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The 5 Best Essential Oils for Hay Fever

 

Hay fever (allergic rhinitis) is a common allergic reaction to pollen that is said to affect one in five people at some point in their lives.

Pollen is a fine powder released by plants as part of their reproductive cycle. It contains proteins that can cause the nose, eyes, throat and sinuses (small air-filled cavities behind your cheekbones and forehead) to become swollen, irritated and inflamed.

woman sneezing in field

Those who suffer with the condition will know only too well the main symptoms:

  • blocked or runny nose
  • sneezing
  • itchy, sore, red or watery eyes
  • a cough
  • itchy eyes, nose and throat
  • headaches and facial pain (caused by congestion of the sinuses).

Some people are allergic to a certain type of pollen, and the unlucky ones are allergic to more than one. The main culprits are tree pollen (spring), grass pollen (end of spring / start of summer) and weed pollen (late autumn).

If you are anything like me, the conventional allergy medicines often make me feel quite rough. Luckily, there is a natural alternative to relieve symptoms … essential oils!
rapeseed field with pollen

5 of the top essential oils for hay fever

Eucalyptus: A powerful oil with a powerful effect on the respiratory system and soothes inflammation. A great decongestant, eucalyptus helps with catarrh, coughs, congestion and sinusitis. It also helps soothe inflammation and sore throats. The expectorant properties help with clearing excess mucus from the chest. Perfect! (Precautions: powerful oil, use in low concentrations, avoid if suffer from high blood pressure or epilepsy. May antidote other homeopathic preparations due to its strong odour).

Lavender: A versatile oil calming oil with analgesic and decongestant properties. Great for soothing irritation, coughs and sinusitis. (Precautions: avoid during early stages of pregnancy).

Peppermint: With its sharp menthol aroma which is great for opening up the nasal passages, peppermint is an expectorant which helps with getting rid of the pesky excess mucus from the bronchial tubes. (Precautions: a very stimulating oil, may cause sensitisation due to menthol constituent. It is best avoided in pregnancy and by those suffering from epilepsy or heart disease).

Pine: Being a decongestant and expectorant, pine is one of the most effective oils in helping with respiratory infections, sinus and bronchial congestion. (Precautions: best used in small doses as may irritate sensitive skins).

Roman Chamomile: Renowned for its soothing and calming properties, this oil has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties which may help soothe inflamed respiratory tracts. (Precautions: use in low concentrations on the skin and avoid during the early stages of pregnancy).

dandelion seed in air

Ways to use them

Put 3 drops on to a tissue or handkerchief and inhale gently. Repeat as required.

Put 4-6 drops in a vaporiser or oil burner

Massage on to chest (essential oils should not be applied neat to the skin, always dilute first in a suitable carrier oil such as Grapeseed oil or Sweet Almond Oil. For a 2% dilution, an easy way to remember how many drops of essential oil to use is to divide the mls of carrier oil by two i.e. if you are using 10ml of carrier oil then you could add up to 5 drops of essential oil).

 

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Chamomile (Roman) Essential Oil

 

Botanical name: Anthemis nobilis

Plant origin: dried flowers of herb

Method of extraction: steam distillation

Aroma: warm, fruity, apple-like

Odour intensity: high

Note: middle

Blends well with: Benzoin, Bergamot, Clary Sage, Geranium, Jasmine, Lavender, Lemon, Marjoram, Neroli, Patchouli, Rose, Ylang Ylang

Overview

Chamomile has been revered since Egyptian times for its soothing properties and was used for cosmetic benefits to the skin. The ancient Greeks used Chamomile to treat fevers and female disorders. It is also known as the ‘plants’ physician’ due to its ability to protect and cure other plants in its vicinity. Chamomile is long renowned for its use in shampoos, particularly to highlight and condition fair hair. Chamomile tea is well known for its relaxing and digestive benefits.

chamomile roman plant

Therapeutic properties

Analgesic (pain relief), antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, bactericidal, carminative (relieves flatulence), cephalic (stimulates and clears mind), digestive (aids digestion), diuretic (increases urine flow), emmenagogue (induces / assists menstruation), febrifuge (reduces body temperature / fever), hepatic (stimulates / aids liver), nervine (beneficial effect on nervous system, calms nerves), sedative (calming), stimulates leucocytosis (production of white blood cells), stomachic (relieves gastric disorders), tonic (strengthens & enlivens the body), vulnerary (helps to heal wounds and sores).

Therapeutic uses

Mind

– eases anxiety and nervous tension and irritability

– helpful for anger

– calms an overactive mind

– good for excessive worry and over sensitivity

– helpful for insomnia

Body

– eases dull muscular aches and pains, particularly low back pain

– useful for headaches, migraine, toothache and earache

– helps with menstrual cycle, period pain and menopausal symptoms

– soothing on the stomach, can relieve colic, dyspepsia, indigestion, wind, good for IBS

– useful for disorders of genito-urinary tract, including cystitis

– helps with liver problems and jaundice

– useful for infections due to stimulating the production of white blood cells

Skin

– good for dry, itchy and sensitive skin

– helpful for inflammatory skin conditions

– can improve skin elasticity and strengthen tissues

– can reduce puffiness

– good for cleansing the skin

– soothing for burns, blisters, wounds

– calming for allergic conditions

Safety precautions

– Use in low concentrations as may cause dermal irritation / sensitisation

– Avoid during early stages of pregnancy (emmenagogue)

Marjoram (Sweet) Essential Oil

 

Botanical name: Origanum marjorana

Plant origin: dried leaves / flowering heads of herb

Method of extraction: steam distillation

Aroma: woody, spicy, mildly campherous,warming and penetrating

Odour intensity: medium

Note: middle

Blends well with: Bergamot, Cedarwood, Chamomile, Cypress, Lavender, Mandarin, Orange, Nutmeg, Rosemary, Rosewood, Ylang Ylang

Overview

Marjoram is a powerful muscle relaxant to both the mind and body. It has a soothing, warming and fortifying effect on disorders of the muscular, nervous and respiratory systems.

Marjoram was popular with ancient Greeks who used it to treat spasm and excess fluid in the tissues. It was also thought to be a valuable antidote against poison.

marjoram

Therapeutic properties

Analgesic (pain relief), antiseptic, antispasmodic (relieves cramps), antiviral , carminative (relieves flatulence), cephalic (stimulates and clears mind), cordial (heart tonic), digestive (aids digestion), emmenagogue (induces / assists menstruation), expectorant (removal of excess mucus), hypotensive (lowers blood pressure), laxative, nervine (beneficial effect on nervoous system, calms nerves), rubefacient (warms by increasing local blood flow / circulation), sedative (calming), vulnerary (helps to heal wounds and sores).

Therapeutic uses

Mind

–  Calming effect on nervous system.

–  Relieves anxiety and stress.

–  Helpful for depression.

–  Warming effect on the emotions.

–  May be comforting in times of grief and loneliness.

Body

– Particularly effective for muscular aches, stiffness and joint pain.

– May help with rheumatic and arthritic pain.

– Helps to dilate the arteries and capillaries, promoting easier blood flow and a sense of warmth.

– Thought to lower high blood pressure.

– A good tonic for the heart.

– Effective on the digestive system and may help with stomach cramps, colic, indigestion, constipation and flatulence.

– Appears to have a beneficial action on coughs, colds and chest infections.

– May also be beneficial for asthma.

– Helps to alleviate congestion.

– Good for general headaches and migraines.

– Thought to be useful for regulating the menstrual cycle and relieving menstrual pain and tension.

Skin

– Good for bruises as promotes flow of blood

Safety precautions

– Prolonged use can cause drowsiness

– Best avoided during pregnancy