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EO penetrates the respiratory tract, providing a soothing effect, or on the contrary stimulating, depending on the case. Not all EOs can be administered this way: some can cause eye irritation, others have an unpleasant odor or can be irritating to the respiratory tract. The olfactory route is used by diffusion or inhalation .

Diffusion :

The atmospheric diffusion of a HE makes it possible to sanitize and / or perfume a room but it also creates a climate of relaxation. The antiseptic activity of citrus essences is indeed a good way to prevent certain infections such as the flu or the common cold. However, some EO present a strong aggressiveness for the mucous membranes, such as oregano or savory, rich in phenols. Others remain toxic to the nervous system, in particular the EOs of peppermint and wintergreen. Not all oils can therefore be used in diffusion .

Diffusion is particularly suitable for nervous problems such as anxiety or insomnia, the purification of a room and the elimination of insects. In the absence of a diffuser , let diffuse 4 to 5 drops in a saucer or in a humidifier near a heat source below 40 ° C (in order to avoid denaturing the molecules). Never let diffuse continuously in a closed room, especially in the presence of children, the elderly, asthmatics, allergies, epilepsy, neuro-deficient or pregnant women (risk of convulsions in the best case). The duration of a diffusion must not exceed 10 minutes, at a rate of 3 times a day maximum, ventilating the diffusion space afterwards.


Inhalation decongests the respiratory tract and tones the skin of the face.

Wet inhalation consists of mixing hot water not exceeding 40 ° C with 6 drops of EO in a bowl then isolating your face with a towel covering your head above the bowl in order to inhale vapors for 3 to 5 minutes. However, this method is not recommended for people with asthma and / or allergies. It should preferably be done in the evening before bedtime when you no longer have to leave your home in order to avoid any contact with the outside air, cold or pollution, which may irritate the skin and mucous membranes. , and therefore to avoid catching bronchitis or even sinusitis stupidly. It is essential to keep your eyes closed throughout the inhalation. In addition, dermocaustic EOs should not be used via this mode of administration as this may cause mucocutaneous irritation.

Dry inhalation consists of impregnating a paper tissue with 2 drops of EO and then covering the nose with the tissue. A deep inspiration then makes it possible to quickly clear the nasal mucosa and to prevent winter respiratory infections. EO can also be applied on the inside of the wrists before inspiration. This method combines the respiratory tract and the systemic (cutaneous) route. Indeed, the wrists being richly vascularized, the ET quickly reaches the general circulation, soothing without delay a nervous breakdown or an emotional shock.

Inhalation is however not recommended for children under 12 years of age, due to the risk of bronchospasm.

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