Erin Doman on August 3, 2016 3 Comments Allergy sufferers know the drill: certain times of year — or perhaps year-round — the sneezing, postnasal drip, itchy eyes and headache can set in. 40 to 60 million Americans live with allergies from hay fever, pet dander, dust or mold and other allergens, and in severe cases reactions can even be life threatening. As many health-conscious individuals are turning toward natural and holistic methods of managing their health, essential oils are rising in popularity. As a result, more research is being conducted into which aromatic plants might effectively address which symptoms. What is Essential Oil? Air Purifierst to Help You Breathe Easy Essential oils are distilled or pressed from the leaves, stems, roots or other parts of aromatic plants. Each type of oil has a unique chemical composition, smell, absorbency and reaction within the body. Plants within the same species may even have varying effects. The benefits of essential oils have been praised around the world for thousands of years and have become a major component in traditional as well as complementary and alternative medicine. Perhaps the most prevalent use for essential oils is in modern aromatherapy, which has gained popularity since its rediscovery in the 1980s. Just the fragrance of essential oils may impact the user’s mood or energy level. Benefits of essential oils applied topically or ingested may include cosmetic, spiritual and emotional improvements in addition to their physiological benefits. These amazing extractions have also been found to help with allergies and upper respiratory tract infections. A 2011 double-blind study published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that use of six specific essential oils resulted in drastic improvement in participants’ symptoms of coughing, sore throat and hoarseness. Top Essential Oils for Allergies Below is a list of essential oils that may address allergy symptoms and other ailments. Please note that each oil has a specific purpose and proper method for use, whether ingested, applied topically, inhaled or in another fashion. Essential oils likely need to be diluted in order to be used safely. Do not begin any essential oil therapies without first consulting your doctor. 1. Chamomile As one of the world’s most popular teas, chamomile is appreciated largely for its calming and sedative effects, but is really a superstar herb for the number of problems it may address. Used for centuries as an anti-inflammatory, it may improve a wide range of skin ailments, from eczema to canker sores. Chamomile baths are well-known for providing relief from poison ivy. Those same anti-inflammatory properties may address nasal congestion and inflammation of mucous membranes, relieving symptoms of allergies, common colds or respiratory infections. 2. Peppermint This incredibly versatile plant is enjoyed widely as an herbal tea, known to improve digestion, relax body and mind and more. In the form of an essential oil blend taken internally, peppermint may address allergy and respiratory infection symptoms with its antibacterial and antiviral properties, and may also help to suppress coughs. Applying peppermint topically results in a cool, soothing effect and may help ease discomfort from allergic skin reactions to poison ivy or hives. 3. Eucalyptus and Lemon Eucalyptus A study in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology credits species of eucalyptus as having anti-inflammatory agents and may reduce excessive immune system response. Successful therapy to prevent inflammation results in lack of swelling in the sinuses and lungs allowing passageways to remain open and alleviate allergy symptoms. Eucalyptus also creates a cool sensation in the nose while inhaling, which may provide the sensation of improved airflow. It may also work as an expectorant, which aids in ridding the body of mucous. Lemon eucalyptus may also help relieve congestion from allergies, but perhaps is more notably known for preventing bug bites, particularly from mosquitoes and deer ticks. Keep bugs away with lemon eucalyptus essential oil to avoid that uncomfortable and familiar itchy and inflamed histamine response. 4. Basil Those ailing from respiratory and ear infections may benefit from the antimicrobial properties found in basil oil. Studies have found basil oil to combat certain strains of drug-resistant bacteria. As concerns about antibiotic resistance continue to rise among the medical community, more individuals may turn to essential oils as an alternative therapy for infections and other complications. Throughout the years, basil has become a prime component in many recipes not only because of its taste, but because it also may protect against potentially life-threatening foodborne illnesses such as Listeria and E. coli. These antimicrobial properties also address problematic digestive reactions due to yeast and mold. 5. Tea Tree Oil The evidence for tea tree oil being an anti-inflammatory agent has only become more solid with recent research. When applied topically, tea tree oil markedly reduces swelling from skin reactions. Studies also show that tea tree oil could also play a part in oral hygiene. It may decrease levels or oral bacteria, reduce bad breath and provide relief for swollen or bleeding gums. It has also been found to be highly antimicrobial and is now frequently included in household cleaners. When applied to air filters, tea tree oil has been shown to deactivate certain strains of bacteria within minutes and when diffused throughout the home may reduce mold. This could be an effective way to reduce allergens and irritants in the homes of allergy sufferers. 6. Lavender The pretty purple flowers of the lavender plant boast many benefits. Lavender essential oil is commonly known for its calming effects. Those who are anxious or have trouble sleeping may benefit from massage or aromatherapy incorporating lavender oil. It has also been found to aid in inflammatory skin reactions, soothing allergic reactions, bug bites, minor burns or cuts and alleviating acne. The overall calming effects of lavender essential oil addresses allergies by preventing inflammation and boosting the body’s overall ability to handle stress. Additional Benefits of Essential Oils Perhaps one of the most beneficial aspects of essential oils — apart from the specific symptoms they may treat — is their use in cases where antibiotics may not be suitable due to antibiotic resistance. Viable alternatives for patients who are suffering from a drug-resistant bacterial infection are critical. Use of complementary medicine therapies like essential oils and aromatherapy could also reduce the over-prescription of antibiotics for patients with viral infections.