A runny nose, itchy throat, and persistent cough can all be signs of allergies. Whether you’re suffering from seasonal or chronic allergies, millions of people experience allergies every year, although the symptoms vary from person to person. While some people are sensitive to animal fur or pollen, others are triggered by certain foods or medications.
Allergies occur when your body mistakes a substance as harmful to your immune system. Your body then produces IgE antibodies and releases a chemical known as histamine into your bloodstream as a way of fighting off those allergens. This is what ultimately causes irritating symptoms such as wheezing, skin rashes, vomiting, and more.
Medical treatment can vary depending on your particular allergy symptoms. Sometimes you may benefit from antihistamines, nasal sprays, decongestants, or allergy shots. If your allergies are severe, your doctor may prescribe an epinephrine auto-injector (also known as an EpiPen) for emergency outbreaks.
As a more natural solution to allergies, many people are turning to essential oils for relief. Not only are they less expensive than traditional methods, essential oils can safely boost your immune system without the added side effects of prescription medications. Try one or a combination of these essential oils for allergy relief:
Eucalyptus Essential Oil
When allergies start to affect your sinuses, all you want to do is take a deep breath without congestion getting in the way. When it comes to respiratory problems, eucalyptus essential oil can help clear your nasal passages and relieve asthma. Eucalyptus can also target pain and pressure that is associated with sinus infections and headaches.
Eucalyptus essential oil has a cooling effect that offers similar results to Vicks® VapoRub™. You can add it to your diffuser or mix it with coconut oil and apply it topically to your chest or forehead. Either way, a deep inhale of eucalyptus essential oil will help you breathe easier and break up painful congestion.
To prevent sickness from spreading, you can also use eucalyptus to sanitize your home. As an anti-microbial, eucalyptus essential oil comes in handy as a homemade antibacterial soap or it can be added to your toilet cleaner, mop water, or laundry detergent for an extra boost of hygiene.
Peppermint Essential Oil
Phlegm buildup can be one of the most aggravating symptoms when you’re dealing with allergies. Not only does peppermint essential oil clear up congestion, it also offers anti-inflammatory benefits that can help with bronchitis, coughing, and sinus pain. A 2010 study proved that peppermint offered a relaxing effect to the trachea, which confirms possible treatment of respiratory issues.
Asthma sufferers can find relief during an attack by inhaling peppermint essential oil from a diffuser. For headaches, dilute peppermint with jojoba oil and apply it topically to your forehead or chest and inhale deeply. You can also add peppermint essential oil to a cool compress or sprinkle a few drops into your shower for an energy boost.
If your allergy symptoms typically affect your digestive tract, peppermint essential oil is a natural remedy for stomach pain or nausea. It can help eliminate gas and prevent bloating, while also calming the muscles of the gastrointestinal tract.
Tea Tree Essential Oil
Used by Aborigines for centuries as a medicinal remedy, tea tree oil is known for its versatility and healing powers. It contains a compound known as terpinen-4-ol, which helps prevent infections and fights off germs. Tea tree essential oil is most commonly used as an antiseptic for cuts or when treating acne breakouts. However, this oil can also come in handy when you need a natural allergy solution.
Not all allergies result in sneezing or congestion. Many reactions show up in the form of hives or rashes. When your skin comes into contact with an allergen, you may experience contact dermatitis, which can lead to itchy, irritated, and sometimes painful skin. Studies have shown that by applying tea tree oil to the affected area, you can reduce inflammation and calm the symptoms of an allergic reaction. For this reason, tea tree essential oil is also extremely beneficial for people suffering with psoriasis.
Tea tree essential oil can be particularly potent and should never be ingested, only applied topically. If you have sensitive skin, you should test it out on a small area of your skin to make sure there is no abnormal reaction. You may even need to dilute the oil with olive oil, coconut oil, or jojoba oil just to be safe.
Lavender Essential Oil
Not only does lavender make a beautiful addition to your garden, it is also harvested and concentrated into an oil that is used for a variety of ailments. As one of the most popular essential oils on the market, lavender can be found in skincare products, perfumes, cleaning solutions, and other household items. Besides having a soothing fragrance, lavender essential oil is also a natural antihistamine and anti-inflammatory. This especially comes in handy during allergy season.
If you’ve recently come into contact with an allergen, whether it’s through ingestion or touch, your reaction may come in the form of hives or a rash. In this case, lavender essential oil can relive itching and inflammation when applied topically. If you have chronic skin sensitivity, you can fit relief into your busy schedule by soaking fabric sheets in lavender oil and carrying them around town in airtight containers.
When your allergies or skin irritation are keeping you up at night, try diffusing lavender oil in your bedroom for a natural sleep aid. Lavender can also help with headaches and anxiety, which are two additional symptoms commonly associated with allergies.
Lemon Essential Oil
Citrus plants are known for their powerful antioxidant properties, and lemons are no exception. Since the peel is the most nutrient-dense part of a lemon, essential oil producers cold-press this portion, instead of the actual fruit, to create an invigorating and purifying solution. Not only is lemon essential oil a great energy booster, it also helps fight off harmful bacteria and reduces inflammation.
When it comes to allergies, lemon oil is an effective remedy, as it stimulates lymphatic drainage. This means that it helps rid your body of toxins and flushes out any fluids that are causing your allergy symptoms. Therefore, lemon essential oil is often recommended when you’re suffering from respiratory problems or congestion.
Lemon essential oil can help you feel better instantly and speed along the healing process. To clear mucus buildup or reduce coughing, simply diffuse lemon oil at home or at work. You can also mix it with a carrier oil and apply it directly to your chest, neck, or nose.
Basil Essential Oil
When your body comes into contact with an allergen, it overreacts to the threat and often causes your skin or sinuses to freak out. Basil essential oil neutralizes this reaction by supporting the adrenal glands and reducing inflammation. This oil acts as an antihistamine; communicating to your body’s systems that everything is going to be O.K.
Basil essential oil can also be used to flush out toxins from the body. Due to its detoxifying properties, basil can help fight off viral infections and harmful bacteria, protecting your immune system. Additionally, the antifungal benefits of basil are useful for asthma sufferers in case they come into contact with yeast or mold, therefore preventing an asthma attack.
Not only can you apply basil essential oil topically, but it can also be ingested. Often used in Italian-style cooking, this delicious herb can be added to soup or your favorite pasta dish for an immune system boost.
Oregano Essential Oil
When oregano was initially discovered in Greece, it was used an anti-bacterial and wound treatment. Oregano essential oil contains a variety of phenols that serve as powerful antioxidants for the body and mind. When it comes to allergies, a blend of anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties help treat your symptoms and speed up the healing process.
A 2007 study found that oregano can help break up congestion, relieve sinus pain, and even kill staphylococcus aureus, bacteria that often causes respiratory infections. Oregano essential oil also helps reduce coughing and ear infection pain by thinning out mucus buildup. Similar to basil essential oil, oregano helps regulate your body’s reaction to an allergen and serves as an antihistamine.
If your skin is affected by an allergen, you can apply a mixture of oregano oil with jojoba or coconut oil to the irritated region. As a natural anti-inflammatory, this solution will help ease the swelling, redness, or any itching sensations.
Thyme Essential Oil
Like oregano, thyme is an aromatic herb that is used to boost the flavor of different foods. As an oil, thyme is great for your immune system, as it helps fight off bacteria and fungus. The antiseptic properties found in thyme essential oil can help relieve allergies that result in skin rashes or respiratory issues. It also helps rid your body of toxins and drains fluids that are blocking your sinuses.
When you have an allergic reaction, it’s natural to experience anxiety or stress. Not only does thyme calm your allergy symptoms, it also induces relaxation so that your body and mind can function properly. This helps you remain levelheaded and prevents the allergic reaction from worsening. Thyme can also help you sleep at night if your allergies are causing restlessness.
Chamomile Essential Oil
Chamomile is one of the most useful essential oils on the market with a variety of benefits. Arthritis, cardiovascular disease, and cancer are just some of the health issues that chamomile essential oil can help treat. For centuries, this flower has been used to calm anxiety with its relaxing effects. Now, many people are turning to chamomile essential oil as a safe alternative to allergy medications. Chamomile is packed with antioxidants and antimicrobial properties that relieve respiratory problems, sneezing, and mucus buildup.
Rashes caused by allergic reactions can also be treated topically with a chamomile oil solution. As an anti-inflammatory and natural antihistamine, chamomile soothes itchy, swollen skin quickly and effectively. Drinking chamomile tea has also proven to heal digestive issues associated with allergies, like nausea or stomach pain.
If you can’t find relief from over-the-counter medications or you’re worried about the side effects of prescription pills, essential oils offer a safe, effective solution for allergies. There are also day-to-day habits you can try that will help prevent an allergic reaction from catching you off guard:
- Hygiene: Every time you step outside, you risk coming into contact with allergens. Make sure to take off your shoes before entering your house, wash your clothes regularly, and shower at the end of every day.
- Healthy diet: If you’re constantly eating unhealthy foods, your body’s immune system will suffer. Studies have shown that fresh fruits and vegetables can help ward off sickness and prevent allergy symptoms.
- Nasal rinse: If you’re dealing with congestion or nasal blockages, a neti pot can break up mucus and flush out the bacteria that’s causing your illness.
- Drink more water: When your nose is running and you’re experiencing post-nasal drip, it may sound crazy to add more liquid to a running faucet. However, staying hydrated can help drain your nasal passages and detox the bacteria from your body.
Talk to your doctor or pharmacist before using essential oils or any of the remedies listed above for your allergies. Some essential oils are much more potent than others and should be used carefully.
Although you may desire a natural solution, sometimes medical intervention is the best possible answer for long-term relief. If you still can’t find relief or your allergies worsen, you may need a surgical procedure to open your airways or clear any blockages that could be causing your symptoms. Your physician will be able to customize a treatment plan that coincides with your medical history, as well as your health needs and goals.
How do you deal with seasonal or chronic allergies? Comment below and let us know what has worked or what hasn’t worked for you in the past!