Spring time in northern Virginia is absolutely beautiful! Flowering trees and plants are everywhere and its finally time to get outdoors and enjoy the warmer weather. Unfortunately, the warmer weather and blooming plants can also lead to allergies and congestion. Sneezing, puffy eyes, sinus pressure, runny noses, headaches, and continual pressure get in the way of our ability to enjoy the Spring and can be debilitating.
The pressure of congestion can feel so bad that it feels like your head is in a vice, or a heavy weight is placed on your face. If the congestion is left untreated, it can lead to sinus infections, which are even more painful in the long run. Modern medicine can provide relief but can often leave you feeling lethargic or weighted down with the strength of the drugs, along with other side effects. You can get relief the natural way with aromatherapy. I’ll highlight some of the top essential oils to relieve congestion!
When picking an essential oil to treat congestion, you’re looking for oils that have antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and antimicrobial properties. Peppermint essential oil is a tried and true oil for relieving sinus pressure and congestion. It has all the above properties and more. The main ingredient that makes it so effective is its organic compound, menthol. Menthol works to relieve congestion while also having a mildly sedative effect. It’s perfect for mixing with a carrier oil and applying topically when going to sleep at night. Eucalyptus oil is another great treatment for congestion that acts and smells just like peppermint oil.
Lavender essential oil is a go to oil for many ailments and can really help to reduce anxiety and stress. But did you know that lavender can also ease flu symptoms and congestion by calming the lungs? This one is best used in a diffuser, but we’ll talk more about methods for getting quick relief when congested a little later.
Another one of the best essential oils to ease congestion is tea tree oil. This oil is great at tackling cough, nasal congestion, and a sore throat all at once. Tea tree oil can be used topically in spots that need the most attention, like your chest for chest congestion and cough, or under the nose for sinus congestion. You can also mix tea tree oil with a bit of water to gargle and soothe your throat. Check out each of these essential oils and see which one best suits your symptoms and your tastes. You may prefer the aroma of one oil over the other.
Now that you’ve picked the essential oil of your choice, it’s time for aromatherapy! There are many ways you can use your essential oils to treat your congestion. The easiest way to get some aromatherapy into your living space is to use one to three drops of your chosen oil in a diffuser. If you use a humidifier, put about ten to fifteen drops of essential oil in because the oil will be diluted with water.
You can go about your daily activities or spend some time relaxing and breathing deeply. Mixing essential oils with a carrier like jojoba oil (or other oil that has little to no aroma) will allow you to rub the oil directly on your skin for a topical effect in targeted areas.
Lastly, mixing your essential oil with hot water in a bath, or in a bowl of hot water will give you a concentrated burst of aromatherapy. When using a bowl of very hot water, place a towel over your head to catch all the steam. Breath slowly and deeply and repeat this as many times during the day as necessary to ease your congestion. Use any of these aromatherapy methods at the onset of congestion to ease symptoms and carry on with enjoying life without the side effects of strong medication!