Having a seasonal allergy is a royal pain.
Itching, sneezing, coughing, congestion, headaches, and exhaustion it causes greatly affect your quality of life. When your body senses antagonistic invaders (allergens), it releases a kind of chemical called histamine that attaches to cells to make them swell and retain fluid in an effort to purge the allergen. Antihistamines block histamines from attaching to cells.
There are loads of over-the-counter and prescription pills and injectable antihistamine medications for treating allergies. However, these often leave you feeling tired, dizzy, and dry. Moreover, many have been linked to increased risk of neurological damage.
Also, it’s never a good idea to take medications of any kind for too long but if you suffer from seasonal allergies, but it’s hard to avoid seeking regular relief so you can get on with the business of living. Instead, why not try these essential oils for allergies?
5 Essential Oils for Allergies
Essential oils are the distilled essence of plants, distilled from leaves, fruit, flowers, and stems. They contain phytochemicals that can relieve symptoms of allergy, relieve congestion and headache, and promote solid sleep. Essential oils are sold in most health foods stores around the world.
Here are five essential oils for allergies that can counteract seasonal allergies, leaving you feeling relieved without all the side effects.
1. Basil Oil
Basil is rich in antioxidants (including vitamin C) and is antibacterial and anti-inflammatory. The herb not only relieves symptoms of allergy but is, in fact, a potent anti-anaphylactic and antihistamine. (1)
“Different parts of [the basil] plant like stem, flower, seed, leaves, root etc are known to possess therapeutic potential and have been used, by traditional medicinal practitioners, as expectorant, analgesic, anticancer, antiasthamatic, antiemetic, diaphoretic, antidiabetic, antifertility, hepatoprotective, hypotensive and antistress agent. Tulsi has also been used in treatment of fever, bronchitis, arthritis and convulsion…results indicated the potent benefits of O. sanctum [holy basil] in the treatment of asthma and related conditions,” wrote a study in The Internet Journal of Pharmacology. (2)
You can inhale basil oil for instant relief and take food-grade basil essential oil orally under the direction of a naturopath. You can also increase your intake of the fresh herb for more relief.
2. Lavender Oil
Lavender essential oil works immediately to stop an allergic response. When topically applied, mast cells (a type of white blood cell that contains histamines and is involved in immune response) are stifled, stopping the reactions we’ve come to recognize as the result of allergies. (3) Plus, lavender promotes relaxation to help ease some of the emotional discomfort caused by allergies.
Mix 2-3 drops of lavender oil with 1 tablespoon of carrier oil (coconut, olive, jojoba, avocado) and apply to the affected area. Breathing in lavender will also help to systemically spread the natural antihistamine.
3. Lemon Oil
In fact, a study of the effect of inhaling a lemon oil nasal spray found significant improvement in all measures of allergic rhinitis symptoms (including congestion) while improving the quality of life and reducing fatigue. (5) In another study, microscopic review of nasal cells before and after administration of a different lemon pulp nasal spray found a significant reduction in mast cells, explaining the reduction in allergy symptoms. (6) Lemon also stimulates the lymphatic and immune systems, which is important when fighting off an allergen.
You can use lemons for allergies by breathing in a freshly-cut lemon, diffusing lemon oil in your home, or washing your linens with lemon essential oil so you can breathe it in while you sleep. You can find a recipe for DIY laundry detergent with essential oils here.
4. Peppermint Oil
The menthol in peppermint is an anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic. (7) Known to ease congestion, peppermint thins mucus and is soothing to the respiratory tract. (8) Rosmarinic acid is an antioxidant in mint that inhibits histamine enzymes, significantly reducing allergy symptoms. (9)
Plus, peppermint helps increase alertness and energy to relieve brain fog and exhaustion caused by allergies.
Try a peppermint essential oil steam to reduce inflammation and relax nasal and lung passages.
5. Tea Tree Oil
Melaleuca is indigenous to Australia. It is an antiseptic, anti-cancer, antiviral and antifungal with anti-inflammatory properties. (10, 11, 12, 13) Diffusing tea tree oil in your home will kill pathogens in the air. In addition, this essential oil soothes hives that sometimes accompany allergies.
Tea tree oil also works against respiratory tract infections and makes it easier to breathe. While you can apply tea tree oil to the skin, it’s best to mix it with a carrier oil first. Try 5-7 drops of essential oil per tablespoon of coconut or jojoba oil. Apply the mixture to your chest for best results.
Before using an essential oil for the first time, check for sensitivity by applying a small drop on the inside of your elbow and allow to stand for 24 hours to ensure there’s no adverse reaction.
In addition to these essential oils for allergies, eating local honey and bee pollen (local and raw) can also help stave off allergic reactions. These contain tiny amounts of local flora brought to the hive by pollinating bees. Acting under the same theory as vaccinations (but without adverse effects), you get traces of allergens that your body is able to readily dispatch by boosting your immune system to manufacture the antibodies to do so. Take a spoonful each day throughout the year to build up your immunity.
It’s completely possible to use essential oils for allergies for lasting relief instead of expensive and downright dangerous seasonal allergy medicine. However, if you have a lethal allergy, speak to your doctor or naturopath before only relying on this natural remedy.