How To Use Eucalyptus Oil For Sinus Congestion

Explore the potential of using this essential oil to unblock your nasal passage.

Medically reviewed by Dr. Zeel GandhiDr. Zeel Gandhi, BAMS
By Sucharita MishraSucharita Mishra  • 

Sinus congestion is annoying, to begin with. Runny nose, throbbing headache, stabbing pain around the eyes, and a cough that doesn’t stop, it’s uncomfortable, to say the least. While sinus congestion goes away on its own, if you have trouble breathing and sleeping, try some eucalyptus oil for your sinus congestion to speed up the process! In this article, we explore how eucalyptus oil is good for sinus congestion and a few tips to keep in mind before you use it.

Is Eucalyptus Oil Good For Sinus And Nasal Congestion?

Use eucalyptus oil for sinus congestion

Image: Shutterstock

Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus) is widely used for medicinal purposes. Various parts of the eucalyptus tree, like the bark, leaves, and root, are used for medicinal needs.

Eucalyptus essential oil is extracted from the leaves of the tree. This oil is known for its robust healing properties (1), (2).

There are more than 200 species of eucalyptus. The global production of eucalyptus oil is about 17,000 tonnes per year and is dominated by oil extracted from Eucalyptus globulus.

Eucalyptus oil is used to get relief from nasal congestion and sinus inflammation. It contains 1, 8-cineole, which was found to help reduce nasal congestion (3). The oil also possesses analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties (4), (5). This can help reduce inflammation in the sinus cavities and reduce pain.

Caution: Eucalyptus oil can be quite strong in its pure form. Hence, ensure you dilute it before applying it to your skin.

Ways To Use Eucalyptus Oil To Treat Sinus And Blocked Nose

There are two main ways of using eucalyptus oil to treat sinus and nasal congestion.

1. Steam Inhalation

Woman using eucalyptus oil via steam inhalation for sinus congestion

Image: Shutterstock

Eucalyptus essential oil is a good antiseptic. Steam inhalation of the oil is considered beneficial for nasal congestion (5). This method may help in relieving cold, blocked nose, and headache.

You Will Need

  • Eucalyptus essential oil
  • A tub of hot water

What You Have To Do

  1. Pour a few drops of eucalyptus essential oil in a tub of hot water.
  2. Lean over the tub and inhale the steaming vapor.
  3. Repeat this for a few minutes or until you experience relief.

How Often You Should Do This

Do this 2 times a day.

2. Dilution

Woman diluting eucalyptus oil to use for sinus congestion

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Anecdotal evidence suggests that the dilution method may be convenient when the nose blockage or sinus is quite intense. In this method, carrier oil is used with eucalyptus oil. The carrier oil may make the effect of the essential oil more tolerable.

You Will Need

  • 1-5 drops of eucalyptus oil
  • 1 ounce of a carrier oil (Olive oil or almond oil)

What You Have To Do

  1. Mix a few drops of eucalyptus oil and the carrier oil.
  2. Apply the mixture topically on the chest and throat.

How Often You Should Do This

Apply the oil once a day.

Though many practice the topical application of pure eucalyptus oil for relief from sinus and clogged nose, it is not safe as it can burn the skin. It is important to always dilute the oil in a carrier oil before using it.

Quick Tip
The commercial production of eucalyptus oil started in the early 1800s in Australia. The oil was extracted from Eucalyptus radiata species.

There are certain precautions one should take while using eucalyptus oil.


Woman with sensitive skin experiencing burning sensation after using eucalyptus oil

Image: Shutterstock

  • Eucalyptus oil in the raw form can burn one’s skin. It might prove to be harmful to people with sensitive skin and skin issues.
  • Eucalyptus oil should not be used by kids. Exposure to the essential oil may cause poisoning in infants and children (6).
  • Pregnant women should avoid using oil.

Using eucalyptus oil for sinus congestion is an age-old remedy. This oil gives instant relief from sinus and associated symptoms like headache, nasal congestion running nose, cough, and pain around the eyes. You can either use eucalyptus oil for steam inhalation or dilute it with a carrier oil and directly apply it to the chest and throat. Both the methods work effectively in providing relief. However, pregnant women, infants, and children should not use eucalyptus oil. Also, if you have sensitive skin, this oil may cause skin irritation. Hence, proceed with caution and do a patch test before using it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you apply eucalyptus oil directly to skin?

No, you should not apply eucalyptus oil directly to the skin. You should dilute it with a carrier oil and then apply it.

How long should you inhale eucalyptus?

You can inhale eucalyptus oil for a few minutes until you feel relief. Don’t inhale it for too long through steam inhalation as it can be very strong. Opt for inhalation treatment twice a day for best results.

Is it good to sleep with eucalyptus oil?

You can apply a few drops of eucalyptus oil to a diffuser to get a good night’s sleep free from congestion. You can also apply it to your hair, but dilute it with a carrier oil like coconut, argan, olive, or jojoba oil first.

Can eucalyptus damage lungs?

Eucalyptus oil may irritate the respiratory tract if inhaled for too long or used directly without dilution. If you are allergic to eucalyptus, avoid using it.

Can I put eucalyptus oil on my pillow?

You can dab a few drops on a cloth or tissue and place it inside the pillowcase. But, make sure it does not get into your eyes.

Does eucalyptus clean the air?

Eucalyptus is often added to diffusers to cleanse the air indoors, making it easier to breathe.

Is eucalyptus good for anxiety?

Eucalyptus contains eucalyptol, which may help reduce anxiety.

Key Takeaways

  • Eucalyptus oil contains a key compound called 1, 8-cineole that helps clear nasal congestion.
  • You can apply the oil along with coconut oil or add a few drops to a stem inhaler to relieve your clogged sinuses.
  • Expectant mothers and children below 5 years of age should avoid using this oil.


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  • Dhakad, Ashok K et al. “Biological, medicinal and toxicological significance of Eucalyptus leaf essential oil: a review.” Journal of the science of food and agriculture vol. 98,3 (2018): 833-848.
  • Silva, Sayonara Mendes et al. “Essential Oils from Different Plant Parts of Eucalyptus cinerea F. Muell. ex Benth. (Myrtaceae) as a Source of 1,8-Cineole and Their Bioactivities.” Pharmaceuticals (Basel, Switzerland) vol. 4,12 1535-50.
  • Kehrl, Wolfgang et al. “Therapy for acute nonpurulent rhinosinusitis with cineole: results of a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial.” The Laryngoscope vol. 114,4 (2004): 738-42.
  • Silva, Jeane et al. “Analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects of essential oils of Eucalyptus.” Journal of ethnopharmacology vol. 89,2-3 (2003): 277-83.
  • Sadlon, Angela E, and Davis W Lamson. “Immune-modifying and antimicrobial effects of Eucalyptus oil and simple inhalation devices.” Alternative medicine review : a journal of clinical therapeutic vol. 15,1 (2010): 33-47.
  • Sandra, et al. “Unintentional Exposure of Young Children to Camphor and Eucalyptus Oils.” OUP Academic, Oxford University Press, 1 Feb. 2001.
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