If your nose is congested and you’re fighting constant sinus drainage, you may be wondering about the benefits of essential oils. The good news is that there’s a long list of what essential oils are good for, and relieving swelling and opening nasal passages are on the list.
Eight Essential Oils For Nasal Congestion Relief:
- Menthol: The icy effects of menthol have long been used to soothe sore throats and improve breathing. Menthol essential oils also can help clear up your sinus cavities.
- Peppermint: Another strong minty scent similar to menthol, peppermint also is effective at relieving sinus congestion thanks to its strength and ability to overcome nearly any blockage.
- Lemon: Lemon oils are common in antibacterials and anti-inflammatory, and they make a great addition to your medicine cabinet when you are experiencing sinusitis.
- Frankincense: Another powerful addition to the essential oils list, frankincense is especially strong and fragrant. It helps relax the lungs and makes for easier breathing all around.
- Eucalyptus: Eucalyptus is widely used in over-the-counter medicines thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties. Since sinusitis is caused by inflamed tissue in the sinuses, it is a natural choice.
- Tea Tree Oil: Tea tree oil is known for its antiviral and antimicrobial properties. Those who suffer from sinus congestion due to allergies can benefit from the relief that tea tree oil has to offer.
- Clove: Cloves are widely known for their very strong scent and soothing properties when you have a cold. Clove oil also can be used to effectively combat sinus congestion with its antimicrobial properties.
- Rosemary: Rosemary has been commonly used to alleviate coughing and colds. It even is effective against particularly resistant bacteria that cause chronic congestion.
Once you’ve selected your favorite essential oils, there are several methods for putting them to use. Some oils are effective as aromatherapy agents, as the strong scent carries well and permeates your sinuses. You also may apply them topically around your nose, mouth and throat, as long as you dilute them first with safe oils like coconut or avocado. Lastly, if you purchase pure oils with FDA clearance you can take a few drops by mouth.
American Sinus Institute
The American Sinus Institute can help you get the treatment you need if other sinus treatments are not working. Contact us to learn more about your options and schedule a consultation today!
A Case Study
A few years ago, a patient came with a history of adrenal exhaustion, blood sugar imbalances, endocrine irregularities and a very large goiter. Working with her medical doctor, we designed a plan to help detoxify her congested lymphatic system. The main treatment that we used was a series of nasya treatments that involved sniffing herbalized oil with ginger into the deep sinuses. I describe this at-home therapy in this article and in the associated video.
I also gave her a series of self-inquiry exercises to do to help her release some of the old emotions related that might be related to this thyroid condition.
After the third nasya treatment, while she was doing her self-inquiry exercises, she had an epiphany. She saw herself as a 14-year-old being abused that she had totally blocked out of her mind. She said that what was most amazing about this experience was not really affected by the memory of the abuse. She was more taken aback by her life experience before and after this abuse. Before this day, she was a happy-go-lucky, fun-loving child. After this day, she noticed that she became a more serious, type A, driven person. She became a straight-A student, perfectionist, and then a corporate executive that worked 90 hours a week. She had a huge capacity and pushed herself to accomplish any task at hand, whether it was at work or at home.
She realized that this 10 minute event, while quite terrible, was not worth ruining the next 20 years of her life. When she saw the contrast of her life before and after this event, she said it was easy for her to just let go of this trauma.
This is exactly what Ayurveda predicted would happen when you detoxify the sagittal sinus. Old emotional traumas would be released and a new level of awareness would prevail. This new level of awareness would be stress-free, and would not drive the body into such a state of exhaustion that it would burn out her adrenals, blood sugar, and her thyroid.
At the end of her 1-week detox with the naysa therapies, the goiter in her neck had drastically shrunk. When she started, it looked like she had a grapefruit in her neck. Seven days later, you could barely see it.
Her stress levels decreased and, after a few months, her hormonal imbalances stabilized. Soon after, she got pregnant and gave birth to a healthy baby. The goal of this therapy was to increase self-awareness, to break the pattern of unconsciously doing the same self-harming stuff again and again, and we can start enjoying this precious thing called life.
At-Home Sinus Cleansing
The traditional name for this therapy is called, shiro (head), abhyanga (massage), nasya (nasal inhalation) or SAN. This is an advanced version of the daily practice of nasya, where you sniff an herbalized nasya oil in order to lubricate and protect the sinuses. The super-nasya therapy starts out with a deep facial, head massage, steam and aroma inhalation. It is then followed by a nasya therapy, and then followed by an herbal nasya with ginger – which is designed to clean out the saggital sinus and stimulate the brain lymphatics. Practice this 3x/week for 4-6 weeks at home. This practice is ideal during a cleanse or detox like our our 4-day Short Home Cleanse or our 2-week Colorado Cleanse. Do not do this within two hours of bedtime.
Step 1. Head, Neck and Shoulder Massage with Nasal Preparation
- Vigorously massage the head and neck for five minutes with LifeSpa’s Lymphatic Massage Oil.
- Take a hot shower and continue to vigorously massage the head and neck with the Lymphatic Massage Oil.
- Steam and face and neck: Fill a large bowl with freshly boiled water. Add 1-2 drops of eucalyptus oil or Vicks VapoRub. Take a clean, large towel and drape it over the head to make a tent. Lean over the bowl so that the steam is trapped inside the towel tent. Inhale the steam for two to three minutes.
- Gently apply hot towels to the neck and face. If available, I prefer to use hot water bottles and press them on the sinuses under the cheek bones, forehead, temples (side of head) and then track the top of the head in a Mohawk pattern.
Step 2. Standard Nasya with Herbalized Nasya Oil
- Follow the procedure below for the standard nasya therapy. It is best to use LifeSpa’s Nasya Oil.
- Lie on a bed with the head hanging off the side. Try to get the head back far enough so that the nostrils are perpendicular to the floor.
- Then, take a couple of deep breaths through the nose.
- After a large exhale, using an eye dropper, place two or three drops of the nasya oil directly into both nostrils.
- Then, with one big inhale, sniff the oil quickly and deeply into the sinus cavity: hold both nostrils closed and breathe in through the nose while rapidly closing and opening the nostrils.
2. Repeat the sniffing procedure with nasya oil three times.
Step 3. Advanced Nasya with Ginger Drops
CAUTION: If you are sensitive to smells, aromas or generally sensitive by nature, please do not proceed with the Ginger Drop Nasya.
- Making Ginger drops (Shunta gunti drops)
- 1 tbs. warm water
- 1/8 tsp. ginger powder
- 1/4 tsp. brown sugar, Sucanat or Jaggery
- Warm and stir the mixture. It is ready when it is all dissolved.
- Repeat the same procedure in Step 2 for the ginger drops.
- Take time between each nasya to recover from the experience. There can be a short period of burning.
- Gargle with 12 ounces of warm salt water.
- 12 ounces of warm purified water with 2 tsp. of a natural salt.
Jala Neti Pot
The yoga cleansing technique of Jala Neti is the oldest form of sinus irrigation and is the most effective way to relieve sinus congestion. It works by letting warm salt water or saline solution flow from one nostril to the other, thereby working its way through the frontal and mid-nasal sinuses and rinsing out the dirt and bacteria-filled mucous lining. A more advanced technique will allow you to pass the water through your post-nasal sinuses and out of your mouth. Warm water loosens and dissolves the build-up accumulated in your nasal cavity, and may cause momentary discomfort at the first couple of tries. Check out how to use a neti pot here, and make sure to use boiled or sterile water for your solution, not water that comes from a tap!
Breathing in Steam
When feeling congested, a hot shower usually helps clear our stuffy noses. Why? The steam softens and helps shift the mucous, which reduces inflammation and relieves sinus congestion. So when you are feeling stuffed up and unable to equalize your sinuses, try breathing in steam. Instead of taking a hot shower each time, boil some water and wait for it to cool a bit, just enough so that it has vapor, but does not burn your skin. Put your face above the kettle or cup of water with a towel draped over your head to trap the water vapor. Make sure to keep your eyes closed, and breathe deeply and slowly through your nose for at least 10 minutes.
A good idea is to add a few drops of essential oils into the mix, such as eucalyptus, peppermint, oregano, or tea tree oil, to add in a few other benefits, as well as to relieve sinus congestion.
Nasal Saline Spray
The idea of trying a neti pot may be daunting, even though it really is the best way to help clear your sinuses. If so, you can also try nasal saline spray. Make sure to read the bottle and verify that it is natural saline spray and that it is free of any medications. A couple of squirts up each nostril before you dive may irrigate your sinuses enough to provide relief and allow you to equalize them efficiently. One downside is that nasal sprays may not always reach all the way into the sinuses.
Tell me about life style and dietary changes.
Don’t drink alcohol, and don’t smoke. Both nicotine and alcohol irritate the stomach and increase acid production. Also,
- Avoid clothing that is tight around the waist — corsets, belts.
- Avoid bending over.
- Lose weight.
Raise your head when lying down. This is best achieved NOT with pillows, but by raising the head of the bed by 6 to 8 inches. This can be done by sliding blocks under the legs at the head of the bed or a wedge under the head of the mattress.