Steam inhalation introduces warm, moist air into the lungs via the nose and throat for therapeutic benefit and it is a simple and effective home remedy for a range of health issues.
Inhaling steam is a great treatment for respiratory complications and is recommended for dealing with common cold, flu, bronchitis, sinusitis, asthma, and allergies. Dry air passages are moistened, and mucus is loosened or eliminated which promotes easier coughing or nose blowing. The moist air also alleviates difficulty breathing, throat irritation and inflammation.
An expectorant increases the amount of secretions, resulting in clearer secretions and as a result, lubricates the irritated respiratory tract. The inhalation of steam significantly benefits the lungs and throat by acting like an effective natural expectorant. This helps to relax muscles, thereby relieving coughing. Inhaling steam can also help prevent excessive drying of the mucous membranes.
How to inhale steam
Place 4 cups of boiling water in a bowl. Drape a towel over your head and the bowl to ensure steam does not escape. Continue to inhale until the steam has evaporated, (approximately ten minutes). This helps to free up nasal passages.
If you suffer from chest related problems, you could benefit from steam inhalation at least twice a day.
Some great variations
• Use the above steps but this time add 4-6 drops of eucalyptus oil to the water. The oil has an anti-viral and anti-bacterial effect.
• Again, use the hot water in bowl method but this time place a peppermint tea bag in the bowl whilst you breath in the steam. The menthol from the peppermint tea can help clear the sinuses.
• Try a chamomile tea bag instead of a peppermint one for a soothing effect on the nasal membranes.
• For a natural way to relieve headaches, especially sinus related headaches, try a peppermint, eucalyptus and lavender hot steam inhalation. Directions are as for the plain hot steam inhalation above, but then add:
◦ 1 drop of peppermint oil
◦ 2 drops eucalyptus oil, and
◦ 2 drops lavender oil.
Note: Always put water in the bowl first then add the drops of oil.