For people who suffer from seasonal allergies or are just more prone to the common cold, a stuffy nose is one of the most frustrating effects of feeling under the weather. Clogged sinuses are unbearable, and they can cause you to lose both senses of smell and taste and give you a sore throat, and that's not even taking sinus infections into account.
There are many over the counter products like Neti Pots that can be used as decongestants. And while these products are usually effective in clearing your nasal passages, they are usually uncomfortable to use, can be very expensive, and some even have unpleasant side effects. Some also do not provide relief immediately, which can be inconvenient if you need to get on with your day quickly without sinus pressure or a runny nose holding you back.
A great alternative to medicated sinus relief is essential oils. These are extremely versatile, all-natural, and proven effective to clear your sinuses, among other benefits. Let’s take a look at some of the best essential oils for clearing your sinuses so that you can start using this home remedy.
Why Do Sinuses Get Clogged?
When you get a cold, chances are you’ll feel your nostrils becoming blocked. No matter how many times you blow your nose, it seems like you can never empty everything out. This annoying, frustrating phenomenon is called sinusitis.
Sinuses are lined with a thin membrane that produces mucus, and this is normally swept along by hair cells, draining through small openings in the nasal cavity. But these openings can swell due to inflammation, usually caused by allergies or infection. When this occurs, the drainage system becomes blocked, and you feel stuffy, achy, and fatigued.
Studies have shown that people who suffer from sinus issues experience high pain and low levels of social functioning, including problems with working, energy, and mental health. So, it is important to try to do whatever necessary to alleviate these symptoms before they affect other aspects of our lives.
Decongesting Essential Oils
Essential oils are compounds extracted from plants. They are a completely natural remedy and have a great number of benefits. They are commonly used as aromatherapy to help alleviate anxiety and stress. On top of that, there are a great number that can be used as a natural way to free your clogged sinuses.
Outside of its direct benefits, peppermint oil just smells great. Especially around the holiday season, this scent can really help to lift spirits and make you feel energized.
Inhaling peppermint usually feels good if you’re congested, and this is because it contains menthol. Although it does not actually clear your sinus, the menthol binds to receptors in your nose, allowing it to feel like you’re breathing a bit easier. This is a great way to bring some instant relief to that stuffy, achy feeling that congestion can cause in your respiratory system.
There is also some indication that peppermint essential oil can reduce inflammation, which is the cause of sinusitis. You can consider putting a few drops of essential oil into the hot water of your next steam bath to give your skin a cooling, refreshing feel, as well as relieve your inflamed sinuses and give your immune system a boost.
Better yet, you can fill the air with the cooling scent by using an essential oil diffuser. These will fill your entire living area with the oils, allowing you to feel fresh and collected anywhere and for extended periods. Diffusing will naturally purify the air, simultaneously helping to remove any bacteria that might cause sinus inflammation.
The eucalyptus plant is probably best known for keeping koalas fed, but eucalyptus essential oil can have some really amazing benefits for nasal congestion.
There are many over the counter sinus relief products that use eucalyptus oils. A popular DIY remedy is the chest rub, in which you mix a lotion or carrier oil (like jojoba or coconut oil) with eucalyptus oil and place it on your upper torso. This way, every time you inhale, you are able to help clear your sinus. Although effective, this topical remedy can be awkward to use, so you might want to use a diffuser instead.
Eucalyptus contains a compound called cineole, which has proven effective in treating nasal obstruction, headaches, and runny nose. This makes it a perfect essential oil for treating the symptoms of the common cold. Not to mention, it is a very relaxing scent that can help with stress and anxiety.
Similar to peppermint, you can use a few drops in a bath or your oil diffuser to help with your congestion.
Believe it or not, oregano can be used for more than just seasoning your favorite Italian meal. In fact, oregano is a really great essential oil that can help with nasal congestion and other physical ailments.
Oregano contains a compound called carvacrol, and in limited studies, it was shown to have antimicrobial properties that can help to alleviate congestion, promote wellness, and prevent sickness in the future. Not to mention, oregano has a natural, organic scent that can be very relaxing if you’re feeling a bit under the weather.
Although you can ingest oregano as a plant, you shouldn’t directly ingest it as an oil. As with all essential oils, these are highly concentrated substances that might have negative effects if consumed. If you like to ingest them rather than use them in diffusers, you can get most essential oil supplements in capsule form at your local pharmacy.
Tea tree is a popular ingredient in many shampoo and hair products because it can help cure irritated scalp as well as rejuvenate hair follicles. But for your sinus, it can be just as beneficial.
The active compound in tea tree is called alpha-sabine, and this can have antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal relief. It can also reduce inflammation, which will help to alleviate your nostrils. Its anti-inflammatory properties, as well as antibacterial properties, make it an unstoppable force against cold and allergies, so you’ll definitely want to have this on hand for the next time you get the sniffles.
If you tend to feel dry nose and throat during allergy season, you might want to consider using tea tree oil in a cool mist humidifier. Like a diffuser, this will help bind your essential oil into a mist form, spreading its scent and benefits throughout your entire living space. But in addition, the humidifier will help keep the air cool and comfortable, helping to add moisture to otherwise dry air.
This specific cool mist humidifier even comes with an essential oil tray, so you can add your favorite oils easily and effectively. It can also last for up to 50 hours, meaning that your sinus will feel relief for over two straight days on one full tank.
The scent of lavender is often used in laundry detergents and hand soaps, just because it has a very appetizing scent. And although it may not directly alleviate nasal congestion like the oils like peppermint or eucalyptus, it has some indirect effects that make it necessary for your oil collection.
Lavender oil has calming properties that make it great for helping with stress and aiding with better sleep. Since sinus congestion often leads to poor sleep and added stress, putting a few drops into a diffuser before going to bed can help you unwind and get better sleep if you happen to have a cold.
Some studies do suggest that lavender is an anti-inflammatory as well. Not only can this help with allergies and colds, but it can even be beneficial to people who struggle with asthma or other respiratory ailments. This has cemented lavender as one of the most prominent essential oils, as its benefits seem to be never-ending.
Where To Buy Essential Oils
Essential oils used to be scarce, usually being limited to beauty and cosmetic retailers. However, since they have become so popular, you can buy essential oils almost anywhere. You will probably have a lot of options at your local pharmacy or home goods store. However, you could even find them at most grocery and department stores.
Something important to remember about essential oils is that less is typically more. You won’t really need to buy a huge bottle of each one because you only need a few drops in your diffuser or humidifier to experience their effects. If you’re new to using essential oils, consider purchasing a variety pack so that you can try out different kinds until you find ones that work best for you.
There is really nothing worse than a clogged sinus, and this uncomfortable sensation can have negative effects on other aspects of our lives. Essential oils are fantastic tools at our disposal to try to alleviate these symptoms.
Peppermint and eucalyptus can directly help to clear out sinuses, while lavender can help ease the stress and anxiety that often coincide. These are best utilized in a diffuser or humidifier, as these will purify the air and comfortably allow you to experience their positive effects.
Not to mention, you could use essential oils such as tea tree or oregano in a bath to feel their immediate effects on your skin while simultaneously clearing nasal congestion. Essential oils are essential for a reason, so you should definitely have some in your home.