The rise in prevalence of allergic diseases and disorders over the last 50 years has continued in the industrialized world. Seasonal allergy symptoms develop when the body’s immune system becomes sensitized and overreacts to something in the environment.
Today, 40 to 60 million Americans are affected by seasonal allergies (allergic rhinitis) and the numbers continue to grow, especially in children. When left untreated, allergies can cause blocked and runny nose, sneezing, watery eyes, headaches and an impaired sense of smell. For some people, allergies can be life-threatening, leading to inflammation and shortness of breath.
People who suffer from allergies are often advised to avoid triggers but that is nearly impossible when the seasons are changing and our immune systems are impaired. Fortunately, some powerful essential oils serve as a natural and safe way to treat the symptoms of allergies and boost our immune systems.
How do essential oils fight allergies?
An allergic reaction begins in the immune system. Allergens are substances that trick the immune system, making it think that the allergens are an invader. The immune system then overreacts to the allergen and produces antibodies. These antibodies release histamine, causing the allergic reaction.
The most common causes of an allergic reaction include:
- Insect stings
- Animal dander
These allergens will trigger symptoms in the nose, throat, lungs, ears, sinuses, and lining of the stomach or on the skin.
One of the main causes of the increase in allergies has to do with inflammation. When the body is already dealing with high inflammation, any allergen sets off an increased reaction. That means that when the body’s immune system is overworked and stressed, introducing an allergen sends the body into overreaction.
If the immune system and inflammation within the body were balanced, the reaction to the allergen would be normal.
One of the most amazing benefits of essential oils is their ability to fight inflammation and boost the immune system. Essential oils for allergies will help to detoxify the body and fight infections, bacteria, parasites, microorganisms and harmful toxins.
They reduce the bodies susceptibility to outside sources and reduce the overreaction of the immune system when it is faced with a harmless intruder. Some exceptional essential oils even work to relieve respiratory conditions and increase sweat and urination, helping with the elimination of toxins.
Top 5 essential oils to beat allergies
1. Peppermint Oil
Peppermint oil is an expectorant which can provide immediate relief for those struggling with congestion by aiding in clearing phlegm. For those struggling with allergies, asthma, or bronchitis, this oil will minimize inflammation while promoting the feeling of easy breathing through open airways.
According to a 2010 study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, peppermint oil is a relaxant and exhibits antispasmodic activity, inhibiting contractions that causes you to cough.
Remedy: Diffuse five drops of peppermint essential oil at home to unclog sinuses and treat a scratchy throat. To reduce inflammation, take 1–2 drops of pure peppermint essential oil internally once a day. It can be added to a glass of water, cup of tea or smoothie.
2. Basil oil
Basil essential oil reduces the inflammatory response of allergens. This oil is helping your body to react appropriately to a threat by rushing blood to your brain, heart, and muscles.
Basil oil also helps to detoxify the body of bacteria and viruses, while fighting inflammation, pain, and fatigue. Studies prove that basil oil shows antimicrobial activity and can kill bacteria, yeast, and mold that can lead to asthma and respiratory damage.
Remedy: To fight inflammation and regulate the overreaction of the immune system, take one drop of basil oil internally by adding it to a glass of water, a cup of tea or smoothie. To support the respiratory system, dilute 2–3 drops of basil oil with equal parts coconut oil and apply topically to the chest, back of neck and temples.
3. Eucalyptus oil
Eucalyptus oil opens up the lungs and sinuses, thereby improving circulation and reducing symptoms of allergies. Studies have shown that it produces a cold sensation in the nose that helps to improve airflow. It is also analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and works as an expectorant, helping to cleanse the body of toxins and harmful microorganisms that are acting as allergens.
Remedy: To treat respiratory issues associated with allergies, diffuse five drops of eucalyptus at home or apply it topically to the chest and temples. To clear the nasal passages and relieve congestion, pour a cup of boiling water into a bowl and add 1-2 drops of eucalyptus essential oil. Then place a towel over your head and inhale deeply for 5-10 minutes.
4. Lemon oil
Lemon oil supports lymphatic system drainage and helps with overcoming respiratory conditions. Studies have shown that lemon essential oil inhibits the growth of bacteria and boosts the immune system. It stimulates the liver and flushes out toxins that can lead to inflammation and an overreactive immune system.
Remedy: Add lemon oil to your laundry detergent, mix a couple of drops with water and spray it on your couches, sheets, curtains, and carpets.
5. Tea tree oil
This powerful oil can destroy airborne pathogens that cause allergies. Diffusing tea tree oil in the home will kill mold, bacteria, and fungi. It is an antiseptic agent and it has anti-inflammatory properties.
A 2000 study conducted in Germany found that tea tree oil exhibits antimicrobial activity against a wide range of bacteria, yeasts, and fungi. These microbes lead to inflammation and force our immune system to work on overdrive.
Remedy: Use tea tree oil on skin rashes and hives or as a household cleaner. When using tea tree topically, add 2–3 drops to a clean cotton ball and gently apply to the area of concern. For people with sensitive skin, dilute tea tree with a carrier oil first, like coconut or jojoba oil.