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Olbas oil

Dr Roger Henderson
Reviewed by Roger HendersonReviewed on 29.04.2024 | 2 minutes read

Olbas oil is a natural decongestant medicine available at the pharmacy. When inhaled, it can relieve a blocked stuffy nose and catarrh in colds, flu, hay fever and sinus infections. It can also be applied to the skin to help treat muscle pain and stiffness found in back pain, arthritis and fibromyalgia.

How do I use the medication?

You can add a couple of drops of Olbas oil to a tissue and inhale or to a bowl of hot water, and you could place a tissue with Olbas oil under your pillow or bed to aid a good night’s rest. If you’re using it for muscle aches, massage a few drops into the painful area up to three times a day.

It’s available for use from 3 months old, but you should adjust the number of drops, depending on age. Your child may find the smell of the usual Olbas oil a bit overpowering, so a milder version is available called Olbas Oil For Children.

Children should be carefully supervised when inhaling Olbas oil and the hot water method is not recommended for those under 2. It’s not recommended for use directly on the skin for children under the age of 12.

Speak to your doctor or pharmacist if your symptoms do not improve after seven days of use.

How does it work?

Olbas oil contains a mixture of pure plant oils, including cajuput, eucalyptus, clove, mint and juniper berry oils which help to open up your sinuses and relieve congestion. When applied to the skin, Olbas oil opens up skin pores, relieving muscle pain and stiffness by increasing blood circulation at the skin surface.

Pharmacist recommended products

Who should avoid Olbas oil?

Do not use olbas oil if you have previously had an allergic reaction to the medicine. Olbas oil should not be applied to broken skin. Children under 3 months old should not use olbas oil. Speak with your doctor or pharmacist before using olbas oil if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

If you take a blood thinner called warfarin, speak to your INR clinic before applying Olbas oil to your skin.

Are there any side effects?

Inhaling Olbas oil is unlikely to cause any side effects but applying olbas oil to the skin can sometimes cause stinging and skin irritation such as a rash. Seek medical advice if any side effects become troublesome.

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Dr Roger Henderson
Reviewed by Roger Henderson
Reviewed on 29.04.2024
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