Natural solutions to curb springtime allergies

 

Spring is beautiful, but it’s also the time for seasonal allergies. As plants release pollen, millions of people with hay fever start to sniffle and sneeze.

 

The biggest cause is pollen, which is released by trees, grass and weeds to fertilize other plants. Tree pollen is first, and then grass, making for a long season from March until July.

 

Non-infectious allergic rhinitis is the most common response, affecting between 10% and 30% of adults in the UK and as many as 40% of children. 

 

Our immune system mistakes pollen for being dangerous and releases a chemical called histamine to protect the body.  Histamine creates allergy symptoms like runny noses, itchy or watery eyes, sneezing, coughing, and dark circles under the eyes.  All are a result of the inflammation of soft tissues lining the nasal passages.  

There is no cure, but we can take steps to curb the effects! 

The Aromatherapy approach:

The aromatherapy approach is to use calming, soothing essential oils to modify this over-reaction. We recommend Chamomile, Lavender, Cedarwood or Melissa, blended with breathing oils, like Eucalyptus, Peppermint, Lemon, Rosemary or Niaouli. These help to open-up the nasal passages, bringing some much sought-after relief. We use these essential oils in baths, showers, compresses, inhalations, rollers, or as skin lotions. 

Over the counter medication is often needed for springtime allergies. However, the goal of this blog is to offer some alternatives, using natural solutions that you can pick and mix to soothe your symptoms and increase your comfort.

 

👉Very hot shower: 

Turning up your water temperature super-hot can have a lot of internal benefits, like flushing out your mucus and moistening up your dry nasal passages. A hot shower can also help wash away allergens from your skin and your hair, getting rid of the ones you may have picked up outside.

 

Block the shower drain, and drop some breathing oils (Eucalyptus, Laurel Leaf, Lemon) or Lavender in the water, the essential oils will get into your system through the sole of the feet and the steam will drive the rest promoting a better breathing. 

 

Important note: if someone in the household has Asthma, then Eucalyptus and Peppermint should be blended with Lavender, or Chamomile, to avoid triggering an asthma attack.

 

👉Inhale some steam: 

Hold your head over a warm (but not too hot) bowl full of water, and place a towel over your head to trap the steam. Add eucalyptus, Peppermint, Rosemary. The Essential oils can enhance steam inhalation which can help open-up your nasal passages even further.

👉A wet towel:  

Hold your head over a warm (but not too hot) bowl full of water, and add Eucalyptus, Peppermint, or Rosemary. Lean over the bowl and place a towel over your head to trap the steam. The essential oils can enhance steam inhalation which can help open-up your nasal passages even further.

👉For stuffy noses:  

On-the-go nasal inhalers with 10 to15 drops of Grapefruit, Rosemary, Petitgrain or Eucalyptus  work well. They last 3 months and the cotton can be re-filled. Or apply some lip balm in the nostrils to stop the pollen irritating the soft lining of the nose.

 

👉Sinus issues:

With sinus issues, the neck and shoulders can be tight, which inhibits  the draining of mucus. Through the day, try to release neck and shoulder tension with stretches. The inflammation also tends to cause heat, so cold compresses over the sinus or the around neck can be effective too. Enhance them with Lavandin and Peppermint, or Ginger, Black Pepper, and some Arnica carrier oil. Doing this simultaneously relieves muscle tension and promotes better breathing. 

 

Note: Lavandin is not advisable for small children.

 

 👉Chest rubs: 

Use Eucalyptus, Pine, Ravensara, Plai or Palo Santo.

 

 

👉Hydrolats:

Hydrolat is the water resulting from steam distillation. It only has traces of oil and is super safe to use with children and adults. 

You can use a Peppermint Hydrolat; add a couple of drops of Chamomile essential oil and spray it over the face to help with itchy eyes or runny nose… or spray over cotton pads and apply over eyes. If you keep the Peppermint Hydrolat in the fridge it’s even better. Spray into the mouth for itchy throats.

 👉Itchy eyes: 

Place a cucumber in the refrigerator for a couple of hours, slice it and put the slices  over itchy eyes for 10 minutes. Or make a chamomile tea and reserve the tea bags, put them in the fridge for half an hour and apply on closed eyes. Ordinary tea also works well if you don’t have chamomile.  Put a teaspoon of rose water (not rose oil) onto a cold, damp face cloth and place over closed eyes. Leave on for 10 minutes.  

 

 

👉Punch diffuser blend:

Add equal drops in the diffuser of Lemon, Peppermint and Lavender or replace Peppermint with Eucalyptus or Niauoli essential oil. Niauoli is a cousin of the “Tea Tree”, but with many respiratory benefits, and it’s so much nicer to use in the diffuser!

 

 

 

 

 Hay Fever can be exacerbated by poor health and stress, since the weakened immune system leaves your body defenceless against allergens.

 

👉Nutritional tips:

  • Eating honey produced by bees in your region can  significantly relieve some of your allergy symptoms. If you eat a little local honey every day, you’ll gradually increase immunity to the annoying effects of local pollens. Look out for a local farmer’s market!
  • Eat spicy foods, like hot sauce, chili peppers, and cayenne peppers. garlic or wasabi can also be a natural decongestant.
  • Reducing the amount of dairy you consume can help alleviate hay fever symptoms.
  • Pineapple can help with allergies, because it contains Bromelain. 
  • Onions contain quercetin, but since it’s a pigment, red and yellow onions contain the most. When we cut onions, we start crying, and inhale this pigment. It inhibits histamine release, and so works as an  anti-allergenic. 
  • Boosting our immune system with plenty of vitamin C and garlic can reduce the severity of hay fever symptoms.. Vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, and brussels sprouts also contain Vitamin C.
 

👉Tips to curb stress:

  • Useful calming oils are:  Lavender, Bergamot, Frankincense, Roman Chamomile, Ylang Ylang, Patchouli, Jasmine, Rose, and Sandalwood. They can be diffused or apply topically
  • When stress has led to exhaustion, the most useful ones are Geranium, Peppermint, Black Pepper, Vetiver, Spikenard, Rosemary, and Thyme

Aromatherapy has great tools to cope with stress, read my previous blog on Stress Management.

👉Tips for a better sleep:

Up to 57% of adults and up to 88% of children with Allergic Rhinitis have sleep problems, including micro-arousals, leading to day time tiredness, and decreased cognitive functioning.

Diffusing calming essential oils, with a blend of breathing oils, will act as a humidifier. Hay fever sufferers disturbed at night often find this helps getting back to sleep.  Or maybe have a roller handy to apply topically for the same result.  If you don’t like  diffusers, a drop on the pillow or a tissue, or a wet towel over radiators will also work.

A spray on the pillow or  pyjamas with breathing oils like Eucalyptus, Ravinsara or Niauoli is a powerful antidote.

Aromatherapy has great tools to aid better sleep, read my previous blog on Better Sleep.
 

If you’ve found these suggestions helpful, do get in touch. And why not share this article with a friend?

 

Remember : you can rely on alternative natural solutions to feel more comfortable during springtime allergies  💐