Hello April! Some "Essential" Tips for Easing Allergies Naturally
April showers bring May flowers -- and flowers bring pollen. Pollen, along with pet dander, dust, mold spores, and other irritants can cause the itchy, watery eyes, nose, and mouth, runny or stuffy nose, sneezing, and uncomfortable symptoms of seasonal allergies.
What causes allergies? If your immune system mistakes what should be a harmless substance such as pollen or pet dander for a harmful one such as a virus or bacteria, it acts to protect you like it would from an unwanted microbial invader.
Seeking to protect your body from the "invaders", your immune system produces antibodies and releases chemicals such as histamine and trigger symptoms such as sneezing, watery itchy eyes, runny or stuffy nose and sinuses, and coughing. (1)
In addition to over the counter medications or allergy shots there are also natural ways to support your body. These include:
* Avoid and Reduce Your Exposure to Allergens
* Support Your Overall Wellness
* Address & Ease Allergy Symptoms with Aromatherapy
Avoid and Reduce Your Exposure to Allergens:
Although it can be tough to avoid completely, when pollen count is high keep windows and doors closed, install HEPA filters in your venation systems, or use an air filter in your home. Likewise avoid pets or other triggers, change bedsheets often, and keep your environment clean (see the note on "going natural" with cleaning below).
Avoid tracking allergens indoors by removing your shoes and bathing or showering at the end of the day.
Support Your Overall Wellness
Whenever a client seeks aromatherapy to support wellness I ask about diet, sleep, exercise habits, and toxic load. When the body is stressed, systems and functions are compromised.
According to WebMD children who eat lots of fresh fruits, vegetables, and nuts -- particularly grapes, apples, oranges, and tomatoes, had fewer allergy symptoms. Although the link is not clear, eating healthy, real food is beneficial to overall health. Try to include fresh fruit and vegetables at every meal. (2)
Likewise drinking plenty of water, herbal tea, broth, juice or soup can thin mucus and may give some relief from stuffy nose or postnasal drip.
As mentioned above reducing your exposure to allergens and keeping your home and environment clean can reduce allergy symptoms. However conventional cleaners and synthetic fragrances may actually aggravate allergy symptoms. Going "natural" by using vinegar, baking soda, and essential oils can help.
In fact many people find that reducing their exposure to synthetic chemicals in cleaning and body care products makes a big difference in their allergies.
Additionally getting adequate rest and moderate exercise goes a long way to supporting overall health and wellness. To learn more about sleep needs and essential oils to support sleep see these related posts:
Overall wellness and self care can go a long ways to helping the body feel its best.
Address & Ease Allergy Symptoms with Aromatherapy
When allergy symptoms strike, essential oils can offer natural relief for uncomfortable symptoms such as stuffy nose, inflamed airways, or excess mucus.
Sometimes clients ask: do essential oils really work? I point to chemistry and research to answer that question. Historically, before pharmacies, prescriptions, and over the counter medicines we had herbs and herbal medicine. In fact plants were the original source of some medicines that are now synthetically made such as aspirin and taxol, and many of us are familiar with the stimulating effects of caffeine found in tea, chocolate, and coffee beans. Plant compounds can exert effects on our bodies.
Plants produce compounds that offer antimicrobial, analgesic, mucolytic, decongesting, anti-inflammatory, antihistaminic, and antispasmodic properties.
Essential oils are rich in aromatic compounds such as 1,8 cineole, a-pinene, limonene, camphor, linalool, or menthol. 1,8 cineole, camphor, and menthol are helpful in opening airways and can help clear or thin mucus and ease inflammation.
Chamazulene , terpinene-4-ol, and eugenol have been found to offer antihistaminic effects (counteract the effects of histamine -- the substance that predicates sneezing, itchy eyes, and other allergy symptoms).
There are numerous compounds that offer anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic properties which may help soothe airways and ease breathing or coughing.
Some of my favorite essential oils to ease allergies include (please note there are others, these are just some readily available, easy to find essential oils ...):
Boswellia carterii (frankincense) -- respiratory support, analgesic, calming
Cinnamomum camphora (ravintsara) -- respiratory support, open airways, mucolytic
Eucalytus globulus or radiata -- open airways, mucolytic, anti-inflammatory
Lavendula angustifolia (lavender) -- analgesic, tonic, antispasmodic, sedative
Mentha x piperita (peppermint) -- analgesic, anti-inflammatory, opens airways
Melaluca alternafolia (tea tree) -- analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-histiminic
Lesser known essential oils to ease allergies:
Abies siberica (Siberian fir) -- open airways, calming
Larix laricina (larch tamarach) -- open airways, anti-spasmodic
Picea mariana (black spruce) -- opens airways, calming
Tsunga canadensis (hemlock) -- opens airways, anti-spasmodic
How to use essential oils to ease allergies
Essential oils are best used aromatically or topically to help ease allergies. Aromatic applications include diffuser blends, inhaler blends, steaming blends, use in the shower, or smelling directly from the bottle.
Topically essential oils can be added to creams or salves as in a chest rub, scrubs, or massage oil blends (all of which are actually a combination of aromatic and topical absorption).
Some Recipes to Help Ease Seasonal Allergies:
Open Airways Inhaler:
Aroma inhalers are like portable diffusers you can carry in your pocket, purse, or have at bedside. When allergy symptoms strike -- strike back with an inhaler blend to open airways and support immune health. Depending on your needs there are many aromatic blends that would be helpful. This is a blend that uses readily available essential oils to open the airways. If you are not in to DIY we offer made to order inhalers to combat allergies as well as custom formulations. Inhalers can provide welcome relief! This inhaler is intended for adults as peppermint and eucalyptus essential oils are not recommended for children under 10.
One aroma inhaler
5 drops Citrus sinensis (orange) essential oil
5 drops Mentha x piperita (peppermint) essential oil
5 drops Eucalytus globulus or radiata essential oil
5 drops Melaluca alternafolia (tea tree) or Abies siberica (Siberian fir) essential oil
Add the essential oils to the cotton wick of the inhaler and seal. Uncap the inhaler and inhale to ease symptoms.
Watch the video below to see how to create an aroma inhaler blend.
Open Airways Diffuser Blend:
There are so many options for diffuser blends! But essential oils can help open airways and support immune health and uses commonly available essential oils. This blend is designed to open airways, offer antihistaminic relief, and support immune health:
2 drops Citrus limon (lemon) or Citrus sinensis (orange) essential oil
2 drops Eucaplytus globulus or radiata essential oil
2 drops Menta x piperita (peppermint) essential oil
1 drop Cinnamomum camphora (ravintsara) essential oil
1 drop Lavandula angustifolia (lavender) essential oil
Add the oils to the diffuser and enjoy!
Steaming is a fantastic way to open airways (to read more about steaming click her to check out a steaming blog post)
To a 5 ml stock bottle add:
33 drops of Eucalyptus radiata essential oil
25 drops of Mentha x piperita (peppermint) essential oil
25 drops Cinnamomum camphora (ravintsara) essential oil
9 drops Abies siberica (Siberian fir) essential oil
8 drops Lavendula angustafolia (lavender) essential oil
Cap and gently shake to mix. Add ONE drop of this blend to a bowl of steaming water, close your eyes, place face over the bowl, pull a towel over your head and breathe. Keep tissues close by and take a break if needed. Repeat 2-3 times a day for 2 to 3 days at the start of a cold or for 5 to 7 days to open airways or soothe cold symptoms.
Caution must be used with children under 10. Oils like eucalyptus and peppermint can simply be too strong. Diffusing gentle oils such as lavender, orange, cedarwood, or frankincense may be a better choice. And if you do use steaming more essential oil is not necessarily better. A drop or two will do.
Safe Steam blend for kids:
Use a drop of cedarwood (Juniperus virginiana, Cedrus atlantica or Cedrus deodara) in a bowl of steaming water for kids age 5 to 10.
Adults can also simply use a drop of peppermint or eucalyptus in a bowl of steaming water (or even drop on the shower floor) for wonderful relief.
Scrub a Dub the Allergens Away:
Both relaxing and cleansing a shower or bath coupled with a scrub can soothe the mind and body while cleansing away allergens.
Blend 4 oz of salt (pink himilayan, sea salt, or table salt (just not too course), 2 tablespoons of oil (such as jojoba or fractionated coconut), and 10 to 20 drops skin safe essential oils of choice. Use to exfoliate skin and open airways. An easy blend is equal parts eucalytus and lavender or try 5-10 drops lavender, 5-10 drops eucalytus, and 1-2 drops peppermint. Or click here to browse our foaming sugar scrub selection for ready to go scrubs.
While there is no easy fix to eradicating allergies, there are many things one can do to support the body and wellness naturally. Aromatherapy can help by supporting the body systems, easing symptoms, and by reducing toxic and allergen load.
If you have questions about essential oils and aromatherapy for easing allergies or for natural wellness contact Tricia.
Aromatic blessings my friends,
Mayo Clinic Website: Allergies: Accessed April 4, 2021 from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/allergies/symptoms-causes/
WebMD Website: 12 Natural Ways to Defeat Allergies Accessed April 4 2021 from: https://www.webmd.com/allergies/ss/slideshow-natural-relief