Honey for sinus infection

10 Essential Oils For Sinus Infections: How To Use For Quick Relief, And Benefits Pooja Karkala Hyderabd040-395603080 January 20, 2020

The constant feeling of a runny nose, sometimes accompanied by pain, can leave you running around in search of a decongestant. Sinusitis is undoubtedly tiring in the long run. However, you will be surprised to know that this condition can be managed at home with essential oils.

Read on to find out how some potent essential oils work for sinus infections.

Note: There is limited evidence to show that essential oils may improve all the symptoms of sinus infections.

Table Of Contents

Contents

What Is A Sinus Infection?

The sinus is a cavity within the bones or tissues that make up your face or skull. These cavities are usually filled with air. When the sinuses are blocked and filled with fluid, microbes can grow and cause infection, leading to inflammation of the tissues lining your sinus. This condition is also known as sinusitis.

Sinus infections are classified into different types based on how long the infection lasts.

Types Of Sinus Infection

  • Acute sinusitis: This type of sinus infection usually lasts for 2-4 weeks and is often accompanied by a runny nose and facial pain.
  • Subacute sinusitis: This lasts for about 4-12 weeks.
  • Chronic sinus infection: This takes 12 weeks or longer to heal.
  • Recurrent sinusitis: This infection occurs several times throughout the year.

In the next section, we have discussed the causes behind the development of a sinus infection.

Causes Of Sinus Infection

  • Any infection in your upper respiratory tract can cause an acute sinus infection. Allergens, pollutants, viruses, and bacteria are the main culprits. The viruses damage the lining of the sinus, leading to inflammation and obstruction of the nasal passage that connects the sinuses. This obstruction allows the bacteria to multiply within the sinus and causes an infection. Allergens and pollutants also show a similar effect.
  • Fungi are the major cause of a chronic sinus infection. Individuals with weak immunity are more susceptible to such infections.
  • Pre-existing medical conditions, such as the common cold and nasal polyps, can also cause sinus blockage.

When you have sinusitis, you experience a range of signs and symptoms. The most common ones discussed below.

Signs And Symptoms Of A Sinus Infection

The signs and symptoms that accompany a chronic sinus infection are the same as that of acute sinusitis. However, the symptoms last much longer and are more severe. The common signs and symptoms of a sinus infection include:

  • Congestion of the nasal passage
  • A sore throat that is often accompanied by post-nasal drip
  • Facial pain
  • Aching ears
  • Headaches
  • Bouts of coughing that cause pain
  • Fever
  • Face becomes swollen
  • Dizziness

Sinus infection, especially the chronic kind, can cause issues and hamper your daily life. One of the best ways to treat a sinus infection naturally is using essential oils. Read on to find some of the best essential oils that can be used in the treatment of sinusitis and its symptoms.

How To Treat Sinus Infections With Essential Oils

Essential Oils For Sinus Infections

Some of these essential oils are safe to apply inside your nose along with a carrier oil. However, do a patch test if you are allergic to any of the essential oils listed below.

1. Eucalyptus Oil

Eucalyptus oil is beneficial in treating sinus infections. Eucalyptol is one of the most significant compounds in this oil that has a minty fragrance and is widely used in cough syrups and throat drops. It is extremely effective in clearing blocked passages (1). It also possesses antispasmodic and antimicrobial properties, which can help relax the overworked chest muscles and fight infections (2). This oil is also relatively safe to use on toddlers (3 years and older) in moderation.

You Will Need
  • 3-4 drops of eucalyptus oil
  • 1 bowl of hot water
What You Have To Do
  1. Add a few drops of eucalyptus essential oil to a bowl of hot water.
  2. Cover your head with a bed sheet or blanket and close your eyes and bend over the bowl.
  3. Inhale the hot steam.
How Often You Should Do This

Do this whenever you want to get relief from congestion.

2. Peppermint Oil

Peppermint oil is quite popular for its wide range of medicinal uses. It contains menthol that exhibits decongestant properties (3). Peppermint oil has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, and expectorant properties, all of which can help relieve the symptoms of sinusitis (4).

  • 3-4 drops of peppermint oil
  • Diffuser
  1. Add four drops of peppermint essential oil to a diffuser.
  2. Inhale the air dispersed from the diffuser.

Do this once daily.

3. Lemon Essential Oil

Lemon essential oil is one of the best essential oils for sinus infections. This oil is extracted from the lemon rind and exhibits amazing antibacterial and decongestant properties (5). These properties can help manage sinus infections and improve your immunity by fighting other bacteria that may try to invade your body.

  • 25-30 drops of lemon essential oil
  • Humidifier/Vaporizer

Add 25-30 drops of lemon essential oil to a humidifier and place it in your room.

Note: Lemon essential oil contains limonene, which can degrade certain plastics. Make sure you check with the manufacturer if the unit is compatible with essential oils.

Do this once daily, preferably before bedtime.

4. Lavender Oil

Lavender oil has a pleasant fragrance and exhibits natural anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antibacterial, and analgesic properties (6). It can also be used as a decongestant to clear the blocked nasal passages and relieve sinus infection.

  • 8-10 drops of lavender essential oil
  • Epsom salt
  • Water
  1. Add a few drops of lavender essential oil and Epsom salt to your bathwater.
  2. Soak in the bath for 15-20 minutes.

Do this at least 3 times a week.

5. Oregano Oil

Oregano oil has high phenol content and is often used for its distinct flavor. It also has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties (7). These properties can help treat sinus infection and its symptoms.

  • 1-2 drops of oregano oil
  • 1 teaspoon of sweet almond oil or fractionated coconut oil
  1. Mix a drop of oregano oil with a teaspoon of any carrier oil.
  2. Massage this mixture onto your nose and chest.

Do this at least 1 to 2 times daily.

6. Rosemary Oil

Rosemary oil contains eucalyptol, alpha-pinene, and camphor, which are all beneficial for the respiratory system (8). It also has anti-inflammatory properties (9). This can help reduce the sinus infection and relieve the inflamed nasal passages.

  • 2-3 drops of rosemary oil
  • 1 teaspoon of sweet almond oil or fractionated coconut oil
  1. Take a few drops of rosemary essential oil on your fingers and rub softly across your forehead.
  2. You can also dilute this essential oil with any carrier oil and apply it to your nose and chest.

Follow this procedure whenever you experience sinus congestion or irritation.

7. Chamomile Oil

  • 3-4 drops of chamomile oil
  • 1 teaspoon of sweet almond oil or fractionated coconut oil
  1. Mix chamomile oil with any carrier oil.
  2. Gently massage this mixture on your chest and nose.
  3. You can also use this oil in a diffuser.

Do this multiple times a day.

Why This Works

Chamomile oil is widely used for its wide range of benefits. It exhibits powerful antiseptic properties, which can help treat the infection-causing your sinuses to flare up. It also has anti-allergic and sedative properties (10). These properties can provide relief around the sinuses and improve sleep.

8. Tea Tree Oil

The antibacterial and antiseptic properties of tea tree oil make it one of the best essential oils for sinus infections (11). It also acts as a decongestant and can help clear blocked nasal passages. Also, nasal saline irrigation using a neti pot is a proven remedy against sinus infections (12).

  • 1 drop of tea tree oil
  • 1 cup of warm water
  • 1 tablespoon of sea salt
  • A neti pot
  1. Add a drop of tea tree oil to a tablespoon of sea salt.
  2. Add this mixture to a cup of warm water and mix well until it dissolves completely.
  3. Bend over a sink and pour the solution into the upper nostril.
  4. Keeping your head stationary, drain this solution out of the other nostril.
  5. Make sure that you are breathing via your mouth throughout this procedure.

Do this once daily. You can use it three times weekly once the acute symptoms are resolved.

9. Clove Oil

Clove oil is widely used to treat a variety of ailments, including sinus infections. It exhibits antiseptic and antifungal properties (13). These properties can help in reducing inflammation and preventing infection in the sinuses.

  • 2-3 drops of clove oil
  • A diffuser
  1. Add a couple of drops of clove oil to a diffuser.
  2. Inhale the dispersed air.

You can do this once daily.

10. Frankincense Oil

Frankincense oil has antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and expectorant properties (14). It can provide relief from sinus infections by breaking up the phlegm in your respiratory tracts and relaxing the muscles of your lungs.

  • 1-2 drops of frankincense oil
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  1. Add two drops of frankincense oil to a tablespoon of honey.
  2. Consume this mixture.

Do this at least once daily.

Caution: Make sure you talk to a doctor before trying this remedy.

Although essential oils can be helpful in treating a sinus infection, you need to take some precautions to reduce unintended effects.

Precautions While Using Essential Oils

  1. Never use undiluted essential oils directly on your skin.
  2. Do a patch test before applying an essential oil topically. This is because some individuals may be sensitive or allergic to certain oils.
  3. If you are pregnant or have asthma, use any essential oil only after consulting your doctor and making sure it is safe for you.
  4. Use essential oils only in the prescribed amounts.
  5. All essential oils cannot be used for aromatherapy.
  6. Keep essential oils out of children’s reach.
  7. You should ingest essential oils only after consulting a qualified practitioner.

Essential oils can be a safe alternative to over-the-counter nasal decongestants. Some of these oils also have therapeutic and aromatic properties that can relieve sinus congestion.

Although there is no direct scientific evidence to prove the efficacy of essential oils in treating sinus infections, they can help reduce the severity of the condition.

Never forget that moderation is the key while using these oils. Stick to the recommended quantity, and do not overuse them.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it safe for babies?

Some of these essential oils are safe for older children. However, consult a healthcare provider before using them on babies.

What is the best essential oil to use for clearing sinuses so that you can sleep better?

Essential oils like chamomile, lavender, and frankincense have sedative properties and can help clear your sinuses while also improving your sleep.

Can swimming cause a sinus infection?

Any viruses, bacteria, or fungi in the pool water can cause inflammation and worsen the symptoms of the sinus infection. Hence, affected individuals are advised to reduce the duration of their swims.

14 sources

Stylecraze has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy.

  • Effect of nebulized eucalyptus on contamination of microbial plaque of endotracheal tube in ventilated patients, Iranian Journal of Nursing and Midwifery Research, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4815372/
  • Antibacterial activity of the essential oils from the leaves of Eucalyptus globulus against Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus, Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3609378/
  • A Review On Peppermint Oil, Asian Journal of Pharmaceutical and Clinical Research, ResearchGate.
    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/237842903_A_REVIEW_ON_PEPPERMINT_OIL
  • Chemical Composition and Anti-Inflammatory, Cytotoxic and Antioxidant Activities of Essential Oil from Leaves of Mentha piperita Grown in China, Public Library of Science One, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4262447/
  • In vitro antibacterial activity of some plant essential oils, BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1693916/
  • Antioxidant, analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects of lavender essential oil, Anais da Academia Brasileira de Ciências, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26247152
  • , Med Dosw Mikrobiol, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23484421
  • Rosmarinus officinalis L. (rosemary) as therapeutic and prophylactic agent, Journal of Biomedical Science.
    https://jbiomedsci.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12929-019-0499-8
  • Anti-inflammatory and antinociceptive effects of Rosmarinus officinalis L. essential oil in experimental animal models, Journal of Medicinal Food, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19053868
  • Chamomile: A herbal medicine of the past with bright future, Molecular Medicine Reports, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2995283/
  • Melaleuca alternifolia(Tea Tree) Oil: a Review of Antimicrobial and Other Medicinal Properties, Clinical Microbiology Reviews, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1360273/
  • Effectiveness of steam inhalation and nasal irrigation for chronic or recurrent sinus symptoms in primary care: a pragmatic randomized controlled trial, Canadian Medical Association Journal, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5026511/
  • Microbicide activity of clove essential oil (Eugenia caryophyllata), Brazilian Journal of Microbiology, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3769004/
  • Frankincense–therapeutic properties, Postępy Higieny i Medycyny Doświadczalnej, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27117114

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Pooja Karkala

Pooja is a Mass Communications and Psychology graduate. Her education has helped her develop the perfect balance between what the reader wants to know and what the reader has to know. As a classical dancer, she has long, black hair, and she knows the struggle that goes into maintaining it. She believes in home remedies and grandma’s secrets for achieving beautiful, luscious hair. When she is not writing, she learns Kuchipudi, practices yoga, and creates doodles.

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What essential oil is best for sinus infections?

How to prevent and cure a sinus treatment naturally…

A sinus infection can be one of the most difficult infections to heal but there are several pure essential oils that can deliver results and make you feel a world of a difference. You recognize the symptoms of sinusitis when they start to creep up; fever, pain in your teeth and jaw, headaches, bad breath and the gooey (often colorful) discharge which signals infection.

Proven Essential Oil Remedies:

Sinus infections are not to be treated lightly so you should consult your doctor on advice to prevent and treat them. You can help prevent and aid in giving yourself sinus relief, naturally, through essential oils. Our Breathe blend stimulates congestion relief and drainage using the pure power of our blend. Blended in 100% organic jojoba oil, these essential oils inside loosen mucus build-up, remove respiratory rigidity, and ease coughs.

Essential Oil Remedies for Sinus Infections:

  • Black Pepper to ease congestion
  • Eucalyptus to help fight contaminants
  • Myrrh aids in breaking up mucous
  • Ravintsara helps ease congestion

Remember! Essential oils should never be used undiluted on the skin. This is why all of our drops are pre-blended by a certified aromatherapist. We’ve taken the most potent and effective essential oils for congestion and pre-blended them in an easy-to-use roll-on blend that is specially formulated to help with sinus infections and other ailments that trouble the chest, nose, and throat.

Scientific Evidence:

Effect of Eucalyptus globulus oil on lipopolysaccharide-induced chronic bronchitis and mucin hypersecretion in rats.

6 Sinus Infection Self-Treatment Mistakes to Avoid

How often do you wake up with a stuffy nose or struggle with nasal drip when the temperature drops? When cold and flu season comes around, it’s common for adults and children to develop inflammation in their sinuses, a condition known as sinusitis.

Fortunately, there are good natural remedies adults and children can try when sinusitis strikes. But some common remedies should be avoided, and others should be used with care.

RELATED: The Ultimate Winter Wellness Guide

What Causes Sinusitis and Sinus Infections?

Sinus problems happen when too much mucus builds up in the cavities behind the face. This causes one or more of these cavities to become swollen or inflamed.

In some adults or children, especially those with allergies or asthma, this recurs regularly, leading to constant pressure around the nose, a bad-tasting postnasal drip, headache, fatigue, or other symptoms.

Before you reach for a sinus infection remedy you dug up with a search engine online or that your third cousin recommended, know that not every method is safe or effective.

Here are six sinus remedies to beware of.

1. Boiling Hot Water in a Steam Tent: Avoid Steam That Is Too Hot

Warm mist is a very effective home remedy to soothe and moisturize sinus passageways, helping you feel better. One way people treat themselves with steam is to boil a pot of water then tent a towel over their head while leaning over the liquid.

If you use this method, is critical to let the water cool a bit, and not to place your face too close to the water, or you may burn your face.

This is especially a problem with children. An article in the British Medical Journal from 2004 documented seven cases in a six-month period in which kids suffered burns, usually to the face, from being too close to scalding water. (In two cases, the pot of water spilled onto them.)

This danger is why a wellness guide from the University of Minnesota’s Earl E. Bakken Center for Spirituality and Healing advises that children under age 7 never steam in this manner. (An alternative is to place the child in a warm, running shower.) Children 7 and older should be encouraged to stay back from the steam and wear swimming goggles to protect their eyes.

RELATED: Do I Have a Cold or the Flu?

2. Don’t Ingest or Put Essential Oils Up Your Nose

Essential oils, especially eucalyptus oil, can help your breathing when you have sinusitis, although the British Medical Journal reported in a review article published in October 2018 that scientific evidence for oil’s effectiveness is lacking. Other people like to inhale relaxing scents like jasmine or lavender when they feel ill.

Essential oils should never be put up the nostrils. Most essential oils are too strong to be placed directly on the skin, let alone in the sensitive tissue of the nose.

“I tell my patients not to choose a random tonic and put it into their nose,” says Anthony Del Signore, MD, an assistant professor of otolaryngology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City.

Instead, insert a few drops into your bathtub or into the pot of water you will use for a steam. You can also place a drop or two on a cotton ball and sniff, or use a special diffuser designed to stream it into the air.

RELATED: 10 Myths About Allergies

3. Steer Clear of Unnecessary Medications for Sinus Infections

People often come to the doctor “looking to pull the trigger” on antibiotics when they have sinusitis, Dr. Del Signore says. But if symptoms have occurred for less than a week and you don’t have other serious symptoms or a comorbid condition, you do not need a prescription for this medicine, he says.

According to the National Institutes of Health, antibiotics are not effective against the viruses that typically cause sinusitis. What’s more, the NIH says, even those brought on by bacteria don’t typically resolve faster with antibiotic treatment.

Meanwhile, the overuse of antibiotics has led to an increase in germs that are resistant to these crucial drugs. And antibiotics can have side effects, including stomach and bowel problems and fungal infections, the NIH says.

Similarly, children should not be given the drugstore decongestants that are typically a staple of home medicine chests.

According to a study published in October 2018 in the British Medical Journal, there is no evidence decongestants do anything to help nasal symptoms in children. Children younger than 6 should never be given these medicines, while those 6 to 12 should take them with caution, because any benefit is likely to be outweighed by side effects like upset stomach or drowsiness, the study authors conclude.

RELATED: 8 Ways You Could Be Making Your Cold Worse

4. Don’t Use Tap Water for Nasal Irrigation: Use Saline or DIY Solution Instead

Nasal irrigation, or flowing a saltwater solution into the sinus passages, is an effective way to treat sinusitis. A small number of studies, including one published in 2016 in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, has found irrigation does improve sinus symptoms.

But it is critical that you use water that has been sterilized, rather than liquid taken directly from your sink or shower. This is because in some cases people using tap or shower water have introduced a dangerous parasite into their sinuses.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that, very rarely, people using nasal irrigation with tap water have become infected with the dangerous parasite Naegleria fowleri. These organisms may not cause harm if swallowed because stomach acid wipes them out, but they can live and thrive in the warren of passageways of your sinuses.

To avoid this potential risk, purchase sterile saline sprays, from Simply Saline or other brands, or make your own saline solution using water labeled “distilled,” or boiling your tap water for three to five minutes. If you’re using boiled tap water, cool it to lukewarm and store any extra water in a clean, closed container for use the following day (but not longer).

RELATED: Kid-Friendly Sinus Infection Coping Strategies

5. Never Give Honey to Babies for Sinus Congestion or Other Symptoms

For children over age 1 and for adults, honey mixed with warm water is effective for soothing the sore throat that often accompanies a sinus drip, says Barbara Rolnick, MD, a pediatrician at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Primary Care Practice Network.

Studies have also found that honey helps to battle the germs in your body. “The ingredients of honey have been reported to exert antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory … effects,” scientists reviewing the research on honey reported in the April–June 2017 issue of the journal Pharmacognosy Research.

But honey should never be given to babies younger than a year old, warns the American Academy of Pediatrics. They caution that honey can be a source of the rare but dangerous spores that can lead to infant botulism in children this age.

6. Don’t Live With Sinus Infection Symptoms: Consult a Doctor if Home Remedies Don’t Help

If sinusitis symptoms in you or your child persist for more than a week, consult with your physician. You should also talk to the doctor if symptoms seem severe or suddenly worsen.

CAUSES OF SINUS CONGESTION AND PRESSURE

But when nasal passageways become blocked (often due to irritated tissues), mucus that normally drains away can build up. Swollen nasal passages and mucus build-up are the usual causes of sinus congestion and pressure.

Which Sinuses are Causing Your Sinus Pain?

Frontal

In your forehead, vary greatly in size.

Ethmoid

Behind your nose and between your eyes, about the size of a matchbox.

Maxillary

Behind your cheekbones, between the bottom of your eyes, and the top of your upper jaw, about the size of a large walnut.

Sphenoid

Deep in your head behind your nose, about the size of a large grape.

Symptoms of Sinus Congestion

Sinus congestion and pressure are difficult to ignore. The feeling of “fullness” is caused by the blockage of sinuses, as opposed to nasal congestion. Most feel the blockage in the cheeks and often find it difficult if not impossible to breathe through their nose.

Tips for Sinus Congestion Relief

Drink water

Water may help thin mucus, and thin mucus is more likely to drain. When you feel your sinus problems beginning, start hydrating.

Wrap it up

Applying a warm towel to your head may relieve some pressure by easing swollen tissues.

Steam your sinuses

The extra moisture helps keep nasal passages moist and helps with drainage. Anything from a hot shower to carefully inhaling steam from boiling water can help you feel better.

Steam on the go

You may not be able to jump in the shower in the middle of the day. So the steam from a hot beverage or a bowl of soup can be quick sources of steam.

Consider taking a decongestant

This medicine works by shrinking swollen tissues and allowing mucus to drain. The main available decongestants are pseudoephedrine or phenylephrine.

Be sure to talk to your doctor if you have any questions or concerns.

10 Best Essential Oils For Sinus Congestion and DIY Recipes For Relief

Sinus pain. Sinus pressure. Chronic sinusitis. For some of us, those words inevitably conjure up images of repetitive sneezing, red and puffy eyes, drippy noses, boxes of tissues, and hankies jammed into our pockets.

Many of us know the woes of living with sinus pressure and what it feels like to suffer through bouts of congestion, noses dripping like faucets and, even worse, extreme pressure, headaches, and infection. Sometimes it feels like a vice is gripping your head and is squeezing more and more tightly until you almost can’t take the pain anymore.

Sometimes pressure builds and builds until it leaves you feeling dizzy and, at times, nauseous. Maybe it feels like you might be coming down with a cold or flu. No matter the symptoms, most of the time it just feels terrible.

When left unattended, continual sinus pain, congestion, and pressure can lead to an acute form of sinusitis, otherwise known as a sinus infection. When this occurs, all of the pain and pressure that is normally felt with regular symptoms of sinus issues are augmented and feel a thousand times worse. Many people report extreme facial tenderness, headaches, pressure in the ears, nose, and teeth, and nasal congestion.

More than 35 million people, all over the world, live with sinus issues on a regular basis and look for relief in many different forms whenever the issue arises. In fact, what is most commonly referred to as sinusitis is one of the most commonly treated conditions by physicians and has been for quite some time. In many cases, once sinus pressure and/or congestion settles into the body, a sinusitis or a sinus infection follows.

So, what happens when we think or know that we have an infection? What is really going on in our body? The sinuses are essentially pathways through which air flows within the bones around your nose. If those pathways become blocked or obstructed in some way, germs have a tendency to grow, causing infection.

What follows are flu-like symptoms such as fever, sore throat, coughing, and overall feelings of sinus pressure, congestion, and discomfort. If acute, the infection can last for periods of up to two weeks, even with antibiotics. If the infection lingers more than two to three weeks, chances are you have bacterial sinusitis which is considered chronic and can remain in the body for twelve to fifteen weeks if left untreated.

Primary care providers most often prescribe a round of antibiotics to help the body fight off the infection or the virus. After all, when discomfort strikes, it is only natural to want relief as quickly and easily as possible.

Although this is standard procedure in most conventional doctor’s offices, clinics, or other health care facilities, there is another, more holistic way to combat symptoms of sinus pressure, pain, and congestion. Harnessing the incredible power of plants and their essences and distilling that into essential oils is an ancient practice that was, and continues to be performed to help maintain optimal body performance and regain balance when our systems are out of alignment.

People all over the world rely on essential oils as their first and primary line of defense when they feel cold or flu-like symptoms creeping in, and they are almost always satisfied with the results. Whether using a diffuser or humidifier to infuse the oils into the air, adding oils to your bath, putting a few drops into your morning tea, using a steam method to send the healing vapors directly into your nasal passages and lungs, or applying topically, essential oils help people live their best and most healthy life, every single day.

There are a number of different essential oils that help the body stay strong and keep the immune system running properly. There are also essential oils that can be used when flu-like symptoms begin to set in and threaten to take hold. In this article, we will focus on those essential oils that help relieve symptoms and reduce the duration and magnitude of congestion, pressure, and headache.

Essential Oils for Sinus Congestion and Pressure

That which we call a “stuffy nose” is really just an inflammation in the sinus cavity or mucus membrane which causes a partial or total blockage in the passageways that carry air to the nose. More often than not, that stuffy feeling quickly turns to heavy congestion and pressure between the eyes and in the forehead, and sometimes even in the mouth and jaw, or behind the ears and running down the neck.

Pressure Points

Some people find that applying pressure to various points on the face provides temporary relief and helps to dislodge some of the mucus, thereby allowing the passageways a bit of movement. Using your index fingers to push on either side of the nose just at the base and holding that for about 3 minutes may offer some relief. You can also press your finger into the corner of the eye socket just above the eye for as long as desired, slowly moving your finger to the outer part of the socket just beneath the brow. Finally, slide your index finger under the eye just above the cheekbone, applying light but constant pressure for as long as feels comfortable. These are all simple techniques that can be done anywhere, at any time that really help relieve pressure, even if only temporarily.

Essential Oil Delivery Methods

In addition to acupressure, there are a number of essential oils that can be used for relief and a number of delivery methods.

Place 1-4 drops of the essential oil in your hand and rub hands together. Place your hands over your nose in a cup-like manner and breathe deeply, slowly, and repeatedly. You can also simply open the cap of the essential oil bottle and breathe deeply and repeatedly if you are on the go.

You can also place a drop of essential oil, mixed with a carrier oil, just beneath the nose in the depression above your upper lip. In addition to that, you can place a drop of oil behind the ears. This is one way to prolong the aromatherapeutic effects of the essential oil.

If taking a bath, place 10-15 drops directly into the water. Breathe deeply and enjoy the decongesting benefits.

If using the steam inhalation technique, boil a pot of water and add 6-8 drops directly into the water. Please a towel over your head, lean over the pot or bowl, and inhale through your mouth and nose. Do this for as long as the water is steaming and repeat as many times as your feel necessary throughout the day.

If using a diffuser, add 1-3 drops and allow the essential oil molecules to fill the air. Again, breathe deeply and refresh the oil whenever necessary. Alternatively, you can use a humidifier to achieve the same effect. Simply add 10-15 drops of essential oil to the humidifier and breathe deeply all day. Using a diffuser or a humidifier are wonderful methods, because they also allows the essential oil to combat any microorganisms that might be living in the air around you.

These delivery methods can be used for all of the following essential oils.

1. Peppermint Essential Oil

Peppermint essential oil, extracted from the leaves of peppermint (Mentha piperita) which was first found growing in England, is widely known and renowned for its ability to relieve sinus issues such as congestion and pressure that can sometimes lead to headaches and pain. it possesses highly astringent, antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and antimicrobial properties, helping the body not only feel relief but also help it begin to heal itself.

Menthol, the primary organic compound found in peppermint essential oil, has been used for more than 2000 years as a health tonic and remedy. Its potency and mildly sedative properties make it perfect for sinus congestion and pressure.

If using topically, it is important to mix this oil with a carrier oil of your choice, as peppermint essential oil is rather toxic on its own. We recommend Tamanu, Jojoba, or Castor oil, or any of your preferred oils. Take care to find a carrier oil that does not have a very distinct aroma because you want the essence of the peppermint oil to be the primary aroma.

Peppermint essential oil is a well-known go-to for those who live with chronic or acute sinus issues because it really works.

2. Tea Tree Essential Oil

Tea Tree essential oil is a highly effective treatment for nasal congestion, sore throat, and cough. Extracted from the leaves of the Melaleuca Alternifolia tree, this essential oil was first brought into the public’s eye by the famous explorer, Captain James Cook who, upon landing in New South Wales in 1770, found and brewed the leaves to make tea, hence the name “Tea Tree”.

The Aboriginal people have harvested and used the leaves and bark of the Melaleuca tree for centuries, citing incredible antiseptic and healing properties. Captain Cook learned more about its medicinal benefits during his many visits to the Australasian continent, where he met with aboriginals who shared their various healing methods with him. Subsequently, he and his crew used tea tree essential oil while at sea so prevent scurvy and to treat wounds.

Within a few years, he introduced this essential oil to those on the mainland, where it gained increasing notoriety and became a highly marketable trading commodity throughout the world. As the years went on, it was used during world wars as an antiseptic before penicillin was discovered and helped to heal many wounded and was also highly sought after by many scientists and doctors.

Due to its antimicrobial and antiseptic properties, tea tree essential oil helps to eliminate the germs causing the symptoms of flu and colds. Any of the delivery methods will work, and, just like peppermint essential oil, it is necessary to dilute this oil with a carrier oil of your choice if you plan to use it topically. Some people prefer rubbing it directly on the chest, under the nose, or behind the ears so that the effects are longer lasting. Reapply upwards of 5-6 times per day to help relieve congestion or difficulty breathing.

Tea tree essential oil can be taken internally as well, but not swallowed. If you have excess mucus or a sore throat, add 2-3 drops to a glass of water and gargle, spitting the mixture out as you go. With repeated use, you will notice quite a difference.

3. Eucalyptus Essential Oil

Said to be one of the most useful trees in the world, and in the same family as the Tea tree, the Eucalyptus tree, also known as Eucalyptus globulus, is native to Australia and has been used for centuries by the Aboriginal people as a general tonic and cure all. First distilled in 1788 by doctors who used the oil for bronchial and chest issues, Eucalyptus essential oil is a well known for its antiseptic, astringent, and antibacterial properties and was called, “Sydney peppermint” once introduced to Europe. It became a household name, and was used in remedies, tonics, cosmetics, flavorings, and even cleaning products. During world wars, it was used as an antiseptic to reduce susceptibility to bacteria and infection.

It primary component is the natural organic compound called eucalyptol, which has a mint-like aroma and a spicy yet cooling flavor. Used in many cough drops and syrups, it possesses antiviral, antimicrobial, antibacterial, and antispasmodic properties, all which help open block airways, relieve congestion, reduce the frequency and magnitude of a cough, and help combat overproduction of phlegm and mucus.

Just like the previous essential oils, Eucalyptus oil should be mixed with a more neutral carrier oil such as Jojoba or Olive oil, if using topically. Once mixed with a carrier oil, it can be applied directly to the chest as a vapor rub, where the properties are very effective and long lasting.

Many people mix 20-25 drops of this oil into a spray bottle filled with peroxide and mist in the air throughout the day to help eliminate airborne microbes that are keeping you unhealthy.

4. Oregano Essential Oil

Oregano essential oil is highly regarded as one of the most useful and versatile essential oils on the planet. First used in ancient Greece to treat infection, it was also used in food to protect from bacteria, the oil of the oregano plant is extracted via the process of steam distillation of fresh oregano leaves. The plant itself is also known as Oreganum vulgare or simply, oregano.

Oregano essential oil contains high levels of thymol and carvacrol, two organic compounds that are scientifically recognized as having very powerful antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-fungal properties. In fact, carvacrol is known to fight bacterial infections, parasites, viruses, inflammation, allergies, tumors, fungal infections, and chronic sinus issues.

For all practical purposes, oregano oil is possibly nature’s ultimate antibiotic. It helps prevent and treat infection by boosting and strengthening the immune system by aiding in the production and function of white blood cells.

Oregano essential oil is very powerful and should be taken with care. If using it topically, it is crucial to dilute with a carrier oil such as Jojoba or Olive oil. It can then be applied anywhere on the body, specifically around the nose and chest areas in order to help reduce mucus production and aid in breathing.

Unlike some other essential oils, oregano oil can be taken internally. Small amounts can be added to food, or it can be taken in supplement form. If taking it in isolation, it must be diluted with a 1:1 ratio of olive or coconut oil to oregano oil. With prolonged and regulated use, you will notice the overall effects on your body.

5. Thyme Essential Oil

Thyme essential oil, also known as Thymus vulgaris and a member of the mint family, was orginally used by the Greeks, Egyptians, and Romans for various ways, such as embalming and as incense. The Greek word, “thymos” means “perfume,” hence the proclivity to use it aromatically.

Native to southern Europe and the Mediterranean, the thyme plant has a number of health benefits, which have been recognized for thousands of years. It was also believed that thyme gave those who held it strength, bravery, and energy and a fresh sprig was given to soldiers and knights to carry with them on their journey.

Thyme essential oil is extracted form fresh or partially dried leaves and flowers of the plant via the process of steam distillation. The extraction process is lengthy and a very high amount of plant matter is needed to produce small amounts of the essential oil, so it has always been a highly prized commodity throughout history.

Thyme essential oil possesses antiseptic, antibacterial, and anti-spasmodic, and expectorant properties that make it an incredibly effective oil to use in the treatment of sinus congestion and pressure. It is one of nature’s strongest antioxidants that supports the respiratory, immune, nervous, and other systems in the body.

Like many other essential oils, Thyme oil is very potent and must be diluted if applying topically. Use your choice of carrier oils and dilute to a 1:1 ratio for best results.

Thyme also blends well with many complimentary essential oils, which we will discuss later.

6. Lavender Essential Oil

Lavender essential oil comes from the English Lavender plant, also known as Lavandula augustifolia. Although considered by some a lighter, or less potent essential oil, it still possesses very beneficial properties, both for the body and the mind. And did I mention the smell? With hints of musk, camphor, and just a touch of flowers, lavender is one of the most easily recognized and widely used essential oils in the world.

In addition to it incredible aromatic properties that act as a tonic for frazzled nerves, anxiety, and stress, Lavender is also known for its antiviral, anti-fungal, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory properties. It is also used as a circulatory stimulant and an immune booster.

At the first sign of sinus congestion, incorporating lavender essential oil into your daily routine is important. Whether inhaling the aroma directly from the bottle, applying to various points on the body, steaming, or diffusing, its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antimicrobial properties acts like a balm to the lungs and can also combat the flu-like symptoms and ease congestion.

Because this is a mild oil, there is no need to dilute it with a carrier oil.

Although seemingly gentle, the power of lavender should not be overlooked. In its quiet and subtle way, this essential oil has the ability to help break apart mucus, ease congestion, and soothe the spirit, all at the same time. Many people recommend using a diffuser or a vaporizer, as this will fill the room with calming and antibacterial air that is extremely beneficial to anyone.

7. Lemon Essential Oil

Lemon essential oil is another fairly astringent and highly stimulating remedy for sinus issues. Extracted from the lemon rind through a process of cold pressing, this highly effective oil supports the respiratory and lymphatic systems by helping the body break down and release mucus and relieve congestion. It also strengthens and boosts the immune system to reduce future occurrences of sickness.

In addition to this, lemons have strong anti-fungal, antibacterial, antiviral properties. Due to the high levels of citric acid, Vitamin C, calcium, and bioflavonoids present in this fruit, they are powerful germ and toxin fighters, helping to fight and eliminate the bacteria that leads to infection.

Lemon essential oil is very versatile and can be used daily in a number of ways. At the first sign of congestion or sinus pressure, rub 2-5 drops of lemon oil, mixed with your favorite carrier oil in a 1:1 ratio, on the chest and throat. Repeat this several times throughout the day.

This oil is safe for consumption and can be ingested without dilution. It makes a wonderful and soothing addition to hot tea when mixed with honey and helps soothe upper respiratory issues, such as congestion and sore throat.

One of the most effective methods of delivery for lemon essential oil is via a diffuser, humidifier, or direct steam. A diffuser is wonderful because it fills the room with detoxifying and cleansing microbes that work all day to rid the air of germs and bacteria.

8. Rosemary Essential Oil

A member of the mint family, Rosemary, also known as Rosmarinus officinalis, originates in southern Europe and the Mediterranean region. The essential oil is extracted form the leaves of the plant through a process of steam distillation.

Rosemary has strong antibacterial and anti-fungal properties, making it an excellent essential oil for strengthening the immune system and helping to cleanse the lymphatic system, which helps to maintain and increase overall health.

Rosemary essential oil also has incredible antiseptic properties, making it a very useful treatment when respiratory infections inhabit the chest. When congestion hits, massage a few drops, mixed with your favorite carrier oil such as Emu, Jojoba, Olive, or Tamanu, into the chest and throat. Repeat this several times throughout the day. You can also carry a bottle of this wonderful essential oil with you and, whenever needed, inhale deeply through the nose for am immediate sense of calm and relief.

Steam is a wonderful delivery method for this aromatic and detoxifying essential oil, as is diffusing. If using the steam method, repeat the process 2-4 times per day, on an as needed basis. If diffusing into a room, be sure to replenish the oil as it runs out to ensure a room filled with all of the antibacterial and antiseptic properties that rosemary essential oil has to offer.

8. Cinnamon Essential Oil

Cinnamon essential oil, sometimes called Cinnamon leaf oil or Cinnamon bark oil, is a powerful tonic for the body and soul. The cinnamon tree is native to Sri Lanka and other parts of Asia and is commercially cultivated throughout the region. It is one of the world’s oldest trees, finding its way to parts of Africa such as Egypt, where it was considered of extremely high value and was only used by the most wealthy and those of royal birth. Its healing virtues are numerous and far reaching, and its benefits are many.

The bark of the Cinnamon tree is and has been used as a spice for thousands of years. The leaves of the tree hold the essential oils of the plant and, through a process of steam distillation, the oils are extracted and further refined into the essential oil that we use today. The bark can be incorporated in the distillation process at well, making it a tree that is full of abundance and holistic properties.

Cinnamon oil has incredible antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antiseptic properties. With just one sniff of this woody, spicy, musky, and sweet aroma will leave you with no doubt that this oil has the ability to heal.

Cinnamon oil also has very high levels of antioxidants. In fact, some reports say that it has more antioxidants than any vegetable or fruit, which boosts the immune system and help prevent bacteria from entering the body and wrecking havoc on our systems.

As an anti-inflammatory, Cinnamon cannot be rivaled. When the mucus membranes become inflamed and swell, air has a more difficult time moving through the air ways in the nose. Breathing this potent aroma will help reduce inflammation and clear the airways, allowing you to breathe more easily.

Cinnamon essential oil is potent and can irritate or even burn the skin. Therefore it must be diluted before applied topically with your choice of carrier oil. After dilution, which should be 2:1 ratio of carrier oil to cinnamon oil, rub 3-5 drops on the chest to aid breathing and reduce congestion. It is imperative to properly dilute this oil because it is very strong.

Cinnamon essential oil is best suited for a diffuser or humidifier, as its antibacterial properties help fight the microbes floating freely in the air that can cause sickness. Be sure to refill the oil as needed throughout the day for best results.

Although ground cinnamon can be ingested as a spice, the essential oil cannot. it is so potent that it could have harmful effects on the body. The best and most effective ways to use this powerful healing oil is via a diffuser or by inhaling the aroma directly from the bottle.

9. Clove Essential Oil

Another natural powerhouse, clove essential oil is a force to be reckoned with. Native to many regions in Asia and historically one of the first spices to be traded throughout the world, the aromatic flower buds and harvested, dried, and then distilled with steam in order to extract the essential oils present in the plant.

Clove oil is filled with anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and antibacterial properties and helps reduce the severity of sinus congestion.

This oil is very strong and must be diluted accordingly if using topically. A 2:1 ratio of carrier oil to clove oil is recommended in order to avoid irritation to the skin. Massaging clove oil into the chest and bridge of the nose helps alleviate congestion and aid in breathing.

Clove essential oil can be ingested. If desired, add 3-5 drops of oil to your hot tea or a glass of hot water. Taking clove oil internally once per day is very beneficial to the respiratory and immune systems and will help reduce the magnitude and duration of the symptoms.

Another fantastic way to use clove essential oil is via a diffuser or humidifier, so that its healing properties freely move through the air, destroying the harmful bacteria and free radicals present that can cause sinus issues, including inflamed nasal passages, sore throat, and congestion. Be sure to refill the diffuser or humidifier as needed throughout the day to ensure adequate inhalation.

If you feel congested or have other sinus issues, we recommend carrying clove oil with you and, whenever you feel like you need it, simply removing the cap, lifting to your nose, and breathing deeply a few times. You will immediately feel the effects and notice a difference in your breathing and level of congestion.

Overall, clove oil is a wonderful essential oil to use to help boost the immune system, heal the respiratory system, fight infection and bacteria, and help reduce congestion in the nasal passageways.

10. Pine or Cedarwood Essential Oil

If you have an overproduction of mucus due to an sinus infection or inflammation, pine or cedarwood essential oil are effective treatments. The cool and almost astringent aroma helps loosen phlegm and mucus, thereby helping the respiratory system function properly.

Extracted from the leaves of the pine or cedarwood tree which are native to regions in North America, these essential oils have been used for centuries to fight against inflammation and bacteria. They have incredible antiviral, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory properties and can be used daily to help treat congestion, inflammation, and other respiratory issues.

Pine or cedarwood essential oils should be used via diffuser, humidifier, or steam inhalation. If you are in a hurry or on the go, carry a bottle of this potent oil with you and simply breathe deeply over the open container a few times whenever needed throughout the day. With repeated use, you will notice a marked difference in the performance of your respiratory system and a drastic reduction the the duration of your symptoms.

Supercharged DIY Vapor Rub for Sinus Congestion

When sinus and respiratory problems strike, threatening to keep you home from work or out of school because sleep is elusive and, as soon as you lie down to rest, overproduction of mucus leads to coughing, sore throat, and congestion, many people choose an over the counter vapor rub to help ease the severity of the symptoms and help them get some rest. No one can afford to be sick, so of course quick and easy remedies make it seem like everything is fixed, without any of the hassle or wait time.

Although it may feel like these rubs immediately work, doctors note that vapor rubs do nothing to actually relieve the congestion because they do not actually treat the symptoms at all. In fact, studies show that, when tested, these vapor rubs increase mucus production in the body and also tend to restrict the nasal passages even further once the effects wear off.

Some even go so far as to say that these rubs make the symptoms worse when used for long periods of time. Like putting a band aid on an infected wound and doing nothing to clean it or make it better, the infection or inflammation only worsens over time. High levels of menthol present in these vapor rubs make the brain think that the nose is clearing out when, in reality, the body is still producing mucus at an alarming rate.

Rather than relying on manufactured rubs that are filled with chemicals and unnatural ingredients, why not make your own? With only a few natural, organic ingredients you can create a wonderful and soothing vapor rub that actually treats the symptoms of inflammation and infection and effectively reduces the magnitude and duration of your sinus issues.

The ingredients are as follows;

  • 1/2 cup grated beeswax
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 20 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 20 drops eucalyptus essential oil
  • 10-15 drops rosemary oil
  • 8-10 drops cinnamon oil
  1. Place grated beeswax and coconut oil in a pint sized mason jar
  2. Place jar in a pot and fill pot with about 3 inches of water
  3. Put pot on stove and heat, at medium temp, until everything is melted
  4. Add essential oils and stir until completely combined
  5. Pour into a small container with a lid and allow to cool

That’s it! Just a few simple steps and you’ve made a wonderfully aromatic, extremely effective vapor rub that not only provides relief from your sinus congestion, but also works to alleviate the symptoms related to your condition.

Use this as often as needed without any worry of harmful chemicals or unnatural ingredients like petroleum. It stores for many months, especially if kept in a cool place.

Effective Essential Oil Blends You Can Make At Home

If you ever wanted to make your own essential oil blends, here are a few combinations that are guaranteed to help with congestion, inflammation, and cough. These can be used for steam inhalation, diffusion, or direct inhalation. Also, if mixed with your choice of carrier oil, each of these blends works marvelously as a massage oil that can be applied often, as many times per day as needed.

Congestion Blend #1

  • 5-7 drops pine or cedarwood essential oil
  • 5-7 drops lavender essential oil
  • 4 drops eucalyptus essential oil
  • 1 drop lemon essential oil

Congestion Blend #2

  • 2-4 drops rosemary essential oil
  • 3-4 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 2-3 drops eucalyptus essential oil

Congestion Blend #3

  • 3-5 drops rosemary essential oil
  • 2 drops thyme essential oil
  • 1 drop peppermint essential oil

The Importance of Immunity

Building a strong immune system is the key to remaining healthy and infection free. If our bodies become weakened, run down, or compromised, viruses, bacteria, and other free radicals can break through our lines of defense and infiltrate our systems, bringing sinus issues, inflammation, and infection with them.

This is why we, at UpNature, believe in the importance of establishing a holistic routine that includes healthy and clean eating, daily vitamin and mineral supplements, exercise, and essential oils.

Essential oils contain concentrated amounts of the organic compounds extracted from plants that are extremely beneficial to any user. Essential oils have been used for thousands of years in many different cultures, and with great and overwhelming success.

So, if you are feeling like your systems could use a boost, consider harnessing the power of essential oils. With regular use, you will notice a difference in your physical, emotional, and mental health. And you never know, essential oils might just change your life!

Best Essential Oils for Sinus Infections

Sinus infections can come out of nowhere, caused by anything from a deviated septum to a common cold. With symptoms such as headaches, congestions, stuffy noses, and facial pain, you’ll do anything alleviate the discomfort.

What better way to do so than naturally? These are the top ten essential oils for sinus infections that will alleviate even the worst symptoms. From peppermint to oregano oil, there is an essential oil for everyone. Which works best for you?

Peppermint is the first of our top essential oils for sinus infections for many reasons. Best used by inhalation therapy, you can easily add a few drops of this product to your humidifier and immediately feel the benefits of the essential oil. Peppermint has anti-inflammatory properties, which is perfect for the infection.

It will soothe the built-up mucus as well as provide a relief from congestion and pain. You can also add a few drops onto a washcloth and hold the cloth to your nose so that you can breathe in the vapors, opening the sinuses.

Next on our list of the best essential oils for sinus infections is tea tree oil. Tea tree oil can be used by adding a few drops into water. You will then boil the water and drape a towel over your head as well as the pot. You will then breathe in the stream, which will loosen the phlegm in your system that is causing the blockage in your sinuses.

Tea tree oil is often used to treat respiratory and sinus congestion because of the anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties. After one treatment, you will feel an immediate relief, and if continued, it will aid in a faster recovery.

Rosemary is always a great option to use when you come down with a sinus infection. Used for immediate sinus relief, the essential oil is a stimulant with proactive properties such as analgesic and antimicrobial. This essential oil is used best with the steam method.

This way you will open your nasal passages to your best ability. Plus, it will even eliminate blockages in the nasal cavities. It is even suggested to use rosemary to treat inflammation.

Lavender is one of the best essential oils for sinus infections for many reasons, the first being that lavender has been used to clear sinus cavities for years. It does so by ridding any of the bacteria that might be present in the cavities of your sinuses.

This bacteria is responsible for causing the infection, and this will immediately relieve inflammation that the infection might be causing. The best way to use lavender is to apply two single drops under the nostrils, this way you will inhale the oil and cause immediate easy breathing.

Clove is one of the more uncommon essential oils to treat a sinus infection, but one definitely worth considering. Clove has antiseptic and anti-fungal properties, which makes it great for treating sinus inflammation. It can be used for all respiratory issues, and provides a soothing effect while in use.

Best used with a diffuser, as it only requires a few drops, this method will only last about 20 minutes of your time. You can also massage the oil onto your nose if you would rather, as it will cause immediate congestion relief.

Next on our list of the best essential oils for sinus infections is easily added into your morning cup of tea. Chamomile oil is a great antiseptic that can be used to relieve congestion in your sinuses.

Add a few drops to your tea, or simply massage the oil into your skin on your nose all the way to your temples. As a great way to alleviate painful sinus infections, the sedative properties will soothe your headaches as well as your clogged cavities.

Lemon is yet another essential oil that goes hand in hand with treating sinus infections. This 100% pure lemon essential oil has antimicrobial properties, perfect for sinus troubles. For anything from relieving unwanted pressure in your nose to creating easier breathing, this oil can be rubbed into your skin around your nose and sinuses.

Lemon is great for sinus infections because it will fight against any buildup in the nose as well as provide a soothing property for a more relaxed breathing style.

Next on our list of the top essential oils for sinus infections is thyme. Thyme can be used to reduce inflammation as well. Say goodbye to swelling and uncomfortable breathing after just one use of this oil.

The oil will unblock your nasal passages as well as relieve any pressure that is being caused in your cavities. You can use this oil as a chest rub, mixing a few drops of the essential oil onto your skin, and immediately rubbing it into your chest to alleviate symptoms from your infection.

Geranium oil is yet another anti-inflammatory oil that will work perfectly for unwanted headaches and other symptoms caused by a sinus infection.

Apply a few drops of the oil to both the sides of your face and under your nostrils; this way you will be able to directly breathe in the oil, and receive the proactive properties. The essential oil will work great with congestion as well as blockage, and will provide immediate relief. Use the oil nightly to see the best results.

To complete our list of the best essential oils for sinus infections, we couldn’t finish without oregano oil. A great natural remedy that will provide healing for your sinus infection, oregano oil has antibacterial and antioxidant properties. This oil can be used with the steam method or simply by rubbing into the skin.

As a great way to clear the sinuses and alleviate headaches, oregano oil will work to restore the health of your nasal system as well as eliminate any blockage caused by bacteria and mucus.

MONDAY, July 18, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Inhaling steam probably won’t open your chronically clogged sinuses. But nasal irrigation may bring some relief, a new study finds.

“People with chronic and recurrent sinusitis have poor quality of life, similar to having a major chronic disease,” said lead study author Dr. Paul Little, professor of primary care research at the University of Southampton in England.

“It is very nice to be able to provide something really simple that empowers people to manage this problem, helps them with their symptoms, reduces the need to take over-the-counter medications, and makes them less likely to want to see the doctor in future attacks,” he said.

More than 29 million American adults were diagnosed with sinusitis in 2014, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sinusitis is an inflammation of the nasal cavities often caused by a virus, allergy, bacteria, fungus, or possibly an autoimmune reaction.

For those with chronic sinusitis, doctors often recommend steam inhalation or nasal irrigation — rinsing the sinuses with a saline (salt-based) solution.

To evaluate the effectiveness of these two common treatments, Little and his team followed 871 patients in England who had a history of chronic or recurrent sinusitis. Participants were assigned one of four treatments: daily nasal irrigation with saline plus use of an instructional video; daily steam inhalation; a combination of both; or their usual treatment. Usual care was at the discretion of the patient’s physician and could include the use of antibiotic medications.

Participants in the nasal irrigation group were given a neti pot, a vessel designed to rinse mucus and debris from the nasal cavities. (Typically, they look like little teapots with long spouts.) These individuals were asked to irrigate their nose daily with about 5 ounces of saline solution in each nostril. The solution was made of 1 teaspoon salt and a half teaspoon of baking soda combined in 1 pint of water.

The steam treatment group was asked to inhale steam for five minutes every day. They were directed to place a towel over their head and stand over a bowl of recently boiled water.

The scientists measured results using the Rhinosinusitis Disability Index, a questionnaire used to evaluate nasal congestion and related problems, such as throat pain and headaches.

At three months and six months, the researchers found that patients who used nasal irrigation reported improvement. Those using steam inhalation said headaches had eased, but they appeared to have no congestion relief.

The results aren’t surprising, one doctor said.

“Nasal irrigation is foundational in sinus care,” said Dr. Len Horovitz, an internist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. “Saline solution can be easily mixed and utilized with a neti pot or other irrigation device. Simple saline mists only moisturize, and steam can cause swelling of membranes. Heat provokes swelling, so that can be harmful.”

The study authors also noted that fewer participants in the nasal irrigation group (compared to no-irrigation patients) took over-the-counter medications, had headaches, or intended to consult a doctor in future episodes.

Little added that people suffering from sinusitis often get repeated courses of antibiotics, which may not help much and may contribute to the development of antibiotic resistance.

“It’s well worthwhile not taking antibiotics unless absolutely necessary because they make it more likely that you will then carry antibiotic-resistant bacteria,” said Little. “They have side effects and can also affect the ability of the body to fight infections.”

Although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has said that rinsing nasal passages with neti pots is generally safe, the agency has expressed some concerns about the risk of infection tied to the improper use of these devices.

To avoid an infection caused by contaminated tap water, the CDC advises using filtered, boiled or distilled water. The CDC also recommends rinsing irrigation devices after each use with safe water, and letting them air dry completely.

The study was published July 18 in CMAJ.

Irrigation better than steam in relieving nasal symptoms

Research we’re watching

Published: September, 2016

Chronic sinus symptoms—clogged nasal passages, a dripping nose, or a dull headache—rarely signal a serious medical condition, so there haven’t been many studies testing the effectiveness of therapies for them. A team of researchers from the University of Southampton School of Medicine in the United Kingdom decided to see whether either of two popular remedies—nasal irrigation and steam—work.

They recruited 871 adults who had a history of chronic or recurrent sinusitis and reported a “moderate to severe” impact of sinus symptoms on their quality of life. They randomly assigned the participants to four groups—one did what they normally would; the second used a neti pot to pour a saltwater solution through their sinuses once a day; the third inhaled steam from a bowl of hot water daily, and the fourth used both steam and irrigation daily. All completed a questionnaire commonly used to evaluate the severity of symptoms at the beginning, and 671 returned questionnaires three months and six months into the study. When the researchers analyzed the questionnaires, they found that for participants who used the neti pot, symptoms improved modestly, whether or not they also inhaled steam. The study was published online July 18, 2016, by the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

If you suffer from chronic sinus problems, you may want to give the neti pot a try. You can find the instructional video made for study participants online. Go to www.youtube.com and type SNIFS in the search field. Use distilled—not tap—water, though.

Disclaimer:
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

By: Erin Stair, MD, MPH

There is a lot of fear around Neti Pots, because of a recent case study published in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases. Feel free to click on the link to read the specifics of the case, but I’ll summarize below:

A 69 year old woman with a history of breast cancer and sinus issues was prescribed sulfamethoxazole trimethoprim (Bactrim) twice daily to help alleviate sinus pain and congestion. Bactrim did not help, so one of her doctors recommended nasal lavage with a Neti pot. Instead of using saline water or boiled water as recommended, the woman used tap water from a BRITA filter for one month. At the end of the month, she noticed a quarter size red rash on the right side of her nose. One of her doctors diagnosed it as Rosacia. A biopsy was performed, but no diagnosis was made. The rash persisted. At the one year mark of using her Neti pot, the woman suffered a left-sided seizure. A CT scan was performed, which showed a 1.5 cm ring-enhancing lesion in the motor cortex of the brain. Because of her history of breast cancer, the most likely diagnosis was metastases to the brain. She went to the OR, a biopsy was performed, and instead of mets, she tested positive for Babmuthia mandrillaris, a type of amoeba that causes Granulomatous Amoebic Encephalitis. There are only 200 cases known worldwide, and it’s almost always deadly. Sadly, the woman died shortly after the diagnosis.

Infections from the one-celled amoebas ( Babmuthia mandrillaris and Naegleria fowleri) are extremely rare and always involve the brain being exposed to fresh water. Usually swimmers are infected, like the 29 year old New Jersey man who died from a N. fowleri infection after swimming at the BSR Surf Resort Park in Texas. Amoeba-infected water went up his nose and into his brain, which the amoeba feeds on. Literally. Yes, it’s a horrible, gruesome death.

Amoebas also hang out in pipes and can end up in tap water, even tap water run through a BRITA filter. There is zero threat when you swallow the water, because gastric acid kills the amoeba. But if you shoot tap water up your nose using a Neti pot, you may send an amoeba to your brain. If you do that, it will most likely kill you.

The good news is that this is easily preventable. Sinus symptoms can improve with Neti pots, but the key is to use a saline solution, a hypertonic saline solution or water that has been previously boiled or UV-treated. NEVER use tap water, bottled water or carbon- filtered water. If you have chronic sinus issues or have had surgery due to chronic sinus symptoms, you may want to look into using Lactated Ringer’s solution instead of saline solution. At least one double-blind, randomized controlled trial shows that lactated Ringer’s solution produced significantly better sinus symptom relief than both saline and hypertonic saline solutions.

I don’t use nasal irrigation with a Neti pot. I use steam and essential oil inhalation instead of nasal irrigation, but a large randomized controlled trial comparing the two suggests that, at the end of 6 months, nasal irrigation with saline solution is more effective at improving symptoms of sinusitis than steam inhalation. Steam inhalation was shown to reduce the frequency of sinusitis-associated headaches, however. The study used boiled water, inhaled for 5 minutes, twice a day. When I do steam treatments, I do it first thing in the morning and at night before I go to bed, and I add Matricaria extract ( Chamomile), Thymus (Thyme) and Origarium ( Oregano). I like it, it helps me ( and my asthma) and it’s an easy method folks can try at home. If you prefer the Neti pot and it’s helping you, don’t let fear of amoebas stop you! Just don’t use tap water or filtered tap water. Ever.

If you are feeling blocked or struggle with sinuses a lot, this nasal lavage kit is a bit pricey, but worth it. I have it.

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