How to Make Your Own Aromatherapy Inhaler

Essential oils are powerful and each have their own chemical properties.  The oils, which are the “essence” of plants, are extracted from flowers, shrubs, grasses, roots, and herbs. The oils may be diluted for direct application to the skin, or they can be inhaled. Before we move on to creating inhalants with oils, I must stress again, even though this is not the topic of this post, that essential oils must be diluted before they are applied to your skin!

Now then… Why inhale essential oils? Well, besides the obvious, (just enjoying the pleasant aroma of nice scents) smells stimulate our olfactory nerves, which actually signal our brain and affect our emotional and physiological state of being. When oils are inhaled, as opposed to entering the bloodstream through our skin, they do not need to be diluted. If you have a bottle of essential oil, you can simply add a couple drops to a cotton ball and inhale the scent.  Here we will make an inhaler which can travel with you and hold the scent for a long time.


  • Pure, non-synthetic essential oils (more about specific oils in a moment)
  • A small glass dish for mixing
  • Inhaler (Search for these on or purchase from aromatherapy suppliers such as Aromatics International)
  • Tweezers

inhaler supplies

Now onto the oils… You might enjoy different variations of blending, so experiment! Hold a couple of bottles of oil up together to see how they smell together, or place a few drops onto a cotton ball before deciding what/how much of each to use in your inhaler.  Here is a little bit of information about some essential oils you might use in the blending suggestions/recipes being shared:

Eucalyptus – Fresh, camphoraceous, invigorating, and will help open the sinuses. This oil is commonly used in inhalants and vapor rubs such as Vicks.

Lavender – A soothing herbaceous floral, long used in perfume, bathwater, and beauty products. Lavender has been clinically proven to reduce anxiety [1] and improve sleep [2]. It is magical. I can’t say enough good things about it, so stay tuned for an upcoming post all about lavender.

Rosemary – This one is strong, woodsy, and one of my absolute favorite scents. It offers relief from throat congestion and provides a mental boost. Rosemary can also reduce blood pressure [3].

Lemongrass – A powerful, “happy” citrus fragrance. It is on the strongest end of the essential oil scale for blending, so be aware that it can overpower the scent of other oils. I don’t like to use very much, but it’s all about personal preference.


recipe 1

recipe 2

recipe 3




Okay, once you’ve decided which oils to use, here is what to do:

Carefully count out the drops of the oils while adding them to your glass dish. (Oils will eat through plastic!)  Then, pick up the piece of cotton with tweezers, and dip it into the dish until it absorbs all of the oils.

inhaler cotton

That’s it! You are ready to assemble the inhaler.  Drop the cotton into the center, snap the closure piece onto the end, and you’re ready to go.

inahler assembly
To use the inhaler, twist the bottom and pull out the centerpiece, which you’ll inhale from. Place it underneath your nose and take a few slow breaths. Do not ever leave the inhaler or your essential oils in a hot area, or they will go bad.

inhaler ready to use

It is a good idea to label your inhaler if you have more than one lying around. You might also choose to decorate it so it looks less like a tampon applicator (Sorry, I had to say it!) I wrapped a mailing label around mine to write on and found some cute tape at Michael’s to add a little color. I recommend writing with a waterproof archival pen or marker so that it doesn’t smear over time with use.

inhaler rosemaryinhaler lavender






Enjoy! I highly recommend lavender to anyone with trouble sleeping. Not everyone likes the smell of lavender though (I feel so sorry for those people, haha.) Inhalants with eucalyptus and rosemary make great little gifts during cold and flu season. I would love to see what you like also. If you come up with good recipes, please share them in the Comments.

Have fun!


1. Lee YL, Wu Y, Tsang HW, Leung AY, Cheung WM. A systematic review on the anxiolytic effects of aromatherapy in people with anxiety symptoms. J Altern Complement Med. 2011;17(2):101-108

2. Lillehei AS, Halcon LL. A systematic review of the effect of inhaled essential oils on sleep. J Altern Complement Med. 2014;20(6):441-451.

3. Fernandez LF, Palomino OM, Frutos G. Effectiveness of rosmarinus officinalis essential oil as antihypotensive agent in primary hypotensive patients and its influence on health-related quality of life. J Ethnopharmacol. 2014;151(1):509-516.



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