The rise of prevalence of allergies has continued over the last 5 decades. Allergic rhinitis, commonly known as hay fever, occurs when the immune system becomes sensitive to foreign particles and overreacts to them.
Currently, nearly 60 million Americans suffer from allergic rhinitis, and the numbers keep on rising, particularly in children. If left neglected, allergies can cause symptoms like sneezing, watery eyes, headaches, impaired sense of smell, and runny nose. For some individuals, allergies can even be life threatening, causing shortness of breath and inflammation.
The good news is that certain essential oils have the ability to boost immunity and address the symptoms associated with allergies. The essential oils for allergies are capable of chemically supporting the body, thus helping it overcome the hypersensitivity.
How Do Essential Oils Fight Allergies?
An allergic reaction starts in the immune system. The term allergen refers to any substance that tricks the immune system into thinking it`s an invader. Then, the immune system overreacts and produces antibodies, which then travel to cells and initiate the allergic reaction. The most common causes of allergic reaction include latex, food, insect bites, pollen, dust, mold, animal dander, and medications.
One of the theories behind the increase in allergies is associated with inflammation, which is considered as the root cause of most diseases. When dealing with inflammation, the body sets off an increased reaction. This means that when the immune system is stressed, the allergen initiates an overreaction.
Essential oils help fight off inflammation and boost immunity. The ones for allergies help detoxify the body and combat infections, parasites, detrimental toxins, bacteria, and microorganisms. They lower body`s sensitivity to outside sources and reduce the overreaction of the immune system.
Top 5 Essential Oils for Allergies
1. Peppermint Oil
Peppermint is a natural expectorant, relieving allergies, colds, bronchitis, asthma, coughs, and sinusitis. It also has the ability to remove phlegm and reduce inflammation. This is the reason why inhaling peppermint oil can instantly unclog the sinuses and relieve scratchy throats.
According to a 2010 study study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology , peppermint oil acts as relaxant, showing antispasmodic activity and inhibiting contractions that cause coughing. Another study published in the European Journal of Medical Research has found that peppermint oil reduces the symptoms of chronic inflammation disorders, including bronchial asthma and allergic rhinitis.
Remedy: To unclog sinuses and address a scratchy throat, diffuse 5 drops of essential oil. To reduce inflammation, take a few drops of the essential oil internally once daily. You can also add it to smoothie, tea, or a glass of water. As for topical application, apply it to the chest, temples, and back of the neck. Those with sensitive skin are recommended to dilute it with jojoba or coconut oil prior using it.
2. Basil Oil
Basil essential oil lowers inflammation, supports the adrenal glands, and helps the body to react properly to a threat by sending blood to the brain, heart, and muscles. Basil oil also detoxifies the body of viruses and bacteria, while combating pain, fatigue, and inflammation. It has been scientifically shown that basil oils has antimicrobial properties that help kill bacteria, mold, and yeast, all of which can lead to respiratory damage and asthma.
Remedy: To combat inflammation and control the overreaction of the immune system when faced with an allergen, take a drop of basil oil by adding to salad dressing, soup, or any other dish of choice. To promote respiratory health, dilute a few drops of basil oil with equal amount of coconut oil and apply onto the chest, temples, and back of the neck.
3. Eucalyptus Oil
Eucalyptus oil clears up the lungs and sinuses, which in turn improves circulation and reduces symptoms of allergies. It has been scientifically shown that it also produces a cold sensation in the nose, helping improve airflow. It contains a compound called citronellal, which has both anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, it acts as expectorant, and it helps cleanse the body of toxic matter.
According to a 2011 study in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, eucalyptus essential oil works as an effective treatment for upper respiratory tract infections. Those treated with eucalyptus oil spray reported a notable improvement in the severity of their symptoms, such as sore throat, cough, and hoarseness.
Remedy: To clear the nasal passages and alleviate congestion, mix a cup of boiling water with a few drops of eucalyptus essential oil, place a towel over the head, and inhale for a few minutes. To treat symptoms associated with allergies, diffuse 5 drops of eucalyptus oil or apply it topically to the temples and chest.
4. Lemon Oil
Lemon oil is very beneficial when it comes to treating respiratory conditions. Many studies have shown that it boosts immunity and inhibits the growth of bacteria. Diffusing it at home helps kill off bacteria and thus remove allergy triggers in the air.
Adding a few drops of lemon essential oil to water helps balance body`s pH levels, detoxifies the body, boosts immune function, stimulates the liver, and eliminates toxins that might lead to inflammation and an overactive immune system.
You can also rely on lemon essential oil to disinfect the home! It kills off bacteria and pollutants in the kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom, keeping the air clean and reducing the triggers. This is particularly helpful as seasons change and the outside allergens are being brought indoors.
Remedy: Add some lemon oil to your laundry detergent or mix a few drops with water and spray on the sheets, carpets, curtains, and the clothes.
5. Tea Tree Oil
This potent oil can kill off airborne pathogens responsible for allergies. It acts as potent anti-inflammatory and antiseptic agent, too. It can be diffused in the home to kill mold, fungi and bacterial applied to the skin, or used as cleaner to disinfect the home.
According to a 2000 study done in Germany, tea tree oil has the ability to show antimicrobial activity against a wide plethora of bacteria, fungi, and yeasts. These microbes are known to cause inflammation and force the immune system to overwork.
Remedy: Use tea tree oil on hives and skin rashes or as a household cleaner. If you choose to use it topically, add a few drops to a clean cotton ball and apply onto the affected area. Those with sensitive skin should dilute with carrier oil like jojoba or coconut oil.