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Aromatherapy for Sinuses

By Ana Cassis ; Updated August 14, 2017

Sinusitis is an inflammation of the sinuses that can cause painful headaches and tenderness in the face. To help decongest the sinuses and relieve the inflammation, there are a number of aromatic herbs that you can use in an aromatherapy treatment. The use of aromatherapy for healing dates back 5,000 years to the Egyptians and their use of aromatic herbs for incense burning. Today, aromatherapy is an effective way to heal emotions and physical distress.


Eucalyptus essential oil, extracted from the leaves and the branches of the eucalyptus tree, is an effective decongestant of the upper respiratory tract. It helps treat inflammation and infection. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine's MedlinePlus website, it contains up to 85 percent eucalyptol, a constituent with antimicrobial properties. It is a strong oil that is best avoided by children and should never be taken internally.

To relieve sinus congestion, add a few drops of eucalyptus essential oil to coarse sea salt in a small, dark glass bottle to use as an inhaler whenever you need relief.


Rosemary essential oil is an analgesic, an antimicrobial and a stimulant used to open the nasal cavities and treat any blockage or inflammation in the sinuses.

A good way to use this oil is to add five drops to a bowl with boiling water and place a towel over your head to create a tent over the bowl. The steam from the water will rise along with some of the rosemary's volatile oils to help clear out your sinuses.


Lavender essential oil is a nervine that promotes relaxation and helps with sinus headaches due to its analgesic properties. It is especially beneficial in treating sinuses that are blocked with phlegm and is an antiseptic, defending your immunological system against airborne viruses.

A beneficial use of lavender essential oil to treat a sinus infection is to add three to five drops of the oil to your bath water and soak in it for at least 15 minutes. The hot water with the lavender will help relax your muscles and the medicinal properties of the oil will act upon your body, allowing you to breathe more comfortably.

Sweet Basil

Sweet basil essential oil has beneficial actions on the sinuses and is effective in treating sinus infections. Its analgesic, antispasmodic and antidepressant actions help relieve headaches caused by sinusitis.

For lasting relief, place 10 drops of sweet basil oil in a vaporizer that is in a room where you will be spending the majority of your time. In less than 10 minutes, the room will be permeated with sweet basil's scent and medicinal volatile oils, which will alleviate any headaches and congestion caused by sinusitis.

Massage Oils

Any oils that help with sinusitis can be blended into a carrier oil such as almond or olive oil in order to create a medicinal massage oil. You can use this oil to massage your cheeks and forehead for topical sinus relief, or you can have a massage therapist use it to massage your entire body, helping you to relax and aid your sinuses through the scent of the oils.

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