Your eyes are watering and your nose tickles. Your head starts to pound and your throat feels scratchy.
Forget the days getting longer and the temperatures rising. You know spring is on the way because your allergies are suddenly activated.
Are you one of the nearly 18 million American adults who suffer from hay fever, or allergic rhinitis? If so, you've likely tried every prescription, steroid, and nasal spray on the shelf in an attempt to get your symptoms under control during allergy season.
Yet, have you considered trying essential oils for allergies? Aromatherapy might help.
Chances are, you already rely on your ultrasonic humidifier to maintain your home's relative humidity levels and keep your sinuses clear and moist. Why not amplify these effects by diffusing a few soothing drops of oil into your room?
Today, we're sharing 10 of the top oils to reach for when those telltale sneezes begin!
How Can Essential Oils Soothe Your Allergies?
Before we dive into the best ones to diffuse, let's review the role that essential oils play in keeping your allergic reactions at bay.
It's important to understand that while these natural remedies can offer effective and safe relief, they are not designed to actively treat your allergies. Your physician can help diagnose the exact irritants that are causing your allergies and put you on a path toward treatment.
However, diffusing essential oils is an excellent way to alleviate your itchy eyes and stuffy nose in the meantime!
That said, what is the best application method? Should you enjoy the essential oils topically, orally, or aromatically?
Ultimately, each option can provide a host of health benefits for seasonal allergy symptoms. For instance, some oil experts recommend diluting a few drops of the essential oil with a carrier oil (such as olive or coconut oil) and applying the solution directly, in places including:
- Under your nose
- On the front of your neck
- Behind your ears
- On your chest
In addition, you can also add a couple of drops of these oils into veggie capsules, taking one each day to prevent an allergic flare-up.
However, in this case, it's best to diffuse the oils into the air with a humidifier or essential oil diffuser when you need instant allergy relief. This way, you can breathe in their therapeutic effects for hours, and their properties can fully permeate your room.
The Top 10 Essential Oils for Allergies
Ready to start shopping? Though there are nearly 100 different kinds of essential oils, some are better suited to relieve your allergies than others. Let's take a look at 10 of the best essential oils to reach for the next time you feel an allergy attack coming.
1. Lemon Oil
Not only does it smell like a fresh summer day, but lemon oil can also be a powerful foe against your bothersome allergies.
According to one study, nasal sprays containing lemon oil were found to be effective against the sinus inflammatory response, helping users breathe easier.
In the study, 100 people were given a nasal spray to try. Some sprays contained a blend of lemon pulp and other ingredients while the others were placebos. Researchers found that the ones using the lemon spray had fewer inflammatory cells in their sinus passages than the others.
Tonight, go ahead and add a few drops of this do-all lemon essential oil to your diffuser! However, there is one word of caution to keep in mind. Any kind of citrus oils are photosensitive, which means they can make your skin more susceptible to burning or peeling if exposed to sunlight.
As long as you avoid direct exposure the day after, you should be fine. Still, diffusing remains the safest route!
2. Eucalyptus Oil
Want to open up your sinuses in an instant? Hang a few sprigs of eucalyptus in your shower and create an at-home steamer!
Looking for the next best thing? Eucalyptus essential oil is a great resource.
The eucalyptus plant is often used as an expectorant, which means it works to loosen stubborn mucous and help you clear it out of your body. Are you dealing with a nagging cough and phlegm you just can't shake? If so, diffuse a few drops of essential oil to help it along its way!
Some researchers claim that eucalyptus can even stimulate the cold receptors in your runny nose, helping to improve the airflow through your nasal passages. The next time you're feeling extra stuffy, this one is worth a try.
3. Peppermint Oil
There's no denying the powerful effects of cooling peppermint essential oil!
This particular oil is excellent for anyone struggling with a sore throat or persistent cough. This is because it can help to smooth and soothe the muscles in your throat that are responsible for coughing.
On its own, peppermint is distantly related to menthol, which means it can help open up your lungs so you can breathe more easily. If you've ever applied Vicks VapoRub to your chest to help you sleep better at night, you've felt the power of menthol firsthand!
It's best to avoid applying peppermint oil directly to the skin of small children, as it can be an irritant. Still, it's an excellent oil to diffuse when you need quick-acting allergy relief.
Try running a hot shower, and then sitting in the steam with your diffuser on. As the peppermint permeates the room, the steam can help open your nasal passages even more.
Thyme is more than just a kitchen herb! The oil contained in this plant is known to have antibacterial properties, which can help keep your sinuses clean. In addition, the thymol content within thyme also has antispasmodic properties.
When it comes to allergies, this means it can help calm the involuntary spasms in your throat that cause you to cough all night long! If you've ever lied awake with a lozenge, wishing for relief to come, go ahead and diffuse a few drops of thyme oil in your room!
For even greater effects, mix in a few drops of primrose oil with your thyme oil! This oil also contains antispasmodic properties and can help suppress your cough so you can get some much-needed rest.
You already know that lavender is one of the most calming essential oils around. Diffusing it before bedtime is a great way to gently remind your body that it's time to relax and unwind. You can also add a few drops of this oil to a warm bath!
However, did you know that lavender essential oil is also great for allergy sufferers?
It's true! Just as the scent of lavender can calm your mind, it can also relax your sinuses. It has excellent anti-inflammatory properties and can even help prevent your mucus cells from getting swollen and enlarged.
In one study, researchers found that lavender oil can even help lessen the symptoms of bronchial asthma. When inhaled, it keeps your airways clear and open, so you can breathe easier when suffering from symptoms of allergies.
6. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is heralded for its antimicrobial and antibacterial properties. This makes it an ideal oil to apply topically to cuts, scrapes, and bruises as a disinfecting treatment.
In addition, its healing, anti-inflammatory components also make it a go-to solution for a variety of minor health conditions, from acne to athlete's foot!
Distilled from the leaves of the Australian Melaleuca alternifolia plant, tea tree oil is another great addition to your arsenal of allergy-fighting essential oils. It's incredibly anti-inflammatory, which can help reduce swelling in your nasal passages so you can sleep better and breathe more easily.
One note: Some people are allergic to this plant. Before inhaling it or applying it topically, perform a skin patch test, first. If you develop any side effects, stick to any of the other oils on this list! Tea tree oil is also unsafe to ingest orally.
You're already used to sprinkling oregano on your pizza and pasta, but a little-known fact about this plant is that it delivers quick and effective allergy relief!
Some people take capsules of oregano oil any time they feel their allergies setting in, or at the first sign of a common cold. You can achieve a similar effect by diffusing it in your room!
Oregano oil is naturally antibacterial, which can help promote quick healing of any sinus infections. In fact, studies show that one of the components of this oil, carvacrol, can actually stop bacteria from growing altogether.
As you constantly blow your nose, you can create tiny fissures and sores in your sinuses. If left untreated, those could harbor bacteria that could make your allergies even worse.
When you inhale diffused oregano oil, it can help coat your nasal passages to prevent bacterial growth and encourage healing.
8. Clary Sage
One of the most sought-after and premium essential oils on the market, Clary Sage is another essential oil that homeowners should keep on hand.
Not only does it deliver anti-inflammatory effects, but it is also antibacterial and antifungal! When you diffuse it, the oil can also help relieve stress, improve digestion, and quell your anxiety!
Again, the power in this oil lies with its ability to keep your nasal passages clear, with minimal irritation or inflammation. Diffuse a few drops tonight, especially if your sinuses are raw and swollen due to constant blowing and sniffling.
Want your room to smell like a fresh bakery, full of warmth and rich spice? Rosemary is a decadent oil to diffuse, but its benefits reach far past its comforting scent.
Rosemary oil is another anti-inflammatory oil that can relieve the discomfort associated with swollen sinuses. In addition, it's also rich in antioxidants and has been used as a supplemental treatment for metabolic syndrome.
This is a condition that encompasses a range of five different health issues, including a large waist circumference, high blood pressure, and high HDL cholesterol levels, among others. When at least three of these conditions are present, it can increase one's risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.
Rosemary oil can be a helpful addition to a routine used to treat or alleviate symptoms of metabolic syndrome. If you suffer from seasonal allergies, diffusing it can also help shrink your nasal passages so you can breathe clearly.
Have you ever taken an over-the-counter antihistamine tablet to get your allergy symptoms under control? As many of these medications can induce drowsiness, they're also commonly used to help allergy sufferers sleep more comfortably.
These medications work because they suppress your body's natural production of histamine. This is a compound that your cells release as an immune response to injury. Histamine production is also triggered when you experience an allergic or inflammatory reaction.
In short, this is your body's natural defense mechanism, inflaming your internal tissues to help protect your body against what it perceives as an outside enemy. While it can be beneficial, histamine can also be aggravating. If you've ever experienced the intense itching that poison ivy can activate, you've dealt with histamine.
The same applies to your sinuses. As allergens enter your nasal passages, they become inflamed in response. An antihistamine can temporarily stop or slow this reaction.
Instead of reaching for medication the next time you're in the middle of a sneezing marathon, try diffusing sandalwood oil instead. It naturally lowers your body's production of histamine, which lessens your body's reaction to environmental allergens.
Essential Oils Offer Powerful Allergy Relief
If you suffer from allergies, you'd likely try almost any treatment to help relieve your constant discomfort. However, it's no secret that medications, doctor's visits, and topical solutions can quickly add up.
On their own, essential oils cannot completely erase your symptoms. However, they can increase the effectiveness of the treatment plan you're already using. Over time, this can mean fewer symptoms and less of a reliance on your other approaches.
This list of 10 essential oils for allergies is only the beginning. As you learn more about oils, you'll discover that they contain some incredible health benefits, helping to keep a range of conditions under control.
Looking for more products that can help keep your home as healthy as possible? Check out our full suite of health and wellness solutions today!