Whether it’s a sinus infection, cold, flu or hayfever, sinus congestion can really take its toll on your physical and mental wellbeing. You may feel stuffy with intense pressure in your upper respiratory areas, which can leave you feeling miserable, frustrated and tired. Whilst there are many over-the-counter medicines to take for sinus relief, there is also a way you can help ease symptoms naturally. Whatever the cause of your sinus congestion, here we discover the best essential oils to help you achieve a clear head and a good night’s rest.
Sinus infection symptoms
A sinus infection is a swelling of the sinuses which can lead to discomfort. Symptoms include:
- Swelling and pain around your cheeks, eyes and forehead
- A blocked nasal passage
- Lack of or reduced sense of smell
- Mucus from your nose
- A headache
- Raised temperature
- Toothache and sometimes bad breath
A sinus infection will usually clear up within three weeks, however, many seek quick relief due to the debilitating symptoms it presents.
Essential oils for sinus infection
- Peppermint Essential Oil – a popular choice when it comes to helping clear your sinuses. With its main compound being menthol, this essential oil is anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory, a triple threat to sinus infections!
- Tea Tree Essential Oil – with antibacterial and antiseptic properties, Tea Tree is excellent at eliminating germs, helping create a clear airway and relieving congestion.
- Eucalyptus Essential Oil – with its minty and woody aroma and excellent anti-inflammatory properties, eucalyptus oil can help open up your blocked airways. It is also believed to help the easing of sinus infection-related headaches.
Flu can appear very quickly without a moment’s notice and present unpleasant symptoms. You may find yourself experiencing:
- A sudden high temperature
- Chills and aches
- Tiredness and exhaustion
- A dry cough and sore throat
- A headache
- Trouble sleeping
- Stomach upset and loss of appetite
- Upper respiratory congestion
Plenty of rest and lots of water are recommended for those experiencing the flu. You can also help ease symptoms naturally with essential oils. As the flu is highly contagious, you may find yourself alone and fed up until it runs its course. Having some essential oils to hand will not only help with your medical ailments but support your overall mental wellbeing when you are sick of being sick.
Essential oils for flu
- Ginger Essential Oil – with its warming quality, ginger can help bring the heat back into the body and its decongestant properties make it perfect for loosening up mucus.
- Cinnamon Essential Oil – highly antibacterial and antifungal ,cinnamon is an excellent choice for those suffering from the flu. It is also an effective mood booster and helps with sleep.
Lemon Essential Oil – a commonly used essential oil and an excellent choice for battling the flu. Lemon essential oil is disinfecting and energising properties that can help with everything from a blocked nose to a temperature, to low energy.
Essential oils for colds
Catching a common cold is inevitable; whether it’s children bringing germs home from school or workmates mingling in the office, it is no huge surprise when the symptoms of cold creep in. On top of the coughing, sneezing and generally feeling unwell, congestion from a cold can be frustrating. Not to mention having to constantly blow your nose in a bid to breathe more freely. Essential oils can help relieve some cold symptoms but also help keep you calm and alleviate the stresses of feeling unwell. The best essential oils for colds are
- Roman Chamomile Essential Oil – known to help boost your immune system and help you relax. Chamomile tea is often used for the common cold, so it stands to reason that oil is a great choice. Roman Chamomile essential oil is also used for hayfever relief and is known to help with congestion.
- Lavender Essential Oil – often used in aromatherapy, lavender essential oil is also a great choice if you suffer from a cold. Lavender will help ease congestion, promote a better night’s sleep and help you to relax.
- Basil Essential Oil – with its natural anti-inflammatory properties, basil essential oil is excellent for congestion caused by a cold. Its fresh aroma and high levels of antioxidants make it a popular choice.
Essential oils for hayfever
If, like many people at this time of year, you are suffering from hayfever, essential oils can play a significant role in helping to ease the classic symptoms of hayfever-related sinus headaches, fatigue and grogginess. For a complete guide to treating the main symptoms, check out our article on the best essential oils for hayfever.
How to use essential oils to clear sinuses
There are many ways to use essential oils for sinus infections and congestion-related illnesses. Some of the most popular methods include:
- Inhaling directly – add some drops of essential oil to a tissue, hold it near your airways and breathe in slowly.
- Steam inhalation – fill a bowl with steaming hot water, add a few drops of essential oil and inhale. Pop a towel over your head to trap the steam in for better results, but always be careful not to spill the hot water and take regular breaks to avoid getting too hot.
- Diffuser – use a diffuser to disperse your chosen essential oils into the air for a more gentle way of inhaling.
- In a bottle – add essential oils to a roller ball bottle and add some to your wrists and feet every so often.
- In the bath – add a few drops of essential oil to your hot bath, climb in and relax.
- In your homemade products – everyday products like soaps, wax melts and linen sprays are a brilliant way to enjoy the benefits of essential oils. Use them in candles, lotions, shampoos, bath salts and household cleaning products for sinus-clearing benefits all day long!
Some essential oils are stronger than others, and depending on how you use them, they may need to be combined with a carrier oil before use; this is particularly important if you use them directly on your skin. Always check the instructions before using and consult your GP beforehand if unsure. If you are a pet owner, please take extra care. If in doubt, find out more in our guide to which essential oils are safe for pets.
Although blocked sinuses can really get you down, with plenty of rest, hydration, sleep and a little extra help from essential oils, you will soon feel much better.