Natural solutions to curb springtime allergies 

 

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

 

The biggest allergy trigger is pollen, which is released by trees, grass and weeds to fertilize other plants. Tree pollen occurs first, and then grass making it a long season that can last from mid-May until July.

 

 

Allergic rhinitis is the most common form of non-infectious rhinitis, affecting between 10% and 30% of all 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, dark circles under the eyes, and all of this is a result of the inflammation of the tissue lining within the nasal passages.

 

There is no cure but we can take steps to curb springtime allergies!

 

 Aromatherapy approach: 

The aromatherapy approach to allergies is to use calming and soothing essential oils to modify this over reaction of the immune system (such us Chamomile, Lavender or Melissa) and blend it with breathing oils (like Eucalyptus, Peppermint, Lemon, Rosemary or Niaouli) to open-up the nasal passages experiencing some relief. We use these essential oils in baths, showers, compresses, inhalations, rollers or skin lotions. 

Over the counter medication is needed for springtime allergies, however the goal of this blog is to offer you some alternatives, using natural solutions that you can pick and mix to soothe your symptoms and make you feel more comfortable: 

 

👉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 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. 

👉For stuffy noses: 

On the go nasal inhalers with 10 / 15 drops of Grapefruit, Rosemary, Petitgrain or Eucalyptus. They last 3 month and the cotton can be re filled. Or apply some Lip balm in the nostrils to stop the pollen coming in.

 

👉Sinus issues:

 In the case of sinus issues, the neck and shoulders are usually tight, which it is not helpful to drain the mucus. Try to release the tension from neck and shoulders along the day with stretches. As heat is present because of the inflammation, cold compresses over the sinus or the around neck are the best. Enhance them with Lavandin and Peppermint, or Ginger, Black pepper, and some arnica carrier oil. We are relieving the muscle tension and at the same time promoting a better breathing. Note: Lavandin is not very advisable for small kids.

 

 👉Chest rubs: 

With 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, runny nose… or spray over cotton pads and apply over eyes. If you keep the Peppermint Hydrolat in the fridge its even better. Spray into the mouth for itchy throats. 

 

👉Itchy eyes: 

Placing a cucumber in the refrigerator for a couple of hours, slice it and put it over itchy eyes for 10 minutes. Or make a chamomile tea and reserve the tea bagsl, put them in the fridge for half an hour and apply on closed ayes. Ordinary tea will do the trick as well if you don’t have chamomile.  A teaspoon of rose water (not rose oil) into a cold, damp wash cloth and place over the eyes while closed. Leave on for 10 minutes. 

 

👉Punch diffuser blend:


Equal quantity of 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 weakening of the immune system leaves your body 
defenceless against allergens. 

👉Nutritional tips: 

  • Eat spicy foods: like hot sauce, chili peppers, cayenne peppers even garlic or wasabi often act as a natural decongestant.
  • According to intensive research, eating honey produced by bees in your region can seriously help relieve some of your allergy symptoms. If you eat a little local honey every day, you’ll gradually become immune to the annoying effects that pollen has. If you take honey with your cup of tea wait till the tea has cool down, if you can place your little finger inside it and doesn’t get burnt then you can pour in honey. Look up for a local farmer’s market.
  • By cutting back on the amount of dairy you consume can alleviate hay fever symptoms
  • Pineaple 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 we are inhaling this pigment “quercetin”. It has anti-allergic properties because of the inhibition of histamine release. 
  • By boosting our immune system with plenty of vitamin C and garlic we can reduce the severity of hay fever symptoms normally experienced. Vegetables like Tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts also contain Vitamin C.

👉Tips to curb stress:

  • Useful calming oils are:  Lavender, Bergamot, Frankincense, Roman Chamomile, Ylang Ylang, Patchouli, Jasmine, Rose, 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 daytime fatigue and somnolence, and decreased cognitive functioning. 

Diffusing calming essential oils with a blend of breathing oils, will act as a humidifier. If they wake up in the middle of the night ii is easier to go back to sleep.  Or maybe have a roller handy to apply topically to be able to go back to sleep.  if you don’t like  diffusers, a drop on the pillow or a tissue, a wet towel over radiators will also do the trick.

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

My favourite calming and soothing oils for nighttime are: Lavender, Camomile, Spikenard, Vetiver and Neroli. Benzoin is another lovely option for kids because it has a chocolaty aroma. 

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

 

Rely on alternative natural solutions to feel more comfortable during springtime allergies. 😊

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