I believe in the therapeutic properties of herbs and essential oils. I love that I can share my experiences and recipes.
I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that I suffer from seasonal allergies. They present themselves in a number of different ways. None of them are any fun. I either sneeze repeatedly or my nasal congestion acts up. The congestion teams up with a headache which feels like a hammer pounding my forehead after a sneeze attack. I know I sound overly dramatic but honestly, the stuffy nose and puffy eyes get old fast. No amount of under-eye concealer can save me on my worst allergy days.
So, when I discovered inhaler sticks, I was really excited. I know how inhaling certain essential oils can help with nasal congestion, seasonal allergies, and even a headache. The fact that I could have all that first aid benefit in one little container no bigger than my lipstick was just incredible to me.
I always carry one of my inhaler sticks in my handbag now. Well, that’s not entirely true. The truth is, I carry a few because you never know when you might need a mood-lifting pick-me-up or some headache and congestion relief.
Benefits of Essential Oil Inhaler Sticks
- I can customize my inhalers to suit my holistic and lifestyle needs.
- Inhaler sticks are inexpensive. I found a pack of 12 plain white plastic inhalers with wicks for around $10 on Amazon.com.
- Inhaler sticks are small and portable.
Inhaler Stick Considerations
The fancy inhalers will have a glass bottle insert. Some of the less expensive plastic inhalers may simply insert the wick into the bottom half of a plastic vessel. Here are a few reasons why I prefer (and recommend) glass inhalers:
- Not all the inhaler sticks on the market have glass interiors. The inexpensive plastic inhalers will place the wick straight into a plastic vessel. I prefer the glass bottle option because essential oils can deteriorate plastic over time. This is not the case with glass. The inhaler with the glass bottle insert will cost you more but this type of inhaler will last for a very long time. Consider it an investment in your health.
- Once you’ve capped the plastic inhalers, you can’t remove the wick easily. However, you can replace the wick with the glass bottle insert type. When you are ready to replace the wick in the glass bottle, dump the old wick in the trash can. Then rinse out the little bottle with mild soap and hot water. Allow it to dry thoroughly. You could use a Q-tip to remove most of the moisture in the glass inhaler vial. Use a tweezer to place a new wick into the glass vial. If you use your fingers you run the risk of contaminating the wick and ultimately the essential oils.
- 1 inhaler stick with a wick
- 20 drops essential oils
- Uncap the inhaler stick.
- Use a tweezer to place the wick into the inhaler stick cavity.
- Drop 20 drops of your chosen essential oils onto the wick.
- The wick will drink (absorb) the oils.
- Replace the cap and casing.
- If you want to make a few different blends, I suggest that you label your inhalers.
How Do You Use Essential Oil Inhaler Sticks?
- Remove the inhaler stick cover.
- Place the stick in front of one nostril and close the other nostril with a finger.
- Inhale deeply.
- Change to the other nostril and repeat.
- If the stick touched your nose, wipe the inhaler stick with a cotton swab or tissue and recap it.
- You can use inhaler sticks between three and four times a day.
A Quick Heads Up About the Safe Use of Aromatherapeutic Inhalers
It's important to follow dilution guidelines even for aromatherapeutic uses. The American College of Healthcare Sciences offers some recommendations on dilutions, patch testing, and the use of photosynthetic essential oils. Be sure to read up on recommended uses for the specific oils you're mixing into your personal diffuser.
When Should I Replace Inhaler Wicks?
The inhaler stick houses a wick that absorbs the essential oils and traps the aroma. As you use your inhaler stick, the aroma will weaken as the oils evaporate. You can always add essential oils to the wick when you feel the scent has faded. However, the wick will deteriorate, and the oils will oxidize over time.
If your inhaler’s aroma (scent) changes or smells bad, please remove the wick from the glass vial immediately and throw it away. Since you can’t easily remove the wick from the plastic inhalers, you will have to throw the whole inhaler away.
Depending on how often you use your inhaler stick, it should last anywhere from three to six months before it needs to be replaced.
How Do I Store My Essential Oil Inhaler Stick?
- It’s important to recap your inhaler stick quickly because essential oils oxidize when they are exposed to light, heat, and air.
- Keep them in a cool dry place at home. The bathroom would not be suitable but a drawer in your bedroom would work.
- Avoid leaving them in the car. Especially in the summer. The heat will cause the oils to deteriorate faster. I prefer to carry mine in my purse when I’m out and about.
Multi-purpose Essential Oils
As you read through the recipe and blend combinations below, you will notice that some essential oils show up in multiple recipes. Many essential oils have dual benefits. We call them adaptogens.
- Eucalyptus essential oil: Eucalyptus oil is my daily hero. It helps to wake me up in the morning and it clears my sinus congestion. If I have a headache I can count on eucalyptus for relief. Eucalyptus oil is a prime example that you don’t need an essential oil inventory equivalent to a forest. A handful can provide you with a powerful first aid arsenal.
- Peppermint essential oil: Peppermint is used for mild nausea, jet lag, headache, sinus congestion, mental focus, and more.
- Rosemary essential oil: Rosemary promotes focus, relieves sinus congestion, alleviates mild headaches, and more.
- Lavender essential oil: Lavender promotes calm, supports sleep, and can also help with a mild headache.
Suggested Essential Oil Blends For Inhalers
**Some essential oils are photosensitive and thus pose a risk when used excessively on the skin. They are also subject to degradation when not used properly. Use with care and store in a tinted glass bottle.
Early Morning Boost
- 10 drops of eucalyptus
- 10 drops of rosemary or 10 drops of peppermint
Calming and Relaxing
- 10 drops of lavender
- 10 drops of chamomile
- 10 drops bergamot**
- 10 drops frankincense
Mild Nausea, Jet Lag, or Mental Fatigue (A Great Travel Accessory)
- 6 drops ginger
- 6 drops peppermint
- 5 drops fennel
- 3 drops lemon**
Sinus Congestion and Mild Headache
- 7 drops peppermint
- 7 drops eucalyptus
- 6 drops basil
- 8 drops peppermint
- 8 drops eucalyptus
- 4 drops rosemary
Tension Headache (Helps Relieve Some Stress and Fight the Headache)
- 7 drops peppermint
- 5 drops lavender
- 4 drops frankincense
- 4 drops chamomile
- 8 drops lavender
- 6 drops frankincense
- 6 drops chamomile
Allergy Relief (For Mild Symptom Relief)
- 7 drops lemon**
- 6 drops lavender
- 7 drops peppermint
Sleep Aid Blend or Sleep Aid (To Help You Fall Asleep)
- 10 drops lavender
- 10 drops marjoram or 10 drops cedarwood or 10 drops chamomile
Focus and Motivation (Promotes Mental Clarity and Concentration)
- 9 drops eucalyptus
- 7 drops peppermint
- 4 drops cinnamon
- 8 drops rosemary
- 7 drops lemon**
- 3 drops cypress
Use Caution When Working With Essential Oils and Inhalers
Many oils have complementary and overlapping therapeutic properties. As you discover these properties, you can start to experiment with aromas. However, the safe use of essential oils in an inhaler or diffuser may not be safe as a topical treatment. Bergamot is generally safe in an inhaler but it can cause skin photosensitivity (sun sensitivity) if you use it in a body lotion, as mentioned above. This is also true for lemon.
The information on each essential oil in this list is for use in an inhaler only. Their use in topical treatments may require different vigilance.
- Basil: Avoid during pregnancy or breastfeeding
- Cedarwood: Avoid during pregnancy
- Cinnamon: Avoid if you use multiple medications. Avoid during pregnancy and if you are breastfeeding.
- Cypress: Avoid during pregnancy or breastfeeding
- Eucalyptus: Avoid during pregnancy or breastfeeding
- Fennel: Avoid if you use multiple medications. Avoid during pregnancy and if you are breastfeeding.
- Peppermint: Avoid during pregnancy or breastfeeding. Do not allow children under three years to inhale peppermint.
- Rosemary: Avoid during pregnancy
Please make sure that you keep your inhalers away from pets and small children and that you check the contra indicators for each oil prior to use.
Do not use any essential oils or essential oil blends if you have any underlying health conditions. Some oils are not safe for children, pregnant women, or pets. Always check with your doctor or certified aromatherapist if you are unsure about the benefits or contra-indicators of a recipe or its ingredients. This article is solely my platform to share my experiences with essential oils and other natural products. I do not prescribe any treatments.
Tisserand, Hana. Peppermint and Eucalyptus for Young Children. Tisserand Institute.
Tisserand, Robert, and Young, Robert. 2014. Essential Oil Safety. Second Edition.
Wilson, Celeste. Isla Verde Spa Training Academy Certificate of Aromatherapy Course.
Wilson, Celeste. National Higher Certificate in Beauty Therapy. The Durban University of Technology.
Worwood, Valerie Ann. The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy. 25th Anniversary Edition.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.