Are you tired of sneezing, itching, watery eyes, and headaches? Well, you are not alone. People all over the world are affected by seasonal allergies. In fact, 40 to 60 percent of Americans suffer from allergic rhinitis.
Allergies can cause different symptoms in different people. While some people get away with mild sniffles, for others it can lead inflammation and breathing difficulty.
Essential oils are one of the best and safest ways to treat allergies. Some of the effective essential oils for allergies are lavender oil, peppermint oil, tea tree oil, eucalyptus oil, basil oil, lemon oil, etc.
These essential oils help boost the immune system and help the body overcome hypersensitivity.
Why are allergies?
Allergies are hypersensitivity to foreign objects known as allergens. When allergens make it past our first line of defense and come in contact with the immune system, our body considers them to be a threat.
The white blood cells then release histamine to protect the body from further invasion of allergens. This leads to swelling, inflammation, and leakage of fluid.
In some severe cases, it can also lead to difficulty in breathing, itchy watery eyes, hives, swelling of the throat and lungs, which can cause an anaphylactic shock.
Dust, dander, pollen, medications, insect bites, mold, and certain foods are some common allergens.
How do essential oils fight allergies?
Essential oils can fight allergies in many different ways.
- They help reduce the pain associated with the allergic response.
- They also help reduce inflammation which is the cause of many allergic responses.
- Essential oils also help to boost the immune system and reduce the body’s vulnerability to bacteria and parasites.
- They also block the allergens from entering your home and your body.
- Some essential oils help relieve respiratory conditions by increasing sweat and urination, which helps eliminate toxins from the body.
Best essential oils for allergies
1. Lavender oil
Lavender oil is a natural antihistamine. It reduces inflammation, quells anxiety and encourages deep and peaceful sleep. It is an excellent option for people with skin allergies as it is gentle on the skin, calms irritation and speeds up healing.
According to one study, lavender oil prevents inflammation and enlargement of mucous cells. Thanks to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, lavender oil is also helpful in treating allergic reactions and easing skin conditions (1).
According to a 2003 study, when researchers used lavender oil on mice, they found that this oil is helpful in treating painful and inflammatory conditions (2).
How to use
- Combine 3 to 4 drops of lavender oil with ½ teaspoon of coconut or jojoba oil and massage it on the affected area.
- You can also add a few drops of lavender oil to your face or body wash.
- Use lavender oil in a diffuser for aromatherapy.
Peppermint oil acts as an expectorant as it helps to unclog the sinuses and provides relief from congestion by clearing g phlegm. It provides comfort for those suffering from allergies, asthma, bronchitis, coughs, and colds.
In 2010 research was done to study the effects of peppermint oil on rat tracheal rings and their mechanism of action. The results showed that peppermint oil exhibits antispasmodic activity and has a relaxant effect, which helps reduce the contractions that cause a cough (3).
During another study, peppermint oil was found to be useful in the treatment of chronic inflammatory disorders such as bronchial asthma, colitis and allergic rhinitis (4).
How to use
- Take one or two drops of pure peppermint essential oil internally to help reduce inflammation.
- Dilute peppermint oil with coconut or jojoba oil and massage in on the chest, back of neck and temples.
Research shows that eucalyptol, a chemical found in eucalyptus oil help in breaking up mucus in people with asthma. Eucalyptus oil helps to open up lungs and sinuses, which improves circulation and reduces the symptoms of allergies.
Some people also call eucalyptus oil as ‘cool oil’ as it produces a cold sensation in the nose, which helps in improving airflow (5).
According to a 2010 study, eucalyptus oil is also an effective treatment for upper respiratory tract infections (6). When eucalyptus is used along with some other oils like peppermint, Syrian oregano, and rosemary, it helps reduce hoarseness, cough and sore throat.
How to use
- Diffuse a few drops of eucalyptus oil in your home.
- Take a few drops of eucalyptus oil and apply it topically to your chest and temples.
- To clear your nasal passage, boil a cup of water and add a few drops of eucalyptus oil to it. Them place a towel over your heat and inhale the steam for a few minutes.
4. Tea tree oil
The antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral properties of tea tree oil make it suitable for dealing with skin allergies. You can apply this oil on the skin or use it as a disinfectant in your homes.
Tea tree oil can also destroy allergy-causing air-borne pathogens. According to a 2010 study, tea tree oil is quite effective against bacteria, yeast, and fungi. These microbes can lead to inflammation and cause an allergic reaction (7).
You should never ingest tea tree oil; it should be used topically.
How to use
- Mix three drops of tea tree oil in ½ a teaspoon of coconut or jojoba oil and apply in on the affected area.
- Add this oil to your body wash to soothe irritations from bed bugs.
- Adding it to your hair conditioner helps get rid of lice and their eggs.
5. Frankincense oil
Frankincense oil is helpful in relieving inflammation in the body. This oil contains a compound called alpha-pinene, which helps reduce allergic symptoms.
According to a 2016 study, frankincense oil helps in reducing inflammation bronchitis and sinusitis (8). Inhalation and consumption of this oil also reduce the risk of asthma.
Frankincense oil is also helpful in relieving anxiety, boosting immunity and managing pain. It is useful in dealing with seasonal allergies.
According to a study, a blend of sandalwood, Ravensara and frankincense oil can be used to treat allergic rhinitis effectively.
How to use
- Add four or five drops of frankincense oil to your bath for a feeling of peace and relaxation.
- Mix the blend of sandalwood, Ravensara and frankincense oil with a carrier oil and diffuse into the air.
6. Basil oil
Basil oil is effective in reducing inflammation and fighting infections. It works as an antihistamine and helps mitigate anti-allergic response in the body.
It has been used traditionally to treat gastrointestinal problems, coughs, and headaches. It also contains a compound called eugenol, which helps eliminate fungal and bacterial infections.
How to use
- Add one drop of basil oil to your soup, salad dressing or any other dish as it helps fight inflammation and regulates the immune system.
- Dilute a few drops of basil oil with coconut oil and apply it to the chest, back of neck and temples.
7. Lemon oil
Lemon essential oil is one of the best oil to treat respiratory problems that occur due to allergic reactions. The antioxidant properties of lemon help cleanse the body and reduce the response of allergens.
Lemon oil helps clear sinuses and reduce congestion, which are the common symptoms of seasonal allergies.
According to studies, lemon essential oil can fight bacterial infections and relieve the symptoms of allergic rhinitis.
Adding a few drops of lemon oil to drinking water helps improve its pH balance, which helps to detoxify the body and boosts the immune system.
It helps the liver to flush out toxins that can lead to inflammation. Lemon water also helps stimulate the production of white blood cells, which is vital for the immune system.
You can also use lemon oil to disinfect your home and remove bacteria and other allergens.
How to use
- Mix one or two drops of lemon oil in your drinking water and drink it.
- Mix 50 drops of lemon oil, 25 drops of tea tree oil, and 14 ounces of water to make a simple household cleaner.
8. Chamomile oil
Chamomile oil is known to treat a variety of allergic reactions. It can provide relief from hives and rashes and can also help alleviate eczema. The antihistamine properties of chamomile oil help sooth the symptoms of dermatitis.
According to a review, the anti-inflammatory properties of chamomile oil help treat sinusitis, inflammation of the mucous membranes and skin conditions (11).
How to use
- Dilute three or four drops of chamomile essential oil with a carrier oil and apply topically.
Different ways to use essential oils for allergies
There are many different ways in which essential oils can be used to treat allergy symptoms. Some of the most common forms include –
1. Direct inhalation
You can put a drop of essential oils like eucalyptus oil on your handkerchief and breathe it directly.
Another simple method is to add a few drops in boiling water and breathing in the vapors. You can add a few drops of the essential oil of your choice on your pillow for a good night’s sleep.
Add essential oil to a plug-in diffuser or an oil burner. This method is highly effective in treating seasonal allergies.
3. Topical application
People who have symptoms of skin allergies like rashes, hives, itching can benefit by applying essential oils to the affected area.
However, make sure that you dilute the oil with a carrier oil like coconut or jojoba oil before you apply it so that there is no adverse reaction. Also, avoid using lemon essential oil in the sun as it can cause discoloration of the skin.
Essential oils can also be used as disinfectants around the house to help get rid of molds and mites. Lemon, eucalyptus, and tea tree oil are especially helpful in disinfecting homes and clearing out allergens.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate the essential oils. Since their purity and quality isn’t monitored, you should use them with caution.
Essential oils can also cause an allergic reaction if used directly on the skin. Here are some of the precautions that you must take –
- Always use high-quality essential oil from a reputable source.
- Do not apply essential oils without diluting them with carrier oils.
- Always do skin tests before you apply the oils to a larger area.
- Do not ingest essential oils without consulting with your doctor.
- Do not use essential oils around pregnant and breastfeeding women and children.
Allergies affect people all over the world. Essential oils are one of the best and the safest ways to treat allergy symptoms.
Essential oils like Lavender, eucalyptus, peppermint, lemon, and tea tree oil help reduce inflammation, reduce pain and boost the immune system.
However, always do a skin test and exercise caution when you use them.