Steam inhalations 

Essential oil steam inhalation for sinus congestion

Herbal steams can be used to deliver the medicinal qualities of herbs and essential oils directly to the respiratory tract via the nose and mouth.  The process hydrates, warms and helps decongest the mucus membranes of the nose, sinuses, and throat.  This can also be helpful in calming coughs.



First prepare supplies – select 2-3 organic essential oils such as: Thyme, Peppermint, Eucalyptus, Lemon, or Lavender. I recommend trying Thyme, Eucalyptus and Lemon.


Option 1-Tent method

Boil 2-4 cups of water and remove from heat placing the water into a bowl on a safe surface where you can stand or sit in front of it. Allow the water to cool slightly while you prepare supplies. Add 5-7 drops of 3-4 essential oils to the water. Position yourself so that your head is above the container of water, no closer than 10 inches. If the steam rising feels too hot then create a safer distance.  Drape a towel big enough to cover your head and the water container, forming a tent.  Inhale the vapor with slow deep breaths for 5-10 minutes. You can re-heat this water again later the same day adding 1-2 more drops of essential oil after re-boiling. Note: Be safe with hot liquids when transferring from the stovetop, and especially around children and others who may be in the kitchen with you. Use protective gloves for pots without heat safe handles. Practice the steps one time prior to enacting the tent method process for best safety.

  • Note: your face will get a little sweaty! It’s ok! Have a cool washcloth at the ready for cleanup.
  • Ok to save and re-use or discard water after use.


Option 2-Mug method

Fill a mug with boiling water.  Add 3-5 drops of essential oils. Use hands or cloth/towel to form a cup over nose or head and mug to enclose vapors. Inhale vapors for 3-5 minutes.



Option 3-Bath method

Draw a hot bath, keep door closed to keep the steam in.  Prepare yourself a cup of hot tea such as chamomile. Add 10-15 drops of essential oil  to bath along with 1-2 cups epsom salts or himalayan salt and swirl to mix. Relax in tub for 15-25 minutes taking slow, full deep breaths. Note: Do not use this option if you have a high or uncontrolled fever. Be safe and use handrails and bathmats with tread. Best to let a loved one know you will be taking a hot bath prior for safety. Stay well hydrated with tea or water during an essential oil bath sweat. Following the bath it’s a great idea to shower with a cool or lukewarm rinse and then bundle up with pajamas or warm clothes.


Suggested Essential Oils or Herbs

Eucalyptus- congestion, sinus infections

Thyme- coughs, infections

Lavender- calming and soothing

Hyssop- coughs, infections

Bitter orange- antibacterial, sedating

Lemon –antibacterial, antiviral, bring joy to the heart



Do not use essential oils internally.

Do not use essential oils if you have kidney disease.

Caution for people with epilepsy or history of seizures.

Do not use essential oils in pregnancy.

Prolonged inhalation of essential oils (several consecutive hours) may cause headache, vertigo, nausea, lethargy, or double vision.

Seek guidance if questions or concerns and practice safety!




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