Essential Oils for Allergies
Spring is finally within arm’s reach and I can just feel the warm sun on my skin, a fresh breeze through my hair, and the smell of spring flowers blooming. Wait… that’s not how it happens. For me, it looks more like constant sneezing, red, itchy, watery eyes, coughing, a scratchy throat, swollen sinuses and headaches. Seasonal allergies are a reality for so many of us. But, let us not forget about those cuddly, furry, dander-ridden cuties that nuzzle into our necks leaving us bleary-eyed and blotchy. For some of us, allergy relief is needed year-round.
What is an Allergic Reaction?
An allergic reaction is an immune response against certain substances that your body rejects. These substances vary among people, but some common allergens are: dust, pollen, weeds, cigarette smoke, pet dander, sulfites, bees, and shellfish. Reactions range from itchy eyes and hives to anaphylaxis, which can be fatal if not treated immediately with epinephrine. When certain white blood cells encounter a foreign substance in the body, the substance is recognized as “non-self” and the blood cells engulf the foreign matter while countless other types of white blood cells march in to attack. It is these cells that cause the swelling and redness that are so bothersome during an allergy attack. To make matters worse, histamines are being released and causing further swelling and discomfort. People that suffer from asthma are doubly cursed as an allergy attack has a high certainty of causing an asthma attack. With the exclusion of anaphylaxis, an allergic reaction can be prevented and effectively treated with essential oils.
How Can Essential Oils Help?
Certain essential oils have antihistamine, anti-allergen and anti-inflammatory properties that will calm and relieve allergy symptoms. Cleansing oils such as lemon, lavender and peppermint will dramatically reduce dust, bacteria, and allergens in the air. Using equal parts of each in a diffuser will have you breathing easy in no time. If you are already feeling a reaction, one to two drops of each oil in a glass of warm water makes a cleansing gargle that will reduce the allergens that tend to collect in the back of the throat. For headaches and sinus pressure, add three drops each of lemon, lavender, and peppermint essential oils to one teaspoon of carrier oil, such as apricot kernel oil, mix and rub on the back of your neck and temples. This can also be rubbed on the sides of the throat, just below the ears, as the lemon will drain swollen lymph nodes.
Lavender Essential Oil is a powerful anti-inflammatory for swollen sinuses. It is very effective for headaches. Dilute with coconut oil or apricot kernel oil and massage over hives and rashes.
Peppermint Essential Oil is powerful and effective for ridding the air of pollen and other airborne allergens. It clears sinus congestion and headaches. Massage two drops of peppermint essential diluted in one teaspoon of coconut oil on the chest to relieve upper respiratory congestion. Never use peppermint oil on the skin undiluted, or on children under six.
Lemon Essential Oil targets the lymph system promoting drainage which eases pressure that causes pain. Lemon oil has a synergistic effect with lavender and peppermint, making these essential oils a powerful trio!