"Less than 1/40,000th of a grain inhaled in each twenty-four hours suffices to bring on the malady in its mildest form," discovered the 19th century doctor Charles Harrison Blackley. By experimenting on himself, he had identified the trigger for the strange cold-like symptoms he endured every year in spring and summer – the inhaled ‘grain’ was pollen, and the ‘malady’ was hay fever, now more commonly known as ‘seasonal allergies’.
Roughly 15% of all human beings suffer from seasonal allergies, and this number can rise to close to a third of the population in countries where people are frequently exposed to plant species with high pollen yields, such as the Japanese cypress. If you’re one of the unlucky ones, your miserable symptoms are caused by an overreaction of your immune system to pollen particles in your airways, leading to an unholy symptomatic trinity of sneezing, eye irritation and, in some cases, difficulty breathing. Seasonal allergies are at best uncomfortable, and at worst dangerous, especially to asthmatics.
These allergic reactions are often treated with antihistamines, which can trigger side effects comparable in inconvenience to the allergies themselves: drowsiness, dizziness, nausea andstomach pain. Histamines are organic compounds produced by the body as part of its immune response, so it’s no surprise that artificially interfering with thebody’s delicate immune system may sometimes make the sufferer feel worse rather than better.
You’ll thus be happy as a springlamb to learn that aromatherapy can provide some blessed relief to seasonal allergy sufferers, and without the debilitating side effects of over-the-counter pharmaceutical remedies. Several essential oils are known to reduce inflammation, clear sinuses, and alleviate itching. However, keep in mind that many essential oils are flower-based, and may also induce an allergic reaction to particularly sensitive allergy sufferers. Be sure to consult your doctor if you are concerned about the potential for allergic reactions to essential oils, and always begin with low concentrations of essential oils in your diffuser or spritzer. If you would prefer to use your essential oils in asteam inhalation, increase the dilution significantly, i.e. reduce the number of drops in the recipes below from ten to five or less.
Ready for a frolic in flower-filled meadows? Here are our ten favorite aromatherapy recipes for relief from seasonal allergies. Spring, summer – do your worst!
This light, refreshing blend of Lavender, Basil, Lemon and Peppermint essential oil top notes will help you breathe more easily and give the air a welcome zing.
· 3 drops Peppermint essential oil
· 3 drops Lemon essential oil
· 2 drops Lavender essential oil
· 2 drops Basil essential oil
For more stubborn seasonal allergy symptoms like blocked sinuses or a stuffy nose, try a punchier blend of crisp Eucalyptus with the deeper decongestant bass notes of Helichrysum and Balsam Fir essential oils.
· 6 drops Eucalyptus essential oil
· 2 drops Helichrysum essential oil
· 2 drops Balsam Fir essential oil
Bergamot, Cinnamon and Clary Sage essential oils may all reduce mucus build-up and production, so use this blend to stop those annoying sniffles in their tracks.
· 4 drops Bergamot essential oil
· 3 drops Cinnamon essential oil
· 3 drops Clary Sage essential oil
The winter colds combo of Ginger and Lemon can be just as effective at relieving the symptoms of seasonal allergies when starring in a simple but vigorous blend of their essential oils.
· 6 drops Lemon essential oil
· 4 drops Ginger essential oil
An essential oils blend of earthy Sandalwood and Frankincense, with a sharper aromatic like Ravensara, can really cut through the misery of nasal congestion.
· 6 drops Ravensara essential oil
· 2 drops Sandalwood essential oil
· 2 drops Frankincense essential oil
Find blessed relief from itchy eyes in allergy season by diffusing this anti-inflammatory blend of Tea Tree, Thyme, and Roman Chamomile essential oils.
· 4 drops Roman Chamomile essential oil
· 3 drops Tea Tree essential oil
· 3 drops Thyme essential oil
Exhausted from a day of allergy symptoms? This blend of anti-histamine Lavender and sweet Cardamom essential oils will soothe the day away and ensure you wake up feeling refreshed and breathing easily.
· 5 drops Lavender essential oil
· 5 drops Cardamom essential oil
This clean, herby, airway-calming blend of Eucalyptus, Peppermint, Oregano, and Rosemary essential oils may soothe irritated airways and stop a cough from becoming more troublesome.
· 3 drops Oregano essential oil
· 3 drops Rosemary essential oil
· 2 drops Eucalyptus essential oil
· 2 drops Peppermint essential oil
If your symptoms are getting you down, this spirit-lifting blend of citrusy Melissa and musky Patchouli essential oils will help you enjoy the sunnier months and stop you pining for Fall.
· 5 drops Melissa essential oil
· 5 drops Patchouli essential oil
Seasonal allergies add an extra level of stress to our already busy lives. To unwind after a day outside battling the pollen, try this calming blend of Black Spruce, Cedarwood, Juniper Berry and White Fir essential oils.
· 3 drops Black Spruce essential oil
· 3 drops Juniper Berry essential oil
· 3 drops White Fir essential oil
· 1 drop Cedarwood essential oil