Essential Oils for Runny Nose

How to Use Essential Oils for a Runny Nose (Tips and Recipes)

A runny nose is a symptom of a virus infection or an allergy. As annoying as it can be, it is still a good sign. A runny nose means your immune system is doing what it should be doing. Nonetheless, if you want it to be over faster, keep on reading. You’ll see why essential oils for runny nose are a good natural remedy.


In this article, you’ll read about:

  • The things that make essential oils a good choice in getting rid of a runny nose, and how to use them efficiently.
  • 3 of the best oils for a runny nose treatment, with the usual pros and cons.
  • A few easy essential oils recipes for your runny nose due to colds, flu or allergies.
  • Some really interesting facts about the way your nose works and why you get a runny nose when you’re sick.
  • Tips to prevent it from happening.
  • Also, tips for a better sleep when you’ve got a runny nose.


A runny nose is not only annoying, but it can also be quite embarrassing because of all the sniffling in public. It’s time to speed up that recovery and get rid of that leaky nose in a natural manner.


Did You Know?

  • The flu is a highly contagious and common infection, which doesn’t happen only in winter. There are over two hundred different viruses that can cause flu or colds.


Essential Oils for Runny Nose with Pros and Cons, and Ways to Use Them


A runny nose is just one of the many symptoms of a cold, flu or allergy. The responsible viruses or allergenic triggers enter your body through the nose first. The defense mechanism of your nose works very hard to keep intruders outside. I will tell you more about this aspect in the last part of the article.


Until then, the natural order of a runny nose is first a nasal congestion (stuffy nose), and then a runny nose. The latter’s medical term is rhinorrhea.


It is almost impossible to have a cold, the flu or some allergies and not get a runny nose. That’s because the nose is involved in all these conditions. It’s basically the mediator.


To understand how to stop a runny nose, I will first begin with some facts about the way essential oils can help in this situation.



Why and How to Use Essential Oils for Runny Nose?

The answer for the why of this question is that aromatic oils contain some powerful chemical compounds.


  • They can stimulate the immune system and help it face viruses or allergens better.
  • These oils also have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.
  • Plus, they can improve the circulation. That can lead to a better oxygenation of the tissue inside the nose and throat.


That’s why essential oils are good for a runny nose and sneezing. Their use can also reduce the amount of time necessary for a runny nose to stop.


There are many enjoyable ways to use your oils for the treatment of a runny nose. That automatically involves the treatment of the allergy or the cold as well.


  • The best method to enjoy the benefits of aromatic oils is by inhalation.

You can either pour some drops on a cotton pad, or you can make your own infused inhaler. You can buy special empty inhalers, soak the inside fabric with oils and then keep it capped.


Inhale deeply for a few minutes, 4 – 6 times a day. This recommendation goes for both the cotton pad and the inhaler.


  • You can also diffuse those essential oils for a runny nose.

You’ll need an electronic diffuser or a candle oil burner. Add 5 – 8 drops of essential oils (without vegetable oils!) in their water recipient. Keep diffusing for up to 30 minutes.


You can repeat the process every 2 hours or more. This is a very efficient way of killing germs, fungi, and viruses in an environment. The best essential oils to diffuse for a runny nose are those rich in menthol and eucalyptol (1,8 cineole).


  • Another efficient way of using your blends is a massage lotion.

Make your own blend of essential oils for runny nose and massage the temples, the chest, and the nostrils. Never use essential oils, pure or diluted, inside the nose! They can be too strong and burn the nasal mucus.


Essential Oils for Runny Nose


  • Another very relaxing and efficient way of getting rid of a runny nose with aromatic oils is a hot bath.

The steam will help disperse all the active molecules of the oils. Breathe deeply and relax. This method can help with a lot more than just your nose and the flu. Your skin, nails, and hair will also be pampered.


Using more than one essential oil in a blend for colds and flu, nasal congestion, sneezing and runny nose can be very beneficial.


There are hundreds of viruses or allergens that cause these symptoms. Using a mix of volatile molecules would only ensure a complete protection and support. Note: Essential oils are all volatile (they evaporate).



The Best Essential Oils for Runny Nose


Generally speaking, all the oils rich in 1, 8 cineole (eucalyptol) are good for runny nose and colds, or the flu.


The substance can help eliminate all the mucus. This one contains the viruses and microbes responsible for the sickness. Eucalyptol can also weaken the virus until it kills it.


If they’re used early, cineole rich oils can shorten the time of the illness. Especially if they’re used when the first symptoms start showing!  The oils can also prevent further infections.


Besides 1,8 cineole though, menthol and camphor are also useful in decongesting a runny nose. You must remember that essential oils don’t dry up a runny nose. They promote only faster elimination.

Some of the best essential oils to stop a runny nose are Eucalyptus, Niaouli and Blue Tansy. Let’s see why:


1) Eucalyptus Essential Oil

The species (chemotype) that’s useful for a runny nose is Eucalyptus radiata. It is known for its effects against respiratory infections. They can lead to rhinorrhea, coughs and phlegm, sore throat, etc. Eucalyptus is also great at preventing the virus from spreading. It is able to maintain a healthy and clean environment.


Essential Oils for Runny Nose (Eucalyptus)



  • Eucalyptus essential oil is good for a runny nose because it stimulates the immune system.
  • This oil can also help with the general fatigue that comes with a cold and all its symptoms.
  • Rubbed into the skin, it can also warm up the area.



  • The oil of Eucalyptus radiata can become dangerous if used in a large dosage or ingested.
  • It should not be taken with homeopathic medicines. The oil can cause certain reactions while interfering with those types of medications.
  • There are many different types of Eucalyptus oils, so make sure you buy the radiata variety for a runny nose.


Why I like it:

If you’ve ever wondered what essential oil is good for a runny nose, you’ve found it in Eucalyptus. Eucalyptus is the scent I grew up with and I’m always associating it with the treatment of a cold. It can indeed speed up the release of all the mucus, leaving you with a normal functioning nose.


That makes for a better breathing so much faster than with conventional drugs. I’d say Eucalyptus is one of the best essential oils for runny nose, colds, and flu.

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2) Niaouli Essential Oil

This aromatic oil is a close relative of Eucalyptus. Its botanical name is Melaleuca quinquenervia. It is also rich in 1, 8 cineole. Niaouli is especially good in inhalations (steam baths.) But it is also good at removing the general tiredness from a viral infection.


Essential Oils for Runny Nose (Niaouli)



  • Niaouli is a strong antibacterial and anti-inflammatory essential oil.
  • What’s best is that it can stimulate the immune system and help it face the viruses better. That is part of its effect on eliminating mucus. This way you’ll get relief from your runny nose very fast.
  • Niaouli oil can also improve the circulation to the brain and tissues. That will help you get well faster, as your body may need a lot more oxygen to be able to do so.



  • The oil of Niaouli should not be used by people who suffer from types of cancer that depend on hormones.
  • It should also not be used by those who suffer from asthma or other allergies.


Why I like it:

This essential oil has a very pleasant aroma, almost like Eucalyptus. Niaouli oil is good for a runny nose and sneezing, as well as to disinfect the air. I like to diffuse it and put it in an inhaler whenever I feel weak.

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3) Blue Tansy Essential Oil

This oil is especially good when it comes to a runny nose caused by allergies. It is called Blue Tansy because it has a blue – indigo color, just like German Chamomile. They have that color because of a substance called chamazulene.


Essential Oils for Runny Nose (Blue Tansy)



  • Blue Tansy oil has antiviral and antiseptic effects. They make it great at killing airborne pathogens.
  • It can also help stimulate the rupture and elimination of the mucus of the respiratory tract. It has analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties too. Those properties will make your nose feel much better during the elimination process.
  • Blue Tansy is a very good anti-allergenic, one that can soothe and relieve a runny nose, sneezing, and watery eyes. It can also relieve itchiness and improve the blood flow in the nose.



  • Blue Tansy essential oil should not be used by cancer patients. Breast, uterus or prostate cancers are the most sensitive to this oil.
  • This oil should not be used in high concentration either.
  • It is among the most expensive oils.
  • Don’t confuse Blue Tansy oil with the Moroccan Chamomile or regular Tansy. The latter is very toxic.


Why I like it:

I like this oil because it’s so good for allergies, and I have quite a few problems with them in the spring. Blue Tansy blends well with other great essential oils for allergies. Among them, we have German Chamomile and Lavender.

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All these essential oils need to be tested for allergic reactions first. Mix one drop with a carrier oil and spread it on the inside of your forearm.


If there’s no negative reaction within 12 hours, you should be good to use the oil on larger areas. They are also not recommended to pregnant or nursing women. Nor to children or elderly without medical advice.


Those who suffer from serious diseases (diabetes, cancer, etc.) should first talk to their doctor about using Aromatherapy in any situation.


Other great essential oils for runny nose that you could use are:
  • Peppermint
  • Oregano
  • Thyme
  • Ravensara
  • Ravintsara
  • Grapefruit
  • German Chamomile
  • Cajeput
  • Lavender
  • Tea Tree
  • Camphor
  • Inula


These oils also promote sinus drainage, relief from nasal congestion, sneezing and coughing and can fight a cold.


The best essential oils for a stuffy nose can be any one of the above mentioned. The first step to stopping a runny nose is to first help decongest it. You can use Peppermint, Oregano, Tea Tree, Ravintsara essential oils, etc. to decongest your nose.


Peppermint essential oil for a runny nose is also a good remedy. It is high in menthol, another substance that helps with congestion. It can relieve tension, headaches and help you breathe better. Thus, helping with a congested nose, Peppermint oil can help a runny nose recover faster.


How to use Peppermint oil for a cough:

  • In aromatic and/or steam baths.
  • Massage blends (applied on the chest and throat).
  • Room sprays.
  • Aromatherapy diffusers.


If you’re a doTERRA fan and looking for a blend of oils to help your stuffy and runny nose, I would go for the Deep Blue blend. This blend is meant to help with sore muscles and joint pain. But it contains many anti-inflammatory and antiviral essential oils like Peppermint, Wintergreen, Ylang Ylang, etc.


As for Young Living fans, some of their most popular essential oils for runny nose are Thieves and R.C. The latter is actually a blend of many respiratory aromatic oils.



Essential oils for runny nose in toddlers should only be used after a medical consultation. The oils that can decongest the nose and stop a runny nose and sneezing, can be too powerful for a child. A baby cough and congestion should not be treated with essential oils without a medical consultation first.


Essential Oil Recipes for Runny Nose (Remedies)

You can mix any of the above mentioned essential oils to make blends for a runny nose. But if you’re looking for some inspiration, you can find it in the recipes below. Feel free to add an anti-allergic oil if that’s the cause of your runny nose.


A Runny Nose and Sneezing Essential Oil Diffuser Recipe

You’ll need:

  • Eucalyptus EO: 1 drop
  • Niaouli EO: 1 drop
  • Lavender EO: 1 drop
  • Thyme ct. Thujanol EO: 1 drop


Pour all these oils into the water recipient of your diffuser. Let it diffuse for half an hour in a well-ventilated room. You can do so 4 – 5 times a day. You can also pour the oils onto a cotton pad and inhale directly from it.


Other essential oils to diffuse for runny nose, sneezing, cough, and congestion:

  • Chamomile
  • Lavandin
  • Ravensara
  • Ravintsara
  • Cinnamon Cassia
  • Thyme
  • Rosemary
  • Etc.


Essential Oils Remedy for Runny Nose and Cough

You’ll need:

  • Blue Tansy EO: 10 drops
  • Eucalyptus radiata EO: 15 drops
  • Hemp oil or Olive oil: 1 Oz (30ml)


Mix the oils into the carrier (Olive or Hemp) and shake the bottle before application. Apply 2 or 3 drops of this essential oil blend for runny nose on your nostrils and neck, and massage really well. Repeat 3 or 4 times a day.


Why Do You Get a Runny Nose while Being Sick?


You’ve seen the practical part and you’ve learned about the best essential oils to use for runny nose. But I bet you are curious to know why that happens with every cold or allergy you get.


I know I was, and I discovered some pretty informative facts. Now I want to share them with you.


To understand why you get a runny nose (rhinorrhea) when you’ve got the flu, a cold or an allergy, you must know more about your nose.


Essential Oils for Runny Nose


Most people have no idea that the nose is a very complex organ. Besides helping us to smell everything around us, it can also warm and modify the air you inhale. The nose is your first line of defense.


It protects against external damaging factors and the environment. Stella Lee, a professor at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, calls it a “gatekeeper”.


The nose is where the immune system starts to react to external harmful stimuli. Most of the times, it succeeds in preventing many diseases.


When you’re not sick, the nose’s usual activity is to trap bacteria, germs, fungi, and viruses. It can do so with the help of the mucus that lines the walls of the nose.


For various reasons, the immune system can weaken. That is when the pathogens can enter the body and start causing infection. Once inside, the immune system starts “hunting” for the pathogens and tells the nose cells to produce more mucus. That’s how you get a nasal congestion.


Nasal congestion is also known as a stuffy nose. When that congestion leaks out, you’ll get a snotty nose. Niaouli, Eucalyptus, and Peppermint are good essential oils for a snotty nose. 


Rosemary is also among the best essential oils to diffuse for a stuffy nose. Use small amounts though and dilute them with a Citrus essential oil. Otherwise, these oils can irritate the nose and cause coughing.


Sneezing is another symptom that tells you your nose is irritated and tries to get rid of pathogens. In this case, the best essential oils for sneezing are the same as those for a runny nose. The faster your body eliminates the irritant(s), the faster you can stop sneezing. 


The nasal cavity fills with a lot of excess fluid, which starts to slowly leak out. After congestion, enters a runny nose. What makes essential oils useful for runny nose is that they stimulate that leakage to happen faster.


That way, you won’t have to sniffle or blow your nose for a whole week or more. You can just be done with it in a couple of days.


Unfortunately, that excess fluid (mucus) needs to get out. That means that you’ll still have to deal with a runny nose. Therefore, use your essential oils for sniffles the moment you notice them. 


But 2 or 3 days are nothing compared to 10 days. That’s how much it usually lasts for your body to clear the pathogens out and get you healthy again.


It all comes down to the integrity of your immune system. When it’s weakened, it can’t prevent pathogens from entering the body efficiently.


In that moment, it can also mistakenly react to normal and otherwise unharming pathogens like pollen or dust. That’s when allergies and asthma happen.


Now you know what happens when you get rhinorrhea while being sick. It makes sense to use essential oils for runny nose, to get rid of it as fast as possible and recover just as fast.


The oils don’t focus only on relieving mucus. They can also boost your immune system; soothe the pain, headaches, fever, and so on.


Anything that irritates, inflames or infects the nasal tissue may lead to a congested nose followed by a runny nose.


Essential Oils for Runny Nose, Natural Remedy


Tips to Prevent a Runny Nose


It is a lot easier to prevent colds and the flu at home, but you can’t do it everywhere. Your daily life makes you get out and pass through crowds.  These are usually the best environment for the spreading of these viruses.


Nonetheless, you can still do something to improve your immune system to defend you from viruses and allergies.


  • If you are sick, after blowing your nose, throw the paper tissue immediately. Wash your hands with soap. The eliminated mucus is loaded with pathogens that can make the others or you sick again.
  • Also, don’t touch your mouth or nose without washing your hands, especially around sick people. These viruses can re-infect a person almost immediately. Especially since the immune system is already weakened after battling a previous virus.
  • Don’t blow your nose too hard! That can help the viruses go even deeper into the body and cause more infection.
  • Moist the inside of your nose with a saline solution. That’ll help it eliminate the mucus faster and regain its normal lining thickness.
  • Drink lots of fluids to help evacuate the excess mucus as fast as possible.
  • Take vitamin C supplements to strengthen the immune system.
  • If the sickness lasts more than 10 days, with a constant runny nose, you should go to the doctor immediately.


Essential Oils for Runny Nose, Sleep Better


Tips to Sleep Better When You Have a Runny Nose


Since a runny nose can affect the quality of sleep, here are some tips to prevent that:


  • Avoid taking vitamin C after 5 PM! Its stimulant properties may prevent the body from slowing down and preparing for sleep.
  • Avoid taking antibiotics as they can do more harm than good.
  • Eat something light and hydrate very well. Your body should only focus on getting rid of the virus, not on digestion.
  • Take a hot bath with a good essential oil blend to help you relax and open up your nasal passageways.
  • Massage your nostrils with a simple lotion before going to sleep.




A few good practices can become healthy habits that can prevent you from getting sick. Even when you have to stay around ill people, the use of essential oils for runny nose can help you fight off the pathogens.


They are a great way of staying healthy! That is mainly because these aromatic oils, not only do they have really nice scents, but they can also improve our health.

What is your practical way of preventing or treating your runny nose? Do you have an essential oil blend recipe that works every time?


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