Sesame Oil for Better Breathing

Are you having breathing challenges? Try this Ayurveda practice.

Sesame oil is my choice for oil pulling. I’ve tried both coconut and sesame and I do rotate between them. Coconut oil was an easy option living in Singapore where it remains liquid at room temperature. Moving home to Vancouver, with colder temperatures, using sesame oil has been easier and more pleasurable.

I also love sesame oil and due to the dryness of indoor heating I’ve been looking for ideas and realized that it is another Ayurvedic practice called Nasya to place a drop or two of sesame oil inside each nostril. Not only does it lubricate and so protect the respiratory passageways, sesame oil can also help to clear mucous. In Ayurveda the nose is important as it is the entrance to the brain and for prana or life force. Sesame oil is known for its warming and grounding qualities and can be calming for the nervous system. 

Some people may enjoy specially-made Nasya oil which includes a combination of herbs such as eucalyptus, gotu kala, and skullcap. There are also formulations to help with sleep.

The choice for oils depends on your dosha, according to Ayurveda. Another option is ghee.  You can also infuse your own oils with herbs. 

The idea for nasal application is to coat the inside of each nostril. You can then also massage the sinus areas for better distribution.

If you do use sesame oil be sure to get the right kind. It isn’t the stuff you cook with. So not toasted sesame oil. I like the organic expelled pressed oil and I’ve seen practitioners use both refined and unrefined. 

Some contraindications I found include:

  • If you have an active fever
  • If you are experiencing an acute illness
  • Before eating or drinking 
  • Before taking a shower
  • If you are currently pregnant
  • If you’ve recently given birth 
  • During menstruation 
  • If you experience asthma

Aside from sinus health, nasya practice also can also offer migraine relief, mental well being, immune support, and overall respiratory health. It is also one of the traditional five detoxification techniques in Ayurveda.

I bought a bottle just before we went camping, realizing it was not as user-friendly. So I have it stored in a dropper bottle which I put in my pant pocket to keep warm, prior to applying it. I love the smell of sesame so that is already a pleasure for me. Oiling my nostrils sounded fiddly and it is much easier when in an inclined position. Camping has also allowed me to deepen my self-care routine, enjoying Jin Shin and Nasya as I lay beneath the stars and full moon.

Health Disclaimer

Information provided on the What Therapy platform is for educational purposes and to raise awareness. Check in with your healthcare practitioner, naturopath, functional medicine doctor, etc, regarding any changes you want to make.