10 Essential Oils For Allergies That Give Fast Relief
Though there are plenty of essential oils for allergies, only a few work the best in alleviating its symptoms. Yes, aromatic oils are pure, potent, and have incredible historical value.
However, not all essential oil functions the same. What works for one condition, might not work for the other. The same applies to a problem like an allergy.
In the boundless world of essential oils, unless you are aware of the compounds that help heal the allergies, you would be perplexed about what works for what!
Considering this, here is a list of essential oils that work wonders on allergies. But before that, there is something you should know.
Essential oils, though have come into the limelight in recent years, they have existed for centuries. They were used since ancient times to treat various ailments. In the olden days, people used essential oils to treat seasonal allergies.
A problem like allergy used to be rare in those days. In fact, it was only seasonal. However, times have changed and they have turned out to be more common now.
The rise in its prevalence is due to pollution, rapid urbanization, globalization, and lifestyle changes. It has a massive impact on the well-being of humanity.
On that note, let’s learn how to use essential oils for allergies and which ones work the best.
What is Allergy?
An allergy is a type of hypersensitive response of the immune system against a substance that is potentially non-infectious. The substances that an individual is allergic to are called allergens.
If a person is allergic to a substance, it might not be the same for the other. Every “body” is different.
Allergic reactions may occur due to intolerance of certain foods, substances, or pollution. The body may either react immediately within a few minutes by encountering with an allergen or it can take a few hours or even days.
The immune response may vary from a mild reaction (sneezing, bleeding nose, and cough) to a fatal problem like Anaphylaxis.
- Clemens von Pirquet coined the term ‘Allergy’ in 1906.
- Allergy can affect almost any part of the body.
- The portion of the body that is affected by allergens is called Shock organ.
- The immune system is responsible for defending the body from any microorganism or any other potential infections.
- An antigen is a substance, which is recognized as a foreign particle by the immune system. It may or may not be toxic.
- An antibody is a unique structured protein produced by the immune system to counter-attack antigen.
- Immunoglobulins (Ig) are antibodies. There are 5-known classes of immunoglobulins IgA, IgD, IgE, IgG and IgM.
- Allergy is a type 1 hypersensitive reaction.
- There are two types of Allergies.
- IgE mediated allergy causes an immediate reaction.
- Non-IgE mediated is an allergy where the symptoms are slow.
Causes of Allergy
The causes of allergy are not precisely known. Often, people associate allergy with a genetic component. They claim that, if the mother has an allergic reaction towards a particular allergen, it passes on to the child. However, this is not necessarily true.
An individual can be allergic to any substance, which usually includes:
- Pollens from plants, trees, grass, and weeds
- Animal furs, dander, bugs
- Poisonous plants
- Drugs like Penicillin, Sulfonamides, Salicylates, and local anaesthetics
- Serums, vaccines
- Foods (Nuts, milk, seafood, egg, peas)
- Heat, cold, and sunlight
- Insects’ venom, cockroach calyx, dust mites, mosquitoes
- Metals, detergents and much more.
Caution: Anaphylaxis is a severe form of allergy. Initially, the symptoms are similar to a common allergy. However, within minutes, the situation may get worse. You should not take anti-histamines for anaphylaxis. Generally, doctors give an adrenaline shot. So VISIT A DOCTOR IMMEDIATELY.
Symptoms of Allergy
The symptoms of allergic reactions vary from mild to severe. When the body encounters the allergen for the first time, the symptoms are usually mild, which include:
- Sneezing, runny nose, stuffy nose, and cough
- Red spots, Rashes (hives), itching
- Nausea and vomiting
- Fever, headache, fatigue
- Dry watery eyes, itching in the eyes
- Dry and cracked skin
Some of the symptoms of severe allergic reactions (Anaphylaxis) include:
- Wheezing, Shortness of breath
- Swelling of throat, mouth, eyes
- Painful and tight chest
- Intense abdominal pain
- Swollen face, throat
- Elevated Blood pressure
- Loss of consciousness
10 Essential Oils for Allergies
1. Lemon Oil
In Ayurvedic medicine, lemon essential oil (Citrus limon) holds a special place and has been used for thousands of years to treat various diseases. However, today, it has a wide range of applications in the cosmetic industry.
Lemon oil is well known for its antimicrobial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, anxiolytic, sedative, antinociceptive, and antiodiant properties.
With more than 21 compounds in lemon oil, the most significant ones are limonene and β-Pinene (2).
The other significant compounds include γ-terpinene, γ-terpinene, terpinolene, sabinene (3).
The compound limonene in it works primarily on the allergies. Since limonene is an anti-inflammatory, it significantly reduces the inflammatory mediators like Prostaglandins released by the mast cells. Thereby, calming down the unnecessary immune reactions (4).
- Dilute 2-3 drops of lemon oil with 2 tablespoons of coconut oil and apply it on the rashes, hives, or dry skin to soothe pain. This will calm the itching sense. Apply it on the skin every night for a few days. Make sure you wash it thoroughly in the morning.
- Diffuse the oil for aromatherapy, or you can also add few drops in the bath.
- Lemon oil is PHOTOTOXIC. Once applied, avoid exposing that skin region to sunlight for 12 to 24 hours after that.
- Use fresh oils (mostly 8 to 10 months old), because Lemon oil has a shorter shelf life.
2. Lavender Oil
Lavender oil (Lavandula angustifolia) is one of the most popular oils used in aromatherapy. However, its use dates back to the ancient times. From curing Acne to Rheumatism, lavender oil has been proven effective.
Of about 300 chemical compounds present in lavender oil, the most significant ones are linalool and linalyl acetate.
A high-quality lavender oil will always have more linalool and linalyl acetate in it. So, make sure you read the label before making a purchase.
It is an excellent analgesic, antiallergenic, anti-inflammatory. It is used for treating asthma, headache, irritability, and insomnia (5).
Along with linalool and linalyl acetate, the other constituents of lavender oil that are responsible for its anti-inflammatory activity are β-pinene, p-cymene, limonene, terpinen-4-ol, and cryptone (6).
These compounds decrease the release of histamines and other chemical mediators, calming the immune system naturally. It also induces sound sleep.
- Mix 2 – 3 drops of lavender oil and 2 drops of lemon oil with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Gently apply to the affected area and leave it overnight.
- Lavender oil is a sedative. Application during daytime is not advisable.
- People with estrogen-dependent cancer should avoid lavender oil.
3. Peppermint Oil
Peppermint oil (Mentha x piperita) is one of the best essential oils for allergies. The oil is an excellent analgesic and anti-inflammatory agent.
It is also a sedative and anti-depressant. Besides treating allergies, it also reduces muscle pain and stiffness.
The important chemical compounds found in peppermint oil are methanol, menthone, menthyl acetate, neomenthol, pulegone, cineol, and caryophyllene.
- For a DIY essential oil allergy blend, mix 2-3 drops of peppermint oil, 2-3 drops of lavender oil, 2-3 drops of lemon oil with 2 tablespoons of coconut oil. Apply this on the affected skin region and leave it overnight.
- You can also diffuse the oil for aromatherapy.
- Not safe for pregnant women and children under 6 years.
- People with epilepsy should avoid this oil.
- People suffering from indigestion, heartburn, and ulcer are advised not to ingest this oil.
4. Sandalwood Oil
Used for more than 4000 years and prized for its exotic fragrance, sandalwood oil is an excellent remedy for most dermal diseases. A study has found that there are more than 66 volatile components in sandalwood oil.
The primary compounds present in it are cis-alpha-Santalol, cis-beta-Santalol, cis-alpha-trans-Bergamotol, cis-epi-beta-Santalol, cis-Lanceol, cis-Nuciferal, beta-Santalene.
About 90% of the oil is composed of four sesquiterpenols: α-, β-, epi-β-santalol, and α-exo-bergamotol.
- Mix 4-5 drops sandalwood oil with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and apply it on the affected area during the night. It helps in soothing pain and irritability.
- The oil may act as a sedative. Make sure you apply it during the night.
5. Eucalyptus Oil
Eucalyptus Oil has an irresistible and uplifting fragrance. It has been a good go-to remedy for flu and cold for hundreds of years. However, not many know that it is one of the best essential oils for seasonal allergies.
Out of 100 chemical compounds found in Eucalyptus oil, α-pinene, 1,8-cineol, and pinocarveol-trans are the most significant (13).
1,8-cineol and α-pinene together inhibit the Mast cells from releasing chemical mediators like histamine. Thus, preventing further immune response, calming down the reactions, and impeding irritation (14).
Eucalyptus oil cures allergy, and it is an excellent decongestant.
- Mix 4-6 drops of Eucalyptus oil with a tablespoon of Olive oil. Apply it gently on the skin. Repeat it every night.
- Using a few drops of Eucalyptus oil in steam therapy calms down the entire body.
- Do not use eucalyptus when using homoeopathic medicines.
- Ingestion is toxic.
- Pregnant women and children under 6 should avoid using.
6. Melissa Oil
Melissa (Melissa officinalis) is a traditional Moroccan oil is used to treat physical and emotional ailments for ancient times. Its strong lemony fragrance has a calming effect. It is also known as lemon balm.
Researchers claim that Melissa oil is as an antiallergenic, antifungal, antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and bactericidal (15).
The significant components in Melissa oil are Neral, Citral, Isopulegol, Caryophyllene, Caryophyllene oxide, and Citronella. All these compounds are demonstrated for their effective anti-inflammatory activity and thus, making it a potential anti-allergenic (16).
- Add 2-3 drops of Melissa oil, 4-6 drops of rose oil to 2 tablespoons of olive oil and apply it on the affected area.
- The oil can be a dermal irritant in a concentrated dose. Use it in low dilution.
- The oil stimulates menstrual flow. Pregnant women should AVOID using.
7. Basil Oil
Basil (Ocimum sanctum) is a highly revered Indian culinary herb. It has been used as a medicine for more than 3000 years in Ayurveda.
However, linalool and linoleic acid are the two most vital compounds that ease the discomfort during an allergic reaction.
It prevents the excess histamine release and reduces the redness & swelling on the infected areas. Basil oil when inhaled, also cures symptoms like cold, cough, and sinus infection.
- For a homemade essential oil allergy blend recipe, mix 2-3 drops of basil oil, 2-3 drops of lavender oil with a teaspoon of coconut oil and apply it on the affected skin. Leave it overnight. Do it until the allergy rashes disappear.
- Pregnant and lactating mothers should not use basil oil.
- Basil oil is strictly not recommended for internal use.
- People who have epilepsy and cancer should avoid basil oil.
8. Chamomile Oil
German Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) is one of the world’s most popular herbal teas. It is often praised to be capable of curing anything.
Cosmetic industries make use of chamomile oil in almost all of their dermal products.
The primary and active components of chamomile oil include α-bisabolol oxide A & B, α-bisabolol, sesquiterpenes, chamazulene, umbelliferone, coumarins, luteolin, quercetin, apigenin, en-yn dicycloether, and spiroethers (19).
However, chamazulene and bisabolol are significant components of the oil. Apigenin and luteolin, the flavonoids present in it are responsible for its anti-inflammatory effects (20).
Chamomile oil is an effective anti-inflammatory and analgesic, making it a great for curing almost all skin disorders and even migraines.
Just inhaling its aroma helps in treating problems like blocked sinuses and sneezing. The oil also eliminates excess phlegm, treats nasal allergies, and calms the respiratory system.
- Mix 2-3 drops of chamomile oil with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and gently apply it on the skin. Repeat until the problem resolves.
- Blend a few drops of chamomile oil with a few drops of eucalyptus oil. Diffuse the concoction. Inhalation of this concoction facilitates smooth breathing.
- Pregnant women should avoid this.
- It is a mild sedative. So caution is necessary.
9. Bergamot Oil
Bergamot oil is one of the favorite oils among aromatherapists, because of its spicy-sweet citrus fragrance.
Various studies claim that bergamot oil possesses potential anti-inflammatory properties. The primary chemical compounds present in bergamot oil are limonene, linalyl Acetate, gamma-terpinene, linalool, and beta-pinene.
Inhalation and topical application of bergamot oil can relieve the discomforts of allergic symptoms. Also, it is an excellent cleanser.
- Mix a few drops of bergamot oil with water and diffuse it in the room. It reduces irritability and calms down the mind.
- Add 2-3 drops of Bergamot oil with 1 tablespoon of coconut oil. Apply it to the skin during night time. Make sure you shower well in the morning before stepping outdoors in sunlight.
- Bergamot oil is highly PHYTOTOXIC. Avoid exposing to sunlight after you apply it on the skin.
- Not safe for children under age 6 and pregnant women.
10. Tea Tree oil
Also known as melaleuca, Tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) is a commonly used essential oil worldwide. It is a powerful antiseptic. The active components of Tea tree oil are terpinen-4-ol, α-terpineol, α-pinene, β-pinene, 1,8-cineole, and linalool.
However, terpinen-4-ol & α-terpineol are present in higher concentrations, and research shows that these two compounds demonstrate higher anti-inflammatory activity (23).
Tea tree oil is capable of reducing redness of skin when the skin encounters some metal allergens like Nickel.
- Dilute 4 – 6 drops of tea tree oil in water and apply on the inflamed skin to reduce inflammation, rashes, itchy skin and irritability.
- Tea tree oil is strictly not for ingestion.
- If there is skin irritation, avoid using it right away and wash off with soap.
When To Visit A Doctor?
- Difficulty in breathing.
- Increased heart rate.
- Loss of consciousness.
- The symptoms of allergies are intolerable and frequent.
- You feel sick with congestion in the head and cough.
- You notice any symptoms of Anaphylaxis.
- The symptoms do not subside after treatment with antihistamines.
- You feel tightness in the chest.
- Unbearable muscle cramps.
- You already suffer from Asthma or hay-fever.