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Essential Oils for Congestion: 4 Top Ones

4 mins

Radhika Bhatia

Struggling with congestion this allergy season? Essential oils may be the solution for you! Read on for a list of beneficial essential oils for congestion.

Congestion is extremely common, but that doesn't make it any less irritating. With pollen production in full swing, congestion is afflicting people daily. With the chaos of your daily life, the last thing you need is to be distracted by the discomfort of a stuffy nose.

Lucky for you, there are several ways to help relieve your stuffy nose symptoms – even natural ones, such as using essential oils.

WOW Skin Science is all about holistic beauty and self-care. Essential oils are versatile products that can improve your well-being in various ways, including decongestion. Today, we will discuss the top essential oils for treating your congestion and how they can help.

Table of Contents:

  • Nasal Congestion Explained
  • Aromatherapy Treatment
  • Best Essential Oils for Congestion
  • Eucalyptus Oil
  • Peppermint Oil
  • Tea Tree Oil
  • Lavender Oil

Nasal Congestion Explained

If you are someone who struggles with seasonal allergies, you are definitely not alone. As many as 60 million people are affected by allergic rhinitis annually in the United States alone. Allergic rhinitis, which is also referred to as seasonal allergies, is caused by an allergic reaction to pollen exposure. 

Pollen is a powdery substance produced by seed plants during reproduction. Pollen is spread during the spring, summer, and fall seasons when the fine powder is released into the air and carried to other plants for fertilization. These seasons can be rough for you if you have a pollen allergy. 

Nasal Congestion

When pollen lands inside your nose, your immune system may be triggered to defend itself against these allergens. This typically means your body releases chemicals such as histamine into your bloodstream. This process prompts unwanted allergy symptoms. 

These symptoms include a runny nose, itchy throat, sneezing, and nasal congestion.

A common misconception is that nasal congestion is caused by a build-up of thick mucus stuck somewhere in the nose. Actually, nasal congestion occurs when nasal and adjacent tissues and blood vessels become swollen with excess fluid, causing a stuffy, plugged feeling in the nose. Think of it as sort of a traffic jam in your nasal cavity.

Alongside hay fever, you may also struggle with congestion if you have recently fallen ill. Nasal congestion can be caused by anything that irritates your nasal tissue.

Though allergies and illness are the top causes of congestion, there is also a chance that your congestion results from your nasal anatomy. 

The nasal cavity is where we move air through our noses. In this area lives the septum, the wall that divides your nose into the left and right sides. If you have a deviated septum, your "wall" is either not centered or has deviations. This results in obstructions in the nasal cavity, making it difficult for air to move freely. 

Another important part of your nose is the turbinate, which is responsible for warming, humidifying, and cleaning the air that passes through. The turbinate is an organ in our nose that adds a lot of surface area to the nasal cavity. The turbinates are full of blood stored in erectile tissue that sometimes swells, causing them to take up much more room in the nasal cavity, thus creating nasal congestion.

Aromatherapy Treatment

Aromatherapy is the holistic and therapeutic use of essential oils. This means using essential oils, highly concentrated plant extracts, for medicinal purposes that benefit the body and mind. 

Aromatherapy Treatment

Essential oils have a wide variety of benefits ranging from improved skin quality to alleviating stress and everything in between. The exact list of benefits essential oil can offer you depends upon the individual oil and its ingredients. Different plant extracts offer different reactions. 

Essential oils work on several different levels. For example, when we physically apply diluted essential oil to our skin, the essential oil molecules are small enough to penetrate their way into the bloodstream. They then circulate throughout the body, performing various beneficial tasks. 

Essential oils also work through inhalation. 

When you breathe in essential oils, they are taken down into your lungs to enter the bloodstream to travel around your body. If you are struggling with nasal congestion, there are essential oils that can be used via aromatherapy to help treat the swelling of your nasal cavity and improve your breathing. 

After selecting your essential oil, use a funnel to pour the fragrance into your diffuser or aroma lamp safely. Aroma lamps are often designed to fill about two-thirds of the container. That being said, the exact amount of oil used should be based on the labels of your products or as directed by an aromatherapy expert. 

aromatherapy lamp

Using too little of the product may render it ineffective, while using too much may cause you to fall ill. You must be using the appropriate amount of essential oil. 

Leave the essential oil to soak in your diffuser. The product will be heated and, in turn, will undergo evaporation. The scent particles will be released into the air for your inhalation. Be sure that the room in which you practice aromatherapy is well ventilated. 

Best Essential Oils for Congestion

We know that essential oil can treat your nasal congestion, but which essential oil should you use? For your convenience, we have compiled a list of some of the most useful essential oils for combatting congestion.

  • Eucalyptus Oil

Eucalyptus essential oil has a strong, minty, earthy smell. It offers numerous health and wellness benefits that include soothing symptoms of congestion, muscle pain, and mental fog and protecting your skin from environmental stressors.

eucalyptus oil, wow skin science essential oils

Eucalyptus essential oil is believed to relieve the symptoms of colds and coughs, including congestion. Therefore, this oil helps manage nasal congestion and clear stuffiness from the nose. This is in part because of cineole. 

Cineole is an aromatic component of many plants, including the eucalyptus plant, which has been found to help combat sinus issues, nasal obstruction, and a runny nose.

  • Peppermint Oil

Peppermint essential oil has a minty fragrance that is fresh and cool. It is among the most popular aromatherapy essential oils because of its outstanding cooling and refreshing qualities.

The benefits of using peppermint oil include calming irritation of the skin, improving mental agility, easing headaches, and boosting digestion.

Peppermint essential oil is also a great option for combatting nasal congestion because it contains methanol, which, when inhaled, may impact your mucus receptors and help open up your airways.

Additionally, peppermint oil is believed to fight bacteria. If the contraction of unwanted bacteria causes congestion, peppermint essential oil may boost your health.

  • Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree essential oil has a medicinal, earthy, herbaceous aroma. This oil has been a popular choice for thousands of years for its powerful healing qualities. Tea tree essential oil benefits include fighting dandruff and acne, repelling insects, and combating colds and the flu.

tea tree essential oil

Tea tree essential oil helps reduce the effects of nasal congestion because its bacteria and virus-fighting properties allow it to target the cause directly.

  • Lavender Oil

The lavender essential oil has a sweet, floral aroma known to bring numerous benefits to your physical and emotional health. It is known to be calming and relaxing, which can help combat any unwanted stress and tension.

Physically, the lavender essential oil can help with your hair and skin. It promotes hair growth and acts as a natural moisturizer to soften the hair. It also helps to soothe skin and prevent scarring.

enjoying lavender essential oil

Lavender essential oil is a very popular choice for aromatherapy across the board. Regarding nasal congestion, lavender oil is believed to help improve symptoms by reducing discomfort and swelling.

Lavender's famously calming effects also contribute to its popularity because, in times of discomfort, the oil can help you relax and improve your sleep quality.

Essential oils are a convenient way to help yourself through allergy season. Features like swelling and discomfort typically accompany congestion. Though it may not be a cure-all, it may help provide some relaxation and relief. Certain essential oils may be able to directly combat these unwanted stuffy nose symptoms and improve your well-being.

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Radhika Bhatia

I'm a content writer, copywriter, and blogger with a background in marketing, planning, and eCommerce. I specialize in beauty writing, including skincare, cosmetics, wellness, aesthetics, and health. Classically trained and idea-savvy, I love living in the present.

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