Essential Oils for Treatment of Immediate Allergies

For many, the beauty of spring has a sinister twist-blooms bursting into flower may mean months of sneezing and hay fever. Medicinal herbs, such as nettle and alfalfa, are gaining ground as popular allies in calming the body's histamine response and alleviating symptoms without suppressing them. Indeed, there are many plants with antiallergenic properties, but I'd like to focus on essential oils.

These are steam distillations of plants that contain potent and therapeutic volatile oils, and this potency renders them especially helpful in allergy treatment. When experiencing immediate allergies, such as hay fever or allergic asthma, the body's histamine levels rise, causing an inflammatory response. One way that essential oils provide relief is by acting as potent anti-inflammatories.

Some of my favorite oils for hay fever are Camomile (both Roman and German) and Blue Tansy. These are relatives in the daisy family and contain azuline; a constituent that research has shown to be an antihistamine. It also gives these oils their characteristic blue tint. All three oils are also calming, harmonizing and gently cooling, and can alleviate the psychological stress and irritation that may accompany constant itching and sneezing. I like to put a few drops on a tissue inside a small zip lock baggie and it carry with me, so I can inhale its sweet aroma throughout the day. For contact dermatitis or allergic eczema, I use a 2% dilution of blue tansy in carrier oil (olive oil, almond oil, coconut oil and jojoba are all good choices).

Atlas cedarwood, the evergreen hailing from the Atlas Mountains of Northern Morocco, has a warm, deeply sweet-woody scent; it has both antihistamine and anti inflammatory properties. This oil is also centering, grounding and strengthening. When using it for seasonal allergies, I leave it in the shower and add a couple drops to a wet washcloth and deeply inhale each morning. The steam helps deliver the oil into the body, and the olfactory experience provides a powerful jumpstart to the day.

For nasal congestion, Eucalyptus, Lavender and Saro work wonders. These pungent oils go well in a steam inhalation. You need only add 2-3 drops of oil to a bowl or basin of hot water and create a "tent" around your head with a towel, then inhale deeply. It's important to remember that less is more here-several drops is plenty. Steam inhalations also work well for lung and ear congestion. I carry lavender oil in my purse at all times, as it has a multitude of important functions and can be applied directly to the skin. When I'm experiencing seasonal nasal congestion, I do a steam inhalation in the morning if I have time, then refresh throughout the day with direct lavender inhalation-just rub a few drops into the palms of your hands and inhale deeply. This method is also helpful in the case of allergic asthma, and any of the oils I've mentioned can be used. Other good anti-allergenic oils are Cardamom, Tea Tree, Helichrysum and Turmeric.

When using essential oils as medicine, I think of Mary Poppins' adage, "a spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down!" Essential oils are both at once- they're sweet smelling and full of therapeutic properties to boot. I enjoy that I can treat my mind and body at the same time. Creativity is also encouraged-any of the oils outlined here can be blended together-Blue Tansy, Lavender and Cedarwood make a good mix-and used in a body wash, nebulizer or inhaled directly. The key to effective treatment is remembering to use them regularly-put the oils in places you will see them-next to your toothbrush or shampoo or in a baggie in your purse. And next time the allergies strike, you'll be armed!

1 comment:

  1. Good information thank you closely monitor your success.

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