Peppermint, Lavender, Eucalyptus, Tea Tree… Some essential oils are effective in case of stuffy nose to decongest the ENT sphere. List of the best in diffusion, inhaling, in case of allergy and precautions to take.
The sensation of stuffy nose or nasal obstruction is linked both to the secretions which obstruct the nose and to the phenomenon of congestion of the blood vessels and to the formation of an edema of the mucous membrane caused by the inflammatory reaction. “This is why sometimes we do not have a runny nose but we only feel an obstruction: in general it is the mucous membrane which is edematous”, emphasizes Dr. Laure Martinat, anesthetist-resuscitator, phyto-aromatherapist.
► HE of Peppermint. The ideal is to turn to a decongestant and vasoconstrictor essential oil (EO) such as peppermint or field mint. Their active ingredient, menthol, will act on the decongestion of the nose. Peppermint and field mint EO are prohibited in children under 8 years of age and in people with allergies. These essential oils are reserved for adults, excluding pregnant and breastfeeding women, on medical advice in the event of asthma or epilepsy. The restrictions will be different depending on the route of use (oral, dermal or inhaled). “For example, peppermint is prohibited in children; in pregnant women who have no history of epilepsy, it can be used by smell and not by the skin. You have to adapt to the EO, its mode of use and the person’s background”she says.
► Other EOs may also be associated depending on the context, such as the tea tree for its antiviral or anti-inflammatory principles
►Leucalyptus essential oil to thin the mucus
►Llavender essential oil acts as an antiseptic.
There are no particular essential oils to use at night. We will follow the treatment with the same essential oils and any combinations. Only recommendations for use in the event of a stuffy nose are to be known, the lying position promotes stagnation of mucus and the sensation of obstruction. Peppermint or field mint can be used as an inhalation before bedtime always with a decongestant aim. The environment can also be reviewed: avoid that the air is too dry in the room because “dry air weakens the mucous membranes and maintains the feeling of a stuffy nose, sleep in an elevated position with two cushions, and provide a bottle of HE on the bedside table in case of night awakening “to inhale the essential oil directly from the bottle without getting out of bed”.
► In case of allergy, we associate peppermint or field mint essential oils to decongest with HE antihistamines.
► For allergic rhinitis to pollens, we will seek to reduce the symptoms of allergy by combining an essential oil such as German chamomile, tarragon or katrafay. “The combination of a decongestant and vasoconstrictor EO such as that of field mint or peppermint with other EOs chosen according to the context will make it possible to fight effectively against the symptoms of allergy. The precautions for the use of these EOs remain the same. Allergy obviously requires more comprehensive care. If symptoms persist, consult a specialist.
An example of HE use in allergic rhinitis:
► you can combine 1 ml of German chamomile with 0.5 ml of eucalyptus radiata and complete with 48.5 ml of oily calendula macerate;
► once done, 4 drops of this mixture can be inserted inside each nostril: massaging gently with your little finger; to renew 2 to 3 times a day for 5 to 7 days;
► in addition, you can do wet inhalations with field mint HE: 1 to 2 drops in a cup of hot water and breathe in the vapours.
There are two types of inhalation that will act directly on the respiratory sphere: dry inhalation, inhaling directly from the bottle or placing a drop on a handkerchief and then inhaling it; and wet inhalation, the fact of depositing a drop of essential oil in a cup of hot water and inhaling the vapours. “The ideal is the wet inhalation of the EOs mentioned above: this makes it possible to benefit from the water vapor as a vector of the aromatic molecules but also to help to thin the secretions”.
► In case of nasopharyngitis, two antiviral essential oils can be combined: l‘HE of tea tree (good for the immune system) ravintsara HE with decongestant peppermint HE and that ofeucalyptus radiatawhich thins the mucus and facilitates its elimination (it is also anti-inflammatory and antiseptic). In practice : pour 25 drops of eucalyptus, 25 drops of tea tree, 25 drops of ravintsara and 10 drops of peppermint in a tinted glass bottle and place 1 to 2 drops of this mixture in a cup of hot water. We inhale the vapors for about ten minutes, eyes closed, protecting ourselves with a cotton cloth by making a chimney, 3 times a day, for 3 to 5 days until the symptoms disappear. “If we cannot do a wet inhalation, we do a dry inhalation by breathing directly from the bottle, especially in the workplace”, adds Dr. Laure Martinat.
The distribution of an HE will allow more work to be done on the environment, the sanitation of a room “ccreate an atmosphere conducive to improving breathing“. The use of a nebulization or ultrasound diffuser will make it possible to disperse the HE molecules in the room. It is a good complement to an inhalation treatment. In diffusion, one can use EO of ravintsara, eucalyptus radiata, eucalyptus globulus, tea tree or saro. The precautions for essential oils will be identical to those mentioned above (reserved for adults, excluding pregnant and breastfeeding women and people with allergies; contraindicated in the event of asthma and epilepsy).
Thank you to Dr Laure Martinat, anesthetist-resuscitator, phyto-aromatherapist and author of the book Immunity, infectious diseases and convalescence: strengthening your health naturally at Quintessence editions.
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