Can You Really Use Essential Oils for a Sinus Infection?

You’ve likely tried dozens of different options to clear a sinus infection, all with varying success. But, instead of turning to over-the-counter medications, is it possible to use essential oils for sinus infections?

Let’s look at the potential of using essential oils to reopen your airways and relieve sinus congestion fast.

What Causes Sinus Infections?

what causes sinus infection

Sinus infections, also known as sinusitis, occur when the tissue lining your nasal passages becomes inflamed due to germs or bacteria that grow in the space, which leads to infections. Over 30 million people deal with sinus infections in the United States each year, and we collectively spend more than $1 billion on medications to treat them.

You’ll know you are dealing with a sinus infection if you’re suffering from pain or pressure along your nose, a loss of sense of smell or taste, full-body fatigue, a runny nose or nasal congestion, feeling feverish, headaches, and coughing.

Though everyone has a chance of occasionally developing sinus infections, you’re more susceptible if you regularly deal with allergies, asthma, or a weakened immune system. Sometimes structural problems within the nose make it challenging for mucus to drain out, which puts you at risk for chronic sinus infections.

Conventional remedies for sinus congestion include over-the-counter medications like antibiotics and decongestants. However, if you’re looking for a natural alternative to these products, essential oils are worth considering.

What Are the Benefits of Essential Oils?

benefits of essential oils

Essential oils are natural plant compounds that act as protective agents. Some increase the plant’s resilience to diseases, while others make it taste bitter to keep insects and other potential invaders away.

When you extract these compounds from the plant through steam distillation, cold pressing, or other measures, you end up with a concentrated fragrance with impressive potency. They are often put to use for a variety of therapeutic benefits through aromatherapy.

Depending on the type and how you use them, essential oils can be used to relieve anxiety and depression, help you fall asleep, boost alertness and concentration, buoy your mood, promote relaxation, and more. There’s also evidence that essential oils can relieve congestion from sinus infections.

How to Use Essential Oils to Relieve Congestion

essential oils to relieve congestion

As sinus infections affect your airways, the best way to relieve congestion with essential oils is by breathing them in.

One popular strategy is to use an essential oil diffuser. You’ll fill the center tank with filtered water, add between six to twelve drops of your chosen essential oils, and turn the diffuser on to create a fragrant steam. While this steam can quickly fill a small room with scent, the oil’s therapeutic compounds may be too dilute for them to have much effect on a stuffed-up nose.

Another option is to use steam inhalation to breathe in the essential oils directly. You can make a steam bath by placing a few drops of an essential oil blend into a bowl of warm water. Next, bend your head over the bowl so that your face is only a few inches from the water. Use a bath towel to create a curtain around your head so the steam stays contained around your face. You can stay in this position for several minutes, breathing in the water vapors until you feel some sinus relief.

While this strategy is effective for clearing out your nose quickly, it can be cumbersome to set up. Likewise, you might find you feel miserable enough with a head cold that the last thing you want to do is bend your face over a bowl for several minutes.  

If you’re looking for a more straightforward method to breathe in essential oils for sinus congestion, consider using an essential oil inhaler. These devices look like a tube of chapstick and are equally portable. Just keep one in your purse, pocket, glovebox, or anywhere else convenient, and you can open the canister to inhale the soothing vapers whenever you need some sinus relief.

Not only do nasal inhalers let you benefit from aromatherapy at a moment’s notice, but they give you a private way to address your sinus congestion. You won’t have to draw attention to yourself or diffuse the oils through an entire room and potentially irritate those around you.


The Nine Best Essential Oils for Sinus Infections & Congestion

Some essential oils show more promise for fighting off sinus infections than others. Here are some to keep on hand for when you want relief from a stuffed-up nose.

Peppermint Oil (Mentha piperita)

This potent oil contains menthol, which provides a cooling effect when you breathe it in. Inhaling some when you feel stuffed up may trigger your nose's mucus receptors to reopen your airways for easier breathing. Some research shows it may also act as an antibacterial and reduce inflammation.

Eucalyptus Oil (Eucalyptus globulus, Eucalyptus radiata)

A common compound in over-the-counter decongestant products, eucalyptus oil can relieve sinus infection symptoms by reducing headaches and clearing out stuffiness in your nose.  

Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca alternifolia)

Often used to treat fungal issues, tea tree oil has antiseptic, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation is a common cause of sinus congestion, so applying tea tree oil may reduce it.

Lavender Oil (Lavandula Angustifolia)

This aromatic oil can reduce pain and swelling, which may help relieve nasal congestion symptoms. Many people find that its calming scent helps them feel relaxed and fall asleep faster, which is soothing when dealing with a cold.

Rosemary Oil (Rosmarinus officinalis)

Rosemary’s sharp scent makes it a favorite for soothing swollen sinuses. Research shows it has anti-inflammatory properties and is a rich source of antioxidants for helping your immune system fight off attacks.

Lemon Oil (Citrus Limonum)

Vitamin C is great when you have a cold, and this citrus essential oil is no different. Inhale lemon oil when you feel stuffed up, and the cleansing fragrance can help you feel alert and refreshed.

Oregano Oil (Origanum vulgare)

Research shows that carvacrol, a component in oregano oil, acts as a natural inhibitor to prevent bacteria from growing. This makes it helpful in fighting off sinus infections before they get established.

Clary Sage Oil (Salvia sclarea)

Clary sage oil acts as a natural antimicrobial agent, making it beneficial for fighting off sinus infection symptoms caused by bacteria.

Clove Oil (Syzygium aromaticum)

Clove’s spicy scent can wake you up, and the oil contains natural antiseptic and antifungal properties that work to reduce inflammation and help you drain your sinuses.   

How To Choose the Right High-Quality Essential Oils for Sinus & Congestion

If you’re using essential oils for medical purposes, it’s critical that you purchase them from a reliable source. Why risk breathing in something that isn’t safe when you’re already feeling less than your best?

One option is to buy essential oils by the vial. Look for oils from reputable brands, and know that in the world of oils, you usually get what you pay for. Ultra-low prices are typically a sign the product has been diluted with cheaper carrier oils or synthetic fragrances—compounds you don’t want anywhere near your nose when you’re stuffed up.

Consider BoomBoom if you prefer a ready-to-use product for sinus relief. Each inhaler contains 100% all-natural ingredients, including a blend of menthol, natural flavors, and spearmint, peppermint, and eucalyptus essential oils.   

BoomBoom Nasal Inhalers are made in the United States and come in a variety of scents from minty to tropical. Each is formulated with true natural ingredients that are selected because of their potential to rejuvenate your mind, refresh your senses, and increase your focus.

There’s no reason to continue suffering from a sinus infection. Try essential oils as a natural remedy to clear your head and unblock a stuffed-up nose, and you’ll soon feel like yourself again.  

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