Essential Oils For Sinus Infection, Headache, Congestion

A sinus infection or sinusitis is a very disturbing infection.

This infection in the nose may make it difficult for you to breathe or sleep.

Nasal congestion, headache, and pressure caused by sinusitis can throw your life into a tantrum.

Fortunately, essential oils for sinus infections work great.

Essential oils can give you relief from a headache, nasal congestion, pressure, and allergies associated with this infection and assist in sinus drainage.

About Sinusitis and Sinus Infection

Sinusitis is inflammation (swelling) of the lining of the sinuses (mucous membranes in the nose). It’s usually caused by a viral infection.

This infection often improves within two or three weeks, but acute sinusitis lingers on for an extensive period.

If sinusitis is not treated and cured in time, it may advance to a form of meningitis.

Some of the common symptoms of sinus infection are:

  • Pain or pressure on both sides of the nose near the eyes
  • Nose and throat congestion
  • A reduced sense of smell
  • Pain and tenderness on your forehead, cheeks, or eyes
  • Yellow or green discharge from your nose
  • Stuffy or a runny nose
  • Bad breath
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • A toothache and ear pain (in rare cases).

Looking at the symptoms, it is not an easy experience to have a sinus infection.

Benefits of Using Essential Oils for Sinusitis

Essential oils have been in for centuries for improving mental and physical health.

Essential oils are expected to produce relief from the symptoms of many common diseases and infections like sinusitis, headaches, migraines, allergy, and many more.

EOs are healthy alternative remedies to synthetic prescription medicines.

Most people use over-the-counter antibiotics or decongestants to get fast relief from the symptoms of a sinus infection and sinus congestion.

However, many of us are unaware of the side effects of synthetic medicines.

OTC decongestants and antibiotics used for sinusitis can interact with prescription medicines. They also cause high blood pressure and are not suitable for children and a pregnant woman.

Some of the essential oils contain therapeutic properties that help in alleviating the symptoms of sinus infection. They work well for managing sinusitis caused by:

Evidence suggests that oils can relieve the symptoms of sinusitis like:

  • headache
  • congestion
  • cough
  • inflammation
  • irritation
  • pain.

Study Results on the Therapeutic Power of Essential Oils

Unfortunately, essential oils like all other natural remedies do not have enough scientific backing to support their therapeutic potency.

However, a few of the studies on essential oils suggest their effectiveness in reducing the symptoms of sinusitis.

According to a study, published in 2004, a group of patients with acute nonpurulent rhinosinusitis getting timely treatment with cineole (a compound in eucalyptus oil) was proved to be effective and safe before using antibiotics.

Another research review that appeared in the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA) also suggests that 1,8 cineole in eucalyptus oil is effective for clearing the air passage of infectious microbes. Cineole is also beneficial for clearing the airways of mucus and relieving cough.

Another study published in 2006 by Clinical Microbiology Reviews pointed out that Tea Tree oil is useful for treating sinus congestion. The antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties of Tea Tree oil help in dispelling the bacteria that cause inflammation in the sinus.

The menthol in peppermint oil is a major component in most vapor rubs, nasal inhalers, and lozenges. It is thought that the cooling sensation produced by menthol eases out nasal congestion.

According to a research report published by Current Allergy and Asthma Reports, a medical journal, menthol found in peppermint oil does not help nasal drainage and decongestion.  On the other hand, menthol may increase nasal congestion.

How Does Aromatherapy Help Sinus Infection?

Antibacterial and antiviral medications have a limited effect on getting rid of sinus infections. Antimicrobial properties in such medicines also do not directly enter the sinus.

Over a period, the bacteria or viruses that cause sinusitis also develop resistance to OTC medications used for treating the sinus.

The healing properties of essential oils can easily penetrate the mucus membrane in the nose and quickly help in relieving the symptoms of sinusitis.

Aromatherapy also helps boost the immune system, relieve pain, relieve stress and irritation, acts as an antidepressant, gives good sleep, speeds up healing, and reduces congestion and headaches.

Using aromatherapy for the sinus calms your mind and body, and it makes you free from the irritation and discomfort caused by the infection.

Unlike prescription medicines or OTC medication for the sinus, aromatherapy with essential oils does not have any side effects.

In fact, it has multiple health benefits besides giving you relief from the symptoms of sinusitis.

Essential Oils for Sinusitis and Nasal Congestion

There are many essential oils to choose from.

However, a few of the essential oils work well for relieving the symptoms of the sinus.

Here are the best essential oils that you may try:

Eucalyptus Oil

Eucalyptol and cineole compounds present in eucalyptus oil work well for sinus congestion, cough, nasal drainage, and other respiratory conditions.

You can, in fact, find that most of the OTC natural remedies and vaporizers used for sinus, common cold, and cough have eucalyptus as primary ingredients in them.

Eucalyptus oil has antibacterial and antiviral properties that can quell the microbes that cause sinus or cold.

Eucalyptus oil is also beneficial for treating nasal congestion in toddlers as well.

Oregano Oil

Oregano oil contains high amounts of phenol which is a potent antibacterial agent.

This oil also contains active ingredients like thymol and carvacrol which are potent antifungal, antibacterial, and antiseptic agents.

According to Phyllis A. Balch, author of Prescription for Herbal Healing, oregano oil is good for treating the sinus.

Using oregano oil for the sinus helps in suppressing bacterial infection and reduces nasal congestion and irritation.

For treating sinusitis, you can use oil of oregano in either liquid or capsule form.

Rubbing your nose with diluted oregano oil helps in relieving congestion by improving the nasal drainage of mucus.

Tea Tree Oil

The antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties of tea tree oil are useful for reducing the symptoms of the sinus.

Tea tree oil also works well for treating sinuses caused by allergic reactions.

Folklore medicines extensively make use of tea tree oil for easing the stuffed nose, sore throat, and cough.

This oil is very powerful, and this should not be used without diluting in a carrier oil.

For fast relief from the symptoms of sinusitis, you can rub the diluted tea tree oil on your back, chest, nose, or back of the neck. Repeat the treatment 5 times a day to clear the stuffy nose and to ease breathing.

You can also use 3 drops of tea tree oil added to a cup of warm water for gargling for a few minutes. It helps to relieve a sore throat and nasal congestion.

Lemon Oil

Lemon oil is a traditional remedy for getting relief from common cold, cough, or sinus congestion.

The antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties of lemon oil fight the activities of bacteria or virus that aggravates sinus conditions.

Ingesting up to 3 drops of lemon oil daily strengthens your immune system and wards off infections like the sinus and the common cold.

Massaging a few drops of diluted lemon oil on the chest, nose, and temple help in decongestion and makes breathing easy.

Thyme Oil

Thyme oil is endowed with antiseptic and antibacterial elements.

This oil is effective for clearing stuffy noses, reducing cough, and fighting sinus-causing bacteria.

Rubbing diluted thyme oil on your chest, nose, and back of the neck help relieve congestion and eases nasal drainage.

Inhaling thyme oil is useful for reducing congestion and headache from the sinus.

Rosemary Oil

Rosemary oil is a traditional remedy for alleviating cough and cold.

The rosmarinic acid contained in Rosemary oil has an anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial effect.

Using this oil relieves the inflamed nasal passage and suppresses the bacteria that cause sinus.

Rubbing this oil on the chest, nose, temples or cheekbones can give relief from sinus congestion.

Lavender Oil

Lavender oil is known for its exceptional effectiveness in treating several common maladies that affect the human body.

This oil is naturally endowed with therapeutic properties such as antimicrobial, analgesic, and anti-inflammatory qualities.

Inhaling Lavender oil soothes your nerves and clears the congestion that causes trouble in breathing.

You can rub this oil on your feet and chest.

The sedative properties in this oil can make your mind and body calm and give you a good sleep.

Essential Oil Blends for Sinus Congestion

The combination of 2 or more essential oils actually creates a more powerful effect than using them individually.

You can try out some of the following oil blends to get fast relief from symptoms of sinusitis.

Peppermint, Eucalyptus, and Rosemary Oils Recipe for Stuffy Nose

  • Eucalyptus oil – 3 drops
  • Peppermint oil – 3 drops
  • Rosemary oil – 3 drops
  • Carrier oil – 2 tablespoons

Warm up the carrier oil at a mild temperature and then mix the essential oils in the recommended quantity; blend the oil mixture thoroughly.

This oil blend can be used for massaging the chest, temples, nose, and back of the neck. Inhalation of this oil blend can ease congestion and nasal drainage.

Eucalyptus, Geranium, and Rosemary Oil blend for Inhaling

  • Rosemary Oil – 5 drops
  • Geranium Oil – 3 drops
  • Eucalyptus Oil – 4 drops

Take the oils in the recommended quantity and mix them well to make a proper blend of oils.

Soak cotton all in the blended oils and use it for inhaling.

Instead of using the cotton ball, you can apply a few drops of the oil blend on a handkerchief, pocket-square, or tissue paper and use it for inhaling.

How to Use Essential Oils?

Aromatherapy is the most popularly used method for using essential oils for various treatments.

There are several ways you can make use of essential oils to take advantage of their healing power.


You can receive therapeutic benefits from essential oils by inhaling their scent and tiny droplets diffused in the air.

You can simply apply the essential oil on your handkerchief or tissue paper and use it for inhaling.

Steam inhalation is exceptionally beneficial for relieving nasal congestions caused by sinus infections.

You can make use of a vaporizer or steam diffuser for steam inhalation of essential oils.

Neti pot

A neti pot is used for nasal irrigation, which entails flushing out your nasal cavity with a saline solution.

You can also add a few drops of essential oils (eucalyptus, rosemary, oregano) to a saline solution you use for nasal irrigation.

Using a Neti pot for irrigating the nostrils with essential oils and saline solution can help calm down the pain and irritation caused by the sinus.

It helps clear up the nasal congestion and allows easy drainage of mucus.

You can easily master the art of using neti pot by surfing through some of the instructional videos available on YouTube.


With the help of a diffuser, you can diffuse the essential oil in your living room or bedroom.

It allows you to inhale tiny droplets of essential oil floating in the air.

For relieving the symptoms of the sinus, you can diffuse a blend of essential oils. You can use a blend of Rosemary, Lavender, Peppermint, and Eucalyptus oils for diffusing.  Oregano oil and lemon oil are also suitable for diffusing.


Massaging essential oil or oil blends on your pressure points can give relief from sinusitis.

You can also rub the essential oils on the chest, temples, nose, cheekbones, and back of your neck for alleviating the symptoms of sinus.

Do not apply essential oils on your skin without diluting them in a carrier oil.

Oil Bath

Add about 20 drops of essential oil or oil blend to your warm water bath.

It is ideal to get yourself soaked in the essential oil-treated water in the bathtub for 10 to 20 minutes.

The therapeutic properties in the oil will penetrate your bloodstream, and this will result in the healing of inflammation in the sinus.

Essential oil bath in warm water also helps to clear off nasal congestion.


A few of the essential oils are suitable for ingesting internally.

Please consult an aromatherapist before you decide to ingest the essential oil.

For the cure of sinus, you can ingest essential oils like basil, clove, eucalyptus, frankincense, lemon, lavender, oregano, peppermint, or thyme.

Do not ingest more than 3 drops of oil at a time. The oil you have decided to consume must be diluted in 1 cup of warm water and drink once a day.

Please note that some of the essential oils can cause side effects if taken internally.

You should start by ingesting only one drop of essential at first and see if it causes any side effects within a day.

Risks and Warnings

Make sure that the essential oils you use are certified therapeutic quality oils sold by trusted companies.

Before applying the essential oils on the skin dilute them with a carrier oil, lotion, or water.

Do not use essential oils for children below the age of five. Inhaling and ingesting essential oils may not be suitable for pregnant women.

Undiluted essential oils if used on the skin it may cause issues such as:

  • rashes
  • itchiness
  • burns
  • irritation
  • allergic reactions.

Inhale the essential oils in small doses for a brief period of fewer than 3 minutes per treatment session.

Inhaling essential oils continuously for a long duration and in high doses may cause side effects like a headache, nausea, dizziness, and upset stomach.

Only a few of the essential oils are fit for ingestion. Do it only under the guidance of an expert therapist.

Some of the essential oils contain toxic contents that make them unworthy of consuming internally.

Other Alternative Solutions for Sinus Infection

Many of us do not have easy access to many of the essential oils. Some of the essential oils are scarce and unaffordable as well.

Instead of using essential oil for a sinus infection and nasal congestion, you can also use other inexpensive alternative treatments that work great for relieving the symptoms of the sinus.

Other options worth trying are:

  • Warm compress on your forehead and nose;
  • Use a humidifier to add moisture to the air in the rooms where you stay;
  • Irrigate the nasal mucus with a saline solution using a neti pot;
  • Have a steam shower;
  • Use nasal strips to open up the congested nasal passage;
  • Use the saline nasal spray to make the mucus thinner;
  • Use allergy medications to get rid of hay fever and other allergies that cause sinus.

Finally, if you have chronic sinus infection due to narrow nasal passages or nasal polyps, an Endoscopic surgery may be required to solve the issue permanently.

Every person’s body does not respond equally to natural remedies like essential oils. For some, they may work but for others not.

Essential oils for sinus could be used along with other medications for faster results than entirely depending only on them.