How to Use Essential Oils for Sinus Infections

Introduction to Sinus Infections

If you have had a cold, stuffy nose, sinus infection before, you know how miserable that they can make you. It is really unpleasant to have trouble breathing along with the feeling of intense pressure or pain in your face and between your eyes.

Your sinuses are technically the sunken area around your cheeks, nose, eyes, and forehead. They are connected to your nasal cavity with small tunnels that are coated with mucous membranes. When you get a cold or are having an allergy attack, these membranes get inflamed and block your nasal passages, along with the canals in your sinus which is what restricts you from breathing.

This can also occur when your sinus is producing more mucous than it can normally drain out, causing a buildup in your sinuses and nasal canals. The blocking of your nasal system and the lack of movement in them is what can eventually cause an infection of your sinus.

We are going to cover some simple, holistic methods that you can use essential oils in different ways to relieve pressure, restore normal drainage, and help you overcome your sinus infection.

The reason that essential oils are so effective in helping your sinus infection and clearing blockages in your sinus is that the herbs that natural oils are derived from have natural, anti-inflammatory properties that when used with hot water will start going to work for you.

What You will Need to Start Using Essential Oils

Before we jump into how to use essential oils to fix your sinus infection, we are going to give you a quick education on what some of the most effective essential oils are and everything that you will need to use essential oils to treat your sinus infection.

The Most Effective Essential Oils

Here is a quick list of some of the most effective essential oils that you can use to treat your sinus infection. They are listed here because of their innate anti-inflammatory properties.

1) A Non-reactive Bowl

The reason that you want a non-reactive bowl is because you are going to be using it to hold the piping hot or boiling water that you are going to be using for your sinus treatment methods. Non-reactive simply means that the bowl is not made of reactive metals like copper, cast-iron, and aluminum, and are usually covered in an enamel coating. You don’t have to spend a ton of money on one, and the chances are, you already have some non-reactive bowls in your kitchen.

2) A Diffuser

You can take a simple diffuser and use it with essential oils to help relieve the pressure and inflammation in your sinuses. You just need a basic diffuser that is going to be able to release essential oils into the air.

3) A Washcloth or Towel

You are going to need a wash cloth or towel before we get started. One of the most effective ways of treating a sinus infection involves inhaling the steam and fumes created by the combination of boiling water and your essential oils. You will need some kind of towel to use a shroud so that you can keep all of that steam contained.

4) A Friend or Significant Other

This is always a fun way to use essential oils to treat your sinus infection. You can actually use essential oils as massage oils, so that you can get the one-two punch of treating your sinus infection and relaxing your body.

5) A Bathtub

Taking a bath with essential oils is another great way to release the essence of the oils so that you can get your sinuses back to normal. Plus, it is a nice way to relax while you are working on recovering from being sick.

6) A Neti Pot

Have you ever tried using a neti pot when you have a stuffy nose or a sinus infection? A neti pot can be another really effective way of immediately draining excess mucous from your sinuses and getting you back to a level of normal drainage.

Step By Step Instructions on Using Essential Oils

Now that you have a quick list of everything that you need in order to start clearing out your nose from that stubborn inflammation and mucous, here are some quick and effective ways that you can use those tools and treat yourself.

1) Inhaling Steam with Essential Oils

If you have ever taken a steaming hot shower as a means of draining your nose and relieving sinus pressure, this method of treating your sinus infection goes hand-in-hand with that. Here’s how you can use your non-reactive bowl with some essential oils and hot water to start relieving pressure and get you back to breathing normally.

Take some water out of the tap or use some distilled water and bring it to a boil, whether that’s on the stove or in the microwave. Pour the boiling water into your non-reactive bowl and add about seven or eight drops of the essential oil of your choice. One of our favorites for this method is using a combination of peppermint and eucalyptus oil. Make sure to mix the oils in well.

Set the bowl on your table or a counter, sit with your head over the bowl, and cover the back of your head and neck with your towel or washcloth so that the steam stays contained around your face. Breathe in the steam through your nose and mouth, and continue this process until your water cools down enough so that it is no longer steaming. Then you can reheat the water and repeat the process until symptoms start to improve.

2) Using a Diffuser with Essential Oils

A diffuser is a simple device that emits the fumes from your essential oils into the air around you. One of the best ways to use a diffuser to improve your sinus infection symptoms is to take five or six drops of your essential oil of choice into about a half cup of water, and add them to your diffuser. Sit as close as you can to the diffuser and focus on breathing deeply. This method is really effective for treating multiple people at once, so if other members of your household have sinus infections, have them join you.

3) Using a Vaporizer or Humidifier

Vaporizers and humidifiers on their own can be reasonably effective in helping your nose to drain and reducing inflammation, and using them with essential oils can make them even more effective. Since they tend to be larger, you can go ahead and add 20-30 drops of essential oils to the water in your humidifier. Set the humidifier in the room as you sleep at night, or during the day in the room that you spend the most time in. This would be great for taking to the office when you are sick.

We would recommend using a combination of lavender, peppermint, tea tree oils, and eucalyptus for the antibacterial properties that these particular oils possess. That can help reduce the amount of bacteria in the room and prevent further sickness and infection.

4) Massage Therapy

You can actually apply most of these oils directly to the body to improve the conditions of your sinus infection. Grab a friend, significant other, or higher a massage therapist that can lather you up with essential oils and put your muscles and nasal cavities at ease. Use 10-20 drops of your essential oil when using this method.

5) Taking a bath Using Essential Oils

This is using the same principle as the cloth over the bowl method, just on a larger scale. Think of your bathtub as a large bowl of hot water, a sauna, or a massive humidifier that you can use to steam out the congestion and infection. Run a really hot bath for yourself, but not so hot that you can’t bear it, and add between 8-12 drops of essential oils to a sponge or loofa. Toss that loofa in the bathtub with you and let it soak so that it will gradually dispense the oils into the water, and into the steamy air. Sit in the bath for as long as you like.

6) Using a Neti Pot

If you haven’t tried a neti pot, it is another option that you may want to consider. Put no greater than 10 drops of essential oils into your neti pot with warm water and sea salt, and hold your head horizontally over the sink. Make sure that the oils and salt are mixed in well. Keep your head still and slowly pour the water from the neti pot into your upper nose hole, so that it drains out through your lower nose hole. Make sure that you are breathing through your mouth, not through your nose, as you are pouring. Repeat this process on the other side of your nose.

7) Consuming Essential Oil Ingredients

If you happen to have a bad cough along with your sinus infection, you can also consume your essential oils with a tablespoon of raw honey. All you have to do is add one to two drops of therapeutic fennel oil to your spoonful of honey and enjoy.


There are a variety of natural methods that you can use essential oils for improving your sinus infection. Pick a couple of methods that sound the most pleasant or the easiest, to you.

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