Allergies don’t just happen during springtime. They can attack your immune system at any time of the year.
For some people, allergies may even be worse in the fall or winter. So if you sneeze the second Christmas trees start popping up, don’t worry. You’re not alone.
According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, more than 50 million Americans experience different types of allergies each year. Unfortunately both indoor and outdoor allergies can occur all year long, regardless of the season or your surrounding environment.
How Do Essential Oils Combat Allergies?
When you experience allergies, it’s because the immune system is overreacting to foreign substances or allergens. The immune system detects the substance and thinks your body is in danger, so it goes into overdrive and attacks it. This misunderstanding triggers an allergic reaction, resulting in unwanted side effects such as sneezing, congestion, runny nose and itchy eyes. You’ll feel this way due to the fact that allergies cause an inflammatory response in the lining of your nose and eyes’ protective tissue.
There are many effective remedies for these symptoms, and we’re not only referring to over-the-counter medication. You can also use an assortment of essential oils to combat your allergies — no matter what season you’re reacting to.
Because inflammation is a contributing factor, you want to find ways to reduce it. Many types of these natural substances are great for fighting inflammation. This benefit can help you combat allergies and reduce symptoms.
The benefits aren’t just anecdotal, either. Oils have been used as a medicine for centuries because they have naturally occurring chemical components that are able to inhibit inflammatory pathways.
Modern-day scientists have analyzed these pathways and anti-inflammatory effects, and have conducted studies where they test the efficacy of different oils for various symptoms and conditions. A 2016 study, for example, found that a blend of oils was more effective than a placebo in treating nasal symptoms caused by allergies.
Which Essential Oils Are Good for Seasonal Allergies?
Each season may expose you to different potential allergens. For example, in the spring when trees and plants are blooming, you will be exposed to pollen. So, if you have an allergic reaction to pollen, you’ll see your symptoms flare up around this time.
Alternatively, in the winter you’re spending more time inside where you might be exposed to indoor allergens such as mold or dust mites. Symptoms can worsen during this time as well.
Here are some common seasonal allergies people have throughout the year, as well as tips on using essential oils for allergy relief.
The Best Essential Oils for Winter Allergies
Two of the most common winter allergies are dust mites and mold. You can target these allergens directly by spraying areas in your home with a lemon essential oil mixture to kill dust mites and reduce mold. You can also reduce your allergy symptoms with lemon essential oil.
“Lemon oil is great for allergy symptoms because it reduces inflammation in the sinuses,” Noelle Kovary, Ayurvedic Health Counselor and author, told Public Goods.
This oil is also dual-purpose. Like lemon oil, eucalyptus oil can both kill dust mites and mold because of its antifungal properties, and it can fight your symptoms.
“Eucalyptus is one of my favorite oils for allergies and infections of the upper respiratory tract,” Kovary said. “Use of eucalyptus can lead to a significant and immediate improvement in allergy symptoms.”
This is also a good essential oil to apply if you suffer from other common winter allergies such as pet dander or cockroach droppings.
The Best Essential Oils for Spring Allergies
Spring allergies caused by trees and pollen are infamously hard to deal with, so you want to choose an essential oil that’ll ease your symptoms and help you enjoy the spring weather. Because it contains natural menthol, peppermint oil is a very effective oil for easing various symptoms. This ingredient can clear your sinuses, help loosen phlegm and suppress coughs.
The substance has also demonstrated the ability to reduce inflammation, thereby lessening the severity of symptoms. Bonus: because it has anti-bacterial and antioxidant properties, it can help boost your immune system, too.
The Best Essential Oils for Summer Allergies
Grasses and weeds are the most common triggers for summer allergies. You can fight the inflammation caused by these triggers by using oregano oil. Studies have found that rosmarinic acid, a naturally occurring ingredient in oregano oil, can have anti-allergic effects, meaning that it can actually reduce the severity of your allergic reactions.
Frankincense oil is great for alleviating coughs, which can get pretty bad with grass allergies. This oil can soothe inflammation in the airways, helping you to breathe more easily and cough less. If you have asthma on top of your allergies, frankincense oil can be a beneficial treatment for that issue, too.
The Best Essential Oils for Fall Allergies
One of the most common fall allergies comes from the ragweed plant. You can combat the inflammation that comes along with this pesky allergy by using lavender oil, which has been proven to provide anti-inflammatory properties.
Our allergic reactions can be more intense if we are stressed out, so trying to decrease stress and anxiety levels can help allergy symptoms.
You might just love the calming effect of lavender so much that you end up adding it to your daily routine! The dual anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety effects of lavender makes it one of the best essential oils for seasonal allergies.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree is another oil that’s very effective as an anti-inflammatory agent, so it will help the symptoms you’re experiencing from the ragweed (or other allergens you might be exposed to in the fall). On top of this effect, it has antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial properties.
How to Use Essential Oils Safely
Before jumping to use essential oils for seasonal allergies, be sure to know how to use them safely! While these oils are a great natural remedy, this fact doesn’t mean they are without risks if not used properly.
Here are some ways to use these oils safely:
A diffuser, sometimes called an aromatherapy diffuser, is one of the most popular and simple ways to use your oils safely. It infuses the air in the room with the essential oil, which allows the particulates to be easily inhaled as you go about your business. Be sure to learn how to use a diffuser before you start experimenting with it.
Inhaling the essential oil can be very effective when done correctly and safely. You do not want to get the oil in or on your nose, so you shouldn’t just hold the bottle up straight up to your nose and sniff. There are much safer ways to inhale these oils, aside from using a diffuser.
An effective method of inhalation is taking a big bowl of steaming hot water and adding a couple of drops of essential oil into it. Then lean your head over the bowl, cover yourself and the bowl with a towel, and inhale the steam for a few minutes.
An alternative way to do this is by using oil in the shower. Kovary said one of her favorite ways to use eucalyptus oil is through this method.
“I suggest adding a few drops to the floor of your shower and letting the steam diffuse the oil into the shower,” she said.
This method involves adding a few drops onto a piece of fabric, towel or even a cotton ball. Then, you can hold the material up close to your nose and breathe in.
“Specifically for sinus issues, you should apply the essential oil to a cotton ball and then inhale it,” Kovary said. “This way, you aren’t going to accidentally inhale the raw oil into your nose and possibly burn your mucous membranes.”
For cough relief, she adds, “Frankincense can be applied to a towel and inhaled.”
You can also create your own sprays from essential oil blends. Either spray these oil blends around the room or use it as a targeted spray to aim directly on surfaces with allergens.
“You can make a targeted spray using essential oils like lemon, eucalyptus, or tea tree by adding about 20 drops to white vinegar,” Kovary said. “You can use it around your home to reduce mold, bacteria and dust mites that can trigger allergies.”
You should never apply essential oils alone or undiluted directly to the skin, as the chemicals can cause irritation, rashes or burns. They should always be mixed with a carrier oil, so the oil is diluted. Some examples of carrier oils you can use are coconut oil, argan oil or jojoba oil.
To be precautionary, take a tiny bit of the diluted mixture and do a patch test on a small area of skin to make sure you don’t react negatively. When using oils for seasonal allergies, you can create topical chest rubs (like Vicks VapoRub).
“Two drops of peppermint added to a tablespoon of coconut oil can make a great substitute for a vaporizing chest rub,” Kovary said. This mixture will be great for opening your sinuses.
She noted that this method can be done with frankincense, too, to suppress coughs.
Fighting Allergies with Natural Remedies
As you now know, there are plenty of different essential oils that are beneficial for seasonal allergies, and many ways to utilize them. Stock up on a few different oils and experiment with them to figure out which essential oil and which method of use works best to relieve your symptoms. Hopefully, soon enough, you’ll be able to experience some relief and live your life without worrying about allergies ruining your day.
Download Our Free Guide to Sustainable Living.
From reducing waste to recycling and upcycling, our e-book shows simple ways to make choices you can feel good about.