A Natural Approach: Inhalers for Sleep, Sinus Infection, Anxiety

by Andrea Butje on March 31, 2014

Multicolored aromatherapy inhalersI love inhalers!

Aromatherapy inhalers are easy to make, inexpensive, and simple to carry around. I’ve come up with a few recipes over the years that I make over and over again. I’ve found that having these on hand gives me a wonderful feeling of being supported in my life, especially when things get a little stressful.

Sleep: Use this one before bed. Leave the inhaler on your nightstand or bedside table, so if you wake up you can use it again.

5 drops Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
5 drops Balsam Copaiba (Copaifera officinalis)
5 drops Cedarwood (Juniperus virginiana)

Sinus Infection Relief: You can use this inhaler several times a day to help heal a sinus infection.

6 drops Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis)
4 drops Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia)
5 drops Ravintsara (Cinnamomum camphora ct. 1,8 cineole)

Anxiety: Try using this inhaler when you feel anxious. Inhale a few times slowly and let the aroma calm you.

7 drops Yuzu (Citrus junos)
1 drop Ylang Ylang (Cananga odorata)
7 drops Frankincense (Boswellia carterii)

You can get aromatherapy inhalers in a variety of colors. I like to pair up the “emotion” of the color with the purpose I’m blending for. If I’m making an inhaler for sleep or anxiety, I’ll use something calming like blue or purple. If I’m making one for a sinus infection, I’ll choose a color that feels bright and opening to me, like yellow. You can find them online. I buy my inhalers from Aromatics International.

Related Posts:

Introducing Xanthoxylum and Rhododendron Essential Oils
Aromatherapy Classes in Ithaca: Summer 2012
What is jojoba? Learn all about this amazing carrier!
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Andrea Butje

Owner/Instructor at Aromahead Institute
Aromahead Institute, owned by Andrea Butje, is a premier resource for online aromatherapy classes. Andrea offers her inspired approach to online aromatherapy certification through essential oil videos and original education materials. Check out her book, Essential Living: Aromatherapy Recipes for Health and Home, on Amazon!

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{ 39 comments… read them below or add one }

Janet Klock April 1, 2014 at 7:28 am

I love the idea of matching the color of the inhaler to the use of the oil. I hadn’t thought of that, but once I read this I thought “Brilliant”!! Thank you for all you do for those of us out here…


Hope Mylroie April 1, 2014 at 10:55 am

Where can I buy the inhalers?


Andrea Butje April 1, 2014 at 1:39 pm
Lorena April 1, 2014 at 4:35 pm

I have my own recipes for inhalators, these are very effective!


Kim Gehring April 1, 2014 at 5:31 pm

I get mine from Aromatics International. Inhalers are such an easy and convenient way to use essential oils! I love them! Andrea has a link to Aromatics International at the very end of the post.


Christina June 5, 2014 at 2:32 am

As I search internet, I am frequently looking for high quality website that have useful information, yours is one of them.


Andrea Butje June 5, 2014 at 8:39 am

Thank you for your sweet comment. You made my day!


Shondell July 9, 2014 at 4:11 am

What is used as the solid part?


toni July 29, 2014 at 8:53 pm

What do you use to contain the oils? Do you use a base or just add drops to the container and that’s all. Surly you use some sort of base?


marli August 13, 2014 at 1:08 am

In answer to toni and Shondell:
There are 4 parts to each inhaler: Inside, outside, cotton wick, and cap.
If you go to the website she’s linked at the end, you’ll see pictures of inhalers. The wick is inside and is what absorbs and holds the oils. No base needed :)
Hope that helps explain it.
Smiles, marli


christy August 16, 2014 at 9:41 pm

what are the wicks made out of and where do you find them and the inhalers?


Andrea Butje August 18, 2014 at 10:49 am

Christy- the wicks are made of cotton. I buy them here: http://www.aromaticsinternational.com/Blank_Inhalers


Andrea Butje August 18, 2014 at 10:49 am

Great Marli- thank you!! :)


Agnes September 16, 2014 at 8:01 am

Great article, Andrea. Prevention is better than cure, and this is especially true in the case of allergy induced sinusitis.


Andrea Butje September 18, 2014 at 5:56 pm

Thanks Agnes! I agree!


Doris Shapiro October 8, 2014 at 3:48 pm

Where can you buy the empty inhalers you show up top to make these?


Andrea Butje October 9, 2014 at 9:16 am
Carolyn December 9, 2014 at 5:10 pm

Hello. I happened across this post and wanted to ask you a question. My daughter is allergic to alfalfa and we happen to live in an alfalfa growing region. The fresh stuff doesn’t bother her, it’s when it’s been dried and baled and the bales get moved causing its dust to fly into the air. She develops breathing difficulty. It becomes very hard for her and she has to lie down. She gets an itchy area between her shoulder blades. There was a time when farmers must have moved their bales in the very early morning and she awoke, hardly able to breathe at all. She got up and took a shower and that helped. She uses “Breathe” essential oil mixture and it helps but an “inhaler” of sorts might be of benefit to her as well. I was wondering if you could point to a specific recipe for these symptoms?


Andrea Butje December 17, 2014 at 10:03 am

Hi Carolyn – so sorry to hear that about your daughter; allergies are the absolute worst. There is no quick answer, but I have a webinar called “Reduce Allergies Naturally” that could really help her. You can find out more info and register here for it: http://aromaheadwebinars.com/reduce-allergies-naturally/


Jess December 23, 2014 at 7:18 pm

I don’t get it… After you make it, then what?


Andrea Butje December 27, 2014 at 10:57 am

Then you use it, inhale the oils for calming. Works great to help with sleep and reduce anxiety.


Donna Rudolph January 24, 2015 at 1:29 pm

Gotta love inhalers!!! However, if you have toddlers roaming around your home, keep the materials put away. One day, a friend stopped by and was in a hurry. She wanted an inhaler. So I went to by supplies, being followed by my two year old grandson. I put the bag of inhaler pieces in the middle of our pool table, grabbed what I needed and went back upstairs. Left alone, my grandson pushed a footstool to the pool table and crawled up on it. He then got in the bag!! He came upstairs with 3 cotton inserts in his mouth. Not only that, he had a cotton insert sticking out of each ear! Scared me to death!! All this happened in 2-3 minutes. I had forgotten how fast little ones moved. When I have looked at cotton inserts, I have never thought “tasty” or “time to clean my ears” but evidently my grandson had those thoughts. I learned my lesson. No matter what, put everything away and never trust a two year old.


Andrea Butje January 26, 2015 at 11:57 am

Good advice!


Sheila McKay January 26, 2015 at 1:17 pm

where can we buy these ingredients to make these inhalers? I suffer greatly from anxiety, migraines, and loss of sleep.


Andrea Butje January 27, 2015 at 4:49 pm

Hi Sheila – Aromatics International has all of the ingredients you need on this blog post. Their website is http://www.aromaticsinternational.com :)


cj February 3, 2015 at 4:24 pm

How often do you need to add the oils on wicks?


LuAnn March 28, 2015 at 8:54 pm

I love these inhalers but I have question they look like they are made out of plastics wouldn’t the plastic interfere with the benefits of the oils? I know you can put the oils in styrofoam cup and actually breaks down the cup?


Victoria September 16, 2015 at 10:57 am

What holds the oil in the inhaler? Cotton? A diffuser pad?


Andrea Butje September 16, 2015 at 1:34 pm

Hi Victoria – there is a small cotton wick inside the inhaler that you’ll put the oils on.


Eva F September 16, 2015 at 1:17 pm

I am only beginning to buy essential oils and wonder often about substitutions, since I have a limited supply so far. For instance, is there a substitution for the Balsam Copaiba in the Sleep inhaler recipe? You are so very helpful, understanding and just plain nice!!! I thank you for all the advice you have given me.


Andrea Butje September 17, 2015 at 3:11 pm

Hi Eva – thanks for such a sweet compliment, I’m always happy to help! What oils can best substitute depends on the intent of the blend. In this case, Frankincense would be a nice substitution.


marli September 16, 2015 at 2:19 pm

Hi Andrea!
This reminder came at a good time, as a close friend is dealing with a sinus infection. My problem though, is I have no hemlock. Is there anything else I could use to help her?
She’s also dealing with the pain of endometriosis. Any wonderful oils I could help her with for that?
Thank you so much for all your help!!
Smiles, marli


Andrea Butje September 17, 2015 at 3:12 pm

Hi Marli – you can try Siberian Fir or Black Spruce in place of Hemlock :) Oils won’t have much effect on endometriosis, unfortunately.


marli September 17, 2015 at 3:14 pm

Thank you! I didn’t think there were any oils for endo, but thought I’d ask the expert.
~marli ;


Andrea Butje September 22, 2015 at 10:45 am

You’re welcome Marli :)


Shari Murphy September 16, 2015 at 5:33 pm

For the sleep inhaler, is there a doTERRA substitute for the balsam?



Andrea Butje September 17, 2015 at 3:13 pm

Hi Shari – I’m not familiar with doTerra’s oils, but Frankincense would be a nice substitution :)


Eva F September 17, 2015 at 3:55 pm

Maybe I have a clue here – woody might substitute for woody? In my experiments for sleep, using tissue on pillow, I found the best sleep result so far with Ylang Ylang (Cananga odorata)
and Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)mix, equal drops. I am totally immersed with learning about essential oils. I do have a Pain recipe that works for my RA, but am still limited on oils at present. Hopefully, tonight I will sleep better. :) You are wonderful, and so encouraging.


Andrea Butje September 22, 2015 at 10:47 am

Hi Eva – correct about woody to woody substitution :) I love to hear that Lavender and Ylang Ylang works so well for you (what a pretty combo too!). Thanks so much for the sweet comment, glad that you’re enjoying the world of essential oils!


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