8 Robust Essential Oils For Congestion Relief

Best Essential Oils For Congestion

An onset of congestion can seem simple at first. The nose drips a bit, or there may be some sneezing. Maybe the throat tickles too much, or the ears feel full, as they do sometimes after a swim.

Sure, the stuffy head and tight chest might be caused by an infection. Then again, the seasonal allergies might be really kicking into high gear this year—how inconvenient and annoying!

Or maybe it could be the many irritants and toxins floating around in the environment—outdoors, at home, at work, and at school. It seems here’s no escaping them!

How Essential Oils Offer Aid When Congested

Essential oils play an important role when you are congested, regardless of the cause. They bring the soothing calm that helps you to relax when you are utterly weary and worn from coughing, sneezing, and have barely had any real sleep. Your essential oil friends remind you to breathe slowly, opening you to inhale more deeply, welcoming each new breath.

The group of essential oils presented in this article possess properties that support the reduction and elimination of congestion. As you read on, look for those with specialized properties to relieve your congestion and support your recuperation.

You can also count on essential oils to be your allies as they soothe and nurture your immune system when it is under stress.

Best Essential Oils For Congestion

Here are several essential oils that will offer you a lovely variety of benefits and uses as you live with congested this and that. Each oil includes a brief tip or two for a method to try, including those that require little energy expenditure when you are rather down and out.

1. Myrrh Essential Oil (Commiphora myrrha)

Myrrh’s properties and gifts are bestowed by compounds that include decongesting monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes.

Myrrh is drying, quieting the spasms that can accompany chest congestion and coughing episodes.

Myrrh aids you in getting mucus up and out, as it offers an encouraging immune system boost for ridding toxins. It calms the catarrh of post-nasal drip.

Blends well with bergamot, lemon and frankincense.

A steam inhalation loosens secretions as it allows myrrh oil to gently soften tense muscles and mucus membranes.

2. Tea Tree Essential Oil (Melaleuca alternifolia)

Tea tree is known for its wealth of powerful ingredients with antiseptic and antiviral actions. These beneficial compounds are monoterpenes that stimulate your immune system, offering you support and sustenance when dealing with congestion.

Camphor brings deep quieting to quell weary nerves along with spasms brought on by continuous coughing.

Tea tree blends with eucalyptus to offer you relief when congested.

Apply the oil in neat form to the pulse points at your wrists from where it will be gradually absorbed by your system.

3. Lemon Essential Oil (Citrus limon)

Lemon oil bestows a cleansing action that is associated with limonene, a monoterpene compound. Its uplifting nature encourages your immune system as it helps to rid toxins from your system.

Lemon oil blends with eucalyptus, frankincense and basil to offer calming, cool support when you are experiencing an episode of congestion.

This one’s a truly handy method when living with or warding off congestion-causing microbes. Place 2 drops of lemon oil on a handkerchief or small cloth and sniff the refreshing, nurturing aroma throughout the day.

4. Frankincense Essential Oil (Boswellia carteri)

Frankincense is calming and warming with antiseptic cleansing actions that occur because of its terpene compound structure.

Frankincense opens your airways as it helps to bring you calm, reducing anxious moments that arise when it’s hard to breathe.

Frankincense blends well with lemon essential oil, offering support when your congested self needs allies.

Create a sleepy-time rub to ease your breathing and lull you to sleep by adding 4 drops of frankincense oil to 1 tablespoon of sweet almond carrier oil. Rub gently into your upper chest.

5. Eucalyptus Essential Oil (Eucalyptus globulus)

Eucalyptus possesses the terpene compounds eucalyptol and camphor. These are rapidly absorbed into your body to deliver antiviral actions and mucus-thinning magic.

This oil’s marvelous menthol aroma imparts cleansing to open clogged breathing passages, allowing you to more fully inhale. You then gain clarity of mind as your respirations clear.

A eucalyptus bath does double duty as you soak and breathe! It will soothe you as it bestows calming menthol qualities. To a tub of warm water, add 5 to 10 drops of oil blended with a tablespoon of honey. Soak for 20 minutes, replenishing water for warmth. Rinse and rub your chest with a soft cloth, stimulating tight muscles to release and relax.

Note: Not for use on children

6. Inula Essential Oil (Inula graveolens)

Inula is infused with bornyl acetate, an ester that promotes relaxation as it aids in reducing damage caused by oxidation.

Inula’s gentle gifts support the breakdown of mucus, relieving congestion in your chest and sinuses. It offers further relief by calming cough spasms, giving you the chance to breathe more fully.

You’ll welcome inula as it strengthens your emotional reserves and supports your immune system while you thwart congestion and fatigue. It is likely to improve your digestion as levels of congestion are released.

Inula essential oil blends well with angelica root to aid congestion.

Try a cupped hands inhalation! Drop a blend of 1 drop inula oil and 1 tsp carrier oil or unscented cream on the palm of one hand. Rub your hands together, then cup hands, creating a mini-tent. Hold cupped hands up to your face, breathing deeply as you do.

Note: It is a harsh skin irritant, so use in a small dilution. Not recommended for bathing.

7. Kanuka Essential Oil (Leptospernum ericoides)

Kanuka is rich in the terpene compound, A-pinene, that supports opening of airways to promote flow of air and clearing. This aids your sinuses too!

This oil brings you the feeling of being in nature, opening you to peaceful abundance. Doing so further aids this oil’s antispasmodic and antiviral actions.

Kanuka blends well with lemon to help you triumph over congestion!

Fill two bowls with warm water. Add a few drops of kanuka to each bowl. Place each bowl in a space where you are likely to linger.

8. Sweet Basil Essential Oil (Ocimum basilicum)

Basil essential oil is steam-distilled from this widely used sunny plant with a floral, spicy aroma laced with citrus.

You will become basil’s beneficiary by drawing on its uplifting and strengthening properties when you are congested. Its antiviral actions are due to its monoterpene alcohol compounds, such as linalool, eugenol, and eucalyptol.

Added to this, basil possesses decongesting actions that help you get past down days of prolonged coughing. Your tight, agitated airways gradually open as mucus thins and is released.

Basil provides mind clearing, reducing anxiety through its warm, balancing support. These gifts are synchronous with your physical recuperation, offering you a delightful explanation of why this basil is called “sweet!”

Add a few drops of basil essential oil and a teaspoon of vodka (for blending) to a spray bottle of water. Use to spritz the air with its cleansing freshness!

Note: Not recommended for bathing as it is a moderate skin irritant.

Five Fantastic Congestion-Clearing Methods

Welcome to wonderful ways to care for yourself and loved ones when congestion abounds! Consider the benefit of beginning any one or more of these at the first sign of sniffles, coughing, or sinus headache.

As you read through these marvelous methods, take note that all or most of what you need is already on a shelf or in a cabinet. How helpful that is when you feel a cold, or worse, coming on!


This category certainly can include the use of an appliance, though this description is about the small, easily used variety.

  • The candle type relies on the candle’s heat to warm the water and oil contained in the small bowl on top.
    • Partially fill the bowl with water and add 3 to 5 drops of oil.
    • You can blend these if you wish—eucalyptus and lemon will support your waning energy as it provides cleansing action.
  • A ceramic loop vaporizer fits over the top of a lightbulb.
    • Select a lamp close to where you recline or relax.
    • Put a tad of water and 2 drops of oil in the loop.
  • Create a simple dish option by placing water with 2 drops of oil in a saucer on or near a heat source such as a radiator or heating vent.

Handy Inhalers

A bit earlier on this article described placing a drop or two of an oil on a hanky to whiff its aroma.

  • You can do so with a tissue as well.
  • You can use these ideas in your auto by placing an oil-dabbed cloth by the heating or air conditioning vent, allowing the air to pass through and circulate cleansing aroma.
  • Consider using basil, lemon or eucalyptus for this option.


Taking a bath or shower often includes a shampoo. Think of the relief of eliminating bed-head after a few days of moping around!

  • First, be sure you have the strength to bathe safely. Remember that congestion can wallop your oxygen levels.
    • Fill your bath with warm water, not too hot—please test with your hand.
    • Add 4 or 5 drops of kanuka and lemon oils and swish well.
  • If you decide to shampoo while bathing, have your oils right at hand.
    • Simply add a drop of each oil to a handful of your shampoo and wash away!
    • If you are really prepared ahead of time, do a final rinse with a few drops of oil in rinse water.

Steam inhalation

Consider the benefits of using essential oils for a steam inhalation when confronted with congestion and spasmodic coughing.

  • Select a bowl that is a bit larger than your face yet small enough to make a tight towel tent.
  • Fill the bowl with boiling water. Add a few drops of oil.
  • Make a tent that is airtight all around to seal in the steam.
  • Keep your face 6-8 inches from the bowl to prevent scalding.
  • Stay in the tent for several minutes. Breathe slowly.
  • Sit down and relax. You can empty the bowl later!
  • Recommend doing twice a day as needed for congestion.
  • Use tea tree at the first signs of congestion because of its antiviral actions.
  • Myrrh is a good choice when you suffer from coughing spasms.

Compresses For Chest And Sinuses

Compresses have so many benefits! One advantage is that using one requires you to sit or recline to keep it in place, giving you a chance to be still.

These steps can be used for a hot or cold compress. You decide which you prefer for easing your chest and sinus congestion.

  • Fill a bowl or basin with hot or cold water.
  • Drop 5 drops each of eucalyptus and lemon oils into the water.
  • Soak a small towel or soft cloth in the water and wring thoroughly.
  • Place on the affected area and cover with a towel to insulate.
  • Keep in place for 15 to 20 minutes.

To Summarize

  • Congestion sources abound—or seem to! From viruses to allergy irritants, and nasty environmental toxins, there’s a virtual stew of potential causes lurking all around us!
  • Essential oils and self-care strategies are there to aid us in quelling and thwarting these offensive congestion causers!
  • Essential oils freshen and cleanse the air around us with their antiviral actions and gentle immune system support. They are uplifting during dreary day doldrums.
  • They invite us to the peace of calming moments when a nagging cough persists. How lovely to think that a plant’s quiet act of respiration aids us with our own.

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