Essential Oils for Hay fever
(and other natural solutions).
As a fellow sufferer, I have so much sympathy for you if you too have hay fever. It’s the only thing I don’t like about Summer.
There are some 13 million hay fever sufferers in the UK alone! But why? There are factors that are out of control, but many that are within our realm to change.
Factors that affect predisposition to hay fever:
- Genetic background
- Toxin exposure
- Gut dysbiosis
Hay fever is an auto-immune condition.
This means that the immune system overreacts to an ordinarily harmless substance, in this instance pollen. For those of us with hay fever when we breathe in pollen molecules, our immune system flares up and secrete histamine, which makes us have all the common symptoms we associate with hay fever such as sneezing watery eyes, itchy throat, and ears, and a runny nose.
Histamine triggers the inflammatory response as part of an immune reaction to a foreign pathogen (e.g. pollen) – it is an integral part of the immune system (as well as a nuisance), and the symptoms and the response we get are necessary for protecting the body.
Whilst antihistamines may be useful in the short term, they are just a band-aid solution and don’t get to the root cause of the problem. Plus they come with a whole list of negative side-effects that I don’t love (as do all medicines.)
‘The person who takes medicine must recover twice: once from the disease and once from the medicine.’ Sir William Osler. I started looking into natural ways to lessen my hay fever symptoms when I was pregnant and couldn’t take the normal over-the-counter stuff. But there’s not a lot of options out there.
That was until I discovered essential oils a few years later and now these are my go-to hay fever support.
What are Essential Oils?
Plants, like humans, have protective chemicals built into their systems to help them fight off bugs, pests, fungi, and other dangers, essentially essential oils are the plant’s immune system. Created through a process of distillation, which captures the healing essence of each plant, essential oils are nature’s most potent and concentrated medicine.
It’s important to know that not all essential oils are born equal. Many, in fact, most, are synthetic. Whilst they may smell similar to the real version they will offer no therapeutic effect. So if you have used essential oils in the past and not experienced any benefits there’s a high chance you were not using a therapeutic grade essential oil. I recommend a brand called doTERRA because I can be certain of the quality of essential oil they produce, plus their ethical and sustainable methods.
Get your personalised essential oil protocol here
The Best Essential Oils for Hay Fever
Lavender Essential Oil:
- Use lavender to help with itchy eyes by massaging 1 drop with your face moisturiser around your eyes.
- Use diluted lavender essential oil if you get irritation on your skin (my legs are always bright red and itchy if I walk through long grass).
- Diffuse lavender essential oil to help calm the frustration associated with hay fever.
Peppermint Essential Oil:
- Peppermint helps to open the respiratory system so can help clear a stuffy nose, you can diffuse it or apply it topically to your chest (with a carrier oil).
- I also find it helpful for itchy throat and I drink 1 drop in a glass of water.
- It can also relieve headaches, if that is something that accompanies your hay fever you can apply 1 drop to the temples.
- Combine peppermint and lavender for an essential oil steam (place a few drops of each oil in hot water place a towel over your head and breathe) it will help clear congestion and bring relief.
- Peppermint is also cooling so can help reduce the heat (fever) in your body.
Lemon Essential Oil:
- Use lemon to help with excess mucous and runny nose. You can inhale from cupped hands (or in the diffuser) or apply over the bridge of the nose. (Please note that citrus oils are photo-sensitive so do not use them on your skin if you are out in the sun).
- It’s uplifting to diffuse (coz we all know hay fever can bring us down) and decreases stress. Drinking the oil aids detoxification, which can help excrete the excess histamine.
- The 3 essential oils mentioned above work synergistically and are best used together.
- I take all 3 in a capsule during my hay fever season.
- The TriEase softgels contain 2 drops each of peppermint, lavender, and lemon.
Tea Tree Essential oil
- Tea tree essential oil is a decongestant and works well applied to the tip of your nose, especially before heading out for a walk or spending time outside.
- One drop can be applied undiluted or with some carrier oil to the tip of your nose.
- It also helps to apply around the ears, alongside lavender to help with itchy ears.
- Essential oils to support the immune system.
- I use a blend called On Guard (the protective blend).
- Gurgle 1 drop to aid itchy throat.
- Drink 1 drop for a great antioxidant boost.
- Massage onto the soles of the feet (with a carrier oil) to increase overall immunity.
If you want to buy these oils and have me teach you how to use them e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Other ways to naturally support the body:
1. You can also try eating less histamine-rich foods during your hay fever season this helps by not overflowing the histamine bucket inside your body.Histamine rich foods are:
- alcohol and other fermented beverages
- fermented foods and dairy products, such as yogurt and sauerkraut
- dried fruits
- processed or smoked meats
- aged cheese
Several foods trigger histamine release in the body, such as:
- wheat germ
- citrus fruits
- nuts, specifically walnuts, cashews, and peanuts
- food dyes and other additives
2. For red, itchy eyes, place slices of cool cucumber over the eyes. Rotate this treatment with steeped, cooled black tea bags placed directly onto the eyelids. This reduces irritation cools and soothes.
3. Rub a bit of natural lip balm on your eyelids and in the rim of your nose with your finger. The balm is sticky and excess pollen sticks to it. Wipe away and reapply throughout the day.
4. Close windows early in the day as the pollen rate rises later in the day.
5. Shower thoroughly, wash your hair and change your clothes when you come indoors after spending time outside to remove pollen collected during the day.
6. Cut out dairy and wheat for up to two months to ease the congestion and keep the gut from being irritated. It is interesting to note that these are originally grass products! Both encourage mucous production.
7. Increase green leafy vegetables and juicy soft fruits. Increasing the amount of Vitamin C will dry up the mucous and strengthen the capillaries in the airway passages. Vitamin C helps to control excessive histamine levels, I take 1,000 mg three times a day during my hay fever months.
8. Stinging Nettle has anti-histamine properties. Take 300-500 mg twice daily or make nettle soup and drink nettle tea.
9. Chew your food. Without adequate chewing, you are far, far more likely to have undigested food molecules coming into contact with your immune cells in the gut bringing about allergic-type reactions.
10. Consume raw honey and bee pollen they offer a significant reduction in inflammation and strengthen the immune system.
11. Avoid alcohol, which puts excess strain on the liver, can exacerbate gut issues, and depletes the body of important minerals.
12. Take a non-synthetic multi-vitamin and multi-mineral and antioxidant complex. Read this blog to understand more about supplements.
13. Probiotics are useful to take and support any underlying gut issues such as IBS, SIBO.
To be free from hay fever or make the symptoms significantly less upsetting, it’s vital to work on gut health.
If you want to order essential oils and or supplements mentioned in the blog e-mail me: email@example.com and I can organise your products to be sent directly to you.