Steaming, who does it. For what and why?

JodieDownUnder Posts: 1,483 admin
edited November 2020 in Herbal Medicine-Making

I'd always thought steaming (boil water, poured into a bowl and add something and placing towel over head and inhaling) was good if you had a stuffy nose. Usually I added a couple drops of eucalyptus oil to the boiled water. Got to thinking would it work for other issues say insomnia, viruses like COVID19 etc. So last night before bed I had a rummage around my magic medicine draw and added the following to my bowl of steaming water. Calendula flower tulsi, camomile flower, all dried and added the following fresh from my garden ginger, lemon balm and oregano. Thinking it would be a blend for sleep and anti viral all in one. Then I strained it into a cup, added a teaspoon honey and sipped it in bed. My measurements were all guessed, what felt right. I slept ok, not great but better than other nights and my sinuses are nice and clear this morning. Plus I had a nice herbal facial. Think I'll do more of it. What are others experience with steaming please?


  • Alison
    Alison Posts: 179 ✭✭✭

    I've not been much of a 'steamer', but had used it for one of my children when they had asthma and it certainly helped alleviate symptoms.

    I know that if my sinuses are blocked then a hot steamy shower helps. I have found however that if it's sinus's then there's some videos on youtube that chiropractors and other natural therapists have posted about some basic massage for the nose/ forehead area that helps it get unblocked. I have used it and it's worked very well - immediately.

    There were times when I took my daughter for a mother / daughter facial a few times as a special bonding type treat and they had a steamer made to blow over the face to open the pores to help with the next step of cleansing.

    That's about the limit of my experience. I am sure there's a lot of benefits and videos online that can be found.

  • Desiree
    Desiree Posts: 255 ✭✭✭

    I have used it for respiratory issues, facial cleansing and sometimes just for the calming factor. There is something to the act of breathing in the aromatics that some plants offer that is just satisfying, much like when you hover over your warm cup of tea, but on a bigger scale. :)

  • Megan Venturella
    Megan Venturella Posts: 678 ✭✭✭✭

    That's so funny... I've been really into steaming and not too long ago some friends happened by while I was getting ready to do a little facial and we all hunkered down under towels and steamed our skin. It was so relaxing and everyone's skin GLOWED afterward. For my skin I use a mixture of dried herbs. Calendula, comfrey, lavender, rose petals, and chamomile. I think the recipe was from Rosemary Gladstar for normal to dry skin. It was surprisingly relaxing, and one of my friends started to nod off- not great with your face suspended over steaming hot water, but kind of funny.

    For my son's congestion we've been doing it with a tea tree and oregano essential oils. That combination really helped the last time he was sick. It got all the mucous moving so he could get it out.

  • DebiB
    DebiB Posts: 92 ✭✭✭

    My mom used steaming, the bowl of hot water and towel method, all the time when we had colds growing up. Currently @jodienancarrow , I prefer the method you used, making a lovely cup of tea to relax with.

  • herbantherapy
    herbantherapy Posts: 453 ✭✭✭✭

    I love a good long full body steam with eucalyptus. I just hang a spring on my shower head, turn up the heat and let the water get caught in a pan while I stand or sometimes sit in the steam.

    I have recently been introduced to vaginal steams. I was hesitant and didn’t have any medical reason to test it out but it made sense for inflammation or chronic infections. So I decided to try it while feeling healthy rather than trying something new in a crisis. Now I’m kind addicted. Obviously I feel clean afterwards but also so feminine and honored as a woman. I used calendula and rose petals in a pan filled with hot water, sat it in my tub and squatted over it. I also felt strong and connected to my ancestors who would have birthed children in this more upright natural fashion (minus the steam, most likely). Using my upper legs to hold my throne position I felt like a queen, so pampered.

  • sarah121
    sarah121 Posts: 129 ✭✭✭

    @herbantherapy I've also recently been introduced to yoni therapy and am in 100% agreement! Herbs for that delicate area are much needed, and WOW how clean and fresh you feel afterwards! I'm thinking of putting a few blends together for common issues like candida and period pain. I was sent a link to this blog by a herbal friend in Australia. She took the course and mentioned it was really good. Perhaps it might be of interest to you - she has a lot of useful info on her site:

    My last blend was marigold, lavender and rosemary. Very refreshing!

  • sarah121
    sarah121 Posts: 129 ✭✭✭

    @Alison one of the best blends I've found for clearing sinus congestion and relieving headaches is equal parts elderflower, peppermint and yarrow. You can also diffuse essential oils which is great for banishing bugs and lifting the mood at the same time!

  • herbantherapy
    herbantherapy Posts: 453 ✭✭✭✭

    @sarah121 thank you! I look forward to reading the article.

  • Karin
    Karin Posts: 272 ✭✭✭

    I have only ever used steaming with essential oils, either for colds and blocked noses or for skin care! Hadn't thought about using the herbs in the bowl, but it makes sense, will have to give it a go, as we are coming into winter. Of course, with everyone physically distancing from each other, I don't think there will be as many colds and flus going around this winter :))

  • SherryA
    SherryA Posts: 314 ✭✭✭

    I have had pain and congestion in my lungs for about 2 months, and I've done a fair bit of steaming. It helped with the congestion in my lungs and sinuses. One naturopath told me to use rosemary leaves in the water. I've done that and also used eucalyptus oil and thyme oil.

  • SuperC
    SuperC Posts: 951 ✭✭✭✭

    I’ve steamed only in the shower not so much with a towel over my head with essential oils or backyard herbs/flowers.

  • burekcrew86
    burekcrew86 Posts: 248 ✭✭✭

    We have been using steam from a bowl of hot water, essential oils and a towel to tent the steam for congestion/colds, sinuses and bronchial issues. Works great!

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,635 admin

    This link just arrived in my inbox about herbal steaming and how great it is for respiratory illnesses.

    Suggestions in here for how to as well as different herbs (or oils) to use.

    Steaming was something my mother always used to do for us for colds. I still do it but often forget until I am very plugged up.

  • dipat2005
    dipat2005 Posts: 1,277 ✭✭✭✭

    @JodieDownUnder my kids used to get croup until they were two and I used steam for them. Helped a lot.

  • karenjanicki
    karenjanicki Posts: 968 ✭✭✭✭

    I have used it before to help when I was sick and coughing and struggling with difficulty breathing. It seemed to be beneficial. Supposedly it's good for your skin as well.

  • Tave
    Tave Posts: 952 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I forget about steaming, but I love the idea of making a tea with it, too. I may have to try that.

  • MissPatricia
    MissPatricia Posts: 318 ✭✭✭

    I used to steam my face as part of my beauty regimen, but more recently, I tried it because I suffered from severe coughing and phlegm. I did not think it helped much though I am sure it had to have some good results because I added essential oils. Guess I shall do it occasionally in the future.

  • nicksamanda11
    nicksamanda11 Posts: 741 ✭✭✭✭

    We are steaming frankincense resin today with spearmint EO. I may add a few slices of purple onion later if anyone gets more congested. Good ideas on here too- maybe I'll just put everything in there😁

  • jowitt.europe
    jowitt.europe Posts: 1,454 admin

    I always have a mixture ready for steaming. And I do steam, when my nose is blocked. Or for unpleasant coughs. Or sore throat The ingredients in the mixture vary depending on what herbs I do have. I always put some with strong ethereal oils, some fore dissolving mucus and something for soothing pain. My present mixture is: lime blossoms, lavender, Juniper nuts, Plantain, icelandic moss and thyme.

    I steam like my parents taught me - with a towel over my head. I try to teach my grandchildren to steam as well. I hope they will not be scared of the procedure.

    there are many very useful herbs mentioned in this discussion. I am sure they all help a lot either for the skin or for respiratory issues.

  • water2world
    water2world Posts: 1,156 ✭✭✭✭

    @JodieDownUnder I really never steamed until Covid. Info I received was to add thyme (preferrably), or oregano to a bowl of boiling water--Tent with towel and inhale steam. Every time we were around other people, first thing we did when we got home was to steam. So far, so good!

  • Jaylene
    Jaylene Posts: 53 ✭✭✭

    I use steams to clear my sinuses when I am sick, or for my kids. Also for coughs. I have an abundance of eucalyptus trees, rosemary, lavender, thyme and roses that all work very nicely. I also use steams for my face but haven’t done it in a long time so this is a great reminder😊. I think it is a great idea to try for calming or stress. What a lovely idea for some self care

  • marjstratton
    marjstratton Posts: 1,132 ✭✭✭✭

    I've never really steamed. Just a nice cup of tea and inhaling the steam while I sip on the tea. It does sound like a good ritual to get into for sinuses, immunity and relaxation. For sinuses, I have always just used a Netti pot.