Herbal steam for congested nose and sinuses

Herbal steam baths have been popular all over the world in many ancient civilizations and cultures. They are really helpful when you’re sick or have lingering congestion or cough.
You can pick from some of the herbs listed below to customize your steam to how you feel.

Scent is a beautiful way to treat your body and mind together.


2-3 drops of essential oil of choice (optional; see safety tip)
1/4 cup sea salt
1/2 cup total dried herbs (eucalyptus, rosemary, peppermint, basil etc..) 4 to 6 cups boiling water

Omit the essential oils if you’re preparing this for a young child. Otherwise, combine the essential oils and sea salt in a glass jar and mix well. Add the herbs and seal the jar.

If using essential oils for these, mix them into the sea salt before adding the hot water

How to use

Put 1 tablespoon of the herbal salt mix in a large bowl. Pour the boiling water over the herbal salt mix.

Lean over the bowl so your face is 5 to 10 inches from the surface of the water and cover your head with a towel to create a tent and trap the steam and be sure to close your eyes.

Breathe in the steam for 10 to 15 minutes.


Stop the treatment if you feel hot or lightheaded or have trouble breathing, or take breaks if you start to feel uncomfortable. Note that rosemary essential oil should be avoided by children under age 10. Tea tree oil is considered safe for children and would be a good substitute.

How to know which herbs to use

Rosemary – antiseptic and invigorating, rosemary is great for opening up the airways and helping to clear congestion as well as clear a foggy head.

Thyme – antiseptic and antiviral, thyme is really helpful for clearing phlegm congestion in the lungs and helping to clear phlegmy coughs

Eucalyptus – a go-to for coughs, stuffy noses, and general congestion in the chest or sinuses.

Pine -antiseptic and a natural decongestant and helpful to help get the phlegm out (expectorant).

Fir – naturally suppresses cough and helps to clear phlegmy coughs (expectorant)

Basil – A natural expectorant, antiseptic, antibacterial and decongestant, this makes it a go to clear chest congestion and respiratory issues

Mints – Peppermint’s high menthol content helps to clear the head and it is a natural expectorant and antibacterial. Use spearmint for kids as it’s less strong and better suited for the wee ones. Mints lift the mood and clear stuck or irritated energy.