Essential oils good for sinuses and nasal congestion
It feels appropriate to be writing this right now as we have a house full of stuffy noses. So, we are currently making full use of our collection of essential oils for nasal congestion and our ultrasonic diffuser.
Nasal Congestion is uncomfortable and can stop you sleeping properly for days (especially if you have little ones who are suffering too!)
According to webmd…
Babies and toddlers often have 8 to 10 colds a year before they turn 2 years old. Kids who are preschool age have around nine colds a year, while kindergarteners can have 12 a year. Adolescents and adults get about two to four a year.
Considering colds can last for around two weeks it means some of us (especially young children) will spend a significant amount of time feeling congested and uncomfortable.
Viral infections like colds aren’t the only reason people suffer from congestion.
Stuffy noses can caused by to:
- Sinus infection
- Reaction to medication
Nasal congestion is often caused by inflammation of the sinus tissue. It can give sufferers a painful headache, sore throat, runny nose and irritating cough.
Thankfully, there are plenty of natural remedies that can be effective at relieving symptoms without turning to over the counter treatments which often contain questionable ingredients like artificial sweeteners.
Many cough sweets and cold treatments also include menthol (peppermint) which has been shown in studies to not be particularly effective at treating congestion and may in fact worsen it.
It can make it feel as if you’re breathing more easily but it’s actually the cooling sensation it provides rather than because it’s clearing congestion.
Blocked noses in infants can be particularly difficult as they struggle to feed and sleep.
We found that essential oils really helped our stuffy noised boys to settle at night.
However, although essential oils are natural, they are incredibly concentrated and as a result are potent.
Always follow directions for specific oils, store in a safe place out of sunlight and speak to your health professional before using.
Best essential oils for colds
This beautiful herb has tiny leaves and stunning pink, purple or white flowers and has been used to treat respiratory issues for centuries.
Thyme has traditionally been used to help with inflamed sinuses, help alleviate whooping-cough, and help loosen phlegm. Thymol is the active ingredient in thyme, and is responsible for the antiseptic, antibacterial, antifungal properties. The German Commission E has approved thyme for the treatment of bronchitis, whooping-cough, and upper respiratory inflammation.
Both Holy Basil and Sweet Basil are thought to be good for relieving respiratory problems.
The essential oil that is extracted from the fresh leaves is thought to reduce inflammation and clear nasal passages.
Eucalyptus is perhaps the most well-known essential oil for nasal congestion.
This oil is often our go to essential oil for nasal congestion. It really does make breathing so much easier.
Eucalyptus can also loosen phlegm build-up if you’re suffering from a wet cough.
If you weren’t already sold on using this oil then take a look at this study It recognizes that eucalyptus can ease coughs and respiratory issues like pharyngitis, and sinusitis.
A 2009 study stated that 1,8 cineole (found in eucalyptus oil) is an effective method of treating sinusitis.
There is a total mix of information online about whether eucalyptus oil is safe to diffuse around infants. From my research I believe that those against it’s use are often misquoting Robert Tisserand.
Tisserand has since clarified that a few drops of eucalyptus radiata or globular in a diffuser (max 0.5% for under 3’s) is perfectly safe. You can read our full post on using essential oils around babies and toddlers here.
Remember that essential oils are potent and can be dangerous. Please don’t be tempted to ingest these oils as just 3.5 ml of eucalyptus oil is enough to be fatal.
In fact aromatherapists in the UK are not trained to use essential oils internally as there is sufficient evidence to show that it is unsafe. That’s enough to put me off!
Tea-tree has been used as a natural medicine for hundreds of years. It’s made from the leaves of the Melaleuca tree.
A review in 2006 found that this oil has antiseptic, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties.
Tea-tree essential oil may help to soothe a sore throat and ease a blocked nose.
Lavender Essential oil is so versatile and I absolutely love the scent (it’s why I have a garden full of it!).
Getting any sleep can be difficult when you have a blocked nose. Laying down worsens symptoms and can be extremely uncomfortable.
If I’m feeling congested before sleep I’ll lie in bed with my head propped up on a pillow or two while diffusing some lavender essential oil.
The sedative effects of the oil help to relax my body and mind which allows me to fall asleep.
Lavender is an anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and it has analgesic effects. This means that it will help your breathing and soothe sore throats and headaches.
Lemon essential oil has antimicrobial properties. It is also believed that it helps to boost the immune system.
I diffuse it to ease sore throats and reduce coughs and nasal congestion.
You may not be so familiar with using this essential oil for nasal congestion as it’s better known for improving memory.
It boasts both anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties.
How to use essential oils for nasal congestion?
The most effective way of using essential oils for nasal congestion and coughs is through diffuser.
There a few different ways to diffuse your essential oils. These are the methods that I think are most effective for using essential oils for nasal congestion.
Ultrasonic Diffusers are an affordable way of diffusing aromatherapy oils in a large space. They work by producing high-frequency vibrations in the water. This disperses the essential oils in a fine mist.
Ultrasonic diffusers have the added benefit of adding a little extra humidity to the air which is great if you live in a dry climate, have AC, central heating or are prone to dry coughs and sore throats.
Experts like Tisserand, say that ultrasonic diffusers are safe to use around babies as a few drops of oil are diluted with water before being dispersed in a fine mist.
A nebulizer or atomizer diffuser is a little more expensive but they are absolutely beautiful and are often plastic free as they are made from plastic and solid wood.
This type of diffuser is the most effective method of preserving the therapeutic qualities of the essential oils.
Essential Oil Diffuser Necklace
A diffuser necklace is another great option for diffusing essential oils if you have a cold.
A diffuser necklace usually has a pad or bead that absorbs a drop or two of your chosen oil.
They are especially useful if you have to leave the house while still not feeling great as you can bring your favorite scent with you.
I wear mine close to my skin (under my top) so that my body heat activates the oil.
Be careful of you’re wearing it close to any delicate fabric. I have worn mine under a silk shirt but I made sure the oils had dried out thoroughly beforehand.
Steam inhalation is also something that has worked for me in the past (before I owned a diffuser!).
My mum used to prep a bowl of this lovely stuff for me when I was younger as I suffered bouts of sinusitis.
To do this I simply added a couple of drops of essential oil into a bowl of hot water. Sat down and leant over the bowl carefully, placing a towel over my head and the bowl to create a steam room effect.
You breathe deeply while keeping your eyes closed to avoid irritating them.
Although quite effective, for me it’s not the ideal way, especially for children as I don’t think three year olds and bowls of hot water are a great combo.
Essential Oil Blends For Nasal Congestion
Aromatherapy Diffuser Recipes
A simple but favorite essential oil blend for congestion in our house is this one:
- 2 drops of Eucalyptus essential oil
- 2 drops of Lavender essential oil
We also use this lovely blend:
- 2 drops of Eucalyptus essential oil
- 2 drops of Tea Tree essential oil
- 1 drop of Lemon essential oil
Whether you’re reading this for yourself, a loved one or just for future reference (go you for being so prepared!)…we hope they help you to feel better!
What are your favorite essential oils for nasal congestion?