An allergic reaction happens when the immune system misinterprets a normally non-toxic substance, like grass or pollen, as a harmful invader. The immune system responds by releasing histamines. When left untreated, these histamines can lead to symptoms such as sneezing, headaches, sore throats, a blocked and runny nose, watery eyes, and even an impaired sense of smell.
Antihistamines are the most common drug treatment for controlling allergy symptoms; however, these are not without their side effects. As such, the use of essential oils for allergies is becoming increasingly popular among sufferers.
Essential oils can complement your drug treatment or provide a natural alternative that may safely and effectively fight inflammation, unclog sinuses, boost your immune system, and eliminate toxins in the body. In cases of severe allergic reactions that lead to difficulty breathing, essential oils might help soothe the nerves and muscles in respiratory tract.
In This Article:
Do I Have an Allergy?
In the U.S., 40 to 60 million people are affected by allergic rhinitis, and those numbers continue to increase. Allergic rhinitis is also known as hay fever—a common seasonal allergy due to mold; dust; animal dander; insect venom from stings; metals like nickel; household chemicals; some cosmetics; and tree, weed, flower, or grass pollen.
Other causes of allergies include an excess of mucus due to a poor diet, nutritional deficiencies, poor digestion, and stress, which depresses the immune system. Some might also experience a food allergy, especially to wheat, dairy, shellfish, nuts, and eggs.
These otherwise harmless substances trick the immune system into thinking the allergen is a threat. The immune system overreacts to the allergen, and this triggers symptoms in the lungs, ears, eyes, throat, nose, sinuses, and skin.
As a result, the most common symptoms of an allergy include sneezing, watery eyes, a runny or itchy nose, sore throats, headaches, coughing, fatigue, an impaired sense of smell, hives, rashes, and other skin eruptions.
Best Essential Oils for Allergies
These essential oils used for allergies contain anti-inflammatory, expectorant, antimicrobial, and immune-boosting properties. Consequently, the essential oils have been praised for their ability to unclog sinuses, fight inflammation, eliminate toxins, and boost the immune system. Read on to learn what essential oils for allergies can help.
1. Peppermint Oil
Peppermint (Mentha piperita) is one essential oil used as a remedy for allergic rhinitis. Peppermint oil may be great for helping clear out the effects of allergies on all the organs associated with breathing. Inhaling peppermint oil could help unblock nasal passageways and sinuses, as well as reduce the inflammation in the lungs and respiratory system. It could also help soothe coughs, reduce phlegm, and relax your windpipe.
A study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology in 2010 had examined the effects of peppermint oil on the tracheal rings of rats. The researchers discovered that peppermint oil had antispasmodic and relaxant effects that clear the sinuses and soothe cough.
Another study published in the European Journal of Medical Research in 1998 suggested that peppermint oil has anti-inflammatory effects and, as a result, lowered symptoms of chronic inflammatory disorders such as bronchial asthma and allergic rhinitis.
Using Peppermint Oil for Allergies
To use peppermint oil for allergies, diffuse five drops to unclog sinuses and soothe your throat. This helps your nasal muscles relax and allows the body to clear out allergens and mucus. For lowering inflammation, use one to two drops of peppermint oil internally once daily.
Some also rely on peppermint oil for migraines caused by allergies. Peppermint oil can be used topically on your temples, back, neck, and chest. For sensitive skin, dilute peppermint oil with a carrier oil like jojoba oil or coconut oil. You an also add peppermint to a smoothie, cup of tea, or glass of water.
2. Eucalyptus Oil
Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus) oil may be an effective essential oil to reduce inflammation. Eucalyptus oil might help relieve congestion of the nasal passages if inhaled, but it might also help with chest congestion when used as a balm or chest rub. It could also help reduce swelling of the respiratory tract mucous membranes and soothe coughs.
If you suffer from asthma attacks, sinus pain, and seasonal allergies, eucalyptus oil could be the right essential oil for you. Research suggests that eucalyptus could potentially improve airflow due to its expectorant, analgesic, and anti-inflammatory properties.
In a study published in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine in 2011, researchers found eucalyptus essential oil to be effective for upper respiratory tract infection symptoms, including sore throats, coughs, and hoarseness. In the study, patients treated with eucalyptus spray reported greater improvement in respiratory symptom severity than those in the placebo group.
Using Eucalyptus Oil for Allergies
For treating allergies with eucalyptus oil, diffuse five drops in a diffuser, or apply it to your temples and chest. For nasal congestion, add a drop or two of eucalyptus oil into a bowl containing a cup of boiling water. You will then place a towel over your head and inhale for a five- to 10-minute timeframe.
3. Lavender Oil
Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) oil is another commonly used essential oil for allergies, itchy eyes, and other related symptoms. It is thought to soothe these symptoms due to its ability to lower inflammation.
Lavender oil is useful as it may help relieve allergic reactions as they are happening. Lavender oil appears to work best on the allergic reactions that occur on the skin, so it could work on hives and even insect bites (most insect bites that itch are in fact an allergic reaction to the bug’s saliva).
A study published in Life Sciences in 2014 showed how the anti-inflammatory effect of lavender essential oil can combat the symptoms of bronchial asthma. The chemicals in lavender oil may also be able to inhibit histamine production, which suppresses inflammation in the airways.
Another study from the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, published in 2003, showed that the anti-inflammatory properties of lavender help reduce pain associated with inflamed skin and speed the healing process.
Using Lavender Oil for Allergies
For treating allergies with lavender oil, place a drop on your cheeks and around your sinuses throughout the day. When using lavender oil on the skin for a rash, be sure to dilute with a carrier oil such as coconut oil.
You can also use a few drops of lavender oil on your pillow, or inhale with a diffuser 15 minutes before bed.
4. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) oil is another popular essential oil for runny nose, skin rash, and other allergy symptoms due to its reported ability to destroy airborne pathogens that trigger allergies.
Tea tree oil can be used as a decongestant, anti-inflammatory, and antiseptic. It can also be used as a topical treatment for skin outbreaks caused by allergic reactions.
In a 2000 study, German researchers found that tea tree oil exhibits antimicrobial activity that fights the fungi, yeast, and bacteria that impair the immune system. Other research indicates that anti-inflammatory properties of tea tree oil might reduce skin swelling due to its antihistamine effect.
Using Tea Tree Oil for Allergies
Tea tree oil can be used for allergies, including skin rashes. It does so by killing fungi, bacteria, and mold. This oil should not be ingested; apply only topically.
Add two drops of tea tree oil to a clean cotton ball and apply to your affected area.
Those with sensitive skin must dilute tea tree oil with a carrier oil first. You can also use tea tree oil as a household cleaner for eliminating allergens in your home.
5. Frankincense Oil
Frankincense (Boswellia serrata) oil is another essential oil for sneezing and other allergy symptoms due to its ability to reduce the inflammatory response of allergens. Frankincense oil appears to help with congestion, as well as the aftermath of an allergic reaction due to a food intolerance. It could create the right environment in your stomach to help flush out the material that is causing the allergic reaction.
One study published in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine in 2016 found an essential oil formula with frankincense to be effective in the treatment of seasonal allergies, such as hay fever.
Frankincense was featured in the essential oil for allergy blend recipe that also included sandalwood and ravensara essential oils. Participants in the study reported relief from itchy and runny noses, sneezing, and nasal congestion. Alpha-pinene is the chemical compound in frankincense thought to reduce the allergic symptoms.
Another 2016 study found that frankincense had anti-inflammatory, expectorant, and decongestant properties able to clear bronchial congestion, unblock sinuses, and reduce the risk of asthma.
Using Frankincense Oil for Allergies
For treating allergies, use five drops of frankincense oil in a diffuser, and breathe in for about five minutes. Alternatively, you can rub two or three drops onto your chest. Frankincense oil can also be used in household cleaners to eliminate allergens in your home.
6. Chamomile Oil
Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) oil is another essential oil for sore throat, hay fever, itchy skin, sneezing, skin swelling, and other symptoms associated with seasonal allergies.
Chamomile oil can potentially help relieve the pain of sinus headaches, as well as reduce the inflammation of mucous membranes to lessen mucus and congestion. If you are vomiting or suffering nausea from a food allergy, chamomile could also help settle your stomach.
In a review published in Molecular Medicinal Reports in 2011, researchers found that chamomile’s anti-inflammatory properties can treat skin conditions, sinusitis symptoms, and inflammation of the mucous membranes.
Another study published in the Journal of Veterinary Science in 2010 found that chamomile essential oil can soothe skin rash due to its antihistamine effect on the skin.
Using Chamomile Oil for Allergies
For treating allergies, dilute two or three drops of chamomile oil in a carrier oil like sweet almond oil or coconut oil, and then apply it on the affected area of your skin.
7. Lemon Oil
The citrus-scented lemon oil (Citrus limonum) is an essential oil for sore throat and other seasonal allergy symptoms, such as nasal congestion, due to its ability to support lymphatic system drainage. Lemon oil may be able to help relieve the respiratory issues that often come with an allergic reaction, opening the airways and making it easier to breathe.
Research shows that lemon oil is able to boost immunity and inhibit bacterial growth, and when diffused at home, it may disinfect and eliminate potential allergens in the air.
A study published in the journal International Scholarly Research Notices reported that a nasal spray with lemon oil can help alleviate hay fever, and therefore may also be a good remedy for seasonal allergies.
Using Lemon Oil for Allergies
Lemon oil may prevent allergies when spraying it onto your sheets, couches, carpets, and curtains. You can also add a drop to your laundry detergent. When using lemon oil on your skin, it is best to combine a drop or two with carrier oil.
A good essential oil combination will include lemon oil, peppermint oil, and lavender oil. Apply equal parts of these oils directly behind your ears, onto your chest, and onto your forehead.
Adding lemon oil to your water might also detoxify the liver and flush toxins from the body. Lemon water may stimulate white blood cell production, which, in turn, can boost immunity and combat against allergies.
8. Bergamot Oil
Bergamot (Citrus bergamia) oil is another essential oil for allergies due to its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-congestive, and anti-asthmatic properties, which could support your immune system and strengthen your respiratory tract against exposure to allergens.
A study published in the Journal of Applied Clinical Pediatrics in 2010 found that volatile oil extracted from bergamot was effective in relieving coughs and reducing phlegm in those with bronchial asthma.
Bergamot oil might also reduce a fever and relieve congestion, as it is thought to be able to loosen phlegm and mucus stuck in the respiratory tract. As a result, this oil may also treat symptoms of coughing and sneezing.
Using Bergamot Oil for Allergies
For treating allergies, add three to five drops of bergamot oil into a pot of steaming water, and place your head over it before inhaling deeply. You can also try rubbing bergamot oil onto your chest and throat, but make sure you dilute it with carrier oil.
9. Sandalwood Oil
Sandalwood (Santalum spicatum) oil is another essential oil for allergies. This is because sandalwood oil acts as an antihistamine, reducing the body’s reaction to allergens like increasing the amount of mucus produced. This, in turn, can help relieve symptoms like congestion and a runny nose.
The combination of sandalwood, frankincense, and ravensara oil is able to treat seasonal allergies like hay fever, sneezing, and nasal congestion, according to the 2016 study published in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
More research shows that an active ingredient in sandalwood called santalol can reduce inflammation markers known as cytokines. As a result, sandalwood essential oil is thought to treat allergy symptoms like a skin rash. The relaxing properties in sandalwood also allow this essential oil to manage coughing associated with allergies and other respiratory illnesses.
Using Sandalwood Oil for Allergies
For treating allergies and rashes, combine a tablespoon of sandalwood powder with a pinch of camphor powder and some water. Apply this paste to the skin to eliminate your skin rash. You can also combine a few drops of sandalwood oil with carrier oil and apply to affected area on the skin.
10. Oregano Oil
Oregano (Origanum vulgare) oil could help boost your immune system against allergic reactions, and its antibacterial and antimicrobial properties may help keep your respiratory tract clean and clear.
Therapeutic-grade oregano oil is known to contain carvacrol, which has anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. It also contains a natural antihistamine known as rosmarinic acid, which may treat allergic reactions and reduce swelling. Studies show that rosmarinic acid is used for seasonal allergic conjunctivitis and allergic asthma.
Both the rosmarinic acid and carvacrol from oregano essential oil could relieve allergy symptoms, including itching, congestion, and sneezing.
Using Oregano Oil for Allergies
For a steam inhalation, add a few drops of oregano oil to a bowl of boiling water, and place a towel over your head. Breathe in for five to 10 minutes, as the steam will help soothe and relieve your allergy symptoms.
You can also reap the benefits of oregano oil by adding multiple drops of this essential oil to your diffuser.
11. Basil Oil
Basil (Ocimum basilicum) oil is another essential oil to reduce inflammation and allergies. Not only might basil oil help the body with inflammation that occurs due to an allergic reaction, but it might also act as an antihistamine and lessen the body’s reaction to allergens.
Research also suggests that the antimicrobial activity of basil essential oil can fight mold, yeast, and bacteria, which can lead to asthma and other respiratory infections. The eugenol compounds in basil oil are also able to eliminate fungal and bacterial infections and prevent mold or yeast from causing asthma attacks.
A study published in the Internet Journal of Pharmacology in 2008 found that basil acts like an antihistamine that lowers the body’s allergic response, and as a result, the researchers concluded that basil can treat asthma and other respiratory conditions.
Using Basil Oil for Allergies
To fight allergies and inflammation, use one drop of basil essential oil by adding it to salad dressings, soup, or other dishes. For respiratory health, dilute a few drops of basil essential oil with coconut oil, and apply it to your temples, chest, and the back of your neck.
12. Clove Oil
Clove (Eugenia caryophyllata) oil is another common essential oil for allergies due to its reported ability to strengthen the immune system. The anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and analgesic properties of clove oil may also allow it to boost the immune system and reduce allergic reactions.
Research published in the journal Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids in 2006 examined the anti-inflammatory effects of clove essential oil. The study discovered that the eugenol in clove oil could help treat hay fever, asthma, and other skin reactions.
Using Clove Oil for Allergies
How can clove oil reduce allergy symptoms? Simply inhale the combination of two drops each of clove oil and tea tree oil for no more than 90 seconds to help control your symptoms, including sneezing, a runny nose, itching, and a sore throat.
For an allergic rash, dilute two drops of clove oil with a carrier oil like coconut oil or jojoba oil, and apply it to your affected area.
These essential oils may all help with allergens and the after-effects of an allergic reaction, but they can also be used in other ways that do not require skin contact.
How to Use Essential Oils for Allergies
For Hay Fever
How can you use essential oils for seasonal allergies? Disinfect your home with a combination of 20 drops of tea tree oil and 40 drops of lemon essential oil. Fill a 16-ounce spray bottle with pure water, a little white vinegar, and the essential oils. Spray any area of your home to protect against potential allergens.
You can also try the essential oil for allergy blend recipe below:
Homemade Essential Oil Face Cream
- 2 tbsp unscented face cream
- 3 drops lavender essential oil
- 1 drop peppermint essential oil
Thoroughly combine the lavender oil, peppermint oil, and the face cream. Use this cream in the morning and at night to protect against allergies. Be sure to keep the cream away from your eyes.
For Skin Rashes
How do you get rid of an itchy skin rash with essential oils? Try the following essential oil for allergy blend recipe below:
Homemade Essential Oil Rash Blend
- 1 tsp borage oil
- 8 drops lavender essential oil
- 5 tsp grape seed oil
- 4 drops geranium essential oil
- 4 drops tea tree oil
Thoroughly combine the lavender oil, tea tree oil, geranium oil, borage oil, and grape seed oil in a small jar. Apply a small amount of the blend to the affected area when needed.
For Sinus Allergies
How can you treat sinus allergies with essential oils? Try the essential oil allergy blend recipe below, which contains lavender oil, peppermint oil, eucalyptus oil, and coconut oil:
Homemade Essential Oil Sinus Allergy Blend
- 2-3 drops eucalyptus essential oil
- 2-3 drops peppermint essential oil
- 2-3 drops lavender essential oil
- 1 tsp coconut oil
Thoroughly combine the lavender oil, peppermint oil, and eucalyptus oil with a teaspoon of coconut oil, and massage the mixture behind the ears, into the temples, and into the bottoms of your feet.
Essential Oil Recipes to Try at Home
There are a few combinations of essential oils and recipes that you can use to help in your battle against allergies.
Homemade Vapor Rub
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup coconut oil
- 1/4 cup grated beeswax
- 20 drops peppermint essential oil
- 20 drops eucalyptus essential oil
- Glass jar
Toss olive oil, coconut oil, and beeswax into the glass jar. Next, get a saucepan and fill it with two inches of water. Place the saucepan on the stove and set it at medium-low heat. Place the jar in the saucepan to melt the contents together. Let this mixture cool and add the peppermint and eucalyptus oil. Allow the mixture to set before using.
Essential Oil Blend for Allergies
- Lavender essential oil
- Lemon essential oil
- Peppermint essential oil
- Coconut oil
Mix a few drops of each essential oil in equal proportions with coconut oil in a container such as a glass jar or plastic container that can shut fairly airtight. This can be done in any amount, as long as the proportions are equal.
Precautions to Take when Using Essential Oils
As with anything that potentially treats health issues, there are some things that you should consider when using essential oils for allergy issues.
Allergies: Make sure you aren’t allergic to the essential oils. While many of the essential oils we’ve listed can help you, there is a chance that you may be allergic to one of them. Make sure that you aren’t before using the oil as it just may make your situation worse.
Patch test: Most of these essential oils are pretty powerful, so you should always test them on a small patch of skin first before taking a full dose. If there is a reaction, try diluting the essential oil with either water or larger amounts of carrier oil.
Pregnancy: Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should avoid using essential oils unless directed to by a healthcare professional.
Essential Oils Can Help!
As we’ve shown, essential oils can help with a variety of allergy issues. They can help you breathe easier, get rid of congestion, and even help get rid of rashes. They are easy to use and could be very effective. Just make sure you take some safety measures when using them, as you don’t want to make your allergies worse.
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