Skip to main content

Breathe Deeply With These Essential Oils For Congestion

Do you wake up miserable? Your head is pounding, you can’t seem to inhale enough oxygen into your lungs, your nose just doesn’t seem to be working at all?

It sounds like you might be congested.

The fatigue and headache you feel after a long day at work may be signs of sinusitis, and a nasal congestion or stuffy nose. It occurs when your nasal passagesand adjacent tissues and blood vessels swell with excess fluid, and there may or may not be a nasal discharge. While it’s just annoying to older children and adults, it can get serious for children as their sleep gets disrupted and infants may find feeding difficult.

Symptoms and causes

There are different symptoms for congestion, based on the type of infection you are suffering from. The discharge is white or clear if it’s a viral infection or allergy, but if it’s triggered by bacteria or fungi, the discharge will be a yellow or greenish color. Other possible symptoms are tooth and facial ache, bad breath, fever, and fatigue.

All it takes is some irritation or inflammation of the nasal tissues to get a nasal blockage. Allergies and irritants like tobacco smoke and dust, infections like the common cold, flu or sinusitis can lead to nasal blockages. In very rare cases it’s a polyps or tumor that causes a stuffy nose.

Who is prone to congestion?

Some health, environmental or lifestyle conditions can make some people more likely to developing congestion. They include:

  • Active and passive smoking as cigarette smoke contains chemicals that irritate the nose cilia, and its functioning, and starts a post nasal drip and stuffy nose.
  •  Cold and flu viruses make the body’s immune system susceptible to developing a stuffy nose, along with the prolonged use of medications like decongestant sprays. Vulnerability also increases in people suffering from chronic illnesses like AIDS and diabetes.
  • Food and nasal allergies triggered by pollution, smoke, fumes, and dust can trigger stuffiness.
  • People living in highly polluted and pollinated areas or in a dry climate are more vulnerable.
  • Babies and seniors are generally more susceptible to blockages, and other diseases because of their weak immunity.
  • Some activities like diving, flying, and mountain climbing make people more prone to developing sinus infections because their sinuses are vulnerable to infections due to the pressure differences between inside and outside of their body.
  • People who have recently undergone surgery or have nasal obstructions like nasal polyps, facial bone abnormalities, or sinus tumor are also prone to blockages.

How congestion affects your life

While a stuffy nose is not very serious, it does have pressing negative consequence on your everyday life as breathing can get difficult. You will have to resort to breathing through your mouth as your nose is blocked, and you may thus find it difficult to sleep or even fall asleep. Sometimes you may sleep, but the snoring that congestion triggers can will keep everyone else awake. Yikes!

If you can’t breathe properly, you find exercising and simple tasks like climbing stairs and walking around difficult. Congestion also makes you feel sluggish and tired.

Interestingly enough it also affects your smell and taste bud. A great time to lose weight, but a horrible time to attend dinner parties, or if you’re a foodie.

Some people may even also show reduced work productivity because of their heavy head, breathing difficulties, and general fatigue.

While not life shattering, feeling stuffed up can affect just about every aspect of your day to day routine. The quicker you can get clear it up, the better you’ll feel. Thankfully there are some pretty simple treatment options to help.

Treatment options


Depending on the cause of your blockage, your doctor may prescribe medical therapy like oral antibiotics if you have a bacterial infection, antiviral for viruses, or oral steroids or antihistamines. They may also prescribe some topical nasal steroid or antihistamine sprays, depending on the extent and cause.

Routine changes

The best advice is to make small changes,  avoiding known allergens, and using nasal saline irrigation if you’re not sure of the cause.


Sometimes when there is a physical blockage in the nose like a deviated septum or nasal polyps, you may have to undergo surgery to rectify it.

Keep in mind

However antibiotics, antiviral medicine, and antihistamines produce limited relief because they don’t actually enter the sinus and tackle the root cause.There is also a greater chance of developing side effects, and building up your immunity to these medicine as you take more and more.

This means when you have a more serious issue, antibiotics might not work as well, or at all.

For this reason, essential oils for sinus congestion are the number one choice for relief. This is because they treat stuffiness by penetrating the affected area and work to remove the source of pressure.

You can also safely use essential oils for congestion repeatedly, without any concern for side effects.

To get started, we’ve covered the best essential oils for congestion to clear your stuffy nose, head, chest, or sinus cavities.

What essential oils are good for congestion?

Some oils that have an anti-inflammatory properties which helps reduce your nasal swelling include 

  • eucalyptus essential oil
  • tea tree
  • menthol
  • oregano
  • lavender essential oil
  • lemon
  • rosemary
  • peppermint essential oil
  • sweet basil
  • pine

Best ways to use essential oils

You can use your chosen oil for congestion in the following ways for optimal relief from a stuffy nose:

• Neti pot

A mixture of saline water and essential oils in a neti pot helps irrigate your sinuses and release blockages by thinning the mucus.

Recipe– Mix a few drops of your oil with half teaspoon of unprocessed sea salt in 2 cups of warm distilled water.

Place the solution in the neti pot and bend over a sink, while turning your head to one side. Tilt your head and slowly pour the solution into your top nostril and let it drain through the other nostril into the sink. Repeat with the other nostril, while breathing through your mouth. Repeat a few times a day for optimal relief.

• Inhalation 

Inhaling essential oils also offer lots of benefits. Place a few drops of your choice into your palm or handkerchief and inhale deeply. Alternatively, pour some hot water into a large bowl for steam inhalation.

Add a few drops of essential oil and lean over the steamy bowl and inhale the vapors with a towel placed over your head. Inhale for at least 10 minutes, and then reheat the water and repeat for more relief.

• Diffuser

You can also use a diffuser to disperse a few drops of the oil into the air to benefit you, and other family members. This is the most effective way to use essential oils for head congestion.

• In your bath

Add 12 to 15 drops to your hot bath and pamper yourself while the steam delivers the oils to the affected areas to thin the mucus. Essential oils for chest congestion have been known to clear away the phlegm after a relaxing soak.

• Massage

You can also dilute the oils for with a carrier oil like coconut oil and massage your pressure points like the side of each nostril, temples, across the forehead and inside eyebrows.

Safe to use on children?

Essential oils are also safe to use on children, as long as you use a high quality, all-organic products. While applying essential oils a few times a day helps resolve the sinus condition in children, if your child is sensitive to some oils, or has sensitive skin, consult your doctor before continued use.


Related Posts