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Around 50 million people per year are affected by allergies, making them the sixth leading chronic illness in the United States. Unfortunately for those 50 million people there is no cure for allergies, but there are ways to manage the sometimes frustrating symptoms. Essential oils are becoming one of the most popular natural remedies for allergies. If you are wanting to try this easy, safe, at-home treatment option, here are the top 6 essential oils for allergies to use.
What are allergies and why do they happen?
Millions of people have experienced the frustration of wanting to enjoy the nice, beautiful, sunny Spring day outdoors, but enjoyment is seemingly impossible with allergies.
An allergy, or allergic rhinitis, occurs when your immune system overreacts to an outdoor allergen, such as pollen.
Your immune system identifies the harmless airborne substance as dangerous and releases histamines and other chemicals into your bloodstream which triggers the allergic reactions. This is why many people treat their symptoms with over-the-counter or prescribed antihistamines.
Different triggers occur throughout the seasons of the year, which is why many people refer to them as seasonal allergies. However, it is possible for some people to have year-round allergies.
Symptoms of allergies
Symptoms of allergies vary from mild to severe. Some common symptoms include:
- runny or stuffy nose
- watery and itchy eyes
- itchy sinuses, throat, or ear canals
- ear congestion
- postnasal drainage
- shortness of breath
- skin redness, itching, or swelling
How to Use Essential Oils for Allergies
When it comes to treating the symptoms of allergies, many have turned to essential oils as an alternative or complementary treatment.
There are many ways to use essential oils for allergies.
One of the most effective ways is aromatherapy. This is simply inhaling the essential oil to receive the benefits.
You can use a diffuser for aromatherapy or you can directly inhale the scent from the bottle.
For severe symptoms of allergies, put a few drops of the essential oil you would like to use into a bowl of hot water. Lean over the bowl and deeply inhale the steam for anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes. As an option, you can cover your head and the bowl with a towel.
Another popular way to use essential oils is by adding a few drops to their bath. This is a relaxing and effective method to use essential oils for allergies.
Many people also create room sprays by adding essential oils to water to help with allergy symptoms.
For symptoms of allergies that occur on the skin, you can apply the essential oils directly to your skin when diluted with a carrier oil. Essential oils are extremely concentrated and can potentially cause further irritation to your skin without a carrier oil. Always perform a patch test on a small part of your skin first beforehand.
If you are looking for a convenient way to use essential oils for allergies, you can keep a small bottle in your pocket or purse and pull it out when you need a quick fix.
Top 6 Essential Oils for Allergies
1. Eucalyptus essential oil
Eucalyptus essential oil definitely has one of those scents that can wake up the sinuses. This is because it has a cooling sensation when you breathe it in, soothing inflammation and clearing up your nasal passageway.
Research has also suggested that using eucalyptus in aromatherapy leads to immediate and significant improvement with upper respiratory tract infections. The participants reported reduced sore throats, coughs, and hoarseness – all symptoms similar to those of seasonal allergies.
2. Tea tree essential oil
Tea tree oil is widely known as being a powerful anti-inflammatory which may help reduce allergy symptoms. It also contains antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties. Research has found that when tea tree oil is applied topically it significantly soothed histamine induced skin swelling when compared to paraffin oil.
Tea tree oil is highly potent and must be diluted with a carrier oil before applying to the skin.
3. Peppermint essential oil
Peppermint is one of the most popular essential oils for allergies because of its ability to treat a wide variety of symptoms.
This essential oil can be used to ease headaches caused from allergies and give you a boost of energy when needed. Studies have shown that peppermint essential oil can be used to soothe muscles, which helps ease contractions caused by coughing.
It can also help you breathe easier by soothing inflammation.
4. Lemon essential oil
Lemon essential oil is the best of the citrus essential oils for allergies. Citrus oils are known for boosting energy levels and alertness which can greatly help allergy symptoms. Lemon essential oil works particularly well because it also helps clear your sinuses and reduces congestion.
5. Chamomile essential oil
In 2010, a study was conducted on the properties of chamomile essential oil. The study reported that chamomile acts as an anti-inflammatory and can be used to treat a variety of skin conditions, inflammation of the mucous membranes, and symptoms of sinusitis.
6. Ravensara, sandalwood, and frankincense essential oil blend
Recently, in 2016 a study was published titled the Effect of Inhalation of Aromatherapy Oil on Patients with Perennial Allergic Rhinitis: A Randomized Controlled Trial.
In the study participants with seasonal allergies reported improvement with their blocked nasal passages, runny and itchy noses, and sneezing after using a combination of ravensara, sandalwood, frankincense, and almond oil (as the carrier oil). They found that they had improved their overall quality of life due to symptom reduction and got better sleep.
This blend can be applied to the skin with almond oil or diffused into the air to see the benefits.