Photo: Rita Pirahova / Shutterstock.com
Many people turn to essential oils to relieve the miserable symptoms of seasonal allergies. Essential oils are liquids that are distilled from various plants and can be inhaled (called aromatherapy) or applied directly to the skin. Although the scientific evidence for the practice is still limited (mainly because fewer studies have been done), anecdotal evidence suggests that they may be helpful in controlling certain symptoms such as stuffy nose, coughing and congestion. (See: 7 Essential Oils for Anxiety and Stress Relief)
"I see some good benefits," says Ryan D. Gauthier, Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine and head of the Center for Integrative Medicine at the Henry Ford Health System, Detroit, " but more research is needed. "
Although essential oils are available over the counter, it is important to seek medical attention before using them. The quality varies greatly between the products and some liquids can actually aggravate your allergies. If you have seasonal allergies, here are some essential oils that are worth asking your doctor for. (Related: The 6 Essential Oil Defects That Are Probably Made by You)
Lemon oil is a popular choice for seasonal allergies.
"One study shows that nasal sprays containing lemon essential oils can actually reduce inflammation in the sinuses," says Gauthier.
The study was a small study of just 1
A word of caution: "All citrus oils are light sensitive," says Gauthier, "meaning that when we use lemon oil and put it under our noses and get direct sunlight, it burns and peels the skin. Sun Enhances the Effect. "
Try: Plant Therapy Organic Lemon Essential Oil, $ 10, amazon.com
Peppers Mint Oil
Peppermint oil can relieve cough with seasonal allergies (and other disorders)). If this is true, it may be because the oil smoothes the muscles involved in coughing. This was the result of a study carried out on rats.
"Peppermint is closely related to menthol and menthol is used in dicks like Vicks VapoRub and nasal inhalation sprays for sinusitis," says Gauthier. "They are used to open the lungs and there is some anecdotal evidence." (Related: Use of essential oils in migraine)
The plant that gives us peppermint oil is related to plants that give us spearmint. Basil, lavender, rosemary, sage, marjoram and thyme. These are widely used in folk medicine for a variety of ailments including stomach, respiratory and pain problems.
Try: Snow Lotus Peppermint Oil, $ 19, amazon.com
As a group of researchers in Israel, patients with upper respiratory tract infections use a mixture of oils, including two Types of eucalyptus oil administered, they saw improvements in hoarseness, cough and sore throat in just 20 minutes. The essential oil blend used in the study included Eucalyptus citriodora, Eucalyptus globulus, Peppermint, Syrian oregano and Rosemary. (See: 4 Surprising Things Concerning Their Allergies)
The spray was applied five times daily for three days, but after three days, there was no difference in symptoms between the persons using the essential oil blend and the study participants Placebo spray given.
"The evidence is mixed," says Gauthier.
Try: Healing Solutions Eucalyptus Oil, $ 6, amazon.com
It is believed that many essential oils help with allergies, and other diseases are anti-inflammatory properties. Lavender and tea tree oils, for example, have an anti-inflammatory effect, but can be more helpful in combating skin diseases than breathing difficulties. (Associated: Bestselling Essential Oil Diffusers, After Thousands of Five-Star Amazon Reviews)
Lavender (we like NOW Foods Lavender Oil, $ 30, amazon.com) can also help sleep by reducing anxiety , Some believe that preparations containing chamomile (known as a calming tea ingredient) along with other ailments can help with hay fever symptoms. Frankincense, which also has anti-inflammatory benefits for people with bronchitis and sinusitis, can help certain digestive conditions. (See also: Does essential oils work with anxiety – and what are the best?)
Safe Use of Essential Oils
Safety is a major concern when using essential oils. Products are not regulated like medicines, and the quality varies greatly between brands. Look for reliable brands like Snow Lotus Essential Oils, says Gauthier.
Also, essential oils should never be taken. "They can affect the detoxification systems of the liver and kidneys," says Gauthier. "Some oils are safer than others, but the layman should not take them internally."
In sinus problems, he adds "essential oils" can be administered by weakening the oils on a cotton ball and smelling them. " Make sure they are diluted to the correct concentration. Another reason to contact a doctor before diving.
In some cases, essential oils can also make allergies worse. "If you're allergic to a single flower, a grass or a weed and use this essential oil, you may be allergic to the oil," says Gauthier. You can also aggravate skin disease if you use it topically.
Remember that essential oils are not the only home remedies that can help with allergies. Neti pots, inhaling steam and eating spicy foods can relieve the symptoms. Increased seasonal allergies may require antihistamines or steroids. "I think of essential oils as a supplement," says Gauthier.
This story was originally published on Health.com by Amanda Gardner.