Whether it’s due to the flu, cold winter weather, or allergy season, sinus symptoms are some of the most common cold and allergy complaints brought to doctors – and sometimes the hardest ones to shake. Amongoptions, essential oils can be very effective for blocked sinus congestion, infection, pain and other symptoms.
Sinus Health and Congestion
Sinus problems can occur for any number of reasons. Sinusitis may be caused by the lingering effects of a cold or flu, a sinus infection, an allergic reaction such as hay fever, or by more insidious allergies like sensitivity to chemicals in cleaning products or in personal care products. Sometimes, the cause of sinus pain can be difficult to determine.
Regardless of the cause, sinus congestion is aggravating and may include some or all of the following:
- headaches, especially in the brow, forehead, cheeks and other parts of the face
- nasal congestion (stuffed-up nose)
- sore throat, cough
Natural Relief for Sinus Symptoms
Doctors often suggest everything from drugs to natural treatments, which may or may not be effective for sinusitis. Three of the most common approaches to natural sinus treatment include nasal irrigation, steam, and aromatherapy.
Nasal Irrigation: Nasal irrigation is a natural sinus treatment that involves flushing the nasal cavity with salt water to fight bacteria and wash out mucus congestion. It is part of a traditional yogic practice called “jala neti” and has become popularized in alternative healing circles.
Steam: Steam is a time-honored traditional method of cleaning out the sinuses. Doctors often recommend a hot bath or shower to help with congestion, as the warmth and moisture may help to improve sinus health.
Aromatherapy: Many essential oils have been studied for their antibacterial and antiviral properties, as well as the ability to heal the body after illness. Certain aromatherapy oils can be used to break up sinus congestion and provide relief from sinus pain.
Essential Oil Relief for Sinus Infection and Pain
Essential oils can be powerful healing tools, and are one of the most effective ways to eliminate sinus problems once and for all. But there are two risks of using essential oils for nasal congestion:
The quality of essential oils is incredibly important. There are many grades of essential oils available in stores, most of which contain chemicals and additives which may be harmful. If in doubt, consult an expert or ask a medical professional before using any aromatherapy product.
Nasal and sinus tissues can be very sensitive. Essential oils should never be used inside the nose, especially not “hot” antimicrobial oils like oregano, which may sting. Instead, the oils should be applied more gently.
The best way to apply essential oils for sinus relief is via inhalation. Steam is a perfect vehicle, so a steam diffuser is a great choice. If that isn’t possible, use a bowl of hot water and add a few drops of the following essential oils. Bend face-down over the bowl and cover head, bowl and all with a towel to steam for several minutes. Repeat as needed with fresh essential oils and hot water.
Some of the best essential oils for sinusitis treatment include:
- oregano – especially for infection
- thyme – for fighting bacteria and viruses
- peppermint – especially for headaches