Allergies affect millions of people around the world. If you suffer from allergies, you know dealing with the sneezing, itchy eyes, rashes and other symptoms can make you downright miserable.
While there are medications that treat allergies, many of them have unpleasant side effects like drowsiness and dry mouth that make some allergy sufferers hesitant to use them.
Fortunately, essential oils may help you fight your allergies and beat their annoying symptoms with no side effects.
If you are an allergy sufferer who doesn’t like the side effects of allergy medications, you've probably been told to avoid the things that might make you sneeze or itch. Short of putting yourself in a bubble, that is nearly impossible especially during spring and fall.
Luckily, essential oils are a natural and safe way to squash symptoms allergy symptoms while giving the immune system a little boost to help it overcome its hypersensitivity.
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Essential oils can help you manage and treat your allergy symptoms. Certain essential oils help treat and manage the body’s inflammatory responses.
Since an allergy is essentially the body having an overly inflammatory response to an otherwise harmless trigger, it is reasonable that anything that manages inflammation could help beat allergic reactions.
5 Best Essential Oils for Allergies
The following essential oils can help you beat your uncomfortable allergy symptoms:
What Are Essential Oils?
Essential oils are natural, aromatic oils. These oils are usually made by distilling or pressing the oil from a plant like an herb or fruit. Because of this, these oils normally smell like a stronger version of the plant they come from.
Homeopaths and natural living enthusiasts have a long history of using essential oils for many uses. These uses include:
- Promoting relaxation
- Better sleep
- Muscle soothing
- Weight loss
- Easing digestive woes
- Soothing allergies
- Relieving headaches
How Can Essential Oils Help You Manage Your Allergies?
Medical News Today defines allergies as hypersensitive immune responses to substances the body comes in contact with or ingests. If you have allergies and come in contact with an allergen your body will suffer an inflammatory response.
An allergen is the otherwise harmless thing that makes your body respond poorly if you are allergic to it. (1)
Common allergens include the following:
- Pet Dander
- Insect stings
These allergens trigger your body to release an antibody called immunoglobulin E (IgE). Different types of allergies cause different types of IgE. If you are only allergic to cat dander, for example, your body will release only one kind of IgE, while if you are allergic to tomatoes it will release another.
If you are allergic to a lot of different things, your body will produce multiple kinds of IgE. (2) IgE can trigger histamine reactions in many places in the body.
That’s why allergy symptoms are so varied. Common allergy symptoms include:
- Watery eyesItchy skin
- Stuffy nose
- Shortness of breath
- Tongue and throat swelling
Because these symptoms are caused by IgE triggering a release of the chemical histamine, most allergy medications are called antihistamines. According to the United States National Library of Medicine, antihistamines are drugs that treat allergy symptoms.
These drugs may have some side effects like sleepiness, dry mouth, and dizziness and some people with certain medical conditions should not use them. (3)
Allergy medications only treat the symptoms caused by allergies, and do not change that fact that you have an allergy if you are an allergy sufferer. Like antihistamines, essential oils also treat allergy symptoms. Unlike antihistamines, they may also treat an underlying cause of allergies: inflammation.
Allergies have been around for a very, very long time. But in the last several decades, the percentage of allergy sufferers has rapidly risen.
Though no one is positive why this is, one popular theory is that our bodies are under more environmental and physical stress today from pollutants and the processed food we eat. This stress causes increased levels of inflammation.
Inflammation is the body’s way of protecting itself by raising levels of white blood cells. An allergic reaction is an unnecessary inflammatory response. Too much inflammation in the body increases risk of diseases and health problems. (4)
When you treat your allergy symptoms with essential oils, you might be fighting this damaging inflammation and helping restore balance to your body’s stressed out system.
What are the Best Essential Oils for Allergies?
Navigating your way through all the available essential oils can be a daunting task. There are many oils that can help you get relief from your allergy symptoms without relying solely on medications.
The best essential oils for managing allergies include the following:
All of these oils have unique properties that help you to control your allergies better. Here are some of the ways each oil can help.
Lavender Oil is widely known for having a calming effect. However, it may surprise you that the distinct fragrance of the flowering herb is also recognized as an anti-inflammatory.
Recent studies have concluded that lavender oil can reduce inflammation and reduce the production of mucus that result from allergies affecting the upper respiratory system. (5)
Benefits of Lavender Oil for Allergies
With some studies backing it up, let’s take a closer look at exactly what lavender does to relieve allergies. It helps allergies by:
- Reducing Bronchial Inflammation - The calming nature of lavender also calms the airways. The reduced swelling makes it easier to breathe. This is similar to the effect of many commonly available allergy medications that also reduce inflammation of the airways, making lavender a safe alternative to medication.
- Natural Antihistamine - Lavender’s properties help reduce histamine, a leading cause in seasonal and pet allergies (6).
- Eases Pain - Lavender oil can help reduce headache pain both associated with allergies and not associated with allergies. It’s pain relief can also help with skin irritation and rashes.
How to use Lavender Oil for Allergy Relief
Lavender oil can be used to manage allergies in several ways. The most popular ways to use lavender oil to treat allergy symptoms include:
- Inhaling - There are several methods of inhaling lavender oil. Some of the most popular methods include: diffusing the oil in a bowl of water and breathing it in with a towel around your head and bowl; using a few drops on your forehead in the shower and breathing it in; and as a simple diffuser in the room.
- Topically - Lavender essential oils can be placed directly on the skin. For seasonal allergy relief, it can be rubbed in and absorbed around the sinuses, the forehead, and the throat. For rashes and other skin irritations, you can rub a few drops of lavender oil mixed with water a few times a day to help clear the rash.
Lavender oil products to try include:
Peppermint oil may be even better known than lavender oil. It’s minty smell and popular use in candy products make it well known. Most people don’t realize that peppermint oil can be used as great allergy control substitute for the over the counter alternatives. Peppermint oil can clear stuffed up sinuses and help relieve an itchy throat. (7)
Benefits of Peppermint Oil for Allergies
Peppermint oils can help you reduce your allergy symptoms by:
- Reducing Inflammation - The pleasing scent of peppermint oil is very soothing and helps to open up airways.
- Reducing Pain - Peppermint oil has pain relieving properties that can be used to help treat some of the painful effects of allergies.
How to Use Peppermint Oil for Allergies
To use peppermint oil, you can try:
- Inhaling - Breathe in this soothing by pouring a couple drops into a bowl of water and using as a diffuser. You can also add to boiling water and breath in the vapors with a towel over the bowl and head. Finally, you can rub a couple of drops in your hands and cup them over your nose and mouth as your breath in.
- Chest Rub - You can create your own peppermint oil chest rub by diluting two drops of peppermint oil in a carrier oil and massaging into the chest.
- Topical - One to two times a day, you can apply peppermint oil to the base of your neck. Check a small patch of skin first though to make sure you are not sensitive to it. Also, you can dilute two drops of peppermint oil in a carrier oil and place around your nostrils.
Peppermint oil products to try include:
f mom put lemon in your tea when you were sick, she was onto something. This fragrant citrus oil not only smells bright and fresh but helps with respiratory conditions including cough and congestion. Lemons have strong antimicrobial properties.
A study recorded by the World Journal of Microbial Biotechnology showed that lemon essential oil inhibits the growth of bacteria on surfaces. Not only does lemon oil help prevent bacteria from lingering on surfaces, it also improves immune function within the body. (8)
Benefits of Lemon Oil for Allergies
This oil works to give you allergy relieving benefits by:
- Eases Upper Respiratory Symptoms - Studies show lemon oil has been shown to kill airborne bacteria. Additionally lemon oil can thin mucus and soothe inflamed nasal and bronchial passages. (9)
- Antibacterial - Lemon oil destroys bacteria and pollutants on surfaces. This can be extra handy during the change of seasons when pollen and other allergens easily find their way indoors.
- Boosts Immune System - Allergy sufferers may have increased risk of cold or sinus infection because the body is using its defenses elsewhere. Lemon oil stimulates the immune system with a cleansing shot of Vitamin C.
How to Use Lemon Oil for Allergies
To use lemon oil try:
- Inhaling - Add some lemon oil to a diffuser or mix a few drops of lemon oil with water to create an allergy fighting spray. Mix the scent with lavender or peppermint for additional allergy busting benefits.
- Cleaning - Mix a few drops of lemon oil with water and use it to wipe down the surfaces in your home. Lemon’s antimicrobial properties cut through pollutants that make allergy sufferers sneeze and wheeze.
- Drinking - Add a drop of lemon oil to a glass of water to flush out your lymphatic system and give your immune system a boost. You can also add a drop of lemon oil to a glass of chamomile tea for a soothing drink when your nasal passages and throat are sore and inflamed.
Lemon oil products to try include:
Chamomile oil is one of the best oils for treating and soothing rashes, eczema, hives and other skin conditions caused by allergic reactions. Chamomile comes in two varieties that are both used heavily in the Western world. The two varieties include German and Roman chamomile. (10)
Benefits of Chamomile Oil for Allergies
Chamomile oils are most effective for skin allergies, but can also help respiratory allergies by:
- Reducing Itch – The soothing properties of chamomile oil help to relieve itching and burning associated with rashes and other allergies.
- Opening Airways - Chamomile oil can help open airways to help improve breathing which can be especially helpful when suffering from seasonal allergies.
How to Use Chamomile Oil for Allergies
To use chamomile oil, you can:
- Diffuse - At the start of allergy seasons, leave a bowl of water and a couple drops of chamomile oil out in your home. The benefits will last throughout the season.
- Inhale – If allergies are flaring up, you can breathe chamomile oil vapors in directly for faster relief.
- Bathe - When you have a painful or itchy rash, taking a bath mixed with chamomile oil is a great way to get some relief. An added perk: the bath will relax and soothe you helping to diminish stress and fight underlying inflammation.
- Topical - Add one or two drops of chamomile oil to a carrier oil and then rub on affected areas of skin.
Chamomile oil products to try include:
Tea Tree Oil
Tea Tree Oil is widely known for its healing abilities. Aborigines from Australia are cited as being the first to recognize it’s healing properties. However, it was Arthur Penfold’s writings that made tea tree oil much better known worldwide.
An important distinction between tea tree oil and other oils is that tea tree oil should only be used topically and should not be swallowed. (11)
Benefits of Tree Oil for Allergies
Tea tree oil helps relieve allergies by:
- Relieving Congestion - When used in aromatherapy, tea tree oil can help reduce congestion associated with colds and allergies. It also helps kill bacteria when inhaled.
- Surface Cleaner - When mixed with water, tea tree oil is used to wipe away mold, fungus, and bacteria from surfaces. Removing these threats can help eliminate in home allergies.
How to use Tree Oil for Allergy Relief
Tree oil can be used to manage allergies in several ways. The most popular ways to use tree oil to treat allergy symptoms include:
- Inhaling - Mix a drop two in water and boil it to maximize the effect of tea tree oil on clearing your sinuses.
- Topically - Mix tea tree oil with other oils to create a skin relief perfect for areas affected by allergies.
- Cleaning - You can use tea tree oil as part of a cleaner by mixing a drop with a cup of water. Spray the mixture onto various surfaces to remove mold and fungus.
Good tree oil products to try include:
Essential Oils: Tips and Tricks for Fighting Allergies
Use essential oils to their fullest capabilities to banish your allergy symptoms with these tips and tricks.
- Choose the right oil for your allergy. Remember that peppermint oil and lemon oil can both help with food allergies, while tea tree oil can soothe a skin allergic reaction.
- Try mixing the oils together to create an allergy blend. Perhaps you have a combination of allergies. In that case, mix a drop or two of peppermint, lavender, and lemon oil with coconut oil and use as a topical allergy rub.
- Use lemon oil to clean and bust dust. Not only will it make your furniture smell great, the oil’s antimicrobial properties will help you stave off your allergy symptoms.
- Remember, essential oils are NOT a substitute for an Epi-pen. In the event that you have life threatening allergies, it is always best to follow your doctor’s recommendations and use your Epi-pen as directed.
Conclusions: Can Essential Oils Help Me Fight Allergies?
Essential oils may help you control your mild to moderate allergy symptoms topically. These oils can clear up hives and relieve a stuffy nose.
Beware though: essential oils are never intended as a substitute for a doctor’s care. In the event of a severe allergic reaction, seek immediate medical attention and reach for your Epi-pen over an essential oil.