Alternative treatments for annoying allergies
Allergies can make us miserable, so how can we get relief using natural self-care solutions? Nature actually provides us lots of clues in the form of essential oils. I would rather use prevention and natural remedies whenever possible. I realize it is not always possible for some. This article will discuss some of these preparations.
There may be things we don't have control over, but our lifestyle is something we can control and change. Poor dietary choices, alcohol or drug abuse, stress (whether emotional or physical), and our reaction to stress are a few of the lifestyle behaviors that can affect our immune system. Our immune system can be weakened by anger and hatred, while love has been demonstrated by research to boost our immune system. (1) I found that cleaning up my lifestyle and using therapeutic essential oils gradually helped alleviate my allergy symptoms.
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An allergy is an immune system overreaction to what is normally a harmless substance (e.g., dust, pollen, animal dander). The body responds by sending out antibodies to attack the foreign invaders; this triggers inflammatory responses (e.g., constricted airways and nasal passages) that make it hard to breathe. This response also triggers coughing and sneezing to expel the invaders. First and foremost, avoiding the substance or situation causing the allergy is one thing you can do. Even though allergic responses can be a complex issue, here are some simple things you can do to help make a difference in how you feel.
- Restrict dairy products like milk, yogurt, ice-cream and cheese that are mucous-forming substances.
- Use all natural cleaners in your indoor environment, like white vinegar, baking soda, pure soap, and essential oils cleaners (e.g., Thieves by Young Living Essential Oils).
- Vacuum with essential oils like Eucalyptus radiata or globulus by adding to the bag or filter of your vacuum, and dust by adding lemon to your dust cloth.
- Clean your indoor air spaces by diffusing therapeutic-grade essential oils (e.g., lemon oil, oil blends called Purification, R.C. or Thieves from Young Living Essential Oils)
- Clean your inner environment (the inside of your body) with various cleansing routines to help remove the toxic buildup in a sluggish colon by using enzymes and probiotics. (2)
- Drink plenty of clean water—divide your body weight in pounds by two and drink that many ounces daily. A great way to begin your day is drinking a tall glass of warm water with juice of half a fresh lemon to help de-congest the liver and flush mucous from body. (3)
Hay fever is prevalent during spring, and essential oils such as German chamomile, Roman chamomile, wintergreen, and lavender can help relieve symptoms by reducing inflammation, relaxing spasms, and calming pain. (4) Essential oils work to open airways and soothe lungs that are irritated from breathing contaminated air. There is no better way to scent your home and rid air of impurities than with the use of essential oils. Using essential oils will refresh and cleanse your environment. Inhaling or direct application is the best way to use these oils for relieving environmental allergies. You can dilute the essential oils with a carrier oil such as coconut, olive oil, or vegetable oil complex and massage onto the chest areas. A cold air diffuser can be placed in your indoor space to diffuse the oils or can apply 1-2 drops of oil to the back of the neck, throat, and lung areas, or directly under the nose. (5)
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A few drops of peppermint oil rubbed together in the palms and inhaled deeply, or a drop applied to the roof of your mouth, will open up the nasal passages. You can also breathe in molecules of oil by adding one drop of peppermint oil to hot water and drinking it. Apply a drop of peppermint to the forehead, under the cheekbones, and the base of the skull to help relieve sinus pressure and headache. Eucalyptus oil’s main effect is as an expectorant; for children melaleuca ericifolia is an excellent choice for infections of the ear, nose and throat. (6) For help in relieving itchy and watery eyes, rub a drop of lavender or peppermint oil in the palms and then cup palms over the eyes while rolling the eyes around for a few minutes. (See author’s note.)
Other means of using the oils are by adding them to the cleansing solution in a neti pot or an irrigator for the sinuses. A little dose of saltwater can rinse away those pesky pollen grains and help treat allergies as well as other forms of sinus congestion. (7) An Italian study published in the International Archives of Allergy and Immunology found that nasal flushing is a mild yet effective way to treat seasonal allergies in children, and markedly reduced their use of antihistamines. (8)
For example, you might use a saline solution containing one drop of rosemary oil and one drop of melaleuca alternifolia oil to wash the sinuses. You may prefer a sinus steam: Drop essential oils into a pot or bowl of hot, steamy (but not boiling) water, cover your head with a towel, close your eyes, lean over the bowl, and breathe in the steam. For portability, use of essential oil inhalers can provide relief. Drops of oils (one drop each of rosemary, eucalyptus radiata, and peppermint) added to a tissue, hankie, or cotton ball and sniffed as needed is another alternative. One drop of lavender oil on a cotton swab is excellent to dab inside the nasal passages to clear the nose. Application of essential oils to the soles of the feet on the reflex points that target the sinuses and bronchioles is another way to self-care for allergies (see figure 1).
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Author’s note: Young Living Essential Oils makes therapeutic-grade essential oils that have no harmful extenders or adjusters in them. I would not personally use any other brand internally or over open eyes.
Editor’s note: The US Federal Drug Administration does not regulate grading, production, distribution, or marketing of essential oils. Consult with a medical professional if you have a health concern.
Disclosure: Christine Charles is a member of Young Living Essential Oils.
To contact Christine, visit http://christinecharles.vibrantscents.com.
1. Lee C. Intimacy can boost your immune system. The Beacon. February 7, 2012. http://www.thewilkesbeacon.com/online/2012/02/07/intimacy-can-boost-your-immune-system/. Accessed June 3, 2015.
2. Colon/kidney detoxification: What is detoxification? Healingdaily.com http://www.healingdaily.com/colon-kidney-detoxification.htm. Accessed June 3, 2015.
3. 10 benefits to drinking warm lemon water every morning. Tasty Yummies. http://tasty-yummies.com/2013/03/18/10-benefits-to-drinking-warm-lemon-water-every-morning/. Accessed June 3, 2015.
4. 7 essential oils to reclaim your sinuses (and sanity!) during allergy season. Organic Authority. http://www.organicauthority.com/health/essential-oils-to-relieve-hayfever-allergies.html. Published April 17, 2012. Accessed June 3, 2015.
5. Seven ways to improve indoor air quality this winter. The Alternative Daily. http://www.thealternativedaily.com/seven-ways-improve-indoor-air-quality-winter/. Published January 12, 2014. Accessed June 3, 2015.
6. Penoel D, Penoel RM. Natural Home Health Care Using Essential Oils. Hurricane, Utah: Essential Science Publishing, 1998.
7. Saline sinus rinse recipe. American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology. http://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/library/allergy-library/saline-sinus-rinse-recipe.aspx. Accessed June 3, 2015.
8. Garavello W, Di Beradino F, Romagnoli M, Sambataro G, Gaini RM. Nasal rinsing with hypertonic solution: An adjunctive treatment for pediatric seasonal allergic rhinoconjunctivitis. Int Arch Allergy Immunol. 2005; 137:310-4.