Using essential oils for sinus infection may be the most organic and natural way to calm this common condition.

The sinuses are a delicate network of eight air-spaces in the facial bones, composed in four pairs. They serve as heating and hydration-chambers, lined with soft mucosa, or mucus. Sounds gross, but the purpose of the sinuses is essential: to warm and moisturize the air we inhale before it enters the body. The soft, moist mucosa act like living flypaper, trapping dust, spores and germs and keeping these invaders from entering our lungs and affecting other organs and body systems.

When the sinuses get blocked by overabundant mucus, the result is pain and pressure. The sources vary. Cabin-pressure in an aircraft may cause sinus pain, and likewise an infected upper molar may do the same. More often than not, however, sinus infections are caused by virus and bacteria.

A viral infection is brief and generally lasts only a week or so, usually termed acute sinus infection. This brief (though uncomfortable) infection will often resolve itself with rest and patience.  A secondary bacterial infection, termed chronic, is actually more persistent and make require antibiotics for expedient recovery.

Essential oils for sinus infection can work in a number of ways:

-Immune support. Inhaling essential oils as part of your daily shower can help support immune function. Remember that many essential oils are mildly antimicrobial, and may help your system ward off virus and bacteria.

-Analgesic. Some essential oils including Peppermint have gentle pain-reducing properties when inhaled in steam. In the shower is best, but a drop in a bowl of hot water– drape a towel over your head and breathe it in– can help ease the pain.

Decongestant. Eucalyptus oil in particular is considered a natural nasal de-clogger. Again, it’s great as part of an essential oil blend for the shower, and also works with the bowl technique described above. And a drop of Peppermint and Eucalyptus on your pillowcase at night, and carried on a white cloth during the day as a “sinus sachet” can also help you breathe more easily when dealing with sinus infection or even a common cold or flu.