The Best Essential Oils for Congestion

Sinus congestion is an uncomfortable experience, making breathing properly and sleeping deeply almost impossible. It can also be a source of painful pressure behind the eyes and either blocks your nose or makes it run. It may give you a nagging cough too, resulting in a sore throat on top of it all.

woman suffering from sinus congestion

If you’re tired of feeling congested, whether due to a cold, flu or allergies, there is a solution. And it’s an all-natural one.

Many people find that using an essential oil diffuser blend for sinus congestion offers wonderful relief and helps them to breathe easier. This easy yet effective option is backed by science, and it smells great too.

If you want to find out more about essential oil-based home remedies for congestion, this guide can help. We’ve explained everything you need to know about using essential oils to clear up and combat congestion safely and efficiently.

Content/Quick links

  • What causes sinus congestion?
  • How can essential oils help with sinus congestion?
  • Which essential oil is good for congestion?
  • Eucalyptus
  • Lavender
  • Peppermint
  • Rosemary
  • Tea Tree
  • What the research tells us
  • Eucalyptus essential oil for sinus issues
  • Tea tree oil for congestion
  • Peppermint oil for congestion
  • How to use essential oils for sinus congestion
  • Topical application
  • Inhalation
  • Pillow mist
  • Essential oil safety precautions
  • FAQS
  • The best advice for congestion

What causes sinus congestion?

woman trying to remove nose congestion

There are many reasons why you might be suffering from sinus congestion. These can include various environmental factors or health conditions such as allergies, dry air, irritants like smoke or pollution, mold, sinusitis, a sinus infection, a cold or flu and hormones, to name a few of the most common causes ― essentially anything that inflames or irritates the nasal tissues.

In most cases, sinus congestion improves on its own over time. But you can help this process along by using medication and/or home remedies ― especially when you know which essential oils are good for congestion.

How can essential oils help with sinus congestion?

woman wearing white sniffing essential oil

An essential oil diffuser blend for sinus congestion and several essential oils on their own release natural compounds that may open your airways. This allows you to breathe more easily. They may also work to calm inflamed nasal tissues, reduce pressure, release buildup and tell your body to modulate its histamine response.

Which essential oil is good for congestion?

Once you know which oils assist your body in its fight against sinus congestion, the most important thing to do is to find a reputable supplier. Make sure the oil you’re using is 100% pure and not tested on animals, for starters. Find a brand that has sustainability as a focus and offers organic products and items that are sourced ethically and organically. Volant offers all of this and more.

The following essential oils help to relieve congestion:

Eucalyptus

volant eucalyptus essential oil

Eucalyptus Essential Oil shows much promise as a home remedy for congestion. You may already know that multiple decongestant products, like chest rubs, liquids, nasal sprays, nose drops and tablets already contain this ingredient. This is because eucalyptus is widely known to relieve many symptoms of sinus congestion.

In terms of an essential oil diffuser blend for sinus congestion, eucalyptus pairs well with Peppermint Essential Oil and many others. Although the other oils may not work directly to address your stuffiness, the eucalyptus will, and the blend’s scent will be pleasing. Try it with Lemon Essential Oil, Grapefruit Essential Oil, Cedarwood Essential Oil, Roman Chamomile Essential Oil or Geranium Essential Oil.

volant organic eucalyptus essential oil to relieve nasal congestion
volant organic eucalyptus essential oil to relieve nasal congestion
organic eucalyptus leaves
volant organic eucalyptus essential oil bottle packaging to relieve nasal congestion
volant white diffuser using organic eucalyptus essential oil to relieve nasal congestion

Organic Eucalyptus Essential Oil

9 €

Lavender

volant lavender essential oil

Volant’s Lavender Essential Oil can help fight symptoms of sinus congestion by reducing swelling and pain. It also has a calming effect for many. So adding it to a diffuser before you go to bed may make it easier for you to fall asleep and stay asleep.

If you want to experiment to find the perfect essential oil diffuser blend for sinus congestion, try pairing lavender with Bergamot Essential Oil, Roman chamomile, eucalyptus, Lemongrass Essential Oil or peppermint.

volant organic lavender essential oil that promotes relaxation and better sleep
volant organic lavender essential oil that promotes relaxation and better sleep
organic lavender
volant organic lavender essential oil bottle packaging that promotes relaxation and better sleep
volant white diffuser using organic lavender essential oil promoting relaxation and better sleep

Organic Lavender Essential Oil

9 €
volant white essential oil diffuser for aromatherapy
volant white essential oil diffuser for aromatherapy
volant's handmade white diffuser is simple yet elegant. Designed for the modern minimalist.
volant white diffuser parts
volant white diffuser

White Volant Diffuser

69 €

Peppermint

volant peppermint essential oil

Peppermint Essential Oil has a cooling effect. This means that it can feel good inhaling it, making it an excellent home remedy for congestion.

Peppermint oil contains menthol, a compound that can affect your nose’s mucus receptors, helping to open your airways. Create an essential oil diffuser blend for sinus congestion by pairing peppermint with eucalyptus, geranium, grapefruit, lavender and lemon essential oils.

volant organic peppermint essential oil to keep mosquitoes away
volant organic peppermint essential oil to keep mosquitoes away
organic peppermint leaves
volant organic peppermint essential oil bottle packaging to keep mosquitoes away
volant white diffuser using organic peppermint essential oil to keep mosquitoes away

Organic Peppermint Essential Oil

10 €

Rosemary

volant rosemary essential oil

Volant’s 100% organic Rosemary Essential Oil has anti-inflammatory properties that may work to relieve swollen sinuses. It is also a rich source of antioxidants like the major diterpenes carnosol and carnosic acid. Carnosol is neuroprotective, antimicrobial and has anti-cancer properties. Carnosic acid scavenges free radicals, donating electrons to your system as it works.

Come up with your own essential oil diffuser blend for sinus congestion by combining rosemary with cedarwood, Frankincense Essential Oil, geranium, grapefruit and lemongrass.

volant organic rosemary essential oil for hair growth
volant organic rosemary essential oil for hair growth
organic rosemary leaves
volant organic rosemary essential oil bottle packaging for hair growth
volant grey diffuser using organic rosemary essential oil to relieve stress and relax

Organic Rosemary Essential Oil

10 €

Tea Tree

volant tea tree essential oil

Melaleuca, or Tea Tree Essential Oil is antiseptic, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory. It can work as a home remedy for congestion because bacteria and inflamed tissues are common culprits of this symptom. Tea tree oil fights several of the potential causes of congestion, including viruses, bacteria and mold.

The alpha-sabine compound in tea tree oil is where it gets its antibacterial, antifungal and antibacterial effects from. Using tea tree oil, you may find relief from a runny or stuffy nose by reducing inflammation.

Tea tree oil has very few contraindications and is as natural as it is versatile. Along with combatting sinus congestion, you can also use it to treat canker sores, dermatitis, fungal infections, oral disorders and psoriasis.

Make your own special essential oil diffuser blend for sinus congestion by pairing tea tree essential oil with bergamot, eucalyptus, lavender, lemon and rosemary.

volant organic tea tree essential oil as antibacterial for skin
volant organic tea tree essential oil as antibacterial for skin
tea tree
volant organic tea tree essential oil bottle packaging for hair and skin
volant white diffuser using organic tea tree essential oil for aromatherapy

Organic Tea Tree Essential Oil

9 €

What the research tells us

Scientists are increasingly researching essential oils and their various health properties. This means we know much more about why they work these days, instead of just seeing the positive effects of their use. These studies confirm that various essential oils can help with congestion.

Eucalyptus essential oil for sinus issues

volant eucalyptus essential oil and white diffuser

Eucalyptus essential oil contains cineole, an achiral aromatic component common in plants. A 2009 study revealed that this compound was an effective, safe treatment for various sinus issues compared to a placebo.

Participants took it in a pill, and sinusitis symptoms like headaches, pressure point sensitivity around the eyes and sinuses, stuffiness and a runny nose improved.

Eucalyptus may also be safe and effective to include in a nasal irrigation solution, according to a recent study, or as part of a topical ointment to reduce nasal congestion.

Tea tree oil for congestion

volant tea tree essential oil and white diffuser

A review found that tea tree oil’s antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties are what make it effective in treating sinus issues.

This review
noted that the alpha-sabine in tea tree essential oil is antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial. It also reduces inflammation, so it helps lessen swelling.

Peppermint oil for congestion

volant peppermint essential oil and white diffuser

Peppermint essential oil contains menthol, a chemical that naturally occurs in a range of plants. Peppermint is also present in certain over-the-counter remedies like lozenges, nasal inhalers and vapor rubs.

This study demonstrated that the cooling sensation that menthol gives us makes us feel that our nasal passages are clearer even if there isn’t much decrease in congestion. That in itself can help us breathe better while we’re suffering from this type of symptom.

Menthol may also affect nasal mucus receptors, eventually opening the airways as this sebum clears. Menthol, along with camphor and eucalyptus as a blended topical ointment, was found effective in reducing nasal congestion, according to a recent study.

This lab study from 2015 showed that peppermint essential oil fights bacteria, one of the triggers of sinus congestion. It was also indicated that it may reduce inflammation.

How to use essential oils for sinus congestion

Now that you know which essential oil is good for congestion and what blends you should experiment with, the next step is to test for an allergic reaction with a patch test before topical use.

For topical use, always dilute your essential oils with carrier oils, roughly 2-5 drops of essential oil per tablespoon of carrier oil. However, for a patch test, if you have sensitive skin, you might want to err on the side of caution and use 1-2 drops of essential oil per tablespoon of carrier oil.

Once diluted, you can do a patch test where you apply a few drops of the diluted essential oil mixture to the inside of your elbow or forearm. Wait 24 hours, and if you don’t have any adverse reaction, you can trust that it’s safe to use. Thereafter, you can try any of these ways to alleviate sinus congestion:

Topical application

woman applying essential oil to wrist

Add a few drops of the essential oil you’ve selected to combat your sinus congestion to your favorite massage lotion or oil, or use the carrier oil dilution you created and rub this into your throat, chest and back. Your skin will absorb the oil, and you’ll also be able to inhale its aroma, benefiting you both ways. Rubbing some into the area around your nose so you can breathe it in may help as well. You can also apply your diluted essential oil mix to the areas on your body that ache.

Treating yourself to a hot aromatherapy bath will allow you to get all the topical and aromatherapy benefits of essential oils that combat congestion. Just add a few drops of your diluted mix to your hot bath and let the steam and oils work their magic.

Inhalation

woman inhaling essential oil

There are several ways you can inhale essential oil safely.

You can do so directly from the bottle for simplicity or by adding a few drops to a tissue, holding this near your face and gently breathing it in. Just be careful not to get the pure oil on your skin as you could end up with a rash or irritate your skin.

Alternatively, you can try adding a few drops to a bowl of boiled water and inhaling the steam. Place a towel over your head as you lean over to create a steam chamber. Do this for between 10 and 15 minutes, topping up the hot water as it cools.

Diffusing essential oils with a diffuser disperses the oil into the air which makes for a very effective way to inhale it continuously. You can use your knowledge of which essential oil is good for congestion to create a blend you like or stick to just one in your diffuser. Put it near you in your home while you work or rest or use an ultrasonic diffuser by your bed at night to help relieve congestion.

Pillow mist

girl sleeping with diffuser

Fill a spray bottle with distilled water and 15 drops or so of your favorite essential oil for congestion and create a pillow mist that you can spritz on your pillow before bedtime. This will help ease congestion while you fall asleep and during the night. You may want to create a blend with essential oils that are good for relaxation and sleep, such as lavender or Roman chamomile, along with your chosen oil for congestion. Plenty of rest and sleep are vital to getting better quicker. Remember to shake well before each use.

Essential oil safety precautions

woman looking at essential oil blend

Essential oils have powerful healing properties and can offer relief for a range of mental, physical and emotional issues, including congestion. But it’s important that you use them correctly and follow certain rules each time you use them.

  • Never use undiluted or neat oils on your skin. Doing so may irritate and inflame it and you could end up with a rash. Remember to create a mix using a carrier oil and then do a patch test first.
  • Don’t ingest the oils. Use them as directed in your diffuser, bath, massage oil or pillow mist.
  • Check in with your medical practitioner before you start using essential oils in any manner. The compounds that they contain may cause side effects, many of which may not be immediately noticeable. Essential oils may also interact with prescription and/or over-the-counter medication in unpredictable ways.
  • Although many essential oils are considered safe for children, don’t assume that this is the case. Use caution when using essential oils around babies, and never apply them to an infant of 3 months or younger. Make sure that the oils you’ve selected will not affect the other members of your household in a negative way, taking pets into account as well.

    Many oils are not safe for animals, which you’ll need to check on beforehand.

FAQs

Q: How do you use essential oils for congestion?
A:
 You can inhale the oil using a tissue, towel or cotton ball by putting a few drops in your diffuser, or by massaging a dilution into the area around your nose or on your throat, neck, chest or back.

Q: Which essential oils can combat congestion?
A:
 Eucalyptus, lavender, peppermint, tea tree and rosemary essential oils can help with congestion.

Q: Can I mix essential oils together?
A:
 Yes. There are many oils that work wonderfully together. Create your own blend of your favorite oils for congestion.

Q: How do I dilute essential oils with carrier oil?
A:
 A recommended ratio is 15 drops of essential oil for every six teaspoons of carrier oil, or 2-5 drops per tablespoon, depending on the sensitivity of your skin.

Q: Are essential oils safe for children, pets and pregnant or breastfeeding women?
A:
 Not all of them are. The best advice is to check each essential oil’s possible side effects and recommended use before you purchase it. 

The best advice for congestion

women holding essential oil blend

Using essential oils to tackle illnesses of all kinds is not a new trend. People have been doing so as far back as the Ancient Egyptians, Romans, Greeks and Chinese. They are an excellent option for people wanting to create a home remedy for congestion and other ailments ― as long as you have properly educated yourself about their use, side effects and purpose, of course.

If you’re suffering from sinus congestion, make sure you’re following a healthy diet too. Avoid chocolate, dairy products and processed food as much as possible, because they may increase your body’s production of mucus. You should also increase your fluid intake to help flush out the infection and thin the mucus. Getting enough rest is also an essential step in getting better, so make sure you’re sleeping well.

In general, keep as healthy as you can to avoid infections in the first place. Exercise plays an important part in boosting your immune system, so ensure you work up a sweat a few times a week. If your baseline is good, you'll find it easier to spot symptoms of congestion. Nipping these in the bud is naturally the best route to maintaining your wellness.

Whether you opt for an essential oil diffuser blend for sinus or prefer another essential oils-based home remedy for congestion such as aromatherapy massage oil or baths, breathing easier can certainly be less of a challenge. Volant has everything you need if you’re looking for high quality essential oils that are good for congestion.

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