Whenever the weather changes and it starts to get colder outside, my sinuses begin acting up and I end up getting some congestion along with really uncomfortable head pressure. Unfortunately, taking those over-the-counter sinus pills just don’t have a very strong effect on my symptoms, so instead I find more natural ways to combat my nasty head congestion. Drinking a wonderful hot cup of tea is a great start, but steam therapy works best for severe sinus congestion.
I’ve actually been using steam therapy for years, mostly to help moisturize my dry skin, but also to loosen up any sinus congestion I have going on during the colder winter months. You can actually do this very simply with a warm humidifier, but I wanted to take it up a notch and add some dry herbs to really help alleviate some of the symptoms I was having. I wouldn’t recommend adding dry herbs to your humidifier, though, you can easily ruin your machine.
Benefits Of Herbal Steam Therapy
Steam therapy is amazing for so many things, which is why I love using it for all types of different applications. Here are some of the benefits to herbal steam therapy:
Cleans & Moisturizes Skin – For those of you who have had the luxury of visiting a spa and having a facial, you may remember steam being used as a main element in your spa treatment. This is because steam is absolutely wonderful at opening up the pores in the skin, allowing any dirt and debris to easily be removed with cleansers. Steam is also great for moisturizing dry skin, and will leave your face feeling plump and nourished, especially during the winter months.
Detoxes The Body – Another great use for steam is to help draw out toxins from the skin, much like how a sauna works, but not as taxing on the body. Steam bath houses are made specifically for this reason as it helps pull out toxins and rehydrate the skin all at the same time. This is especially beneficial for anyone suffering from a nasty cold or flu, as the steam will help purify the body and give your immune system a nice boost.
Sinus Congestion Relief – Having any kind of sinus congestion can cause a lot of head pressure and pain, and most over-the-counter medications just make your symptoms worse by drying out the sinuses even more. Contrary to what we’ve been told, we don’t want to dry out our sinuses but rather moisturize them so they can release that pressure and mucus buildup, and steam therapy works by doing just that.
How To Do Herbal Steam Therapy For Congestion
The best part about doing this steam therapy is how simple and easy it is, and all you need are things that you already have in your kitchen.
For this recipe I recommend using dried herbs only and not essential oils. The reason for this is because essential oils are extremely concentrated, and can actually irritate the sinuses or lungs if inhaled too deeply. I found this out the hard way when one of my family members got a nosebleed from inhaling too much peppermint!
Dried herbs are much safer to use in this application, as long as you stick to high quality herbs. I get all my herbs in bulk from Mountain Rose Herbs.
You can use this method for sinus congestion and face cleansing, if you choose. All you need are a few simple ingredients to get started:
What You’ll Need
- Large cooking pot, or a large bowl and tea kettle
- 1 tablespoon each of dried herbs of choice: Eucalyptus, Peppermint, Oregano, Lungwort, Plantain Leaf, Elecampane Root, Lobelia, Chaparral Leaf, and Osha Root are the nine best herbs for respiratory relief.
- 2 large towels
What To Do
- Fill a large cooking pot with filtered water and bring to a boil on the stove, or heat up some water in a tea kettle and pour into a large bowl when hot. Remove the pot of water from the stove and add your dried herbs.
- Fold a large towel in half and place underneath the pot, or bowl of water, and set on top of a table or counter.
- Take the other large towel and drape it over your head to create a tent, then lean your head over the bowl or pot of steaming water and inhale slowly and deeply through your nose, exhaling out through your mouth. Do this for at least 10 minutes, or until you start to feel the mucus and congestion loosen up. Your nose may start to drip and run, which is exactly what you want.
- Repeat as needed.
Steam is a very effective way to help alleviate sinus and chest congestion, and with the combination of dried herbs I listed, you’ll be feeling better in no time!
Have you used steam to help relieve your sinus pressure? What is your favorite method?