Essential Oils For Allergies
Allergies plague many adults and children. In some cases the reaction is minor, such as a mild runny nose. In others the reaction is severe and life-threatening, causing a condition known as anaphylaxis. Both over-the-counter and prescription products are used to control allergy symptoms.
However, many of these have side effects and some people prefer what they see as a more natural solution – essential oils.
An allergic reaction occurs when you come into contact with a foreign substance – often a protein – called an allergen.
The immune system reacts to this “invader” by marshaling a response designed to counteract its effects. The immune system releases antibodies that attack the allergen.
Your body may also try to rid itself of the allergen by causing sneezing, a runny nose and watery eyes, or even nausea and vomiting.
The body also releases a substance called histamine, which dilates blood vessels and can cause swelling. A severe reaction (anaphylactic shock) can result in massive swelling, difficulty breathing and very low blood pressure. Immediate emergency treatment is required for anaphylactic shock.
Essential Oils and Allergies
Essential oils have a variety of effects on the body depending on the type and concentration of oil. It’s important to obtain these oils from a reputable supplier such as PurePath to ensure they are pure and correctly distilled.
PurePath offers a wide variety of essential oils, including all those listed below. Treatment with essential oils goes back thousands of years. Modern research has begun to identify the specific properties of essential oils in allergy treatment.
Scientists have confirmed that essential oils may boost the immune system and reduce inflammation. Some essential oils have expectorant properties, which means they help clear chest secretions.
Others may inhibit the release of histamine – effectively acting as antihistamines. Still others have bronchodilating effects, which helps expand the air passages in conditions like hay fever.
Allergies, Food and Stress
No allergy exists in isolation, as many factors affect your susceptibility to an allergy and the strength of your body’s reaction. Stress damages the immune system and can make allergies worse.
Essential oils can be used to support the immune system or reduce stress, as both can have an impact on whether an allergy attack occurs. For example, holy basil may be used to support and help mediate the adrenal glands which control the inflammatory response.
Food intolerance is not actually an allergic reaction but may have similar symptoms. However, it can make other allergies worse or mask the symptoms of an actual allergy. Certain foods or lifestyle choices – such as smoking – can damage the immune system.
Choosing Essential Oils for Allergy Relief
Every person is unique and may respond differently to essential oils. You may need to experiment to see what is most effective for you. Here are the most common essential oils used to treat and manage allergies:
Essential Oils For Allergies
*What it’s used for: Peppermint seems to be most effective for allergies that affect the respiratory system. It is an expectorant – helps clear mucous – and can soothe inflammation and help clear the airways.
Blocked sinuses and nasal congestion may respond to inhalations of peppermint. It is used for bronchial asthma, allergic rhinitis (runny nose caused by allergies) and may help to soothe coughs.
*How to use it: Peppermint essential oil is usually inhaled or mixed with a carrier oil and rubbed on the chest.
*What it’s used for: Acts as an antihistamine. It can reduce inflammatory allergic reactions such as the itching from hives or contact allergens. Like peppermint, it is anti-inflammatory. In addition, it has mild sedative effects and can help relieve stress.
*How to use it: The oil is usually inhaled from a diffuser. Since it helps promote sleep, some people place a few drops on a pillowcase at bedtime.
*What it’s used for: The soothing properties of chamomile mean it can be very effective in relieving allergic reactions that involve the skin.
Applied with a carrier oil it can help alleviate eczema (also known as atopic dermatitis), hives and other itchy red rashes. It can also be inhaled to help calm the respiratory system. Chamomile tea is often used to soothe gastrointestinal symptoms of an allergic reaction such as nausea or heartburn.
*How to use it: Chamomile oil is mixed with a carrier oil and applied directly to the skin or inhaled from the bottle or a diffuser. Chamomile tea is made from dried flowers and sipped hot or warm.
4. Tea Tree Essential Oil
*What it’s used for: An active fungicide and antibacterial, tea tree oil is often used more as a preventative. It can help destroy fungi, bacteria and mold that may contribute to allergic reactions when inhaled.
*How to use it: It is sometimes mixed with coconut oil and rubbed on the skin to counteract allergic skin reactions. It can also be inhaled or mixed with other carrier oils.
*What it’s used for: An antioxidant, lemon is often used as supportive therapy, helping to cleanse toxins from the body. It is often used to treat the respiratory problems that occur with allergic reactions. Lemon essential oil has been used to reduce excessive nasal mucous and inflammation of the mouth and throat.
*How to use it: Lemon essential oil is usually inhaled from a diffuser. In addition it can be mixed with water and used as an environmental disinfectant.
*What it’s used for: Used to relieve allergy symptoms such as wheezing, sneezing and a runny nose or to reduce inflammation of the respiratory system.
*How to use it: Lemmongrass essential oil is typically inhaled from a diffuser.
What it’s used for: Often used for asthma symptoms, bergamot may help reduce cough. It can decrease chest secretions (phlegm).
How to use it: Inhalation is the usual method of use.
*What it’s used for: Known for its bronchodilator effects, eucalyptus is a common ingredient in over-the-counter medications for allergies and colds. It can make breathing easier, clear airways and help relieve nasal congestion.
It can provide relief for those suffering from asthma attacks, seasonal allergies or the blocked nasal passages that can occur from allergies to pet dander. Eucalyptus essential oil is useful in treating coughs as well.
*How to use it: Inhalation is the usual method of using eulcalytus essential oil. You may use a diffuser or steam inhalation or spray a little into the air while taking a hot shower. Mixed with a carrier oil, it can be used as a chest rub.
*What it’s used for: Typically used to relieve symptoms of dust allergies, allergic rhinitis and reactions to animal dander or hair. It helps to reduce the effects of the antibodies that respond to allergens.
*How to use it: While the oil is usually inhaled from a diffuser, sandalwood powder can also be mixed with other herbs and used to clarify the skin.
*What it’s used for: In addition to helping kill viruses, bacteria and fungi, thyme essential oil helps inhibit inflammatory responses in the body. It is also an antispasmodic and is used to treat respiratory diseases. Thymol, the active ingredient, is the source of these effects.
*How to use it: Thyme essential oil can be inhaled from the bottle of a diffuser. You can also rub a few drops on your forehead for a headache.
*What it’s used for: This has traditionally been used to treat conditions like flu, colds and bronchitis. It acts as an immune system booster, which can help decrease the frequency and severity of allergic reactions. Oregano essential oil has both antiviral and antibacterial properties.
*How to use it: Inhalation is the most common method of use but it is also mixed with a carrier oil and applied to the skin.
*What it’s used for: One of the precious spices thought to have been carried by the Magi of the Bible, frankincense essential oil helps reduce inflammatory responses in the body. One of the compounds in this oil, known as alpa-pinene, has been found to reduce allergic symptoms.
*How to use it: You can inhale this oil from the bottle or a diffuser. It can also be used on the skin if mixed with a carrier oil, but do a skin patch test first as it can be irritating to some people.
*What it’s used for: Effective at inhibiting allergic responses in the body, this oil is also a fungicide. It contains eugenol, which is used in the treatment of asthma and allergic rhinitis, as well as psoriasis. It has anti-inflammatory effects.
*How to use it: Used primarily as an inhalant. For topical use, it should be used sparingly to prevent skin irritation. Perform a skin patch test first.
*What it’s used for: The oil contains constituents that have an antispasmodic effect and helps to reduce coughing. It also acts as an antihistamine in the body, which reduces the allergic response.
*How to use it: Primarily used as an inhalant.
*What it’s used for: Basil has long been used to treat conditions like gastrointestinal issues, headaches and coughs. It helps to fight infections because of its anti-fungal and antibacterial effects and works as an antihistamine. Like clove essential oil, it contains eugenol.
* How to use it: Use as an inhalant or mix with a carrier oil for direct skin application. You can also add a few drops to a shampoo.
*What it’s used for: This essential oil is primarily used for allergic skin reactions or itching from bug bites.
*How to use it: Mix with a carrier oil and apply to the skin.
What it’s used for: A natural stimulant, ginger also helps relieve pain and is an expectorant. It can reduce wheezing, coughing and restricted breathing.
18. Caraway Essential Oil
*What it’s used for: A natural antihistamine, this oil is also an anti-spasmodic. It has diuretic effects as well. An expectorant, it helps loosen mucous in the chest.
*How to use it: Use in a diffuser, mix with carrier oil or in creams, shampoos and lotions.
*What it’s used for: An extremely versatile substance, this oil is used not only for allergy treatment but for the treatment of coughs, colds, flu and other viral infections.
*How to use it: Lime essential oil can be inhaled, mixed with a carrier oil or added to a warm bath.
*What it’s used for: More of an immune system support than a treatment, grapefruit essential oil helps to stimulate the lymphatic system, which is a major player in preventing infections and allergies.
*How to use it: Add a few drops to water and drink, inhale or mix with a carrier oil and use for massage.
How to Use Essential Oils for Allergy Relief
Allergy treatment falls into two main categories. The first is direct treatment when an allergy attack occurs. The second is to either strengthen the body’s systems or decrease the body’s sensitivity to the allergen so that attacks are less likely and/or less severe.
The two most effective ways to use essential oils are as an inhalation or through direct application. Oils can be inhaled directly from the bottle. You can also place a few drops on a pillow for night-time treatment.
The oils can be added to boiling water so you can inhale the steam (don’t get close enough to burn yourself). Place a few drops in a bowl of steaming water and cover your head with a towel for best effect.
A diffuser mists oil and water into the air so you can breath in the vapor. You can also mix the oil in a spray bottle with alcohol and/or water. Spray it around the home to disperse the oil into the air.
For direct application, always mix the essential oil in a carrier oil such as olive oil, jojoba oil, almond oil or coconut oil. It can simply be rubbed into the skin or used as a massage oil.
You can also add a few drops to your bathwater. A few essential oils can be taken in very small quantities with food, but many essential oils are not for oral use.
If you decide to use essential oils for allergy relief, always follow basic safety precautions. Essential oils are natural but they can still have side effects.
In addition, some people may be allergic to an essential oil. First, always obtain your oil from a reputable source. Consult a healthcare professional before using essential oils and always follow directions carefully. Do not apply undiluted essential oils directly to your skin.
Always do a patch test on a small area with the diluted oil before applying it to a larger area of skin. Don’t take essential oils by mouth, with a few specific exceptions – consult an expert to be sure. Most experts discourage women who are pregnant or breastfeeding from using essential oils.
If you suffer from allergies remember not to neglect the basics of health. Allergies are more likely to cause serious problems if you are stressed, suffer from sleep deprivation or are not eating well.
Follow basic health practices – eat a healthy diet with plenty of omega-3 fatty acids, get at least seven to eight hours of sleep each night and exercise at least 30 minutes every day.
Avoid sugar and refined carbohydrates, which depress the immune system. Every life has some stress, but you should make it a point to manage that stress with activities such as meditation, prayer or other stress-reduction techniques.
These activities will help keep your immune system in good shape and can help reduce the frequency and severity of allergic reactions.
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