Spring, typically embraced for its symbolism of revival and rebirth, is often dreaded by an estimated 35- to 50-million Americans who suffer from seasonal allergies. Runny noses, watery, itchy eyes, sneezing and sinus pain and headaches are the resulting experience of the effects of an overactive immune system trying to defend itself from high levels of pollen. Although prescription shots and antihistamine medications temper the misery, they are not without side effects, particularly for children.
Nutritional changes, such as reducing or eliminating dairy and wheat intake (which create mucus build up) partnered with an anti-inflammatory cleansing diet, the daily use of a neti pot to clear nasal passages (‘Nasya’, an Ayurvedic sinus clearing method also known to be preventative against cold season), a jolly spring cleaning of our homes and closets and even a shower right after an outdoor event all work towards minimizing the severity of allergy season.
If seasonal allergic rhinitis (SAR) has you rubbing itchy blood-shot eyes and singing the springtime blues, consider essential oils as a natural remedy to mediate the symptoms of allergy season.
Before attempting to make your own essential oil blend, please take time to read more about who should - and should not - be using essential oils. While natural, essential oils were nature’s first medicine, they need to be handled with discretion and sometimes with a physician’s consultation.
- Remember; less is more.
- Always skin test any blend (elbow crease, one drop, wait 15-20 minutes) for topical application.
- Always consult with your physician when in doubt, taking other medication, when pregnant, lactating or for use on children.
- The FDA has approved none of these statements, nor are they meant as substitutes for any medical treatments.
- Please note: apart from pure essential oils and the art of aromatherapy, you may also find help with homeopathy or herbal medicine taken as a tea, or in capsules of Stinging Nettle (Urtica Dioica), which is said to have antihistamine properties and can also be used for joint/muscle pain, tendonitis, insect bites, eczema, arthritis, gout, anemia and urinary problems.
Essential SAR Recipe (with carrier oil – 1 part pure oils – 4 parts carrier oil, such as jojoba or sesame seed oil):
Niaouli “ Melaleuca quinquenervia CT cineole ” - 2 drops
Ravensara “ Ravensara aromatica” - 3 drops
Thyme “ Thymus satureoides”- 2 drops
Peppermint “Mentha X piperita ” - 2 drops
Balsam Fir “Albies Balsamea” – 1 drop
This SAR blend can be used topically or via inhalation:
- On the thorax and upper back: 6-8 drops, 3-4 times daily for 3 days or 3 drops on an handkerchief for inhalation.
- On the foot if you are using the Vita Flex Feet Chart based on Vita Flex Therapy as developed by Stanley Burroughs.
Please note, this blend is not the only aromatherapy remedy for SAR.
When dealing with organic chemical compounds, education, experience and an investigating spirit pays off. For the curious spirits, here are a few other essential oils mentioned for hay fever and sinusitis.
Hay fever: Eucalyptus, Chamomile, Cajeput, Lavender, Lemon Eucalyptus, and Rose.
Sinusitis: Cajeput*, Eucalyptus, Peppermint, Palmarosa, Fir, Ginger, Myrtle, Ravensara, Rosalina, Rosemary, Tea Tree.
Note that Cajeput* (Niaouli), Ravensara, Eucalyptus and Peppermint are a common denominator.
Niaouli “ Melaleuca quinquenervia CT cineole ”Efficient, well tolerated, native to New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, Madagascar Island, parts of Australia, naturalized in the Everglades, Florida, Niaouli is a medium sized tree of the all-spice family, Myrtaceae. Commonly known as cajeput, melaleuca, paperbark tea tree, punk tree, white bottlebrush tree, it is a parent to Lavender for its panacea of applications. An excellent immune system booster, decongestant and expectorant, helpful for viral or bacterial respiratory issues, it is also anti-bacterial, anti-viral, fungicidal, cutaneous radio-protective and a skin tonic though Niaouli can be skin-irritant when used pure (undiluted) and should be avoided during the first trimester of pregnancy.
Ravensara “ Ravensara aromatica” Sometimes called Clove Nutmeg, Ravensara, a Madagascar endemic genus of trees and shrubs flowering plants belonging to the family Lauraceae, is considered one of the best allies to fight viral infections of all types. Immuno-stimulating, helpful for deep physical and nervous fatigue, shingles, sinusitis, rhyno-pharyngitis, bronchitis, viral hepatitis, insomnia, anxiety, depression, neurotonic energizing, muscle relaxant an analgesic, Ravensara is considered a non-irritant to the skin. Proper dilution should still be observed, especially with children, but Ravensara is a common essential oil to introduce with young children and has no known contraindications like some essential oils.
Thyme borneal – carvacrol “Thymus Satureoides” - Thyme is a powerful germicide and stimulates the immune system. It has been used to treat infections and parasites of the digestive and urinary systems and as an inhalant for bronchitis or other infections of the respiratory systems. Thyme is also used locally for massage with joint, arthritic and rheumatic pains. Known to help with chronic issues and autoimmune disorders, its scent is invigorating (depression), improves memory, concentration and can help with insomnia. Thyme carvacrol is irritating to the skin and to mucous membranes and should only be used well diluted. Avoid with pregnancy, for use on children and use caution with high blood pressure.
Peppermint “Mentha X piperita ” Multi-faceted beyond its role in soothing many digestive related ailments, shock, trauma, eczema and shingles, Peppermint is also an aid in respiratory conditions, sinusitis, laryngitis, arthritis and rheumatism. Analgesic, anti-inflammatory (nerves and prostate), antiseptic, antispasmodic and invigorating, peppermint deserves a spot in your natural medicine cabinet, powerful for a varied etiology of pain symptoms. Repeated use can possibly result in contact sensitization. Use caution when dealing with high blood pressure and pregnancy.
Balsam Fir “Albies Balsamea” - Native to Canada and Northern America, Balsam Fir is anti-spasmodic, anti-inflammatory, a general tonic and stimulant and has respiratory antiseptic properties. Used for its supportive properties of the circulatory and respiratory systems in folk medicine, Balsam Fir is also traditionally used to aid tired and sore muscle cramps. Balsam Fir is known for its efficiency with bronchi-pulmonary issues to ease coughing. and can be a skin-irritant when used undiluted. Balsam Fir should be avoided during the first trimester of pregnancy.
“ L’aromatherapie - Se soigner par les huiles essentielles “ - Dominique Baudoux.
University of Maryland Medical Center – education - online archives.
“Reference guide for essential oils” - Connie and Allan Highley.