Essential oils are a popular way to beat stress, but many are also turning to the aromatherapy products to find relief from puffy eyes, stuffy noses, asthma, headaches, and other symptoms associated with seasonal allergies.
Essential oils are a natural and safe symptom relief tool (much like over-the-counter and prescription medications), but they won’t stop you from having seasonal allergies, says Audrey Christie, a registered nurse and certified clinical master aromatherapist.
Diffusing aromatically is the most effective method for allergies, says Christie. Although you can also dilute with a carrier oil and apply topically to the sinuses, under the nose, down the front of the neck, chest, and behind the ears, she explains. Adding essential oils to the saline solution in a neti pot may also help.
Of course, if symptoms are severe, it’s always worth checking in with your doctor. But if you’re simply looking for a little bit of relief, Dr. Scott Noorda, a board-certified family physician, says you may find these ten essential oils will do just the trick.
Here’s how each essential oil can help your specific allergy symptoms:
Lavender essential oil can help control inflammation, decrease histamine, and calm the nervous system. This makes lavender a great option for anyone suffering from puffy, itchy eyes, says Noorda.
Lemon essential oil has been shown to have mucolytic properties, which means it can help break up mucus and decrease excess mucus production—perfect for those days when your stuffy nose gets the best of you.
Tea tree oil has anti-inflammatory benefits that help depuff eyes, plus broad antimicrobial properties that repel bacteria, fungus, and mold—all things that may exacerbate allergies.
Eucalyptus is often used as an expectorant—something that helps loosen and clear mucus. According to one study, eucalyptus stimulates cold receptors in the nose, resulting in improved airflow.
There’s evidence that peppermint acts as an antihistamine and helps clear airways. It can also provide some pain relief if you’re suffering from something like a sinus headache, Noorda explains.
Thyme has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties, both of which can make it easier to breathe when congested.
Frankincense has anti-inflammatory properties and contains alpha-pinene—a compound that helps open constricted airways.
Rosemary also contains alpha-pinene and has been shown to have antispasmodic and antihistamine properties, both of which can reverse the airway constriction associated with wheezing from asthma.
Sandalwood has been shown to decrease your body’s release of histamine and, therefore, your body’s response to allergens.
Roman Chamomile can act as an anti-inflammatory and a relaxant—two things that can help you breathe a little easier when airways are restricted. It can also help provide relief for allergic reactions on the skin, like eczema.
And here’s how to use those essential oils…
Essential oils are highly concentrated and should always be used with caution, says Noorda. Only the highest quality oils that are tested and marked as safe for consumption should be used internally.
And always dilute. If not diluted properly, essential oils can cause skin irritation, he explains. Discontinue use and consult your doctor if you experience redness, burning, or an allergic reaction.
Using a diffuser to breathe in beneficial essential oils is the best way to decrease seasonal allergy symptoms, including congestion, puffy eyes, restricted airways, and more, says Christie.
An essential oil roller ball is a quick and easy portable solution, says Noorda. But it’s important to note that essential oil should always be diluted with a high quality carrier oil—like fractionated coconut oil—when applying topically. To use as a defense against allergy symptoms, simply roll onto your temples, neck, and/or chest periodically. You can also swipe some under your nose to relieve congestion.
For immediate relief, Noorda also suggests a sinus rinse. Fill the neti pot’s saline container with a warm saline solution, add one drop each of lemon and lavender essential oils, then follow the rinsing instructions associated with your pot.
Essential Oil Diffuser
Roller Bottles for Essential Oils
Fractionated Coconut Oil
Ceramic Neti Pot
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