The Top 15 Essential Oils for Allergies – Updated and Backed by Science
If you are one of the millions of people who suffer from allergies, then there are many essential oils that can give you relief from allergic reactions. Allergy symptoms are caused by an overactive immune response in your body that results in sneezing, coughing, wheezing, itchy skin, hives, and congestion. A severe allergic reaction can cause difficulty in breathing and in these cases, it’s important to quickly seek emergency medical attention.
Many essential oils are very effective at relieving the symptoms of allergies. Essential oils contain compounds that act like natural antihistamines to relieve inflammation. This helps to soothe muscles and nerves in your respiratory system making it easier to breathe. The antimicrobial properties of many essential oils also help to remove the source of the allergen by killing off allergy-causing pathogens.
In this article, you will discover the power of using essential oils to treat allergies. There are 15 amazing essential oils which you can use to clear stuffy nose, stop itching, ease sneezing, soothe a skin rash, and treat respiratory conditions.
What is an Allergy?
An allergy is an overactive immune response in your body to certain substances that are usually harmless. The response of the immune system is to release histamine that causes inflammation and irritation in your airways, eyes, ears and skin.
According to doctors on WebMD, common allergies are:1
- Seasonal allergies like allergic rhinitis (hay fever) which is caused by pollen, grass, weed, and molds
- Cat and dog dander allergies caused by substances in pet’s hair and fur
- Food allergies to nuts, shellfish, and dairy products
The American Association of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology says that smoke, strong odors, and changes in air humidity can also cause allergic rhinitis which results in inflammation in the nasal passages. The allergic response can also cause allergic conjunctivitis (inflammation in the eye).2
Expert in immunology, Dr. Luqman Seidu says that typical symptoms of an allergic reaction are: itchy or watery eyes, hives, sneezing, rashes, fatigue, an itchy or a runny nose.3
Here are the top 15 essential oils for allergies that can help you treat the common symptoms of allergic reactions. At the end of the article, you will find instructions on how to use these essential oils to get allergy relief.
The Top 15 Essential Oils for Allergies
Peppermint oil can help to quickly clear blocked sinuses and ease nasal congestion caused by allergies. Peppermint oil is an expectorant which is great at clearing your airways and soothing inflammation. Inhaling peppermint essential oil will reduce the amount of phlegm and help you breathe easier.
Studies into the anti-allergy effects of peppermint oil have confirmed that it reduces inflammation in the respiratory system. The European Journal of Medical Research reported that menthol oil (a component of peppermint oil) has anti-inflammatory properties. The researchers concluded that menthol is an effective treatment for chronic inflammatory conditions like allergic rhinitis and bronchial asthma.4
The Journal of Ethnopharmacology found that peppermint oil has an anti-spasmodic effect on the windpipe muscles and has “expectorant actions and is anti-congestive.”5 It can also soothe coughs, clear sinuses, and relieve the symptoms of bronchitis.
You can add a few drops of peppermint essential oil to your diffuser to inhale its decongestive properties to treat allergy symptoms and relieve headaches naturally. Or you can mix some with a little carrier oil (such as jojoba oil or coconut oil) and rub it on your chest for relief from bronchial asthma.
Peppermint oil is also a great essential oil for pain relief.
Lavender oil for allergy relief
The essential oil from lavender works as a natural antihistamine and will help to reduce inflammatory allergic reactions in your body. Lavender is well-known as a natural cure for headaches but you can also use it to treat allergic skin reactions, insect bites, and hives. Lavender also has anti-inflammatory properties that make it an ideal essential oil to treat asthma.
For example, the journal Life Sciences reported how the anti-inflammatory effect of lavender essential oil can treat the complications of bronchial asthma. The medicinal compounds in lavender oil help to inhibit the production of histamine and suppress inflammatory responses in the airways. The scientists described lavender oil as “an alternative medicine for bronchial asthma.”6
You can also use lavender oil to treat allergic skin reactions. A study from 2003 found that, as well as anti-inflammatory properties, lavender also helps to reduce pain. In clinical trials, lavender helped to reduce skin irritation and speed up the healing process.7
By using lavender to help relieve the symptoms of asthma and soothe inflamed skin, the calming effect of lavender on your mind will also help you get a good night’s sleep. This is good news for asthma sufferers because, according to Dr. Carol DerSarkissian on WebMD, asthma symptoms are often worse at night.8
Therefore, lavender oil is the perfect essential oil if you suffer from coughing, sneezing, or wheezing during the night. All you have to do is put a few drops of lavender oil on your pillow or inhale lavender oil before going to bed for a peaceful night’s sleep.
Chamomile essential oil is a great allergy remedy for a wide range of allergic reactions. Chamomile is another soothing herb that is known for its relaxing properties. If you have itchy, red skin rashes or hives caused by allergies, then use chamomile oil for fast relief. Chamomile oil can do just as much to soothe itchy skin as it can do to calm your nerves.
Inhaling chamomile essential oil can also provide a calming effect on your respiratory system if you are suffering from sneezing, blocked sinuses, or excess phlegm.
Also, if you have an upset stomach, abdominal pain, nausea or vomiting caused by an allergic food reaction, then a soothing cup of chamomile tea will help to ease your discomfort.
A review of the medicinal properties of chamomile found that chamomile is effective in treating various inflammatory conditions. For example, chamomile oil is used to treat skin and mucous membrane inflammation and can help to calm the respiratory tract. Inhaling chamomile in a diffuser can also help to relieve sinus headaches and treat bacterial infections.9
A topical application of chamomile oil and a carrier oil can also help to alleviate atopic dermatitis (eczema). A study from 2010 found that chamomile oil helped to soothe symptoms of dermatitis and has an anti-histamine effect on the skin.10
Chamomile is the perfect essential oil to relieve allergic skin reactions. People with asthma or those who suffer from hay fever often have outbreaks of dry, itchy patches of skin. So, you can use a topical application of chamomile oil and a carrier oil to soothe the discomfort of dermatitis.
Tea tree oil
Tea tree essential oil can help to remedy allergic skin reactions by reducing inflammation and preventing infections. The antibacterial properties of tea tree oil can also be useful in destroying mold, fungi, and bacteria particles in the air, thus reducing symptoms of allergies at home.
A study in Switzerland into tea tree essential oil found that it has strong antimicrobial properties and is effective against a wide range of bacterial, viral, and fungal infections.11 Other studies have shown that tea tree oil is anti-inflammatory and clinical trials showed that tea tree oil reduces skin swelling thanks to its antihistamine effect.12
You can use tea tree oil mixed with some coconut oil to reduce allergic skin reactions. To find out how to use tea tree oil for atopic dermatitis, please read my article on the best essential oils for eczema.
You can also use tea tree oil as a decongestant to relieve bronchial congestion, coughs, and excess mucus.
One of the many uses of lemon essential oil is to treat respiratory problems associated with allergic reactions. Lemon is a natural antioxidant agent that can help cleanse toxins and reduce the body’s response to allergens. You can also use lemon essential oil in a solution of water as a natural antiseptic spray to disinfect surfaces and remove allergy-causing pathogens.
The Journal International Scholarly Research Notices reported that a nasal preparation based on lemon essential oil helped to alleviate the symptoms of allergic rhinitis. The lemon oil remedy helped to reduce nasal mucus and helped treat throat and mouth inflammation. The researchers found that a lemon-based nasal spray is a good alternative to treat perennial and seasonal allergic reactions.13
Studies have also confirmed the use of lemon oil in combatting bacterial infections.14
There is another advantage to using lemon essential oil when you are suffering from severe seasonal allergies or pet dander allergy symptoms. Inhaling lemon oil vapor can help to reduce stress. In fact, a study has shown that lemon oil has a similar effect to benzodiazepines (medicines most commonly used to treat anxiety and sleep disorders) and acts like an antidepressant.15 So, as well as relieving your allergy symptoms, lemon essential oil will give your mood a much-needed boost.
Lemongrass essential oil is a natural anti-allergy treatment for getting rid of allergy symptoms like sneezing, wheezing, and a stuffy or a runny nose. Lemongrass grows in warm climates and has a scent similar to lemons. Inhaling a lemongrass infusion can help to reduce inflammatory complications in the respiratory tract. Lemongrass essential oil is also antifungal and helps to kill off pathogens that can aggravate allergic reactions.
The International Journal of Molecular Medicine discovered that compounds in lemongrass essential oil had an anti-allergic and anti-inflammatory effect. Inhaling lemongrass oil can help reduce an overactive immune response in the body.16 Other studies into the therapeutic effect of lemongrass found that it can help reduce skin inflammation and fungal infections both when applied topically and when inhaled.17
Lemongrass is also a natural insect repellant. So, you can mix a few drops of lemon essential oil in water and spray it on your clothing. This will help prevent insect bites that cause allergic reactions. If you do get bitten, you can relieve the itchy, swollen skin by mixing 2 drops of lemongrass oil with coconut oil and applying 2-3 times a day to relieve the itch and bring down the swelling.
Bergamot essential oil can be used to treat allergy symptoms and get relief from asthma. Bergamot is a citrus fruit and its essential oil is full of anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties for treating allergies. In fact, bergamot is mentioned as one of my top essential oils for treating asthma.
One study from 2010 found that oil extracted from bergamot was effective in relieving cough, asthmatic symptoms, and reducing phlegm in cases of bronchial asthma. In the study, inhalation with bergamot oil was used to treat symptoms of asthma.18
Bergamot has the added benefit of treating allergies because it also helps to improve your mood and makes you feel more mentally alert. So, bergamot essential oil can not only give you relief from many allergy symptoms but help you cope with them better.
Eucalyptus essential oil is a natural expectorant and can help treat many respiratory conditions. The oil from eucalyptus assists in relieving nasal congestion, clearing your airways, and helping you breathe easier.
It has this effect because compounds in eucalyptus oil have a cooling effect on nerves in your body. If you suffer from seasonal allergies, asthma attacks, or get a blocked nose from pet dander, use steam inhalation with eucalyptus essential oil to get relief.
Eucalyptus oil has numerous benefits for allergy relief. For example, doctors on WebMD say that eucalyptus oil is used to reduce swelling of the respiratory tract mucous membranes, treat coughs, reduce symptoms of asthma, ease sinus pain, and clear respiratory infections. Diluted eucalyptus essential oil can also be used topically to reduce nasal stuffiness.19
A study into the inhalation benefits of eucalyptus oil found that it creates a cold sensation in the nose with the sensation of improved airflow.20
You can also use eucalyptus essential oil to get rid of mold from your bathroom and kitchen. Mold spores can induce allergic symptoms and bring on asthma attacks. The journal Pharmacognosy Magazine showed that a component of eucalyptus oil, 1,8-cineole, has powerful antifungal properties.21
To get rid of mold from your home, mix a few drops of eucalyptus oil, clove oil, and tea tree oil in a spray bottle filled with water. Spray directly onto the moldy areas and leave to dry. Do this daily until the mold has gone and your allergy symptoms have reduced.
You can also use the spray to remove allergy-causing dust mites from bed linen, sofas, and other fabrics. All you have to do is lightly spray the mixture onto the fabric and leave to dry to kill off any mites that could be living there. Using eucalyptus around your home will keep it smelling fresh and free of allergens.
If you suffer from pet allergies, dust allergies, or allergic rhinitis, then sandalwood essential oil has benefits that can help relieve your symptoms. Sandalwood helps to reduce the effect of allergens and reaction of antibodies in your system. When you breathe in sandalwood vapors, the compounds in the oil help to inhibit allergic responses that cause a runny nose, stuffiness, and mucus.
The journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine reported about the effectiveness of sandalwood in treating allergic rhinitis. An oil containing sandalwood, geranium and almond oil was massaged daily for 5 minutes a day for 7 days. At the end of the study, the group showed “significant improvements” in their allergy symptoms. The patients also reported having more energy and enjoying a better quality of life.22
Sandalwood oil is also a great natural way to treat the symptoms of anxiety, stress, and depression.
Thyme is another essential oil that has allergy-fighting properties. Thyme oil works by helping to inhibit inflammatory responses in the body and kill off any fungal or bacterial infections.
The Journal of Obesity reports that thyme extracts are used to treat respiratory diseases like asthma and bronchitis. This is thanks to the antispasmodic, antimicrobial, antifungal, and antiviral properties of thyme. The report also mentioned that thyme can help boost cardiovascular health, therefore using thyme oil is also a natural way to prevent heart attacks.23
Oregano essential oil can help to boost your immune system and make allergic reactions less frequent. Oregano oil also has strong antibacterial and antimicrobial activities than can help to keep your respiratory tract clear. In fact, oregano essential oil is so effective at treating infections, I’ve included it my list of top natural antibiotics that don’t require a prescription.
Oregano oil has traditionally been used to treat respiratory conditions including bronchitis, colds, and flu. Studies into oils found in oregano extracts discovered that they possess antibacterial properties that are effective against many strains of bacteria.24 Other studies have shown that oregano oil can also be used to treat many drug-resistant bacterial infections.25
Frankincense essential oil can help to reduce the inflammatory response of allergens in your body. Like many other essential oils, frankincense has anti-inflammatory benefits and can help both reduce inflammation and boost the immune system.
A study into using a combination of frankincense essential oil and other essential oils found that it helped to reduce symptoms of allergic rhinitis. Frankincense contains a compound called alpha-pinene which reduces allergic symptoms. In the study, frankincense was combined with sandalwood and Ravensara oil.22
Another study from 2016 confirmed the benefits of using frankincense oil to treat allergic reactions. The study found that among the therapeutic benefits or frankincense are that it is an expectorant, decongestant, anti-inflammatory and can help to unblock sinuses and clear bronchial congestion. Frankincense was also shown to help to reduce the risk of asthma.26
Clove essential oil inhibits allergic responses in the body and kills off fungal infections. However, clove does much more to help reduce the severity of allergic reactions. Its antimicrobial properties can disinfect germs from work surfaces, destroy mites that can cause allergies, boost your immune system, and rid your body of free radicals.
In a medical journal examining the anti-inflammatory effects of clove oil, it was reported that it has compounds that can help to inhibit inflammatory responses. The study found that the compound eugenol in clove oil can help to treat asthma, allergic rhinitis, and psoriasis.27
Clove essential oil can be used along with other essential oils to boost their anti-allergy effect in protecting you from the symptoms of allergies.
Rosemary essential oil has an antihistamine-like effect on the body and can help to alleviate allergic responses. The University of Maryland reports that rosemary oil is used widely in cooking, cosmetics, relieving muscle pain, and stimulating hair growth. The beneficial medicinal properties of rosemary are due to the antioxidants in the oil and its antimicrobial activity.28
A small study suggested that rosemary essential oil can also have an antispasmodic effect on your windpipe, thus reducing coughing and other asthmatic symptoms. The study found that, in clinical trials, rosemary oil inhibited muscle contractions of the trachea caused by histamine.29
Basil essential oil can help to reduce inflammation while at the same time, fighting infections. Basil oil can also provide support if you frequently suffer from allergic responses. This is because basil extracts help to induce a feeling of calmness and help you sleep better.
The journal Ancient Science of Life reported that basil has been used traditionally to alleviate coughs, headaches, and gastrointestinal upset. Basil oil contains eugenol compounds that are effective in eliminating various bacterial and fungal infections.30 This can help to prevent yeast or mold infecting your respiratory tract that can cause asthma attacks.
The Internet Journal of Pharmacology published a study showing that basil also acts as an antihistamine in reducing the body’s allergy response. The researchers concluded that basil has potent benefits in the treatment of asthma and related conditions.31
How to Use Essential Oils for Allergies
There are a number of ways you can use essential oils for allergy relief depending on the kind of allergic response you have.
To use the benefits of essential oils for asthma or other respiratory tract reactions, you can use a few drops of essential oil in a diffuser. Use throughout the day or during the night to reduce your allergy symptoms.
Put 3-5 drops of your favorite essential oil on your pillow for allergy relief during the night.
Alternatively, you can pour boiling water in a bowl and add a few drops of your favorite essential oil. Drape a towel over your head and breathe in the steam for relieving allergy related symptoms.
Add 2 to 4 drops of essential oil on a cotton ball or paper handkerchief and secure in a zip lock bag. Take with you and sniff the essential oil whenever you need.
A very calming way to get the benefits of essential oils for allergy relief is to use them for a massage. Add 10-12 drops of essential oil or a combination of essential oils to 2 oz. carrier oil. You can use almond oil, jojoba oil, coconut oil, or any other carrier oil. Massage into your temples, chest, or neck to breathe in the soothing oils.
Topical allergy relief
You can also make a topical application to relieve allergic skin reactions like hives, rashes, and itchiness. Some of the best essential oils for topical allergy relief are lavender oil, tea tree oil, chamomile oil, and frankincense oil.
Add 2-5 drops of essential oil to a tablespoon of carrier oil. Massage the oil into the inflamed area of skin for a quick relief.
Relax in a bath and enjoy the soothing properties of essential oils. This can help to greatly reduce your allergy symptoms and help you feel calmer.
All you need to do is add 5 to 10 drops of your favorite essential oil to a warm bath.
Anti-Allergy Essential Oil Blend: Lemon, Peppermint, and Lavender
Combing the powers of these three essential oils for allergies is the best way to tackle most allergic reactions. Combined, they work as one of the most powerful antihistamines to bring down inflammation and other discomforts caused by your body’s allergic response.
Lavender essential oil
Lemon essential oil
Peppermint essential oil
How to use the anti-allergy essential oil blend
- Add a few drops of each oil in equal ratio to a carrier oil such as jojoba, coconut, or sweet almond to soothe skin rashes or itchy skin caused by allergic reactions.
- Use as a rub: mix a few drops of each oil in equal ratio. Dilute in a carrier oil of your choice. Rub onto feet, chest, cheeks, or forehead.
- Diffuse the anti-allergy essential oil blend in an aromatherapy diffuser throughout the day or night to ease allergic discomforts.
Precautions When Using Essential Oils for Allergy Relief
Although essential oils are natural ingredients, they are very potent and should be handled with care.
If you are using the essential oils topically, always do a skin test first to check for allergic reactions.
Apart from tea tree oil or lavender oil, you should never put essential oils directly onto your skin. Even with tea tree oil and lavender oil, you can only use them undiluted to treat a very small area of skin.
Pregnant women and children shouldn’t use essential oils unless directed otherwise by a medical practitioner or certified aromatherapist.
For more information about natural antihistamines, read my article: The Best Natural Antihistamines to Fight Allergic Reactions.
Read these related articles:
- How to Get Rid of a Rash: The Best Home Remedies (Research Based)
- How To Get Rid Of Eczema: 13 Natural Remedies Backed By Research
- Itching All Over the Body – Causes and Natural Treatments
If you are interested to learn more about essential oils you can find useful information in my e-book Magical Aromatherapy. This e-book will help you to discover the power of essential oils and the most effective ways to use them.Article Sources:
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