Today my seasonal allergies crept up on me and hit hard. Itchy eyes, runny nose, sinus headache, the whole thing. I immediately made myself a cup of allergy tea, with local honey, and started diffusing a few things!
I've had seasonal allergies all my life. They are worst for me in the spring. I have tried so many different medications, all which help to a degree, but also dehydrate me and cause me to feel drowsy. I've tried every. single. one. They literally all put me to sleep. I can't live like that!
I should note that since allergies have started this year, mine did not take off as badly as they have in years prior. The only difference that I personally have made has been my diet. I am on a strict anti-inflammatory diet since February that is recommended for auto-immune disease. Some of the things that I have cut out to follow this diet have been added sugar, dairy, and gluten. So, I don't doubt that these changes may have something to do with my less intense reaction this year! There are some emerging studies to back up the links between diet and seasonal allergies.
So here's what works for me. First, I'll start with allergy tea. I love tea. I drink maybe 6 cups per day, at least. So this is my preferred remedy. My allergy tea that I mix myself includes nettle leaf, marshmallow root, lavender, peppermint and thyme. I encourage you to research those herbs on your own to see if they'd be right for you. Our Vana Tisanes Allergy Tea includes nettle leaf, marshmallow root, peppermint leaf, and other plants with anti-inflammatory properties. I drink it about three times per day, which helps a ton, but can be a lot for some people - but don't worry, there are other options.
Not only that, but some people use local honey to help with allergy relief. The thought is that the small traces of allergens that the bees pick up are present in the honey they produce. So using honey that is local to your area is important. Exposure to these trace amounts may help allergy sufferers the same way allergen-microdosing works for food allergies. No one under 1 year should eat honey though, because there is a risk of botulism. The same idea applied to bee propolis. Bee propolis is essentially just another thing bees produce along with honey. Again, make sure any honey or propolis you use is from local bees, to ensure that traces of the allergen you are sensitive to would be present.
Of course, I also diffuse oils. My favorites depend on my symptoms. I usually start with what is generally known in the EO world as the "allergy blend" which is lemon, lavender, and peppermint. All three of these have anti-inflammatory properties, and lavender actually acts as a natural antihistamine.
If I'm having trouble breathing due to congestion, I'll add in eucalyptus. Be careful though, because some people are allergic to eucalyptus!
You can also try holy basil, frankincense, and tea tree oil.
On days that I have more congestion, I increase the amount of peppermint and eucalyptus, because they specifically help with congestion. If I'm experiencing headache or skin reactions, I use more lavender. I use lemon and tea tree for cleaning, mixed with vinegar, but they can be diffused as well.
Just be careful if you apply any citrus oil to your skin, it will make you more sensitive to the sun!
When congestion is really bad, I'll mix a few drops of eucalyptus with a carrier oil and rub it on my chest. This especially helps me before bed. It might remind you of a familiar "rub" that is used for the same thing, because that rub contains eucalyptus oil!
If just diffusing isn't enough, you can do a steam inhalation. This is where you boil water, pour into a bowl, add a few drops of oils and place a towel over your head while hovering your face (safely) above the bowl. This is a bit more intense than diffusing, so make sure you don't use too much, or do it for too long.
Some people actually ingest a combination of lavender, lemon and peppermint oil twice daily, but because essential oils are not regulated by the FDA, it isn't suggested that you ingest them. However, when I do ingest oils from reputable brands, I usually use 2 drops of each, in an empty vegetable capsule, two times per day. I am not suggesting you do that, as each essential oil manufacturer has different practices, each plant (depending on it's growing conditions) contains different levels of the chemicals present, so there is no definitive way (at this point) to give accurate dosing. If you're considering ingesting oils, I suggest you consult your doctor. You can find food-grade versions of some essential oils.
What do you do for allergies? Are you a slave to allergy meds like I used to be? Do you have any other natural remedies for allergies that I missed?
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