There are many types of congestion. Whether it’s chest congestion or sinusitis, your breathing can be seriously affected. As a recognized alternative medicine, Aromatherapy provides the best remedies for congestion. See how to soothe and prevent it with these essential oil diffuser recipes for congestion.
In this post, I’ll be telling you more about:
- The way aromatic oils act on our body and how they can help decongest the nose and sinuses.
- What a diffuser recipe is and what its benefits are.
- The best ways to use Aromatherapy oils for congestion, so you feel better in a short while.
- Types of congestion, with facts, symptoms and essential oil diffuser recipes. You’ll also get lists of oils to use for each type of congestion. This is helpful, especially when you don’t have the right oils you find in a recipe.
- Some more diffuser recipes to prevent colds and the flu. Plus a few words on immunity and how essential oils can strengthen it.
- Safety tips for safe Aromatherapy use on a daily basis.
Essential Oil Diffuser Recipes for Congestion (Types of Congestion)
Aromatherapy is a form of CAM – complementary and alternative medicine. What does this mean? It means that essential oils can be used alongside treatments to enhance their effects.
They can also make other treatments more bearable. That is why they’re complementary remedies, because they add more benefits.
Essential oils can also be used as an alternative to drugs and medications. As for side effects and interactions, they’ve proven to be a lot safer. In short, Aroma oils make a great natural remedy for congestion.
Essential oils are:
- Concentrated liquid plant extracts. They’re steam distilled from hundreds or tons of plant material.
- Volatile substances. Their chemical composition is made of tens and hundreds of small active molecules. These molecules are highly aromatic and can evaporate very fast.
- Sensitive to light, heat and air. Being volatile, their molecules can oxidize quite fast. Especially if left uncapped or in direct sunlight. Once an oil gets oxidized, it loses its therapeutic effects.
- Non-greasy, non-fatty. They are called oils, but it’s only because their molecular weight is heavier than water. This makes them float. They don’t contain any fatty acids; therefore, they don’t leave greasy residues behind. Steam distilled essential oils are very fast absorbed into the skin.
The plant produces oil to protect itself from bacteria, fungi and other predators. This means that their active oil molecules have antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral effects. The oil molecules also serve them as UV protection.
Because they’re aromatic, plant oils can also attract pollinators. These active oil molecules are basically the immune system of the plant.
When we extract the oils from a plant, those active molecules continue to act pretty much the same. They also cause various other physiological responses in our bodies. For example, the ability to soothe inflammation or to eliminate toxins.
So, a good essential oil for congestion is:
- Antibacterial and antiviral. These properties can kill bacteria and viruses found in the nose and body.
- Antifungal. Certain fungi can also cause congestion, especially if inhaled.
- Anti-inflammatory or anti-catarrhal. Inflammation often occurs in the nose and sinuses and blocks the airways.
- Immunostimulant. To battle a viral infection, the body needs a strong immune system. Some oils for congestion can also strengthen this natural body defense.
- Diuretic. This ability makes an aromatic oil able to increase the urine production. This leads to toxin elimination and a speedier recovery.
- Analgesic (pain-reliever). Pain in the sinuses or headaches is normal when dealing with congestion.
- Antipruritic. This ability of an oil makes it an effective substance at relieving itching. This effect is most useful in case of allergies.
- Regenerative. Many essential oils can stimulate cell restoration and a faster healing.
- Disinfectant. Cleansing the body from harmful pathogens can also relieve congestion. Inhaling disinfected air can also speed up recovery and prevent future infections.
- Relaxant. Relieving tension from the muscles and lowering the heart rate can induce sleep. A lot of rest is essential during recovery from colds or the flu.
Many aromatic oils can cause these effects in your body. Yet, some are better than others, which you’ll be finding out soon.
What is an Essential Oil Diffuser Recipe and What are Its Benefits
Like with any other recipe, whether it’s for success, cooking or therapeutic benefits, it involves mixing ingredients.
In Aromatherapy, the ingredients are all essential oils and carrier oils. One single essential oil can be very effective, but combinations can have a more potent effect.
Aroma oils are known to work in synergy, meaning they enhance each other’s effects. Thus, a diffuser recipe is a mixture of essential oils poured into a diffuser device.
Here are the benefits of an Aromatherapy recipe for congestion:
- Prevention against future viral infections. The recipe can disinfect the air you breathe.
- A refreshed air and atmosphere all around the house.
- Better breathing.
- Less inflammation where the congestion is located.
- Better sleep.
- Stronger immune system.
- Allergy relief.
- Relaxation and a better mood.
I know you want to know how to use essential oils to clear sinuses and nasal congestion. The following section is about the importance of diffusion in congestion relief.
How to Use Essential Oils for Congestion, with Recipes
The way you use your aromatic oils is very important. You can relieve a congested nose or chest with essential oils through diffusion.
Aromatic oils are volatile. This means they can enter our bodies via the nose and then reach the blood and brain. The oil molecules are extremely small and can reach their destination within seconds.
They can also pass the blood-brain barrier. This allows them to affect the limbic system and the nervous system. This is how Aromatherapy is able to alter your mood and behavior.
Inhalation is the fastest way to benefit from a large amount of active oil molecules. You can get between 50% and 70% of the essential oil molecules inside your body during inhalation. The other remaining part will simply evaporate before getting to your nose.
That is why Aroma diffusers are so popular and useful in purifying the air. They can easily deal with respiratory problems and other situations.
To inhale some of the oils directly from the bottle can be very dangerous. Some essential oils are extremely potent and can irritate or even burn the mucous membranes (nose, eyes, etc.).
This would only make your congestion and overall condition worse. It’s true, not all oils are that potent but usually, the best antivirals are.
If inhaling directly from the bottle is not an option, the only remaining one is a diffuser. There are a few technologies available, but the best one is called atomization. Nebulizers use atomization to break down oil molecules and release them into the atmosphere.
They don’t work with water or heat, which preserves the oil properties intact. They can also cover large areas and consume less oil.
The second best diffusion device is an ultrasonic diffuser. It uses water, in which you add your oil drops. When the oil molecules are broken down by ultrasonic waves, water attaches to them. That dilutes a bit of their therapeutic effects and causes them to linger in the air less.
Nonetheless, both devices are good for Aromatherapy. Essential oils good for congestion in general are:
- Thyme (5 – 10%)
- Cinnamon (5 – 10%)
- Oregano (5 – 10%)
- Eucalyptus (30%)
- Wintergreen (2,5%)
- Ylang Ylang (5%)
- Niaouli (10 – 20%)
- Cajeput (20 – 30%)
The percentages you see above refer to the maximum diffusion concentration of that oil. They usually need to be diluted with other milder essential oils. Otherwise, they can burn or irritate the mucous membranes.
An essential oil for congestion can be used in:
- Diffusers. Add 5 – 15 drops of essential oil (EO) into the designated recipient. The amount used will depend on the device and space.
- Steam baths. Add 2 drops of EO into some boiled water and cover your head on top of the recipient. Inhale deeply through the nose, for 5 – 10 minutes. This will do good to your nose, sinuses and complexion. Make sure you don’t leave the house after a steam bath. You’ll be more prone to sickness as the pores are all open and you’re more vulnerable.
- Aromatic baths or showers. Mix up to 20 drops of aromatic oil with some salt (pink, Epsom, etc.). Throw it on the shower floor or add it to hot bathwater. The steam will diffuse the oil molecules and lift them up to your nose.
- Cupped hands. If the aromatic essence allows it, you can place a couple of drops into your palms. Rub them against each other and cup them over the nose. Inhale deeply for several minutes.
- Aromatherapy nasal inhalers. Make yourself a simple nasal inhaler by dripping the oil blend onto its cotton wick. Keep it with you tightly sealed and inhale whenever needed.
- Aromatherapy massage. You can mix 15 – 30 drops of essential oil for congestion in a 10 ml roll-on bottle. Apply behind the ears or on the small depression between the nose and upper lip. Rub it in and then inhale. This massage blend can be applied on any and all pulse points, chest and solar plexus, soles of the feet, etc. But what are the best carrier oils for congestion essential oils, right? The carrier oil can be anything you have at hand. Extra virgin Olive oil is very good, but so is unrefined Sunflower oil.
- Diffuser jewelry. This is a rather new and pretty way of enjoying the benefits of your favorite oils on the go. Necklaces and earrings are the closest to your nose. Diffuser bracelets are also useful.
For a more complete picture of how to diffuse your oils safely and what type of diffusers you can use, these articles may help:
- Best Essential Oil Diffusers for a Large Room! Pros, Cons and Recipes
- What Essential Oils Diffuser Jewelry to Pick and Why (plus Blends)
- Diffuser vs. Humidifier! Pros, Cons and Blend Recipes
Congestion Types and Essential Oil Diffuser Recipes
The respiratory system is a complex one. It includes the nose, the sinuses, the lungs and the windpipe (trachea).
That is why, when inflamed, you may feel these organs congested. I will talk about the ones the oils may help decongest, and give you a few diffuser recipes to try.
Nasal congestion, also known as stuffy nose can be caused by several factors. It may be an allergy or pathogens entering the body. The body’s reaction is the same. Once inside, the nose receptors pick them up and treat these pathogens as invaders.
That’s when they send signals to the brain and start producing more mucus. This mucus thickens the inside of the nose and even the sinuses to stop the pathogen from entering the body.
The virus or allergy triggers irritate the nose lining, which swells. The mucus excess starts to leak out and take invaders with it. This is known as runny nose.
So, what is the best essential oil for nasal congestion, right? What essential oil is good to diffuse for congestion and breathe easier?
Some of the best essential oils for nasal congestion you can diffuse are:
- Eucalyptus (radiata)
- Eucalyptus (globulus)
- Bay Laurel
- Tea Tree
- Blue Tansy
- German Chamomile
Is Peppermint oil good for stuffy nose? Traditionally, mentholated salves, nasal sprays and inhalers were always used for this purpose.
More recent research however, tells us that menthol has subjective nasal decongestant effects. Some of their test patients didn’t feel any improvement in airflow after inhaling Peppermint oil.
This means that Peppermint oil may be good for your stuffy nose or it may not. You can definitely try it and if it works for you, all the better. You have plenty of other essential oils to diffuse for stuffy nose, if Peppermint fails.
Because that thickened mucus lining starts to also leak out, here are some good essential oils for runny nose:
- Blue Tansy
- German Chamomile
- Tea Tree
Essential Oil Diffuser Recipe for Nasal Congestion
- Thyme essential oil: 1 drop
- Ravintsara essential oil: 1 drop
- Lavender essential oil: 1 drop
- Eucalyptus essential oil: 1 drop
Breathe in this diffuser recipe 4 – 6 times a day.
Sinus congestion, sinus inflammation or sinusitis. These are all terms that define congested sinuses. They are hollow cavities in the face that help the air reach the organs.
These sinuses are surrounded by mucus membranes. They get congested when a virus or an allergy trigger tries to get in. The mucus lining becomes inflamed, it swells and blocks the air passage. Sinus infection can also be painful and put pressure on the forehead.
What essential oils are used to clear sinuses? What essential oils are good for sinus pressure and sinus headaches? The following essential oils can help with all these symptoms:
- Black Spruce
- Rosemary (ct. cineole)
These Aromatherapy oils can help you relieve sinus pressure and headaches. They can also clear sinuses and encourage runny nose. Runny nose helps you get rid of the excess mucus, pathogens and improves your breathing.
Essential Oil Diffuser Recipe for Sinus Congestion
- Tea Tree essential oil: 2 drops
- Lavandin essential oil: 2 drops
- Peppermint essential oil: 2 drops
You can diffuse this recipe or inhale from it 3 times a day, in a well-ventilated room.
Persistent coughs are usually caused by mucus in the chest. A cold or the flu can cause your chest to build up mucus. Coughing is a way of flushing out the irritant that causes all that mucus production.
Some of the best essential oils for chest congestion are:
- Cinnamon bark
- Cassia Cinnamon
Essential Oil Diffuser Recipe for Congestion in the Chest
- Cinnamon bark essential oil: 2 drops
- Thyme essential oil: 3 drops
Diffuse 3 – 5 times a day. You can also mix these oils with some carrier and massage it in on your chest and solar plexus.
Other good essential oils for your diffuser for congestion relief:
- Clove Bud
- Scotch Pine
- Juniper Berry
Essential oils for congestion in babies
It is not a good idea to use essential oils for congestion or stuffy nose on babies. They have a very fragile and not yet matured immune system. Many of these powerful antivirals may cause more serious problems.
Peppermint for example, can cause respiratory arrest in babies. The only oils considered safe for baby and children use are Lavender and Tea Tree. You’ll still have to talk to a specialized pediatrician before using natural remedies on babies though.
The above mentioned recipes can target direct congestion. But there are quite a few others left for colds and the flu.
They are the main culprits for congestion, regardless of season. Take a look and pick your favorite recipe to diffuse regularly, to prevent infections.
Essential Oil Diffuser Recipes for Colds and Flu (Prevention)
The integrity of the immune system is extremely important. It can easily be compromised by viral infections. While your body fights off the virus, you’re left even more exposed. Thus, with a cold or flu, many other complications may happen.
However, the immune system may be strengthened, which can speed up your recovery. Enough rest, with light and nourishing meals can make a world of a difference. Battling these infections while going about your usual business, recovery is slower.
When you diffuse Aromatherapy oils for colds and flu, a few important things happen. They are first purifying the air you breathe, preventing further infections.
Then, they are helping your body by killing viruses and bacteria. Aroma oils can also soothe inflammation and pain. Some essential oils for congestion can also boost up the production of white blood cells.
Tea Tree is one such oil. These cells are a big part of your immune system. More white blood cells means a more efficient and strengthened immune system.
What are the best essential oils to diffuse for colds and flu? They are the same antibacterials and antivirals that work for congestion too:
- Tea Tree
- Sweet Birch
Essential Oil Diffuser Recipes for Colds and Flu Prevention
Depending on what oils you have at hand, you can change these blends. Or you can use just a part of them, as they will work just as well.
Remember that all these diffuser recipes can also be mixed into carrier oils and applied topically. 6 drops of EO per Oz carrier should be a good starting point.
Diffuser Essential Oil Recipe for Colds and the Flu
- Lemongrass essential oil: 2 drops
- Lavender essential oil: 2 drops
- German Chamomile essential oil: 2 drops
Place these oils into your nebulizer or ultrasonic diffuser. Keep the device on for 30 minutes tops and make sure the room is well ventilated. It’s best to diffuse with a window kept ajar. Don’t diffuse for more than 3 – 5 times a day, every 2 hours or more.
Aromatherapy Diffuser Recipe to Prevent Colds and Uplift the Mood
- Grapefruit essential oil: 20 drops
- Lemon Eucalyptus essential oil: 15 drops
- Tea Tree essential oil: 10 drops
Keep these oils stored in a dark glass bottle. Pour only a few drops in your diffuser, a few times a day. This blend will uplift your mood and ward off many pathogens. Use regularly but not on a long period of time.
Immune System Boost to Prevent Colds and Flu
- Cinnamon essential oil: 8 drops
- Lavender essential oil: 8 drops
- Tea Tree essential oil: 5 drops
- Frankincense essential oil: 10 drops
Use a few drops at a time in your Aromatherapy diffuser, nasal inhaler, steam bath or roll-on blend.
Safety Tips for the Use of Essential Oils for Congestion
Before I conclude the article, I must tell you a few things about Aromatic oils. Because even though they are natural substances, improper use may cause health complications.
- Avoid using topically or diffusing essential oils for congestion for a long period of time.
- Always ventilate your room during diffusion and not only. Oil molecules can saturate the air and cause headaches or nausea. They usually linger on for a long time.
- Make sure your pets don’t come into contact with your oils too often. Cats especially, are more sensitive to powerful, phenol-rich essences.
- If you have diabetes, asthma, epilepsy, etc., seek medical advice first.
- Avoid the use of aroma oils, especially during the first trimester.
- Avoid them if you’re also breastfeeding. Some sources say the oil molecules can be eliminated through milk.
- Test all your new oil bottles for allergic reactions. Each new crop can have a somewhat different chemical composition. It’s always best to test a small amount on the inside of your forearm.
Luckily, congestion is neither life threatening nor hard to treat. Natural remedies can easily help soothe the symptoms of a cold or flu and improve breathing.
When the airways become thick and inflamed, you can use any of the essential oil diffuser recipes for congestion in this article. Aromatherapy oils are a pleasure to use and inhale. And on top of it all, their therapeutic benefits are also documented.
Do you have an oil recipe for congestion that works for you and your family? Would you share it with us? I’ll look forward to hearing from you.