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A couple weeks ago I got hit with a really nasty bug (cold, flu, other? not sure, but it sucked!). I have not been sick in well over 4 years and this one hit me hard. I was totally unprepared and it was totally unexpected. I had gotten so used to never getting sick that I didn’t even pay attention to the first day of mild symptoms. I just blamed it on the fact that I hadn’t slept well the night before.

Then, the next day, the bug let me know it was there — in full force. I spent most of the week on the couch, trying to nap when I was able, and watching more T.V. than I have in a long time. On the plus side, I am now officially caught up on pretty much every show I’ve been missing. 😉

The worst of it hung on for about 5 days, but even after the fever and sore throat were gone, I was left dealing with respiratory issues for over a week more. So in total, this bug hung around for over two weeks.

Boooo on you bugs!

One thing that was super helpful was doing herbal steams to help soothe my sinuses and my lungs. My sinuses went from being constantly plugged up to being sore and raw and back again, while my whole respiratory system had a chronic tickle that caused me to cough every couple minutes. The herbal steams felt SO good during this time.

Using herbal steam is a super easy (and safe) way to inhale some wonderfully aromatic and medicinal herbs. Plus, it helps soothe your nasal passages and can assist in breaking up congestion and all of the gook.

There’s no right or wrong way to do this and you can really use any herbs that you like. Since I was so sick and was not about to run to the store, I used some of the herbs that I had on hand, which was peppermint, chamomile, rosemary, and sage. All of these are super helpful for respiratory issues, and they smell wonderful. Some other beneficial herbs include:

  • Thyme
  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Eucalyptus
  • Lavender
  • Pine needles (or cypress or fir)
  • Citrus peels
  • Spearmint
  • Cinnamon
  • Clove
  • Ginger

You could use fresh or dried herbs in this recipe. I used dried since that is all I had on hand. I get all of my organic, sustainably harvested dried herbs from Mountain Rose Herbs (one of my all time favorite affiliate partners). I have tried so many other brands of herbs and keep coming back to them because the quality is superior. Check them out here.

Herbal Salt Steam Instructions

Did I mention this is simple? And simple is good when you’re sick! 🙂

Equipment Needed

  • Medium sized pot
  • Large towel
  • Herbs of your choice
  • Sea salt
  • Filtered Water (make sure you use filtered water so you’re not inhaling any chlorine or other nasties present in most tap water)


I did a large batch of this and re-used the mixture for a full 24 hours (just reheating each time I wanted to steam and keeping the lid on between uses), so these are roughly the amounts I used for each batch. Honestly, I was so sick that I didn’t even measure, but thankfully this is a recipe where precise measurements really don’t matter. Feel free to adjust the amounts up or down depending on your needs.

  1. Place 2 quarts of boiling water in a pot and bring to a boil.
  2. Add 1/4 cup of each herb that you are using (I used peppermint, chamomile, sage, and rosemary).
  3. Add 1/4 cup sea salt.
  4. Stir the herbs and salt in, cover, and remove from heat.

Now, choose your location for the steam. I did mine standing in the kitchen with my soup pot in the middle of my counter on a couple of potholders me standing over the counter. My husband said the dogs looked at me very strangely during my steams. They were not quite sure about me disappearing under a towel I suppose. You could also set it up to where you can sit down at a table in order to make it a little more comfortable.

Remove the lid to the pot and then you’ll place a towel over your head as you lean over the pot. This helps capture the steam so you can breathe it in. Be careful at first until you get a good gauge on the temperature of the steam. You don’t want to burn your face or get too close to the water. You’ll need to adjust the distance of where your face is over the bowl or the pan based on how hot it is.

Breathe deeply for a minimum of five minutes, but if you can go for 10 that’s even better. Try to relax and just let the steam soothe those poor nostrils and lungs.

When you’re done, remove the towel and pat your face dry. Then go blow your nose. And blow some more. And probably some more. You can even use a neti pot (Amazon affiliate link) to help wash out anything that’s been loosened up.

Save the herb water for your next steam. Like I said, this can be used again and again for up to 24 hours. I would brew a new batch each morning and then use it for the full day. When I was done, I threw the herbs into the compost pile.

You can do this team as often as you want. When I was super sick, I was doing it every hour or two, and it was felt so good and gave me so much relief.

An added benefit of the regular steaming, is that your skin and your pores are going to look amazing! Don’t forget to moisturize after you get done with the steam.

Hope you feel better!

P.S. Are you struggling with self-care? Self-care is a foreign concept for most people, but it is absolutely the most important thing that we can do every day. I would love to give you a copy of my eBook, Self-Care for Vibrant Living, where I will show you how to put your needs first and make self-care a part of your daily routine. Sign up for my newsletter here (or click the button below) and receive a complimentary copy.

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