We’ve been hearing a lot lately about washing your hands. But how about hygiene for your nose?
Although the ancient medical tradition of Ayurveda emphasises the importance of nasal health and keeping your sinuses clean, it’s not a topic that is widely discussed here in the UK. But maybe it should be! According to the British Medical Journal, It’s important to clean your nose daily.1
Your nose accumulates mucus, dust, bacteria, viruses, and fungi. So your sinuses are an ideal environment for germs and sickness.
One way to practice sinus hygiene is to Inhale essential oils with steam. This is an all-natural home remedy to soothe and open the nasal passages and get relief from the symptoms of a cold or sinus infection.
Inhaling essential oil with steam is chemical-free, smells nice and is a great relaxing routine to practice before bedtime, or anytime you want relief from respiratory symptoms.
Studies have found that essential oils including clove2 and eucalyptus3 may provide antibacterial activity against respiratory tract pathogens. Cinnamon bark has been shown to be effective against pneumonia and influenza.4 Rosemary essential oil can also be helpful to inhale in steam, as it can calm the muscles in your trachea, giving you respiratory relief.5
CG Oil contains all of the above ingredients, has been lab tested and shown effective against MRSA, E coli and salmonella. Just add 3 drops of essential oil to your container of freshly boiled water before inhaling.
How does it work?
During steam inhalation, the warm, moist air is thought to work by loosening the mucus in the nasal passages, throat, and lungs. This may relieve symptoms of inflamed, swollen blood vessels in your nasal passages.
A stuffy nose is triggered by inflammation in the blood vessels of the sinuses. The blood vessels can become irritated because of an acute upper respiratory infection, such as a cold or a sinus infection.
The main benefit of breathing in moist, warm steam is that it may help ease feelings of irritation and swollen blood vessels in the nasal passages. The moisture may also help thin the mucus in your sinuses, which allows them to empty more easily. This can allow your breathing to return to normal, at least for a short period of time.6
What are the benefits of essential oil steam inhalation?
Essential oil steam inhalation may provide some temporary relief from the symptoms of:7
- the common cold
- the flu (influenza)
- sinus infections (infectious sinusitis)
- nasal allergies
- congested (stuffy) nose
- throat irritation
- breathing problems caused by airway congestion
- dry or irritated nasal passages
While steam inhalation won’t cure an infection, like a cold or the flu, it may help make you feel a lot better while your body fights it off. But as with any home remedy, it’s important to learn best practices so you don’t hurt yourself in the process.
How to inhale steam with essential oil
You’ll need the following materials:
- a large bowl
- some water
- a pot or kettle and a stove or microwave for heating up water
- a towel
- an essential oil of your choice
Here’s the process:
- Heat up the water to boiling.
- Carefully pour the hot water into the bowl.
- Add 3 drops of essential oil
- Drape the towel over the back of your head.
- Turn on a timer.
- Shut your eyes and slowly lower your head toward the hot water until you’re about 8 to 12 inches away from the water. Be extremely careful to avoid making direct contact with the water.
- Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose for at least two to five minutes.
- Don’t steam longer than 10 to 15 minutes for each session. However, you can repeat steam inhalation two or three times per day if you’re still having symptoms.
You can also purchase an electric steam inhaler online. For these, you just need to add water to the level indicated and plug in the system. The steam inhaler uses electricity to make steam that cools before exiting the machine. Some steam inhalers come with a built-in mask that fits around your mouth and nose.
To avoid burns:
- Make sure the bowl of hot water is on a level, sturdy surface and can’t be knocked over.
- Don’t shake or lean on the bowl.
- Avoid allowing the steam to make contact with your eyes. Your eyes should be closed and directed away from the steam.
- Keep the bowl of hot water out of reach of children or pets.
Steam inhalation isn’t advised for unsupervised children due to the risk of burns. However, you can have your child sit in a steamy bathroom while you run hot water in the shower for a similar effect.
Steam inhalation systems that you can purchase online or in stores are generally safer, as the water is enclosed and can’t easily spill on your skin.