Relieve Sinus and Ear Congestion with Essential Oils, Herbs and Diet.

April 18, 2009 12:57 am

Allergies can create sinus and ear congestion that can lead to infection and great discomfort.

Essential Oils

Essential oils can be very helpful.

Add 1 tsp of eucalyptus oil in a small pot of water–bring to boil, then reduce burner to simmer to diffuse the essence of the eucalyptus.

Be sure to check water level after 10-15 minutes. You can diffuse oils up to one hour.  Refresh the pot with more oil after one hour.

This method is particularly helpful for alleviating congested sinuses and relieving scratchy, dry throat due to allergies because it puts moisture in the air.

Also, you can put several drops of eucalyptus drops on a cotton ball and insert into ear lightly (not deep into the canal as it can get stuck or cause infections).

The fumes from the eucalyptus will then penetrate the sinuses deeply.  Keep in the ears for no longer than 15 minutes.

Niaouli essential oil and myrtle are also natural antihistamines–when applied to cotton balls and placed lightly in the ears, it can also provide relief.

Or you can add 1 tsp of either oil to water to diffuse in a manner similar to the method for diffusing eucalyptus oil above.

Dietary Help

Reducing sugar in the diet, diary products, and foods that aggravate inflammation such as peppers, tomatoes and other members of the nightshade family, can help.

Ginger, cinnamon, and cardamom help to clear phlegm naturally. Celestial Seasonings makes a wonderful spice tea called “Bengal Spice” that is caffeine free and contains many of the spices associated with clearing mucus.

Herbal Help

Chinese herbs such as pe min kan wan or bi yan pian can help increase circulation and reduce dampness (mucus) to relieve symptoms.  They also act as natural antihistamines.  Nettle leaf extract is also a natural antihistamine.

A trained herbalist can also formulate a custom tea to match your specific body constitution to help balance the immunity system to minimize allergic reactions.

Keep in mind that unlike pharmaceutical antihistamines, it takes 3 to 7 days to see the results with herbs as they work more gently and slowly.   Thus, they do not have side effects such as excessive dryness or drowsiness.

Many clients take astragalus or echinacea to stimulate their immunity systems. However, allergic reactions are about the immunity system being over active. So, I do not recommend taking astragalus, echinacea, or other immunostimulants when allergic reactions are present, as symptoms may a increase.


Many of my clients have found neti pot irrigation helpful during the oak or cedar season for this method washes away the pollen from the mucus membranes.

The key is preparing a very mild saline solution and using warm (not hot or cold) water.

When done correctly, neti can relieve congestion, but when done incorrectly it can drive infection deeper or create congestion.

For a reference to how to do neti pot correctly, see this Youtube demonstration.

After doing neti, I find it very helpful to bend over from the waist and twist from side to side to help the excess water drain out, then blow nose very gently.

When done properly, neti pot irrigation should not sting or add to the sensation of congestion.

If you feel any fullness or increased congestion after Neti, put eucalyptus oil (2-3 drops) on a cotton ball  that has been moistened with witch hazel, into the ears.  Witch hazel is an astringment so can help to draw out excess fluid–but do not use in neti pot solutions or it will irritate passages.Tilt head, by placing right ear to shoulder encouraging fluids to drain into the cotton ball. Then tilt the left ear to shoulder and allow fluids to drain. Remove the cotton balls immediately.

Please join our blog and share your experiences with what has worked for you in resolving sinus and ear congestion naturally.

Want to learn how to heal these conditions deeply and guide others? Our professional medical qi gong program can help you. Contact us today to schedule a free demo class at  512-468-6588

Kay Hutchinson, CAMQ, CAMT

Kay is the founder of Aiki Healing, a practice of medical qi gong dedicated to increasing the energy and well being of clients across the body, mind and spiritual levels. Email or call her today for a personalized consultation or bliss bodywork session. 512-468-6588