Spring is in the air, and unfortunately, so are pollen, dust, mold and other foreign air particulates that can cause inflammation in respiratory air passages resulting in the unwanted symptoms of seasonal allergies: runny nose, nasal congestion, post nasal drip, itchy eyes, itchy nose, watering, tearing of the eyes, and sometimes for those that have asthma, typical asthma symptoms that include shortness of breath, wheezing, and coughing.
The good news is that you don’t have to rely on medication to relieve your symptoms, but can combat allergies in a more natural way with pure, therapeutic quality essential oils.
Essential oils are the volatile liquids distilled from plants. They can be beautifully and powerfully fragrant. If you have ever enjoyed the aroma of a freshly sliced orange, or breathed deeply as you walked past a field of Lavender, you have experienced the aromatic qualities of essential oils.
Essential oils do more than just smell good though; they have been used throughout history for their natural healing properties. In today’s society, with trends towards a more holistic approach to wellness, there seems to be a revival and new discovery of the benefits of essential oils and their many different health applications.
So, how do you use essential oils? Basically, there are three common ways to enjoy the benefits and therapeutic quality of essential oils.
Aromatically – The simple act of inhaling an essential oil can bring immediate results. Diffusing essentials oils into the air can also get rid of unwanted odors and purify the air of some airborne pathogens.
Topically – Essential oils are easily absorbed into the body through the skin, and can safely be applied topically. There are some oils that are warmer than others though, and should be mixed with a carrier oil to avoid irritation to the skin. With essential oils, less is always more, you only need a few drops to achieve the desired results.
Internally – Some essential oils can be used as dietary supplements to support a variety of health issues, and can also be used in some of your favorite recipes. There are many essential oils that have been determined to be generally recognized as safe (GRAS) and can be taken internally, but there are also some that should never be ingested. Never ingest an essential oil that does not have a supplement fact sheet on the label.
When considering the quality of essential oil, you always want to make sure you get an oil that is guaranteed to be 100% pure and natural and free of synthetic compounds or contaminates. That being said, even though the label may say 100% pure, it is not always the case. Do your homework, and really look into the company that is marketing the essential oil. What kind of independent testing do they do to make sure their oils are pure? Where do they source their oils? Also keep in mind that higher quality therapeutic grade oil is going to cost a bit more than perfume quality oil.
When it comes to combating allergies and relieving symptoms, using essential oils can help you avoid the side effects that are sometimes associated with allergy shots and medications, and can boost your overall health without drowsiness.
A study conducted in 2004 at the Department of Organic and Bioorganic Chemistry at Lund University in Sweden showed the effectiveness of a Nasal Spray formulated with the essential oils of Eucalyptus (cineole), Lavender (linalool) and Cypress (davanone). After administration of the nasal spray, all patients experienced a rapid and significant relief of nasal symptoms, comparable to the effect of antihistamine. The effect was present within 5 minutes after the administration and lasted for several hours.
Here is a list of a few essential oils that may be helpful in combating allergy symptoms:
Eucalyptus – helps to fight symptoms such as congestion, headaches and respiratory conditions. It is anti-inflammatory, disinfectant, and expectorant. When mixed with a carrier oil such as grape seed, jojoba, or fractionated coconut oil, it can safely be applied topically to chest and throat areas.
Peppermint – helps to improve breathing by opening sinuses and airways, fights infection, relieves pain of headache and muscular pain, and has anti-inflammatory properties. Apply to temples for headache pain. Apply to back of neck to relieve stress and tension.
Lemon – protects immunity, relieves respiratory issues. Excellent antibacterial agent, which makes it well suited for respiratory inflammation. Cleansing to the environment. Citrus oils can be photosensitive, so exercise caution with exposure to UV rays.
Lavender – anti-inflammatory, builds immunity, relieves headaches and eases muscle pain, acts as a natural antihistamine. It has a very calming and relaxing, soothing aroma. Diffuse to help ease mental strain.
Roman Chamomile – anti-inflammatory, relaxing, relieves headaches, and eases inflammation. It is a powerful antispasmodic and muscle relaxant that can be used as an emergency remedy during asthma attacks, rub on solar plexus, wrists and temples. It is important to note that one should avoid Roman Chamomile if allergic to ragweed.
Cypress – Antispasmodic and disinfectant. Helps to relieve breathing difficulties and suppress coughing. May benefit symptoms of Asthma.
Ginger – Analgesic, expectorant and stimulant. Decreases respiratory symptoms such as constricted breathing, wheezing and coughing. Can be very beneficial for any kind of digestive issue or upset stomach.
One way to benefit from essential oils is to massage oils around the neck and behind the ears, or add a few drops to tissue and inhale throughout the day as needed.
For congestion combine one or two drops each of Peppermint, Eucalyptus and Lemon in a bowl with hot water. Cover head and bowl with towel, close eyes and inhale deeply.
To relieve allergy symptoms combine two drops each of Lavender, Lemon and Peppermint in a small amount of water. Swish inside mouth for 10 – 20 seconds, and then swallow. May also be taken orally in a gel cap, or added to a teaspoon of locally made honey. Diffuse in a room or rub on the back of the neck. It is also beneficial to start this regimen before allergy season starts by taking one capsule per day and then adding more per day as needed.
Put a drop of Peppermint on your pillow (on the corner to avoid eye contact) to open up sinuses and help induce deep breathing. Add a drop of Lavender for its calming benefits and a better night’s sleep.
Remember to get adequate sleep, exercise, meditate, and have fun to relieve stress. Stress taxes the immune system. If allergies are flaring up, avoid dairy, sweets and cold food as they can cause mucus build-up, and eat more cooked veggies than raw.
So, even though Spring and other things are in the air, there is no need to suffer from allergy symptoms or the side effects of over the counter drugs, take care of your health naturally with pure therapeutic quality essential oils.
Disclaimer: This information is intended for educational purposes only and is not meant to substitute for medical care or to prescribe treatment for any specific health condition. Please see a qualified health care provider for medical treatment.