We endure the long grey winter, just holding out for sunnier days. Then as soon as the blossoms appear our hearts start to soar as warmer weather is finally near. But for some people, spring is not joyous at all but is a time of suffering from hayfever (allergic rhinitis). This is when their immune system perceives a substance as a threat and it reacts to that allergen by producing antibodies which signal the brain to release extra histamine provoking an inflammatory response. Hayfever is usually caused by the seasonal spread of pollens (although some people suffer from it all year round) or other allergens such as as mould and fungus spores, dust, pollen, animal dander, amongst other substances. This reaction produces a host of uncomfortable symptoms including a runny nose, sneezing, itchy eyes, headaches, sinus congestion and lots of mucous production, which may exist together with fatigue and sleep issues. One way to deal with hayfever is by building immunity and cutting exposure to foods that increase mucous production (such as dairy) but another great way is using oils to strengthen your immune system and to clear excess mucous and relieve other symptoms.
Essential oils and how to use them
There are many essential oils which can be used for hayfever and its symptoms. But aside from treating the symptoms they can also be used to increase immunity and decrease stress. There are many oils which can be used to both stimulate the immune system and decrease mucous production, thereby easing breathing and the inflammation in the upper respiratory system. These include eucalyptus, fragonia, pine, tea tree, lavender, spike lavender, manuka, myrtle, marjoram, peppermint, frankincense, rosalina, peppermint gum, ravensara & rosemary essential oils or the head clear blend. They can be used in diffuser, in a rollon in jojoba oil (diluted at 2-5%), on a tissue to inhale (or inhaler) or as a steam inhalation (3-5 drops in a bowl of hot water with a towel covering your head). Another way to use the oils is to massage them (diluted at 1-2%) around the nose and temples.
Oils with anti-inflammatory properties are also very useful and two such oils include lavender and Roman chamomile. Chamomile though needs to be patch tested first as it sometimes causes allergic responses for some people. Soothing relief for itchy eyes are cool compresses on the eyes. This can be done with wet cool chamomile tea bags or cool chamomile tea or lavender infusion (or chamomile or lavender hydrosol) on cotton wool or reusable make up rounds applied to the eyes. It is also useful to try to decrease stress at times of seasonal transitions as this may also help the body to react less to the allergens. Lavender and chamomile oils work really well in decreasing an inflammatory reponse and decreasing stress. One other way to deal with hayfever is to detox and work towards purifying your diet and the air around you. The best oils for this are juniper berry and lemon. These oils can be used in a diffuser, inhaler, body oil, footbath or bath or simply inhaled from a tissue. I hope that this information will let some people have a more pleasant spring.
I would love to hear if you suffer from hayfever and if there is anything or any oils that have been useful in treating it for you. Leave a comment below.