostril and allow the fluid to drain across to the other nostril.
- Repeat the process on the other nostril.