You may be one of the millions of people around the world who suffer from allergies. Thankfully, there are many natural allergy relief aids in essential oils. In this article, we will outline:
- What causes allergies.
- The current “standard” medical treatments and their side effects.
- The important role essential oils can play in allergy relief.
Specifically, we will cover the 7 best essential oils for instant allergy relief – because you need to know all the benefits of using pure essential oils.
What Causes Allergies?
What we commonly refer to as “allergies” general falls under the realm of Allergic rhinitis, commonly known as hay fever. It is caused by the body’s response to certain environmental elements, or “allergens”. As allergens such as dust and pollen enter the body, the natural reaction is to release histamines into the blood stream. The body does this in order to increase the white blood cell count in the area to combat the incoming pathogens. An overactive histamine secretion causes the common symptoms of allergic rhinitis.
Common symptoms of allergic rhinitis are:
- Continuous sneezing
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Itchy, watery, or red eyes
- Mucus secretion
- Impaired sense of smell
Allergic reactions on the skin are medically referred to as dermatitis. Either from outside exposure to a skin irritant or from histamine reactions caused by insect bites, dermatitis can extremely irritate the skin. Dermatitis is generally characterized by:
- Red rashes or bumps
Medical Allergy Treatment
If you are experiencing these symptoms, oftentimes the first thought is to reach for the over the counter drugs. As the standard treatment for acute to chronic allergies, chemical drugs provide temporary relief to allergy sufferers by interacting with the body in one or more ways.
Decongestant drugs, such as pseudoephedrine, act to shrink the swollen blood vessels and nasal passages caused by the allergic response. This can alleviate redness, mucus secretion, congestion, and nasal swelling.
Antihistamines such as Diphenhydramine work to fight against the histamines caused by your body’s reaction to allergens. They do so by preventing histamines from attaching to your cells and causing symptoms.
Dermatitis treatments such as Corticosteroids are commonly administered to the skin, and work to suppress the immune system, alleviating the common allergic symptoms.
Side Effects of Medical Drugs
The chemical drugs typically prescribed to treat allergies are not without cause for concern, however. Each carries its own list of side effects, which should be taken into consideration before long term use of any medication is considered.
Medical decongestants can cause headaches, dry mouth, rashes, restlessness and irritability, insomnia, nose irritation, and in some cases, tremors.
Side effects for antihistamines include dry mouth, dizziness, impaired thinking, constipation, and even blurred vision.
Serious side effects can occur with use of Corticosteroids, and should be taken into consideration if you are deciding to use them for dermatitis treatment. Side effects include high blood pressure, diabetes, ulcers, glaucoma, acne, rapid mood swings, weak skin, muscle weakness, and in some cases, depression and suicidal thoughts.
Natural Allergy Treatment Options
Accordingly, more and more people are turning to natural allergy treatment options. Many allergy treatments exist in the natural world, and most of them come with little to no potential for side effects. The most promising possibilities in natural allergy treatment lie in the realm of essential oils. Thanks to the extraordinary medical benefits which studies on essential oils are revealing, science is now catching up with traditional medicine- which has always stated the cures to nearly all of our ailments can be found in our natural environment.
Best Essential Oils For Allergy Treatment
Now let’s talk about which specific essential oils will help you provide instant allergy relief, as well as keep those allergies away in the future! This is not an exhaustive list, but simply our top 7 picks when it comes to allergies.
1. Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Eucalyptus essential oil is primarily composed of cineole. Medical science has taken quite a liking to cineole, as it shows more and more promise to the amelioration of many ailments and symptoms. One such powerful benefit is as a decongestant. A recent study found cineole reduces allergic symptoms such as frontal headache and runny or stuffy nose.
Eucalyptus essential oil is actually used in many over the counter chest rubs. The active ingredient in Eucalyptus essential oil is effective in reducing mucus secretion, according to one promising study. The study also references Eucalyptus essential oil’s ability to treat inflammation, making it a great way to calm those irritated nasal passages.
The results of another study linked eucalyptus essential oil to reduced inflammation as well. Eucalyptus acts as a vasodilator, allowing an increase in blood flow by relaxing blood vessels. An increase in blood flow means an increase in oxygen rich blood, which helps reduce the foreign contaminants in the inflamed areas. This is great news for reducing that stuffy nose, headache, and puffy eyes.
2. Lavender Essential Oil
Safety is a very important factor to consider in symptom amelioration. If you have chronic allergies and need treatment on a regular basis, it is important that the treatment be as free of side effects as possible. Lavender essential oil produces proven allergy reducing results in a safe, consistent fashion-minus the side effects.
Possibly the most aggravating symptom of allergies is the stuffy headache associated with hay fever. If you do not want to treat it with a consistent stream of drugs like acetaminophen or ibuprofen (both of which carry serious long term side effects), there is still hope! Lavender essential oil treats headaches, according to a bolstering new study. The results of the study suggested the inhalation of lavender essential oil as a useful remedy to headache and migraine sufferers. Simply adding a few drops of the oil to your aromatherapy diffuser and diffusing for 30 minutes to one hour may provide the relief you deserve.
Inflammation is greatly reduced by Lavender essential oil. The results of this collective study found Lavender essential oil to be of great benefit for its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic properties.
The most promising study on Lavender essential oil in recent history found that Lavender essential oil suppresses allergic airway inflammation and decreases mucus creation. The study linked lavender essential oil to a reduction in allergic congestion and the hypersecretion of the mucus membranes. This spells amazing benefits for those stuffy-headed, runny nose kind of days. The benefits of Lavender essential oil are numerous, making it a must have-in or out of allergy season.
3. Peppermint Essential Oil
Coming from another potent herb, Peppermint essential oil has an antispasmodic effect on the body. Inhalation of peppermint essential oil can reduce the scratchy cough experienced by many people with allergies. Peppermint essential oil also acts as an expectorant, helping to break up and expel mucus from the body. The highly mentholated scent seems to get past even the most clogged sinuses, providing a minty feeling to the nasal passages.
A waft of the open bottle under your nose can be enough to feel the extraordinary capabilities of the oil. For relief throughout the day, Peppermint essential oil can be diffused for 30-60 minutes as needed. If you are away from home, try mixing a couple drops of pure peppermint essential oil in any carrier oil and rubbing it on your upper lip and chest. The calm, cooling scent can bring fresh air to the lungs and sinuses instantaneously.
4. Basil Essential Oil
Though the potent scent of Basil essential oil will likely bring back memories of your favorite meal, basil essential oil also plays an important role in treating allergies naturally. Basil essential oil actually modulates the immune systems response to allergens, reducing or preventing outbreaks.
On the skin, the leaves of the basil plant also have a long history of being used to ease bug bites. A fresh leaf, bruised and rubbed onto the skin, provides relief from the itching and redness associated with a histamine reaction.
In the body, it works in much the same way. When inhaled through a vaporizer, Basil essential oil can ameliorate symptoms of allergies rapidly. A recent report highlighted the sedative and anti-anxiety effects of Basil essential oil. These sedative effects work to relax the inflamed nasal passages and calm the itchy throat associated with allergies. Topically, Basil essential oil can be mixed with any carrier to reduce redness, hives, inflammation and itching associated with dermatitis.
5. Tea Tree Essential Oil
Like its cousin Eucalyptus, Tea Tree essential oil is full of extraordinary compounds, each providing numerous benefits. In the fight against allergies, Tea Tree essential oil is useful in reducing symptoms even before they begin. By vaporizing pure tea tree oil in a diffuser for 30-60 minutes, airborne pathogens which cause allergies are actually greatly reduced. A review posted to PubMed outline Tea Tree essential oil’s promising benefit as an anti-inflammatory. Inflammatory response is one of the key factors leading to congestion and headache, making Tea Tree Essential oil very beneficial for reducing these symptoms.
6. Lemon Essential Oil
The effects of Lemon essential oil are numerous. Its use as a cough suppressant and decongestant is just a small percentage of the overall benefit of this mighty oil. Lemon essential oil has a calming, slightly sedative effect in the body. This effect acts to reduce tension, which in turn can reduce cough and congestion.
Lemon Essential oil acts to protect against airborne pathogens before they become allergens. This study found a connection between vaporized Lemon essential oil and a reduction in the number of respiratory pathogens in the air. The connection was attributed to terpene ketones in the oil.
For congestion relief on the go, mix a few drops of pure Lemon essential oil and eucalyptus essential oil in any carrier oil and rub under your nose. The decongesting effects will be felt immediately, and you will go through the day feeling relaxed and alert.
7. Roman Chamomile Essential Oil
Another protective essential oil is that extracted from Roman Chamomile. A recent report outlined the composition of Roman Chamomile, and found polyphenolic compounds related to overall health. Polyphenols have been shown to modulate the immune system. Studies have indicated the supportive Roman Chamomile essential oil can help bring balance to the immune system, which may reduce the number of allergic outbreaks.
Choosing Natural Relief
For millions of people worldwide, allergies seem to be a part of daily life. Traditional treatment options provide temporary relief, but their side effects are usually more harmful that the original symptoms. Today, through the proven results of using pure essential oils, there is promise to treat allergy symptoms naturally and improve quality of life.
As with any new treatment option, discuss your proposed treatment with your natural health care professional. They can educate you further and advise you against taking anything which may interact with current medications or cause allergic reactions in your body. Though allergic reactions from essential oils are rare when used properly, it is important to note that pure essential oils need to be diluted, either in carrier oil for the skin, or in water in a diffusor. Using safe practices ensures you the best experience with your essential oils.