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Best Essential Oils to Clear Congestion

 Woman Using Nasal Spray

The discomfort that sinus congestion brings can make a person irritable, to say the least. If you are dealing with sinus congestion, both working and staying at home might sound equally irritating. After all, there’s that annoying coughing you must bear with, blocked nasal passages, and painful pressure behind your eyes. You keep clearing your throat, which leaves it dry and scratchy.

Hence, you’ll be glad to find no-boxed-med solutions to all those problems. We present essential oils that will speedily clear up those blocked nasal passages. But before we start naming them, let us first discuss the safe usage of essential oils:

Safe Usage Of Essential Oils For Freedom From Congestion

Firstly, always take these two precautions regardless of which oils you’re using and the reason you’re using for:

  1. When ingesting an essential oil, confirm with your doctor if an oral application is safe.
  2. Before you apply any essential oil topically, do a patch test.

Generally, the following methods are the safest:

  • Directly inhaling the oil from the bottle
  • Dabbing a few drops on a handkerchief and then inhaling the oil
  • Adding some drops to your bathwater or for a warm face steam
  • Adding a few drops of essential oil(5-10) into a diffuser and inhaling the dispersed oils 

What Causes Congestion?

Congestion occurs when the nasal passages become swollen and inflamed, leading to a stuffy or blocked nose. It can be caused by various factors, including allergies, colds, sinus infections, or even dry air.

How Can Essential Oils Help?

Essential oils have been used for centuries to alleviate congestion and promote easier breathing. They contain natural compounds that can help reduce inflammation, clear nasal passages, and provide relief from congestion symptoms.

Best Essential Oils For Congestion

Essential Oil Benefits Aroma Application Caution
Eucalyptus Clears airways Fresh, minty Inhalation, massage Avoid in children
Cedarwood Soothes coughs Woody Diffusion, steam Not during pregnancy
Lemongrass Relieves sinus Citrusy Inhalation, massage Skin sensitivity
Peppermint Eases breathing Minty Inhalation, massage Dilute for skin
Tea Tree Fights infections Medicinal Inhalation, topical Allergies possible


Please note that essential oils can have varying effects on individuals, and it's important to perform a patch test and consult a professional before use.

Now that you have the safer methods of application in hand, we’ll move on to the most effective essential oils for sinus congestion:

1. Eucalyptus Essential Oil


Not only does the eucalyptus essential oil bust up sinus congestion, but it will also remove mucus and give relief to your respiratory system. Plus, eucalyptus can also effectively reduce inflammation. Check out the findings from this study on the compound cineole – a compound in eucalyptus. Cineole is effective against sinusitis symptoms.

Best way to use eucalyptus essential oil: buy a couple of menthol shower steamers. The disks go on your shower floor when you take one. Breathe in the eucalyptus essential oil and feel your sinuses unblock!  


Effective airway clearing, fresh aroma, versatile application for inhalation and massage. 


Not suitable for children, potential skin sensitivity, strong scent.

2. Cedarwood Essential Oil

Cedarwood oil

The woodsy scent of this essential oil will help you loosen up. But more than that, cedarwood also sends the phlegm on the run. You’ll be able to breathe deeply when your nose stops running, your eyes don’t water, and you don’t cough every two minutes.

Best way to use cedarwood essential oil: since it also produces a calming effect on the mind that helps you sleep, we’d suggest diffusing it. In short, you get both good sleep and wake up free of congestion. 


It Soothes coughs, has a woody aroma, useful for diffusion and steam inhalation.


Not recommended during pregnancy, limited congestion benefits, less common aroma.

3. Lemongrass Essential Oil

Lemongrass Essential Oil

Traditionally, Chinese medicine has been using lemongrass essential oil for soothing much more than colds. The oil also alleviates headaches and stomachaches and improves the immune system. Moreover, its antifungal, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties add to its benefits. It can also act as a mood booster, which makes it an ideal choice for you stuck at home with a cold. Use lemongrass essential oil to step out of that funk!

Best way to use lemongrass essential oil: Lemongrass essential oil is handy when you want to prevent a cold. In either case, add a few drops to the bathwater. 


Sinus relief, pleasant citrus aroma, multiple uses for inhalation and massage. 


May cause skin irritation, diluted use is recommended, and aroma preferences vary.

4. Peppermint Essential Oil

Peppermint Essential Oil

Allergy symptoms, such as scratchy throat and congestion, may also get better with the use of peppermint essential oil. For one, because it is an expectorant. Another reason why it might bring you relief is due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Additionally, peppermint is also great for allergic rhinitis, fevers, asthma, headaches, and immune system boosts.

Best way to use peppermint essential oil: you can apply it topically – but as we said, do a patch test if you’re using the oil for the first time. Or, you can diffuse it or mix a few drops in carrier oil. Finally, you can also add it to drinking water – 1-2 drops – and have that. 


Eases breathing, refreshing minty scent, versatile application methods. 


Requires dilution for skin, the strong scent might be overwhelming and can cause eye irritation.

5. Tea Tree Essential Oil

Tea Tree Essential Oil

In 2015, this review noted that tea tree oil contains a compound called alpha-sabine. Alpha-sabine has antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal activity. Now, let that sink in: tea tree oil can potentially fight both viruses and bacteria! Both agents can be behind your recent congestion episode. 


Fights infections, medicinal scent, can be inhaled or applied topically. 


Potential for allergic reactions, strong aroma disliked by some, not solely congestion-focused.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to clearing congestion, essential oils can be a natural and effective solution. Eucalyptus, peppermint, tea tree, lavender, and lemon oils are just a few examples of oils that can provide relief from congestion symptoms. Incorporate these oils into your daily routine to breathe easier and feel better.