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Open Airways and Fight Germs with Steam & Essential Oils

I've posted on this topic before but it's a simple and effective way to help support wellness. Steaming with essential oils can open airways and soothe the uncomfortable symptoms of allergies, help ward off a cold, or help you feel better faster if you do get sick by fighting germs and helping relieve stuffiness.

A simple way to steam is to boil water, add it to a glass or ceramic bowl, add a single drop of an essential oil or blend, close your eyes, place your face over the bowl (make sure it's not too hot so you don't burn yourself), place a towel over your head, and breathe in the steamy fragrance. Keep tissues close by and if it's too intense, uncover your head and move away from the bowl.

You can try this with an oil such as peppermint (Mentha x piperita) or Eucalyptus radiata or a blend of germ fighting, airway opening essential oils.

Doing this at the first sign of a cold 2 or 3 times a day for a few days can be really helpful. In one study steaming with peppermint 2 or 3 times a day improved sinus infection symptoms within 5 days.(1) Multiple studies show that essential oils offer anti-microbial and other benefits. (2-8) You can generally use essential oils alongside antibiotics or anti-viral medications. It not only smells good but feels good.

Below are a few blends you can try to open airways and fight germs:

SInus Relief Blend (This is the blend I recently made for my daughter and mentioned in an IG post) :

To a 5 ml stock bottle add:

33 drops of Eucalyptus radiata essential oil

25 drops of Mentha x piperita (peppermint) essential oil

25 drops Cinnamomum camphora (ravintsara) essential oil

9 drops Abies siberica (Siberian fir) essential oil

8 drops Lavendula angustafolia (lavender) essential oil

Cap and gently shake to mix. Add ONE drop of this blend to a bowl of steaming water, close your eyes, place face over the bowl, pull a towel over your head and breathe. Keep tissues close by and take a break if needed. Repeat 2-3 times a day for 2 to 3 days at the start of a cold or for 5 to 7 days to open airways or soothe cold symptoms.

Caution must be used with children under 10. Oils like eucalyptus and peppermint can simply be too strong. Diffusing gentle oils such as lavender, orange, cedarwood, or frankincense may be a better choice. And if you do use steaming more essential oil is not necessarily better. A drop or two will do.

Safe Steam blend for kids:

Use a drop of cedarwood (Juniperus virginiana, Cedrus atlantica or Cedrus deodara) in a bowl of steaming water for kids age 5 to 10.

Adults can also simply use a drop of peppermint or eucalyptus in a bowl of steaming water for wonderful relief.

If you have questions about steaming or would like suggestions on steam blends contact Tricia.

Stay healthy my friends!


  1. Buckle, Jane R.N., PhD., Clinical Aromatherapy: Essential Oils in Healthcare, 2015 Elsevier

2. Astani A, Reichling J, Schnitzler P (2010) Comparative study on the antiviral activity of selected monoterpenes derived from essential oils. Phytotherapy Research 24:673-679.

3. Kotan R, Kordali S, Cakir A. (2007) Screening of antibacterial activities of twenty-one oxygenated monoterpenes. Z Naturforsch C. 62(7-8):507-1513.

4. Chiang LC, Ng LT, Cheng PW et al (2005) Antiviral activities of extracts and selected pure constituents of Ocimum basilicum. Clinical & Experimental Pharmacology & Physiology 32:811-816

5. Belaiche T, Tantaoui-Elaraki A, Ibrahimy A (1995)A study of the simultaneous antimicrobial activity of five terpenes. Industrielles Alimentaires Agricoles (Agricultural Food Industry) 112 (10): 743-746

6. Raman A, Weir U, Bloomfield SF (1995) Antimicrobial effects of tea-tree oil and its major components on Staphylococcus aureus, Staph. epidermidis and Propionibacterium acnes. Letters in Applied Microbiology 21(4):242-245

7. Benencia F, Courreges MC (2000) In vitro and in vivo activity of eugenol on human herpesvirus. Phytotherapy Research 14:495-500

8. Bourne KZ, Bourne N, Reising SF et al (1999) Plant products as topical microbicide candidates: assessment of in vitro and in vivo activity against herpes simplex virus type 2. Antiviral Research 42:219-226


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