Nasya Oil: What You Need to Know about Ayurvedic Nose Oil

nasya nose oil

As the weather gets colder, the air also gets dryer – which can wreak havoc on your nasal passages.  A solution which has been used for centuries by people in the high mountains (with very dry air) is nasya oil. But nasya oil isn’t just for dry noses. There are many other potential health benefits.  Here’s what you need to know and how to maximize nasya oil’s benefits.


What Is Nasya?

When talking about nasya, most people are referring to nasal drops for sinusitis, dry nose or congestion.  However, nasya is actually the Ayurvedic process of administering herbal medicinal oils through the nasal cavity.   Because the nose is so porous and the active ingredients don’t have to go through the digestive system, nasya nose oil is considered a more effective delivery system than taking medicinal herbs orally. (1, 2, 3)


What Does Nasya Oil Contain?

The main ingredient in nasya oil is almost always sesame oil.  It is used as a carrier oil for the medicinal herbs, and also has many of its own health benefits when taken nasally.  Sometimes other carrier oils are also used, such as coconut oil or olive oil. The other ingredients in nasya oil vary depending on what it is being used for.

Nasya oil for nasal congestion, dryness and sinusitis usually contain these ingredients:

  • Brahmi: Also known as gotu kola, this herb helps heal nasal tissue
  • Skullcap: This herb reduces inflammation in the nasal passageways.
  • Eucalyptus: This herb helps loosen mucus, fights bacteria in the nasal passageway, heals nasal tissues and helps open the airways.
  • Jatamansi: Also known as tapaswani or spikenard, this herb helps with brain function, mental clarity and reducing stress.
  • Tulsi: Also known as holy basil, this herb is a natural antibacterial that can fight sinus infections and strengthen immune function.


Health Benefits of Nasya Oil

There are a lot of claims about the health benefits of nasya oil.  Here are the ones which are actually backed by scientific research.


1. Nasal Dryness

Various studies have shown that nasya sesame oil drops help with nasal dryness during winter.  The benefits of nasya were even better than using saline nasal spray.  Study subjects had less dryness, less stuffiness , and were able to breathe better.   The benefits occurred very quickly in less than two weeks of using nasya oil (4, 5)


2. Chronic Sinusitis

Chronic sinusitis occurs when the sinus cavities are inflamed for more than 3 months, even with treatment.  The inflammation interferes with mucus drainage, leading to infections and constant congestion and stuffiness.

Research shows that taking nasya oil as nose drops can actually heal chronic sinusitis.  Even pure sesame nasya oil can have benefits.  However, most studies looked at nasya oil with medicinal herbs such as Nigella sativa (black cumin).

These formulations seem to primarily work by reducing inflammation in the nasal passages so mucus can drain and tissue can heal.  They also have antibacterial properties which fight infections directly. (6, 7, 8)


3. Migraine

One traditional use of nasya oil is to treat migraines.  Many migraine medications are given nasally because they are better absorbed and brought to the head.   Various studies have shown that regularly using nasya oil – either as pure sesame oil or with medicinal herbs – can reduce migraine symptoms.  One study found benefits after just 7 days of use. (9, 10)


4. Nasal Vestibulitis

Nasal vestibulitis is a rare infection in nasal hair follicles.  It can look like a pimple at the opening of the nose.  This infection often occurs in people getting chemotherapy.

One study found that nasya oil with rose geranium had benefits in all study participants. Nearly half of the participants had dramatic or complete resolution of symptoms. (11)


5. Facial paralasis

A lesser-known benefit of nasya oil is for treating facial paralysis.  There haven’t been too many studies on this.  However, the existing studies are promising.   While taking nasya oil won’t cure facial paralysis, the studies did find benefits such as relieving facial distortion, improving speech, and allowing participants to shut their eyelids. (12)


How to Use Nasya Oil Instructions

There are two ways to use nasya oil: as drops or on your finger.


  1. Lie down so your head is tilted backwards.
  2. Put 3-5 drops of nasya oil in each nostril. Try to move the dropper around the perimeter of the nose. This way you can coat the entire nasal passage.
  3. Inhale through the nose deeply.
  4. Remain in the lying position for at least 3 minutes.


Finger Method:

  1. Put a drop of nasya oil on your pinkie finger.
  2. Put the finger into your nostril and gently move it in a circular motion.
  3. Remove your finger, put another drop of oil on it and repeat in the other nostril.
  4. Repeat this until each nostril has had 3-5 drops of oil applied.
  5. Inhale deeply.


Choosing Nasya Oil

  • What benefit do you need? Most nasya oil is formulated for nasal dryness or sinusitis.  If you want to use nasya oil for something else, such as treating migraines, make sure you carefully look at the ingredients.  You’ll need to match the ingredients to the benefits you want to get.
  • Avoid nasya oil which comes in plastic bottles.  Chemicals from the plastic can leach into the oil.   You definitely don’t want these chemicals to get into the sensitive nasal membranes!
  • Choose organic: Because the nasal passages are so sensitive, you don’t want to apply chemical ingredients to them.  For this reason, it’s smart to only buy nasya oil made with certified organic carrier oils. If possible, choose a nasya oil which is 100% organic.


Best Nasya Oil

1. Banyan Botanicals Nasya Oil

The nasya oil by Banyan Botanicals is formulated mainly for nasal benefits.  The calmus and skullcap in the oil also are very calming. It is light and soothing, though does have a slightly bad taste and smell due to the skullcap in it.

  • Best for: Nasal symptoms; calming
  • Ingredients: Refined Sesame oil, olive oil, brahmi, calamus, skullcap, eucalyptus essential oil
  • Organic: Yes – all ingredients
  • Available At: Banyan Botanicals Website, Amazon


2. Dr. Arenander’s BrainGain Nasya Oil

This nasya oil contains a huge list of Ayurvedic herbs with health benefits for the brain, nasal passages, mental health and more.  It’s definitely more intense of an oil than the milder one by Banyan Botanicals.  Make sure you test it on your skin first to see if you have a reaction.  And then only apply a small amount to your nasal passages.

  • Best for: Nasal symptoms; stress; memory
  • Ingredients: Cured sesame oil, cardamom, brahmi, shankhapushpi, shatavari, bacopa, jojoba oil, cold pressed castor oil, and an infusion of 15 additional herbs
  • Organic: Yes – all ingredients
  • Buy Here


3.  Prana Vata Nasya Oil

Here’s another nasya oil which is primarily formulated for nasal benefits.  It has just four ingredients and thus might not be as effective a formulation for chronic nasal conditions.  However, it doesn’t have the bad taste that Banyan Botanicals has.

  • Best for: Nasal symptoms
  • Ingredients: Sesame seed oil, Brahmi, Tulsi and Jatamansi
  • Organic: Yes – all ingredients
  • Buy Here


4. Mediate Nasya Oil

While this nasya oil can also be used for nasal symptoms, it is mostly formulated for stress and mental clarity.  The Jatamansi and shank pushpin are well-known for these benefits.  Some people even take them to improve intelligence, though this benefit isn’t as well backed by science.

  • Best for: Stress; memory
  • Ingredients: Sesame seed oil, organic coconut oil, Jatamansi, shankhapushpi, Brahmi, Tulsi, Ashwagandha
  • Organic: Yes – all ingredients
  • Buy Here


5. Paavani Nasya Oil

This is a very intense nasya oil which does a great job of decongesting sinuses.  It also has benefits for mental clarity and stress.  Note that the key ingredients are all organic but the essential oils are not.

  • Best for: Nasal symptoms; stress; memory
  • Ingredients: Sesame Oil, sunflower Oil, gotu kola, brahmi, shankhpushpi, tulsi, fennnel, rose, and essential Oils of eucalyptus, laurel leaf, peppermint, lemon, cardamom, ravensara, and tea Tree
  • Organic: Most ingredients
  • Buy Here


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