Orange Essential Oil May Improve Symptoms of PTSD…

Post-traumatic stress disorder affects around 8 million adults in the United States, but treatments for the condition are still limited. Orange essential oil may offer a nonpharmaceutical option to help reduce the stress and fear associated with the disorder, suggests research carried out by scientists at George Washington University.
[orange essential plant oil]

Early indications show that orange essential plant oil could help to diminish symptoms associated with PTSD.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder often triggered by exposure to stressful, distressing, or frightening events, or the sudden and unexpected death of a loved one.

The person with the disorder tends to relive the traumatic experience through flashbacks and nightmares. The severe anxiety caused by PTSD may last months or even years, and it can have a significant impact on the person’s life.

Chronic stress is thought to play a role in activating and exacerbating inflammation in the peripheral immune system. Research has suggested that peripherally circulating immune cells may be able to cross the blood-brain barrier and cause inflammation in the central nervous system, which may contribute to mental health disorders, including PTSD. However, the link between fear memory and the immune system is not entirely understood.

Furthermore, treatment for PTSD is currently limited to two FDA-approved medications and psychotherapy practices, including cognitive and exposure therapies.

Cassandra Moshfegh, a research assistant in Paul Marvar’s laboratory at the George Washington University, and colleagues sought to investigate the effect of orange essential plant oil on PTSD symptoms. Previous studies have shown that orange essential oil may have a depressant-like effect on the central nervous system.

The team presented the research at the American Physiological Society’s annual meeting during the Experimental Biology 2017 conference, held in Chicago, IL.

Essential oils are naturally produced by plants and can be used for therapeutic purposes. The aromatic compounds of orange essential oil are usually extracted from the peel of the orange. Essential oils can be inhaled, applied to the skin, or ingested in foods or beverages.

Orange essential oil significantly reduced fear-associated behavior

Orange essential oil was tested in mice to determine the impact of the compound on fear memory and immune cell activation. The researchers used Pavlovian Fear Conditioning – a behavioral mouse model – “to study the formation, storage, and expression of fear memories as a model for PTSD.”

Pavlovian Fear Conditioning pairs a tone with a negative stimulus, such as a shock to the foot, which provokes fear as a response in the mice. The mice form an associative memory between the tone and the stimulus. When presented with the tone alone, the mice exhibit a fear response and typically freeze. This response diminishes slowly as time goes on.

Moshfegh and team divided the mice into three groups. The first group of 12 mice was exposed to the audio tone alone, 12 mice received water and fear conditioning, and the remaining 12 mice were exposed to orange essential oil by inhalation 40 minutes prior to and after the fear conditioning.

The researchers found that the mice exposed to orange essential oil were significantly less likely to exhibit freezing behavior and stopped freezing altogether earlier than the mice that received water and fear conditioning. Moreover, the mice exposed to orange essential oil experienced a significant decrease in the immune cells linked to the “biochemical pathways” associated with PTSD.

The mechanism behind the differences in behavior between the two groups could be explained by the variations found in gene expression in their brains.

Relative to pharmaceuticals, essential oils are much more economical and do not have adverse side effects. The orange essential plant oil showed a significant effect on the behavioral response in our study mice. This is promising because it shows that passively inhaling this essential oil could potentially assuage PTSD symptoms in humans.”

Cassandra Moshfegh

Further studies are needed to unravel the specific effects of orange essential oil on the brain and nervous system, says Moshfegh, and to uncover how these effects reduce “stress and fear in people with PTSD.”

What Are The Health Benefits of Thyme?

Thyme is a herb with culinary, medicinal and ornamental uses. The flowers, leaves, and oil of thyme have been used to treat bedwetting, diarrhea, stomach ache, arthritis, colic, sore throat, cough, including whooping cough, bronchitis, flatulence, and as a diuretic, to increase urination.

Thyme is of the genus Thymus. The most common type is Thymus vulgaris.

It is native to the Mediterranean.

History of thyme

[thyme]

Thyme has been used for flavoring and medicinal purposes since ancient times.

In Ancient Egypt, thyme was used for embalming. The Ancient Greeks used it as an incense in temples, and they added it to bathwater.

The Romans used thyme as a flavoring for cheese and alcoholic beverages. They are also said to have offered it as a cure people for who were melancholic or shy. They are believed to have introduced it to the British Isles.

Hippocrates, who lived around 460BC to 370BC, and who is known today as “the father of Western medicine,” recommended thyme for respiratory diseases and conditions. It was grown in gardens and gathered in the countryside.

When the Black Death swept across Europe in the 1340s, posies of thyme were worn for protection.

Scientific research does not support this use, but thyme has been shown to have a range of medicinal properties.

Forms of thyme

The fresh leaves of thyme can be used in teas and in cooking. They are sometimes placed between layers of linen, like lavender, to protect the fabric from insects.

The essential oil of thyme, usually referred to as “oil of thyme,” contains between 20 percent and 60 percent thymol.

It is extracted for a range of uses, for example, for scenting soaps and as an ingredient in deodorant. It has been used as an antiseptic, and as an insect repellant. Thymol has been used in meat preservation, and it is often included in the oil used to preserve olives in the Mediterranean.

Unlike the fresh leaves, the essential oil cannot be ingested and it should not be used directly on the skin. It should be diluted in a carrier oil, for example, olive oil.

Possible health benefits of thyme

Thymol is one of a naturally-occurring class of compounds known as biocides, substances that can destroy harmful organisms. Used alongside other biocides, such as carvacrol, thyme has a strong antimicrobial action.

One study has suggested that thymol can reduce bacterial resistance to common drugs such as penicillin.

The tiger mosquito

The tiger mosquito is native to tropical and subtropical areas of Southeast Asia. Since the 1990s, it has spread around the world, carrying West Nile virus, Yellow fever virus, St. Louis encephalitis, dengue fever, and Chikungunya fever.

team at Chungbuk National University in South Korea reported that a combination of thymol, alpha-terpinene, and carvacrol was effective in killing off tiger mosquito larvae.

High blood pressure

Researchers at the University of Belgrade, in Serbia, found that an aqueous extract obtained from wild thyme reduced blood pressure in tests on rats. Rats tend to have similar responses to humans when they have hypertension so the findings could have implications for humans.

Protecting from foodborne bacterial infections

[thyme and olives]

Thyme is often used with olive oil to preserve olives.

A team at the Center for Studies of Animal and Veterinary Sciences in Portugal studied the antimicrobial activity of essential oils extracted from a range of aromatic plants, including thyme oil.

They reported that thyme oil, even at low concentrations, showed potential as a natural preservative of food products against several common foodborne bacteria that cause human illness.

A Polish study tested thyme oil and lavender oil, and they observed thyme oil was effective against resistant strains of Staphylococcus, Enterococcus, Escherichia and Pseudomonas bacteria.

Colon cancer

study carried out in Lisbon, Portugal, found that extracts of mastic thyme may protect from colon cancers.

Breast cancer

Oncologist researchers Turkey looked at the effect of wild thyme on breast cancer activity, and specifically how it affected apoptosis, or cell death, and epigenetic events in breast cancer cells.

Epigenetics is the study of changes in gene expression caused by mechanisms that do not involve alterations in DNA sequence. They found that wild thyme induced cell death in breast cancer cells.

Yeast infection

The fungus Candida albicans is a common cause of mouth and vaginal yeast infections, a recurring condition often referred to as “thrush.”

Researchers at the University of Turin, in Italy, found that essential oil of thyme significantly enhanced intracellular killing of C. albicans, which causes thrush, in the human body.

Prolonging the stability of cooking oils

Lipid oxidation is a serious problem during food processing and storage. It leads to losses of quality, stability, safety, and nutritional value.

Scientists from Warsaw, in Poland, carried looked at whether thyme extract might prolong the stability of sunflower oil at different temperatures. They suggest that thyme might be a potent antioxidant for stabilizing sunflower oil.

Common skin problems

Skin problems are common worldwide. In some countries, herbal preparations are an important form of medicine.

[thyme oil]

Thyme oil in an antifungal cream may help prevent eczema.

A team at Addis Ababa University, in Ethiopia, carried out a study to assess the therapeutic benefits of a 10 percent chamomile extract cream and a 3 percent thyme essential oil antifungal cream for eczema-like lesions.

They noted that 66.5 percent of those treated with a fungal cream containing thyme essential oil were completely healed, compared with 28.5 percent of those using a placebo.

Results for the chamomile cream were similar to those for the placebo. The researchers conclude, “A 3 percent thyme essential oil cream could represent a relatively economical and easily available opportunity to treat and heal mild to moderate cases of fungal infections,” but they recommend further research.

Acne

Scientists from Leeds, in the U.K., tested the effects of myrrh, marigold, and thyme tinctures on the bacterium that causes acne. They found that thyme may be effective in treating acne.

Its antibacterial effect proved stronger than that of standard concentrations of benzoyl peroxide, the active ingredient used in most creams and washes that are recommended for acne. Benzoyl peroxide also causes a burning sensation and irritation on the skin.

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classifies thyme essential oils as “generally recognized as safe for their intended use.”

However, anyone planning to make a significant change to treatment for a health condition should first discuss this with a physician.

What Are the Health Benefits of Eucalyptus?

Eucalyptus is a fast-growing evergreen tree native to Australia. As an ingredient in many OTC products, it is used to reduce symptoms of coughs, colds, and congestion. It also features in creams and ointments aimed at relieving muscle and joint pain.

The oil that comes from the eucalyptus tree is used as an antiseptic, a perfume, as an ingredient in cosmetics, as a flavoring, in dental preparations, and in industrial solvents.

Chinese, Indian Ayurvedic, Greek, and other European styles of medicine have incorporated it into the treatment of a range of conditions for thousands of years.

There are over 400 different species of eucalyptus. Eucalyptus globulus, also known as Blue Gum, is the main source of eucalyptus oil used globally.

Leaves are steam distilled to extract the oil, which is a colorless liquid with a strong, sweet, woody scent. It contains 1,8-cineole, also known as eucalyptol.

The leaves also contain flavonoids and tannins; flavonoids are plant-based antioxidants, and tannins may help to reduce inflammation.

Health benefits of eucalyptus

Eucalyptus is believed to have a number of medicinal properties, although not all of them have been confirmed by research. Below we outline some of its potential health benefits.

Antimicrobial properties

[eucalyptus leaves]

Eucalyptus leaves and essential oil are commonly used in complementary medicine.

Interestingly, toward the end of the 19th century, eucalyptus oil was used in most hospitals in England to clean urinary catheters. Modern research is now starting to back this practice up.

In February 2016, researchers from Serbia found evidence supporting the antimicrobial action of eucalyptus.

They concluded that a positive interaction between E. camaldulensis essential oil (a tree in the Eucalyptus family) and existing antibiotics could lead to the development of new treatment strategies for certain infections.

They hope that this property could eventually reduce the need for antibiotics.

study published in Clinical Microbiology & Infection suggests that eucalyptus oil may have antibacterial effects on pathogenic bacteria in the upper respiratory tract, including Haemophilus influenzae, a bacteria responsible for a range of infections, and some strains of streptococcus.

Colds and respiratory problems

Eucalyptus features in a range of preparations to relieve symptoms of the common cold, for example, cough lozenges and inhalants.

Herbal remedies recommend using fresh leaves in a gargle to relieve a sore throat, sinusitis, and bronchitis. Also, eucalyptus oil vapor appears to act as a decongestant when inhaled. It is a popular home remedy for colds and bronchitis.

It may act as an expectorant for loosening phlegm and easing congestion. A number of cough medications include eucalyptus oil, including Vicks VapoRub.

Researchers have called for further studies to clarify the possible therapeutic role of eucalyptus leaf extract in the treatment of respiratory tract infection.

Eucalyptus and dental care

The antibacterial and antimicrobial potential of eucalyptus has been harnessed for use in some mouthwash and dental preparations.

In promoting dental health, eucalyptus appears to be active in fighting bacteria that cause tooth decay and periodontitis.

The use of eucalyptus extract in chewing gum may promote periodontal health, according to a study published in the Journal of Periodontology.

Fungal infections and wounds

The University of Maryland Medical (UMM) Center describe how traditional Aboriginal medicines used eucalyptus to treat fungal infections and skin wounds.

Insect repellent

Eucalyptus is an effective insect repellent and insecticide. In 1948, the United States officially registered eucalyptus oil as an insecticide and miticide, for killing mites and ticks.

Oil of lemon eucalyptus is recommended by some as an insect repellant; it is effective at keeping mosquitoes away.

In 2012, researchers from New Delhi, in India, found that E. globulus oil was active against the larvae and pupae of the housefly. They suggested that it could be a viable option for use in eco-friendly products to control houseflies.

Pain relief

Eucalyptus extract may act as a pain reliever, and research indicates that the oil may have analgesic properties. In a study published in the American Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, scientists applied Eucalyptamint on the anterior forearm skin of 10 people.

Eucalyptamint, an OTC preparation with the generic name methyl salicylate topical, is used to treat muscle and joint pain linked to strains and sprains, arthritis, bruising, and backache.

The scientists concluded that “Eucalyptamint, produced significant physiologic responses that may be beneficial for pain relief and/or useful to athletes as a passive form of warm-up.”

Stimulating immune system

Eucalyptus oil may stimulate an immune system response, say findings published in BMC Immunology.

Specifically, the researchers found that Eucalyptus oil could enhance the immune system’s phagocytic response to pathogens in a rat model. Phagocytosis is a process where the immune system consumes and destroys foreign particles.

Other conditions that eucalyptus may help with include:

  • Arthritis – potentially due to its anti-inflammatory properties
  • A blocked nose
  • Wounds and burns
  • Ulcers
  • Cold sores – perhaps due to its anti-inflammatory properties
  • Bladder diseases
  • Diabetes – eucalyptus might help lower blood sugar
  • Fever
  • Flu

Precautions and side effects

According to the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA), some essential oils can be hazardous, but those that are available commercially, from reputable sources, are safe to use if handled appropriately. The NAHA say that it is important to use “pure, authentic, and genuine essential oils.”

Eucalyptus products can generally be used safely on the skin, as long as the oil is diluted. It should not be applied directly to the skin until it is diluted with a carrier oil, such as olive oil.

The dilution should be between 1 percent and 5 percent eucalyptus oil to between 95 percent and 99 percent carrier oil; this equates to roughly one to five drops of essential oil in an ounce of carrier oil.

Eucalyptus can produce irritation and a burning sensation. It should not be used too close to the eyes.

It is important to do an allergy test before using eucalyptus because it is highly allergenic. An allergy test can be done by adding the eucalyptus oil in the carrier oil and putting a drop on the arm. If there is no reaction in 24 hours, it is safe to use.

Allergies can develop over time. If you have used eucalyptus oil in the past and now seem to be having an allergic reaction to it, discontinue use.

It is not safe to take eucalyptus oil orally because it is poisonous.

In some individuals with asthma, eucalyptus can make their condition worse. Others find that it helps to relieve their asthma symptoms.

Side effects may include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach upset

Signs of eucalyptus poisoning include dizziness, feelings of suffocation, and small pupils. It is important to note that eucalyptus may interact with other medications and can impact the liver.

Children are more sensitive to essential oils, so care should be taken when using eucalyptus with children. Use should be avoided during pregnancy.

Creative Organic Green ~ Detox For Your Home

Winter is the time of year that we start eating heavier and detoxing. It’s time for winter cleaning of body, mind, and home! While there is a lot of focus on what we eat, often not enough attention is paid to how we clean our homes… Making sure that all of your household cleaning products are naturally-derived is extremely important – especially if you have children. The products we use every day may give off toxins that we then breathe in or absorb through our skin. They may also pollute the air in our environment. Studies have shown that environmental toxicity is a contributor to many conditions such as autoimmune disease, heart disease and even cancer(1). The chemicals found in many common household cleaners are carcinogens which mean that they can cause cancer. Bleach and ammonia are highly toxic and, when mixed together, they are a lethal combination(2).  Other chemicals which are hormone and endocrine disruptors are glycol ethers and phthalates (3) so it’s important to be able to identify every ingredient on a label that you are using in your home. If you can’t identify it, don’t use it. With just a few simple ingredients, including some wonderfully fragrant essential oils, you can disinfect and clean, as well as rid your home of bacteria, mold, viruses, unpleasant odors, and dust mites.

As a caution, when you buy essential oils you should beware of anything that says “fragrance added.” If it does not say “100% (pure) essential oils” then the ingredient is synthetic. Most of the fragrance used in household cleaning products and deodorizers are synthetic. There is nothing natural about them and they are harmful to your health. Essential oils are great for the home since they are non-toxic and they possess many therapeutic properties that will benefit you for a clean healthy home. They are antiseptic, disinfectant, anti-bacterial, anti-microbial and anti-fungal – and of course, they smell great.

These are some recipes I created to get you through all your spring cleaning. I use sweet orange (Citrus sinensis) in all three recipes so you don’t have to go out and buy too many essential oils; however, I am also giving you a list of essential oils you can substitute.The citrus oils are all antiseptic, disinfectant, anti-bacterial, anti-microbial and anti-fungal so you can replace orange oil with lemon (Citrus limon), grapefruit (Citrus x paradisi) or lime (Citrus aurantifolia) essential oil.

It’s also fun to experiment and mix scents that you like. It might even make you enjoy cleaning!

General All-purpose Cleaner

Lemon (Citrus limon)

Lemon is one of the most popular citrus fruits in the world. It is extracted from the rind of the fruit. It is antiseptic, a disinfectant, anti-bacterial and anti-microbial, making it a great all-purpose household cleaner. It was even used during World War I as a disinfectant in hospitals. Lemon essential oil is calming but it is also refreshing to the mind, as it helps lift negative emotions. It is believed that inhaling lemon essential oil helps to increase concentration and alertness; therefore, it can be a great room freshener in offices.

 

Orange Sweet (Citrus sinensis)

Orange Sweet is a citrus essential oil that is extracted from the rind of the orange. It is antiseptic, anti-fungal and anti-microbial. It is also very uplifting for your mood, making it a good scent to have in any home. Sweet orange essential oil is an excellent degreaser and cleaner due to an ingredient called, d-Limonene. A study conducted by The University of Arkansas and Colorado State University found that Valencia orange (Citrus sinensis var. valencia) essential oil inhibited E. Coli and Salmonella during the refrigeration process of beef(3). It also inhibited Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) which is a deadly staph infection(4).

 

Peppermint (Mentha x Piperita)

Peppermint essential oil is extracted from the leaves of a herb. It is a hybrid of spearmint (Mentha spicata) and water mint (Mentha aquatica). It is antibacterial, antifungal, antimicrobial and antiseptic. Bugs tend not to like it, so it is a good choice to add to an all-purpose aromatherapy blend around the house.

 

White Distilled Vinegar

White Distilled Vinegar is one of the best cleaning ingredients for the home since it is a natural disinfectant. It can help to kill mold, bacteria, and viruses. In addition, it is very inexpensive.

 

Directions for Use:

You will need a sixteen-ounce size spray bottle.

 

Essential Oils:

20 drops Lemon (Citrus limon)

30 drops Orange Sweet (Citrus sinensis)

15 drops Peppermint (Mentha x Piperita)

White Distilled Vinegar*

Distilled Water*

*Fill the remaining bottle with a 50/50 combination of white vinegar and distilled water.  I prefer distilled water but if you don’t have distilled water, use filtered water. Once you have all of the ingredients in the bottle, shake it prior to every use because the essential oils and water will separate. If you want to change the scent, from time to time you can substitute with lime, grapefruit, eucalyptus (Eucaplyptusspp.), clove bud (Syzygium aromaticum) and lavender (Lavandula angustifolia).

You can use this blend as a general cleaner for your kitchen, especially for the countertops, refrigerator, cabinets and even wood surfaces.

Window Cleaner

I like using an eight-ounce size bottle since it’s smaller and easier to handle and it will fit in any cabinet. If you want to make a sixteen-ounce bottle, just double up the recipe.

 

Essential Oils:

3 drops Lemon (Citrus limon)

3 drops Peppermint (Mentha x Piperita)

White Distilled Vinegar*

Distilled Water*

*Fill the remaining bottle with a 50/50 combination of white vinegar and distilled water. I prefer distilled water but if you don’t have distilled water, you can use filtered water. Once you have all of the ingredients in the bottle, shake it prior to every use because the essential oils and water will separate. If you want to change the scent from time to time, you can substitute lemon with lime, grapefruit or orange.

Bath and Sink Scrub

Clove (Syzygium aromaticum)

Clove essential oil is extracted from the buds of the clove plant. It is antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-microbial, antiseptic and antiviral, making it a great choice for cleaning tubs and sinks.

 

Orange Sweet (Citrus sinensis)

See above description under General All-purpose Cleaner

 

Pure Liquid Castile Soap

Make sure that your soap is pure Castile. I use Dr. Bronner’s castile soap because for over 150 years it has been a family-run business and the quality of the product is never comprised for profit. The soap is pure and organic, with no dyes, whiteners or synthetic fragrances. The bottles are made from 100% recycled plastic so you are doing something good for the environment. They are available in different scents such as orange, sweet almond (Prunis Dulcis), eucalyptus, lavender, peppermint and lemon, and the soap blends perfectly with essential oils. You should have this product in your home as it has so many uses and can replace many products. I also use it as a hand and body wash, and shampoo – and you can even wash floors and clothes with it.

 

Baking Soda (Sodium bicarbonate)

Baking soda is right up there with vinegar as a cleaning superstar! It is non-toxic, absorbs odor, and it is great for sinks and tubs due to its abrasive texture. It has many uses in the home – from brushing your teeth to shining silver. I never use toxic oven cleaners. Instead, I mix baking soda and water to get rid of spills in my oven. You can rub it on with a soft cloth or leave some on the spills overnight and then wash it the next day.

Use a twelve-ounce glass jar with an airtight clamp lid or a screw top.

 

Essential Oils:

5 drops Clove bud (Syzygium aromaticum)

5 drops Orange Sweet (Citrus sinensis)

½ cup Pure Liquid Castile Soap*

½ cup Baking Soda*

*I mix equal parts of baking soda and castile soap to make a paste. If you want to make a bigger batch just double-up the recipe. Add the baking soda and castile soap to the jar, then add the essential oils. Once you have all of the ingredients in the jar, mix it together with a spoon or spatula. You can apply a small amount to a cloth or sponge to clean.

As the seasons change, or you just want to try a different aroma, you can use ten drops of any of the following essential oils, or just mix two essential oils together. They all have antiseptic, disinfectant, anti-bacterial, anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties.

 

• Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia)

• Eucalyptus Globulus (Eucalyptus globulus)

• Rosemary ct. cineole (Rosmarinus officinalis)

• Peppermint (Mentha x Piperita)

• Lemon (Citrus limon)

• Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)

 

Wood Cleaner

Orange Sweet (Citrus sinensis)

See above description under General All-purpose Cleaner

Olive Oil (Olea europaea)

Olive oil moisturizes dry wood and gives it a shine.

White Distilled Vinegar

See above description under General All-purpose Cleaner

You will need a two-ounce flip top bottle.

 

Essential Oil:

15 drops Orange Sweet (Citrus sinensis)

½ ounce of White Distilled Vinegar

Olive Oil (Olea europaea)*

*Fill the remaining bottle with olive oil. Once you have all of the ingredients in the bottle, shake it prior to every use. Put about a tablespoon on a soft cloth and wipe down the wood. Apply more as needed.

7 Essential Oils for Allergies

Essential oils are among the most popular natural remedies for allergies. These concentrated aromatic liquids are distilled from plants and have been used therapeutically for centuries.

Allergies are the sixth leading cause of chronic illness in the United States, affecting approximately 50 million people. While there is no cure for allergies, there are several ways that allergy symptoms can be managed.

This article lists the most effective essential oils for relief of the symptoms of seasonal allergies and skin allergies and suggests some ways to incorporate essential oils into your allergy treatment regimen.

Fast facts on essential oils for allergies:

  • Although considered a natural product, this does not mean they are always safe.
  • Seasonal allergies can affect people during summer or winter, or all-year round.
  •  Eczema, dermatitis, and hives are some of the most common skin allergies.

Seasonal allergies

Bottle of peppermint essential oil with blooming peppermint leavesPeppermint oil may help to relax the muscles that cause coughing.

Symptoms of these conditions include watery eyes, stuffy nose, sneezing, coughing, wheezing, and chest congestion. People with these allergy symptoms may wish to try the following oils:

1. Peppermint

2010 study, although on animals, found that peppermint oil has a relaxing effect on smooth muscle, which helps to reduce the contractions that cause coughing.

According to other research, the oil may also help treat anxiety and mental fatigue, symptoms that are often experienced by allergy sufferers.

2. Frankincense

Frankincense is another oil that reduces inflammatory activity in the body. One study reports that frankincense exhibits anti-inflammatory effects in bronchitis, which causes inflammation of the airways, and sinus infections. It may also be beneficial for people with asthma.

3. Eucalyptus

Research suggests that using a blend of oils, including eucalyptus, for infections of the upper respiratory tract leads to a significant and immediate improvement in symptoms. Participants reported a reduction in hoarseness, cough, and sore throat.

The essential oil blend used in the study contained Eucalyptus citriodoraEucalyptus globulus, peppermint, Syrian oregano, and rosemary.

4. Lemon

In one study, it was found that a lemon-based nasal spray helped in the treatment of perennial and seasonal allergic rhinitis. Lemon essential oil can also inhibit bacterial activity.

It is not recommended to apply citrus-based essential oils to the skin before exposure to the sun. These oils can cause the skin to become more sensitive to sunlight, increasing the risk of harmful blistering or burning.

Skin allergies

Lavender oil bottle with pipette taking oil from it.Lavender oil can support sleep, which may be disrupted by the symptoms of allergies.

Symptoms caused by skin allergies include swelling, itching, and redness.

It is advisable to consult a doctor first and then proceed with caution when using the following essential oils for skin allergies:

5. Lavender

Lavender naturally quells inflammation, inhibits anxiety, and encourages a deep sleep, all of which can benefit people with allergies.

Lavender is an especially good option for skin allergies, as it is gentle on the skin and calms irritation, with research indicating that it speeds up healing. The oil can be applied directly to the skin, or added to baths, lotions, and other skin products.

6. Tea tree oil

Tea tree oil has proven antifungal, antiviral, and antibacterial properties. It also reduces inflammation, with research finding that tea tree oil applied topically significantly decreases swelling from histamine-induced skin inflammation when compared to paraffin oil.

It must be noted that, due to its potency, tea tree oil may induce allergic contact dermatitis in some people. Also, the oil should only be used topically and should not be ingested.

7. Chamomile oil

In a review of the properties of chamomile oil, it was reported that chamomile is an effective anti-inflammatory that can be used to treat skin conditions, inflammation of the mucous membranes, and symptoms of sinusitis.

It may also relieve the itching and swelling associated with eczema when mixed with a carrier oil and applied topically.

How to use essential oils for allergies

Essential oil burner for diffusion aromatherapyEssential oil burners can diffuse the oil, helping to clear respiratory congestion or irritation.

Essential oils can be used in a variety of ways to treat allergies. Some of the most popular include:

Diffusion

Add a few drops of the oil or oils to a plug-in diffuser or oil burner. This method is especially beneficial for treating the symptoms of seasonal allergies, as well as other respiratory conditions.

Direct inhalation

Essential oils can be breathed directly from the bottle or by putting a drop or two on a handkerchief.

People with seasonal allergies may relieve congestion by adding a few drops of essential oil to a bowl of hot water and breathing in the vapors. For nighttime allergy relief, a person can add 5 drops of essential oil to their pillow.

Topical application

People with skin allergies and symptoms such as itching, hives, and rashes can apply the oil to their skin.

Most oils should be mixed with a carrier oil, such as jojoba, coconut, or sweet almond oil before application. A ratio of 2 drops of essential oil to 1 tablespoon of carrier oil is recommended.

Take care when applying lemon essential oil or other citrus-based oils to the skin, as they are sun and light sensitive and cause discoloration of the skin.

Targeting allergens

Some oils, such as lemon, eucalyptus, and tea tree, can help kill molds and dust mites, both of which are common allergens that trigger symptoms.

To do this, a person should add 20 drops of essential oil and a tablespoon of white vinegar to 1 cup of water. The mixture can then be used to spray on bathroom fittings and other areas prone to mold, and on to mattresses and other textiles to kill dust mites.

Always do a patch test and wait 24 hours before spraying on larger areas of fabric.

Potential risks and side effects

People should bear in mind the following guidelines when using essential oils:

  • Always choose high-quality oils from a reputable source.
  • Follow the instructions for use carefully.
  • Do not apply undiluted oils to the skin.
  • Do not take essential oils internally.
  • Children and pregnant and breastfeeding women should only use essential oils under the guidance of a qualified professional.
  • Always do a skin test for allergic reactions before applying to larger areas. If none occurs after 24 hours, it should be safe to use. Each essential oil must be tested separately.
  • It is advisable to speak to a doctor before beginning treatment with essential oils.

Essential oils are not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and so should be used with caution.