12 Amazing Essential Oils For Congestion

by Jenna Jones September 14, 2020

12 Amazing Essential Oils For Congestion

Aromatherapy comes to the rescue when congestion, seasonal allergies and common cold and flu symptoms arise. However, you may be able to stop congestion in its tracks before it affects your sleeping, eating, and breathing thanks to beneficial essential oils.

What essential oils are good for congestion?

The medicinal, clearing aroma of chest rubs is often associated with Eucalyptus, Peppermint, and Camphor. These essential oils (along with others that share similar therapeutic properties and aromas) can aid as a natural remedy for your congestion to help relieve sinus pressure and have you breathing deep in no time. However, there are other options for those who prefer a different aroma.

In this short guide, we’ll look at 12 essential oils that can help clear nasal and chest congestion so you can get back to your routine more quickly.

1. Eucalyptus Essential Oil 

When it comes to breathing better, Eucalyptus essential oil is our go-to. This powerful aromatherapy oil is a common addition to over-the-counter cold relief remedies, and for good reasons:

  • Highly antibacterial and anti inflammatory, Eucalyptus oil has been shown to help alleviate allergy symptoms or symptoms of the common cold (such as a stuffy nose or sore throat).

  • All varieties of Eucalyptus essential oil are rich in 1,8 cineole. Recent studies show that this constituent can help to clear airways and aid breathing.

All four Eucalyptus oils we offer can be used for congestion, but Eucalyptus globulus may be the best, as it contains the highest amount of 1,8 cineole.

Be aware that Eucalyptus essential oil is not recommended for young children.

2. Sea Fennel Essential Oil

This variety of fennel grows on the rocky shores of Greece and other Mediterranean countries. It has long been used in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments, including respiratory symptoms. In fact, it’s one of our favorite essential oils for chest congestion.

Recent research has confirmed that this aromatic oil has at least three potent anti inflammatory properties 

This sweet, herbaceous oil can be a perfect choice for anyone who finds Camphorous oils like Eucalyptus overwhelming, whether due to an upset stomach or a sensitive nose.

3. Laurel Leaf Essential Oil

Historically, Laurel Leaf essential oil has been used for its expectorant properties, which break up mucus and aid congestion when inhaled. Like Eucalyptus, Laurel Leaf has a green, camphorous aroma, although it is slightly sweeter and earthier.

Laurel Leaf is one of the effective essential oils in our Deep Breath synergy blend along with other respiratory supportive oils.

4. Camphor Essential Oil

Containing significant amounts of both limonene and 1,8 cineole, Camphor essential oil goes above and beyond to help restore you to health. 

  • With strong anti inflammatory properties, Camphor is a frequent addition to chest rubs, muscle salves, and other balms that can be used topically.

  • Studies indicate that Camphor can have strong antibacterial effects when diffused.

This oil helps to open up your nasal passage while also supporting the immune system. 

5. Ravintsara Essential Oil

Energizing and uplifting, Ravintsara essential oil can help restore your respiratory tract. Ravintsara also shares similarities with Camphor—they’re both obtained from the same tree, Cinnamomum camphora. However, Ravintsara is distilled from the leaves, and Camphor is distilled from the wood.

Slightly greener and crisper than Camphor, Ravinstara can help you to feel energized while fighting your cold symptoms.

Try pairing with Camphor to create the perfect synergy for fighting congestion.

6. Saro Essential Oil

A unique essential oil from Madagascar, Saro is highly efficient when it comes to clearing airways. This small, flowering tree has a long history in herbal medicine, and in Madagascar, its essential oil is known for its antibacterial properties.

Rich in 1,8 cineole, this oil also has properties applicable to sickness and preventive care, along with other therapeutic benefits:

  • Improves head colds

  • Helps clear sinus congestion

  • Boosts focus and creativity

7. Cajeput Essential Oil

As an essential oil with as much 1,8 cineole as Eucalyptus, it’s no wonder Cajeput comes highly recommended for congestion and other breathing issues. 

Native to Australia, the cajeput tree has a long history of use in traditional medicine. This combative oil is an active ingredient in Tiger Balm and similar products, providing congestion and relief from aches.

  • Part of the same genus as Eucalyptus and Tea Tree essential oil, Cajeput is also rich in anti inflammatory compounds.

  • A 1992 study demonstrates that this essential oil possesses antibacterial properties.

Sweet and sharp, Cajeput can also provide a boost of much-needed positivity while you’re getting over your cold.

8. Peppermint Essential Oil

Wonderfully minty, Peppermint essential oil promotes better breathing while reducing inflammation associated with congestion.

  • Peppermint oil has long been praised for its cooling properties. If your cold is accompanied by fever or sweating, Peppermint essential oil can help cool you down.

  • The active compound in Peppermint essential oil is not 1,8 cineole but rather menthol. Anti inflammatory in its own right, menthol can help to reduce nasal congestion in particular. 

Peppermint is found in the Exhale synergy blend and Deep Breath synergy blend, making these some of the best essential oils for nasal congestion.

9. Deep Breath Synergy Blend

This trusty essential oil is your go-to companion as the winter chill clears away and the green landscapes return. Deep Breath is a minty and refreshing blend that will help minimize the effects of seasonal threats.

10. Spike Lavender Essential Oil

With all the wholesome benefits of Lavender and a good dose of 1,8 cineole, Spike Lavender is a congestion-fighting machine. 

Lavender essential oil is known as the “mother of essential oils,” and this Lavender oil is no exception. It can:

  • Promote relaxation

  • Soothe muscular tension

  • Help open your airways

If you’re feeling stressed about your cold, you’ll breathe better with a few quick whiffs of Spike Lavender essential oil.

11. Breathe Easier Synergy Blend

Not sure which of the best essential oils for stuffy nose to choose? The Breathe Easier synergy blend combines four of the most potent essential oils for cough and congestion:

  • Peppermint

  • Eucalyptus

  • Rosemary 

  • Lemon

With anti-congestant powerhouses Eucalyptus and Peppermint, alongside cleansing Rosemary and Lemon oil, a few drops of this essential oil blend can help your system clear out congestion so you can bounce back faster.

12. Breathe In, Breathe Out - OK For Kids Synergy Blend

As we’ve noted, not every essential oil is well-suited for kids. However, that doesn’t mean your child is doomed to lie in bed with the humidifier for days on end! We’ve specially formulated our Breathe In, Breathe Out synergy blend to provide relief for little ones.

It contains:

  • Silver Fir

  • Lavender

  • Lemon 

  • Frankincense

  • Sweet Marjoram

  • Lime

  • Chamomile 

  • Vetiver

  • Damiana

  • Ginger

  • Spearmint

  • Vanilla 

Formulated to be safe and immensely effective for little ones (and adults), this is the best kids essential oil for congestion. Its calming, relaxing aroma may help your child feel emotionally and physically better.

How To Use Essential Oils For Congestion

  • Roll-On’s Our pre-diluted roll-on essential oils are ideal to use topically. Simply swipe the roll-on along your throat, neck, and clavicle. That way, you’ll keep the aroma close, and be able to inhale it for hours to come. Because it is pre-diluted, you don’t have to worry about upsetting sensitive skin.

  • Diffusion Fill your essential oil diffuser with water and the manufacturer’s recommended amount of oil. For best results, start by diffusing for 30 minutes to an hour, and see how your symptoms progress.

  • Personal inhale Have sensitive family members, roommates or guests? Skip the ultrasonic diffuser and fill your personal inhaler with a few drops of our Breather Easier synergy blend instead. Inhale it throughout the day as needed.

While it can be tempting to double up on dosage when your nasal passage is clogged and you feel like you have a sinus infection, it’s better not to overwhelm your system when you’re already feeling ill. To use these essential oils for congestion (including essential oils for colds), stick to recommended dilutions, and let the EOs gently improve your symptoms.

You can also check our essential oil for allergies on this page.

Caution: Any essential oil listed above with the * symbol are not considered safe for young children.


  1. Mulyaningsih, Sri et al. “Antibacterial activity of essential oils from Eucalyptus and of selected components against multidrug-resistant bacterial pathogens.” Pharmaceutical Biology 49.9 (2011). https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21591991/ 
  2. Juergens, U.R. “Anti inflammatory properties of the monoterpene 1.8-cineole: current evidence for co-medication in inflammatory airway diseases.” Drug Res (Stuttg) 64.12 (2014): 638-646. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24831245/ 
  3. Ngom, S. et al. “Anti inflammatory compounds from Crithmum maritimum.” Planta Med 75 (2009). https://www.thieme-connect.com/products/ejournals/abstract/10.1055/s-0029-1234463 
  4. Shigeharu Inouye, Toshio Takizawa, and Hideyo Yamaguchi. “Antibacterial activity of essential oils and their major constituents against respiratory tract pathogens by gaseous contact.” Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy 47.5 (2001): 565–573. https://academic.oup.com/jac/article/47/5/565/858508
  5. Behra, Olivier et al. “Saro ( Cinnamosma fragrans Baillon) essential oil: Application in Health and Medicine.” 2010. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/289939873_Saro_Cinnamosma_fragrans_Baillon_essential_oil_Application_in_Health_and_Medicine
  6. Jedlicková Z, Mottl O, Serý V. “Antibacterial properties of the Vietnamese cajeput oil and ocimum oil in combination with antibacterial agents.” Journal of Hygiene, Epidemiology, Microbiology, and Immunology 36.3 (1992): 303-309. https://europepmc.org/article/med/1293213
  7. Eccles, R. et al. “The effects of oral administration of (—)‐menthol on nasal resistance to airflow and nasal sensation of airflow in subjects suffering from nasal congestion associated with the common cold.”  
  8. Andrea Butje. “Balsam Fir Essential Oil.” Aromahead Blog https://blog.aromahead.com/2011/01/28/balsam-fir 

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Edens Garden

February 8, 2021 at 12:05 pm

Hi Anayania, you can use some of the oils individually or blend some of the suggested oils. The suggested synergy blends are also a good option if you want oils that have already been combined and formulated to address respiratory concerns.

Anayania Romero

February 8, 2021 at 11:32 am

Do I have to mix all of these together or use individually for respiratory problems?