If you’ve been experiencing sudden bouts of sneezing, coughing, itchy eyes or a stuffy nose, your body could be reacting to seasonal changes. Essential oil blends may help offer natural temporary relief of such symptoms.
There is evidence that hay fever symptoms have been rising over the past 20 years and that there is a direct relationship between symptoms and pollen levels. Some scientists believe climate change could be to blame for the rise in pollen. Associate Professor Paul Beggs, deputy head of the Department of Environment and Geography at Macquarie University, says: "There is generally earlier timing of spring events in both plants and animals. And earlier flowering is obviously related to earlier release of pollen into the atmosphere."
Whether there is a direct correlation between carbon dioxide levels, global temperatures and shifting seasons is still open for debate. What has been proven is that the behavior of some flora is altering and that more research is required.
What Causes Symtoms?
Seasonal changes may expose you to pollen, dust, animal dander, or mold, triggering various adverse internal reactions in the nose, lungs, throat, sinuses, ears, or the skin. According to the American Association of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, this happens when the human immune system mistakes an otherwise harmless substance above as an invader. The immune system then overreacts by producing antibodies that travel to cells and release histamine and other chemicals, causing a variety of minor bodily reactions. Essential oil blends seek to provide temporary relief from these occasional, minor symptoms.
Why do some people suffer More Than Others?
Those that react seasonal threats have, at some point, had their immune system mistakenly identify a harmless airborne substance (like pollen) to be harmful. This is a process called sensitisation. After sensitisation, and on exposure to an allergen, the body produces chemicals such as histamine which lead to symptoms traditionally experienced in hay fever.
Signs and symptoms, which generally occur soon after exposure to pollens, can include: runny nose, nasal congestion, sneezing, itchy eyes, cough, sinus pressure and facial pain, sleeplessness, fatigue and irritability.
When it comes to supporting our bodies and strenghting our immune systems, a healthy diet and good gut is key. The information below presents some ideas on how you can improve your gut health, booste your immune system, and manage symptoms using essential oils.
Be sure to eat a healthy whole food diet with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains. A good diet can ensure you are armed with all the vitamins and minerals which may be helpful in hay fever symptom relief, as well as other allergies. The following foods can help fight off sneezes, sniffles and sore eyes:
- Orange and green fruit and vegetables - The vibrant colour of carrots, pumpkin, apricots, mango and papaya indicates high levels of beta-carotene, which is converted to vitamin A in the body. Green leafy veg are also an excellent source. Vitamin A is important for healthy mucous membranes throughout the respiratory tract. It also helps promote healthy immune function, prevent secondary respiratory infections and reduce inflammation. Kiwifruit, citrus fruits, strawberries, red capsicums, broccoli, papaya, guava and mango are also are high in Vitamin C, which has an anti-histamine effect. Fruit and vegetables are also rich in antioxidants, in particular bioflavanoids, which that are potent anti-histamines and anti-inflammatories amp; carotenoids which promote freedom and openness in your airways. Antioxidants also have many other benefits (see here) including boosting the immune system.
- Pineapple - Pineapple is a rich source of bromelain, an enzyme with strong systemic anti-inflammatory effects, which helps decrease mucosal inflammation and nasal congestion.
- Onion - an onion a day can help keep hay fever at bay. Onions contain high levels of quercetin, a powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and natural anti-histamine.
- Horseradish and garlic - This is a traditional combination of herbs which is used to ease congestion. Horseradish is traditionally known as a decongestant and may help to provide relief from a blocked up nose. Garlic is extremely anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-viral, and is a good source quercetin.
- Ginger - a powerful natural anti-inflammatory that helps reduce nasal swelling and associated hay fever symptoms.
- Turmeric - this spice contains curcumin, which has powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions that are comparable to steroidal and nonsteroidal drugs. Curcumin has been found to inhibit the release of histamine.
- Liquorice and nettle teas - Studies have shown that nettle tea can help relieve inflammation of the upper respiratory tract and ease nasal congestion, sneezing and itching. Drinking liquorice tea can also alleviate symptoms.
- Avoid certain foods - Limit or avoid cow's milk and other dairy products as they can increase the production of mucus in the respiratory tract and exacerbate hay fever nasal congestion. Try alternatives such as rice, almond, quinoa and coconut milks. Avoid GMO, processed foods and sugary foods wherever possible.
- Vitamin C - Studies have shown that vitamin C supplementation has an antihistamine effect. Vitamin C also plays a role in supporting the immune system.
- Vitamin A - Vitamin A is useful in maintaining the health of mucous membranes. This can be particularly beneficial in hay fever if there is constant inflammation of the mucous membranes.
- Probiotics - Probiotics contain beneficial bacteria, and taking them can help boost our intestinal tract, so a daily dose of probiotics can help hay fever sufferers restore a more balanced immune response to pollens. Without a healthy balance of good bacteria in our gut (click here for information on gut health and candida), our immunity is likely to be compromised, leaving us more susceptible to developing allergies and illnesses. Taking a probiotic supplement daily is recommended, along with consuming fermented foods such as sauerkraut, pickled sprouts and vegetables, miso and kefir.
- Omega 3: Research suggests that may they omega 3 may reduce the production of inflammatory chemicals in the body which makes it very effective in combating the symptoms and treating the causes of hay fever. Getting enough omega 3 through diet is difficult, so I strongly recommend supplementation of your omega 3 intake.
- Wholefood Supplements – Taking a good wholefood supplement can also help reduce allergy symptoms or even eliminate completely. Make sure you do some research before taking any supplement and avoid synthetic supplements wherever possible as our bodies cannot readily absorb them. I take and can highly recommend doTERRAS Life Long Vitality Pack which includes a food nutrient complex MICROPLEX VMZ (high in Vitamin A and C), a cellular vitality complex ALPHA CRS (which contains turmeric and quercetin) and an essential oil omega complex xEO MEGA. For more information you can also click here.
Many essential oil blends seek to support a normal histamine response and a healthy tolerance to harmless substances, promoting respiratory and sinus health, a healthy immune response, and feelings of comfort during seasonal changes. These oils contain compounds that may offer temporary relief of symptoms related to seasonal health challenges, supporting the respiratory system.
Essential oils are a great way of helping to manage symtoms and I recommend using doTERRA Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade (CPTG) essential oils.
For running noses, a drop of lemon oil or doTERRAs Digestzen blend works almost instantly. A few drops of peppermint oil rubbed on the neck helps with sneezing and tickly throats, and breathing in peppermint of doTERRAs Air (also know as Breathe or Easy Air) blend can help with congestion and blocked sinuses.
To help reduce the symptoms, mix equal parts Lavender, Lemon, and Peppermint and take them in one of the following ways. The frequency of application will depend on the severity of the allergens. Use as often as needed:
Put 2 drops each of Lavender, Lemon, and Peppermint in an empty veg capsule then take internally.
Mix the oils in a ¼ cup of water, swish 10-20 seconds in the mouth and swallow.
Pre-make a blend of the oils then as needed put the mix on the fingers and inhale deeply.
Other Lifestyle factors that can help reduce symptoms:
- Minimize your exposure to pollens and moulds where possible.
- Avoid going outside on windy days, especially during spring when the pollen count is high.
- Exercise: Scientific research proves that hay fever is more prevalent in people who are physically inactive.
- Consider a gut cleanse such as doTERRAs Cleanse and Restore programm with GX and PB Assist.
I hope this information has been helpful! Here are a few ideas on how you can find out more about how essential oils can benefit you and your family to live a happier and heathier life!
Try some essential oils by completing this FORM
and we can pop some in the post.
Stay in touch and discover more healthy living tips with our monthly NEWSLETTER
Download one of our free EBOOKS
Find out more about ESSENTIAL OILS
and how you can bring these natural solutions into your home:
Please remember that these are powerful oils and supplements and shouldn’t be used without checking directions on how to use these safely. Always consult with your doctor if you are unsure or you are taking medication.
The information in this blog is intended for education purposes only, the statements have not been evaluated by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or Theraputic Good Association (TGA). These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Anyone suffering from any disease, illness or injury should consult with a medical practitioner. These suggested uses applu only to certified Pure Theraputic Grade (CPTG) Doterra Essential Oils.