9 Essential Oils For Sinus Infections

Sinus infections, also called sinusitis, is an inflammation or swelling of the tissues lining the nasal cavities. It could be caused by cold, allergies, or an infection, depending on its severity. Sinus infection could cause you to feel pain behind your eyes, make you have constant runny nose or cause an annoying cough.

There are several ways sinus infection can be treated, one of which is the use of essential oils to clear up the nasal passage, relieve sinus pressure and other congestion symptoms.

Essential oils have been used over the years to treat several ailments and although there are only limited reliable research about the use of essential oils for sinus infections, some studies show that specific essential oils may relieve its symptoms. 

We have provided a list of essential oils for sinus infections in this article, but let’s shortly consider some benefits of essential oils.


  • Using essential oils for sinus infections is a natural alternative to synthetic medications.
  • Some people may not be able to use over-the-counter medications to treat their sinus infections due to drug interaction with medication they are already on or due to a medical condition such as pregnancy or high blood pressure. Essential oils may be safer treatment options for these people.
  • Essential oils may be able to relieve symptoms of congestion.


1. Tea Tree Oil

A 2006 review found that tea tree oil has antiseptic, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, so tea tree oil can improve sinus congestion by fighting 2 potential causes: Bacteria and virus. It could also reduce inflammation, thereby reducing the swelling in the tissue lining the nasal cavities, and eventually relieving the symptoms of congestion such as runny nose or stuffy nose.

2. Peppermint Oil

The main component of peppermint oil is the methanol which may affect the mucus receptors in your nose and help open your airways and clear mucus. A lab study showed peppermint oil may be used to fight bacteria which could be causing sinus infection.

3. Lavender Essential Oil

Inhaling lavender oil can help reduce sinus pains and swelling. Because of its antiviral, antifungal and antiseptic properties, lavender oil is not only used in treating stress and anxiety. It is a natural immune system booster, and can break mucus membranes, thereby relieving nasal congestion. You can use lavender essential oil for sinus infection either by inhaling it from the bottle or incorporating it in steam therapy or putting it in a diffuser to get maximum benefits.

Essential Oils For Sinus Infections
Essential Oils For Sinus Infections

4. Eucalyptus Oil

Eucalyptus oil has a natural organic compound called eucalyptol, it also contains cineole which gives it its antiviral, antifungal, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. These organic compounds are also responsible for the minty aroma and spicy, yet cool flavor you get from using Eucalyptus oil. So while the flavor of the oil is soothing, it can also help you relieve symptoms of sinus infections naturally.

It can reduce congestion, headaches and can open blocked airways as well. Eucalyptus oil can also affect the production of mucous and phlegm. A 2009 study found that cineole in eucalyptus oil is safe and effective in treating sinus infections, however, the research warns that the treatment could result in a rash or heartburn.

5. Oregano Oil

Research suggests that carvacrol, a component of oregano oil may stop bacterial growth, so using the oil may help you recover from sinus infection as the oil fights the bacterial that may be causing the infection.

6. Thyme Essential Oil

Thyme oil is extracted from a large amount of dried thyme. It is a more expensive option foe essential oils that could be used to treat sinus infections, nevertheless, it is effective. Thyme essential oil has antiseptic, antibacterial, and expectorant properties which enables it to be used in treating sinus infections and at the same time, support your immune and respiratory system.

7. Clary Sage

A study conducted at a lab in 2015 found that clary sage is a natural antimicrobial agent, hence, it may be helpful in fighting sinus infections or congestions caused by bacteria.

8. Rosemary Oil

Rosemary is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. A 2016 review found that it is also a rich source of antioxidants, therefore using rosemary oil for sinus infections may help relieve swollen sinuses and also manage metabolic syndrome.

9. Lemon Essential Oil

Extracts from lemons are powerful anti-inflammatory agents. Lemon oil may help support your respiratory functions by breaking down mucous and relieving nasal congestion. It also boosts your immune system against infections and prevents their recurrence.


To relief symptoms of snus infections using essential oils, the best way to do so is by inhaling the essential oil.

This can be done in several ways:

  • Steam Inhalation: This involves adding some drops of essential oils to hot water to create therapeutic steam. Put some drops of essential oil into a bowl of hot water, cover your head with a towel and inhale through the nose, while keeping your eyes shot at all times to prevent irritation.
  • Direct Inhalation: In this case, you don’t need to add the essential oil to water, you can inhale it directly from the bottle or you may place some drops onto your handkerchief, cotton ball or inhaler tube and breath in the oil.
  • Diffusers: diffusers are a more effective way to enjoy the maximum benefits of essential oil as they dispense the essential oil all over the air, allowing them to dilute before being inhaled. 

When inhaling essential oils, be careful to use them only in small amounts and for short periods, because if you inhale them in high doses for long, you may suffer dizziness, a headache and nausea.

Other ways of using essential oils for sinus infections may be:

  • Apply some drops of essential oil to your bath water 
  • Combine few drops of essential oil to your massage lotion or massage oil

Before applying essential oils to your skin, perform a skin patch test first to test for allergic reaction. If there is no reaction after 24 hours, then it should be safe to use however don’t use essential oils directly onto your skin as they can be toxic. Always mix essential oils with carrier oils such as coconut oil, jojoba oil, sweet almond oil, or olive oil, to prevent any rash reaction on the skin.

Don’t swallow essential oils. Essential oils usually contain raw compounds from plants or sources they were extracted from, and these compounds can be toxic and cause severe side effects.


Using essential oils for sinus infections could pose some side effects, especially when the essential oils are not properly used. Using essential oils directly on your skin could cause burns, itching, rash or an irritation of the skin. Essential oils may interact with prescription or over-the-counter medication, thereby reducing the potency of your medication.

Don’t use essential oils with your medication unless your doctor approves. Children and pregnant women should not use essential oils. The American Association of Naturopathic Physicians state that people should not use essential oils on babies younger than 3 months and children under 3 years old.

Be aware of the health condition of anyone around you when diffusing essential oils into the air as some essential oils such as eucalyptus and peppermint oils can trigger asthma symptoms. Swallowing essential oil can be dangerous.


Apart from using essential oils for sinus infections, there are several other ways sinus infections can be treated.

Alternative treatment options include using:

  • Nasal strips which can help open up your nasal passages
  • Steam shower or saline nasal sprays to thin nasal mucus
  • Humidifier to increase moisture in the air
  • Neti pot to flush nasal mucus
  • Allergy medications if congestion is triggered by fever or any other allergies
  • Warm compress on your head and nose to help with healing inflammation


Essential oils have been used for centuries to treat several ailments, they are a more affordable alternative to use OTC medications to treat sinus infections. However, there are no approved guidelines on the dosage and direction of use. Use of essential oils are not monitored by the FDA hence, anyone who has chosen to use essential oils from sinus infection, should do so with outmost care. 

Don’t apply essential oils directly to your skin or swallow them as they contain compounds that can cause toxic effect. Unless your doctor approves of it, don’t use essential oils along with any medication as it could tamper the potency of the medication. When inhaling essential oils for sinus infection, be sure to use smaller doses and inhale for short periods to avoid feeling dizzy.

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