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One of my favorite early treatments for a stuffy sinus, scratchy throat, cold or flu is the simple little steam.

Most of us have a pan, a heat source, water, towel and some aromatic herbs or essential oils handy. Which means you have a wonderful, soothing wellness treatment option in hand at not additional expense. Gotta love that. And it’s also great for your face! Bonus!

So here’s how it works:

Heat some water to boiling. Remove the pan from the heat source, please some aromatic herbs in the pan. Herbs like Thyme, Oregano, Basil, Rosemary, Mint are wonderful, with antibacterial constituents that will help soothe and open the respiratory passageways. You can use fresh or dried plant material.

Let the “tea” sit for 5 minutes or so, then position your face about 12” over the pan and “tent” your head with a towel. Slowly breathe in the steam for up to 10 minutes. You can then leave the pan on a counter to allow any remaining oils into the air.

Alternately, if you don’t have herbs, but you do have essential oils, prepare the pan of water and add a couple of your favorite essential oils. Popular ones are Peppermint, Oregano, Tea Tree and Citrus oils. Just a couple of drops does the trick.