4 Best Essential Oils for Congestion and Stuffy Nose

essential oils for congestion

Are you one of the millions of people that deal with congestion caused by colds, allergies, or irritants during the winter months? Congestion happens when the nasal passages become inflamed and swollen. In response, your airways produce mucus, which further blocks the airways. Besides over-the-counter meds, there is a more natural way of treating congestion. Here are the 4 best essential oils for congestion and stuffy nose.

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When you are congested, breathing and getting to sleep is more difficult than normal. Essential oils are often used in over-the-counter medications, so you are wise to give them a try. They can help break up congestion and make breathing easier. When used correctly, they can help open up your airways and reduce inflammation

How To Use Essential Oils for Congestion and Stuffy Nose

essential oils for congestion

Essential oils are highly concentrated plant extracts that can be used for a variety of therapeutic benefits.


The most effective way to use essential oils for congestion is to inhale them. But, do not inhale them directly from the bottle, as they can be toxic, cause irritation, and even burn (1).

Always use a diffuser. If you do not have a diffuser, add a few drops of oil to a bowl of steaming water and inhale the vapors that way.

Topical Application

Essential oils can also be used to treat congestion by applying them to the skin. Yet, when using essential oils in this way, it is important to dilute them with carrier oil. This helps to prevent skin irritation caused by the essential oil.

Carrier oils are usually unscented or have a very light odor, so they will not detract from the essential oil scent.

When using essential oils for congestion, make sure to choose a carrier oil that is suitable for your skin type. For example, if you have sensitive skin, choose a carrier oil that is gentle and non-irritating. Some common carrier oils include jojoba oil, coconut oil, and almond oil.

Using carrier oil will help ensure you get the most out of your essential oils without any side effects (2).

Mix the essential oil with your chosen carrier oil and massage it into your chest and sinuses. This will help to distribute the essential oil evenly on the skin.

In this free Essential Oils Guide to Non-Toxic Living, we share how to use essential oils for health and non-toxic living. We'll also explore some of the most common essential oils and questions people have.

4 Best Essential Oils for Congestion and Stuffy Nose Relief

1. Lavender Essential Oil for Congestion

essential oils for congestion
Lavender essential oil is one of the top recommended oils for congestion and a stuffy nose

For centuries, lavender oil has been a trusted herbal remedy with remarkable effects. From soothing stress to relieving congestion, this beloved essential oil is as versatile and powerful today as it ever was.

Today, lavender essential oil is used to fight respiratory issues and reduce associated pain. Diluting and applying this oil directly onto the skin helps open airways while loosening and clearing mucus buildup.

Inhaling lavender oil vapor deeply can also help to reduce inflammation in the respiratory tract so you can breathe properly.

Lavender oil has a naturally calming scent that can aid in stress relief and help to promote relaxation. Its calming, soothing properties make it the perfect remedy for releasing tightness from your lungs and allowing you to take deep breaths with ease.

Additionally, research has shown that lavender oil is more than just a pleasant scent. It has natural anti-microbial properties, making it effective against bacteria and viruses (4).

For best results, use pure lavender oil. Try using a few drops on a damp cloth or in your aromatherapy diffuser and inhale deeply for five minutes or so. You can even place some on a cotton or wool ball by your pillow to help you drift off more easily.

2. Peppermint Oil for Congestion

best essential oils for congestion

This potent essential oil has a refreshing, cooling aroma that can help to ease congestion, improve airflow and promote clear breathing (7).

Peppermint has a special ingredient – menthol! This powerful natural compound is used in many medications to help relieve chest congestion.

The oil is derived from the peppermint plant, which is a hybrid of water mint and spearmint (8). This unique blend of plants can be helpful in opening up your airways to reduce congestion while also providing anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial effects (6).

You can add a few drops of the oil to a diffuser or inhale it directly from the bottle. Once diluted with a carrier oil, you can also massage the oil into your chest and back, to help loosen phlegm and ease congestion.

Peppermint oil is also an effective natural remedy for congestion, headaches, bronchitis, and even asthma.

When used together, lavender oil and peppermint oil can provide significant congestion relief.

Simply add a few drops of each of these powerful anti-congestion essential oils to a diffuser and inhale the vapors for 10-15 minutes.

If you don't have a diffuser you can simply add them to a bowl of water boiled in a kettle, lean over the bowl, cover your head with a towel and inhale the vapors.

The steam will help to distribute the oil evenly, providing relief for congestion sufferers. But, take care not to lean in too close to prevent the steam from burning your face.

3. Eucalyptus Oil for Congestion

essential oils for congestion

Used in chest rubs and other cold and congestion medications, Eucalyptus is an effective natural remedy for congestion and other respiratory issues.

The oil is extracted from the leaves of the eucalyptus tree, and it has a strong scent, like that of camphor (9). When inhaled, eucalyptus oil can help to open up the sinuses and ease congestion. This is due to the active ingredient in eucalyptus, namely cineole (10).

Additionally, the oil has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, which can help to reduce infection and speed up healing. For more information on how essential oils can benefit throat health, you can read the article Do Essential Oils for Sore Throats Work?

For best results, eucalyptus oil should be diluted with water or carrier oil before being inhaled. You can also use it in the same way as lavender and peppermint essential oils to ease your congestion.

4. Rosemary Oil for Congestion

essential oils for congestion.
Has a crisp fragrance that appeals to nearly everyone, and its uses are almost limitless.
Rosemary oil has a refreshing, herbaceous scent. It has many uses, including easing congestion due to its potent anti-inflammatory properties (11).
The oil is extracted from the plant through a process of steam distillation (12), and it has a strong, aromatic, woody scent. When used in aromatherapy, rosemary oil works by stimulating the receptors in the nose. This helps to open up the airways, clear out mucus from the respiratory tract, and ease breathing.
The oil is also effective in topical applications, and it can be added to lotions or balms and applied to the chest or back. Inhaling the expectorant vapor from rosemary oil can help to relieve sinus congestion (13).
Also, rosemary oil is known for its ability to boost the immune system. By using rosemary oil to ease congestion, you can also help your body fight off the infection that causes congestion more effectively (14). For best results, rosemary oil should be used in conjunction with other essential oils, such as eucalyptus or peppermint.

Conclusion of Best Essential Oils for Congestion and Stuffy Nose

When used correctly, essential oils can provide natural relief for congestion. Be sure to consult with a healthcare professional before using any essential oil, especially if you have a medical condition.

Never ingest pure essential oils, as they can be toxic. Diffusing essential oils is one of the best ways to enjoy their benefits. For best results, use one or more of these essential oils several times a day until your congestion improves.

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  1. Clinical Aromatherapy
  2. How to Use Carrier Oils
  3. Antioxidant, analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects of lavender essential oil
  4. Lavender essential oil: a review
  5. Can lavender aid those who struggle with insomnia?
  6. Chemical Composition and Anti-Inflammatory, Cytotoxic and Antioxidant Activities of Essential Oil from Leaves of Mentha piperita Grown in China
  7. Menthol: Effects on nasal sensation of airflow and the drive to breathe
  8. Peppermint: A hybrid herb for the holidays
  9. Eucalyptus
  10. Therapy for Acute Nonpurulent Rhinosinusitis With Cineole: Results of a Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial
  11. Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) as a potential therapeutic plant in metabolic syndrome: a review

Written by MOH Editorial

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