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Essential Oils to Clear Your Stuffy Nose

Is it just me or does it seem like everyone around you is getting sick? Maybe you’re in the same boat.

Hopefully it’s just the common cold and not something more serious going around, but even just some of the symptoms of the common cold can be really annoying. My least favorite is probably having a stuffy nose. Well, a stuffy nose in combination with then a running nose.


A stuffy nose or congestion brings with it breathing problems. You not only end up breathing through your mouth, but your nose also starts making embarrassing funny snorting sounds. To make things worse, congestion makes breathing practically impossible which can super disrupt your sleep.

Causes for stuffy nose

When you experience this, you can thank your swollen nasal cavity tissues that block mucus flow to make breathing impossible. The huge network of nasal blood vessels has valves that open when the nasal tissues get irritated. The nasal passage swells because there’s more blood in the nose.

There are various triggers for congestion including:

  • Common cold and flu
  • Asthma
  • Allergic reactions like hay fever and allergies to dust, pollen, and pets
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Sinus infection
  • Nasal polyps or a deviated nasal septum

The tale-tell symptoms of congestion

  • nasal discharge
  • sneezing
  • pain in the forehead or eyes
  • toothache
  • bad breath
  • sore throat
  • cough

Instead of resorting to over-the-counter medicine and decongestants for relief, essential oils are very effective at providing stuffy nose relief.

Essential oils for stuffy nose

  1. Lemon oil

Lemon oil helps provide relief from congestion by clearing stuffy noses and eliminating bacteria and other germs. It even builds the body immunity to prevent repeated attacks.

Recommended use: Massaging the oil on the chest, temple and sinus help but mix with a carrier oil before use if your skin is sensitive. Keep the oil away from sunlight as it’s photosensitive like other citrus-based oils.

  1. Lavender oil 

The oil has a pleasant aroma and helps soothe nerves and fight illnesses. It’s antibacterial, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties make breathing easy. A great decongestant for blocked nasal passages.

Application: Rubbing lavender oil on your chest and soles help you relax because of its sedative traits. This is also one of the best essential oils to diffuse for stuffy nose.

  1. Tea tree oil

This is a very versatile oil that treats not only nasal congestion but various other ailments too. It’s eliminates germs and microbes that trigger illnesses with its antimicrobial and antiseptic properties.

How to apply: The oil is best diluted with a carrier oil before rubbing on the back, neck, nose or chest. Repeat a through the day for complete relief and easy breathing. Be careful while using the oil as it may irritate sensitive skin.

Alternate use: You can also pour 2-3 drops of the tea tree oil into some water and gargle for a few minutes without swallowing it.

  1. Peppermint essential oil

This  is a popular oil for stuffy nose mainly because of its menthol. It’s also potent with its antimicrobial, antifungal, antibacterial, antiseptic and analgesic properties. Its antispasmodic component helps free nasal passageways by releasing accumulated mucus. Its sedative and astringent properties also provide relief from headaches.

Use: Dilute the peppermint oil with a carrier oil before usage. You can inhale it, add 1-2 drops to your hot coffee or tea or use in a diffuser. The air molecules provide congestion relief and prevent recurring attacks.

  1. Eucalyptus oil

The main component of eucalyptus oil is eucalyptol which helps clear blocked air passages. It is ideal for treating stuffy nose and other respiratory conditions. While its antispasmodic properties help thin mucus, it’s antiviral, antibacterial and antimicrobial characteristics fight the microbes triggering colds and flu.

Mixture guidelines: Eucalyptus oil is best diluted with a carrier oil, as a rub or in a diffuser. Adding 20 drops to a bottle of peroxide makes a solution you can spray to the air for breathing relief.

  1. Rosemary oil

It is the oil’s rosmarinic acid that makes it an anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial oil to provide relieve from swollen nasal passages and eliminate germs.

Best application: Rub the oil on the nose, chest, temples, and cheekbones, for sinus congestion relief alone or with other oils like eucalyptus or lavender oil.

Useful preventive measures

Besides using essential oils for stuffy nose, there are some other preventive and treatment measures you can adopt. 

  • Watch your diet and avoid dairy products, wheat, and sugars which increase mucus production.
  • Drink lots of water to keep mucus thin and easily drained.
  • Elevate your head with a wedge pillow or two pillows if you have difficulty breathing.
  • Use cayenne or black pepper, chili powder or horseradish in your cooking as it helps thin mucus.
  • Allergies and low body immunity increase the chances of sinus infections. So keep your body strong by eating more of vitamin C-rich foods, sleeping for at least seven hours a day, following a healthy diet of vegetables and fruits and exposing yourself to direct sunlight for at least half an hour.

While most congestion cases clear up within seven to ten days, see your doctor if it doesn’t as you may have a seasonal allergies or persistent allergies. Consult your doctor immediately if you have other symptoms like nose bleeding, wheezing, breathing problems, shortness of breath or more than 102 fever.

Other than that, unclog your nose by picking your favorite oil and start breathing free again!

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