According to the AAFA, or Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, nearly 50 million people in the United States alone deal with seasonal allergies. While there are certainly plenty of over-the-counter and prescription medications available to alleviate the symptoms, many of these have adverse side effects that can make you sleepy, or even worse. Fortunately, there’s plenty of essential oil for allergies, and these have none of the side effects and can be used whether your allergies are seasonal or not.
The Trouble with “Traditional” Medicine
One of the oldest and most popular allergy medicines is diphenhydramine, which can be found in several OTC products and even comes in prescription strength capsules. While diphenhydramine has long been touted as safe for everyone, including children and pregnant women, it’s not without its side effects. The most prominent of these is drowsiness, and that drowsiness is so severe that it can prevent you from going about your normal daily routine.
Other medications are available OTC without the drowsiness factor, and still others are only available by prescription. While allergy relief without the drowsiness may seem like a dream, things that seem too good to be true often are. A recent study published in JAMA Neurology suggests that these medications may cause significant brain injury when used over time. Researchers from the University of Indiana used brain scans, and what they found was shocking. People taking common antihistamines and anticholinergic medicines had much higher levels of brain atrophy, scored much lower on memory tests, and had lowered brain metabolism.
The Alternative: Essential Oil for Allergies
If falling asleep during the daytime hours or subjecting yourself to dementia risks are worrisome (as they should be), there are alternatives to these common medications. Essential oil for allergies can and often does work just as well (if not better than) OTC and prescription medications. Just remember that while these treatments are natural, they are still very powerful and can cause side effects if they are not used carefully or according to recommendations. The three essential oils below have been clinically proven to provide relief.
- Peppermint Oil – Back in 2010, a study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology suggested that peppermint oil acted as a relaxant in the body. This means that it had antispasmodic properties which could lessen the urge to cough by putting a stop to airway contractions. What’s more, if you put your peppermint oil in a diffuser, breathing the vapors can quickly open your sinuses and even alleviate a sore throat. Yet another study published in the European Journal of Medical Research showed that L-menthol, the active ingredient in peppermint oil, might even lessen the symptoms of chronic problems like asthma or allergic rhinitis. Also learn how to make your own peppermint tea here.
- Lemon Oil – While a weakened immune system doesn’t necessarily cause your allergies, giving it a boost can help your body fight off allergens naturally, thereby reducing your need to rely on medications. The best part is that it’s not just lemon essential oil for allergies that does the trick; a little lemon zest in your food or even a glass of water with fresh-squeezed lemon can also do the trick. It’ll boost your body’s ability to produce white blood cells, and this can not only prevent allergy symptoms, but also help your body overcome viral and bacterial infections more quickly – or even prevent them in the first place.
- Eucalyptus Oil – Eucalyptus isn’t just for koalas; in fact, humans can benefit from a number of compounds found in this essential oil for allergies. If your allergic symptoms include respiratory problems, which include coughing, difficulty breathing, or tightness in your chest, this remedy is for you. A 2011 study published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine showed that several aromatic herbs, including eucalyptus oil, were as effective in treating upper respiratory tract infections as more common medications found on pharmacy shelves. Diffusing the oil in steam and breathing in the vapor can help clear your sinuses and reduce the urge to sneeze, as well.
Essential oil for allergies is just as powerful and effective as the medications lining pharmacy shelves around the world. The best part is that they won’t make you drowsy or have any negative effects on your brain function. If you’re new to essential oils, be sure to consult with your physician before use. In some rare cases, essential oils may interact with certain medications, so it’s best to be safe.
For more interesting reading, check out 5 medicinal plants to have in the house.