Is Tea Tree Essential Oil Effective For Chronic Sinusitis?

Is Tea Tree Essential Oil Effective For Chronic Sinusitis?
Is Tea Tree Essential Oil Effective For Chronic Sinusitis?

Curejoy Expert Dipti Mothay Explains:

Chronic sinusitis is a common condition in which the cavities around nasal passages (sinuses) become inflamed and swollen — for at least eight weeks, despite treatment attempts. Also known as chronic rhinosinusitis, this condition interferes with drainage and causes mucus to build up.


What Are The Causes of Chronic Sinusitis?

Most cases of chronic sinusitis develop following an acute sinusitis infection. The following are causes of acute sinusitis that may progress into a chronic sinusitis:

Respiratory Tract Infections

Infections in your respiratory tract most commonly, colds can inflame and thicken your sinus membranes, block mucus drainage and create conditions ripe for growth of bacteria. These infections can be viral, bacterial or fungal in nature.


According to studies the exacerbation of chronic sinusitis is often polymicrobial, with anaerobic bacteria predominating. However, aerobic bacteria that are usually associated with acute sinusitis (eg, S pneumoniae, H influenzae, M catarrhalis) may emerge (1).

Nasal Polyps

These tissue growths may block the nasal passages or sinuses.


Allergic Reactions

Allergic triggers include fungal infection of the sinuses.

Deviated Nasal Septum

A crooked septum — the wall between the nostrils — may restrict or block sinus passages.


Trauma To The Face

A fractured or broken facial bone may cause obstruction of the sinus passages.

Other Medical Conditions

The complications of cystic fibrosis, gastroesophageal reflux, or HIV and other immune system-related diseases may result in nasal blockage.


Allergies Such As Hay Fever

Inflammation that occurs with allergies may block your sinuses.

Immune System Cells

With certain health conditions, immune cells called eosinophils can cause sinus inflammation.


All of these factors can play a role in disruption of the intrinsic mucociliary transport system. This is because an alteration in sinus ostia patency, ciliary function, or the quality of secretions leads to stagnation of secretions, decreased pH levels, and lowered oxygen tension within the sinus. These changes create a favorable environment for bacterial growth that, in turn, further contributes to increased mucosal inflammation.

Is Tea Tree Essential Oil Effective for Chronic Sinusitis?

Tea tree oil has antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties. Its main compound terpinen-4-ol has been proven to possess antimicrobial functions so tea tree oil can effectively fight with any type of sinuses invaders. The primary uses of tea tree oil have historically capitalized on the antiseptic and anti-inflammatory actions of the oil (2).


Directions For Use

Tea tree oil can irritate the mucous membranes of the throat and nose so it should be used only as directed. The only way to apply tea tree oil is to add it to water and to steam the nasal passageways with the help of a vaporizer. Tea tree oil helps infuse the sinus cavities with antibacterial and antiviral compounds. By inhaling it, you deliver the antibiotic directly to your suffering nasal membranes.


The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine warns that tea tree oil should not directly be used internally or swallowed, as it contains many toxic chemicals. There is not a recommended dosage for tree tea oil, as it is not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration; however, the Mayo Clinic advises that tea tree oil products should not be used for longer than one month at a time.


  1. Brook I, Foote PA, Frazier EH. Microbiology of acute exacerbation of chronic sinusitis. Laryngoscope. 2004. 114:129-31.
  2. Melaleuca alternifolia (Tea Tree) Oil: a Review of Antimicrobial and Other Medicinal Properties- C. F. Carson et al