I have a horrible head cold with a stuffed nose, sore sinuses and a slight headache. What would you recommend?
To relieve the symptoms of a head cold and sinus congestion a holistic aromatherapy approach includes supporting the immune system, using essential oils with mucolytic (dissolve or break down mucous) and decongestant properties, steam inhalation using essential oils with antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, and reducing exposure to ‘harmful’ environments. (i) Keeping hydrated with clear fluids and getting plenty of rest will help to support your body while it fights the cold bug.
I find the following essential oil blend to be effective. The essential oils have been chosen for their antiseptic, anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, analgesic and decongestant properties. They will also serve you should the congestion move into your chest. Into a brown glass bottle with a tight fitting cap and orifice reducer blend 50 drops Citrus limon (lemon), 30 drops Melaleuca cajeputi (cajeput), 15 drops Rosmarinus officinalis (1,8 cineole) and 10 drops Eucalyptus globulus (eucalyptus).
Here’s how to use the essential oil blend. You will need a large pot or kettle, a large glass heat resistant mixing bowl and a large hand or small bath towel. Bring 4 to 6 cups (1 to 1.5 liters) of water to a boil in a pot or a kettle. Carefully transfer the boiling water into a large heat resistant glass bowl. (I preheat a large mixing bowl by filling it with hot water and letting it sit while the other water comes to a boil.) Quickly add 5-6 drops of the essential oil cold blend into the water. Hold your head over the bowl and place a towel over your head to direct the steam. Slowly and deeply breathe in the steam. Keep your head under the towel, over the hot water for about 15 minutes. If the heat from the steam is too much, take a quick breather away from the steam and then resume.
CAUTION! Keep your eyes closed at all times when steaming. The essential oil molecules released in the steam will cause eye irritation.
It is best not to use the essential oil cold blend in the bath as some of the essential oils may cause dermal sensitivity. You could however place 4-5 drops of the blend onto the base of your shower. The steam created during the shower will help to relieve your stuffy nose. Another option that doesn’t involve steam, bath or shower is to simply place 1 or 2 drops of the blend onto a tissue and inhale the cold blend directly from the tissue.
If chest congestion begins, mix 5 drops of the blend into 1 Tablespoon (15 mL) of olive, grape seed or other carrier oil and slather the oil onto the chest area. Apply it to your upper back too if you can reach it or have someone to lend a hand. Place a hot, well wrung facecloth or hand towel over top of the applied oil for additional comfort and rest for 10 to 15 minutes.
I hope you are feeling better soon!
i. Salvatore Battaglia. The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy, 2nd Edition. Chapter 25, The Respiratory System