Just when the weather finally warms up, you’re stuck inside nursing a runny nose and red, itchy eyes between bouts of constant sneezing. Sound familiar? You’re not alone. More than 50 million Americans suffer with Spring allergies every year. As the trees, grasses and flowers bloom, pollen gets released into the atmosphere. This is good for nature, as it helps fertilize other plants. But when these pollen particles get into the eyes and nasal passages of someone who is allergic, they can throw an immune system out of whack.
The good news? There are natural remedies that not only ease allergy symptoms, but leave you feeling pampered, too. Here, our friends at 21 Drops share 7 soothing ways to naturally outsmart allergy season.
1. Take a steam bath.
Calm your nerves and irritated nasal passageways with a soothing steam bath. To supercharge your relief, mix a few drops of essential oils like eucalyptus, rosemary, pine, spruce or white fir into a bowl of steaming water. Place a towel over your head and breathe deeply for 5 to 10 minutes with your eyes closed. The strong, piney aromas will help you unwind while breaking up congestion and opening your lungs for deep breathing.
2. Strike a new yoga pose.
Annoying allergy symptoms can cause stress levels to surge, increasing inflammation and making you feel worse than you already do. Breathe easier with Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana) or Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana). Inverted poses increase circulation and flush clogged sinuses, while deep-breathing exercises in yoga boost your body’s relaxation response.
3. Eat fresh.
Snacking on some of your favorite foods could be your best defense against spring allergies. Research shows anti-inflammatory properties of apples, oranges, grapes, tomatoes, seafood and nuts can boost immunity and reduce inflammation, helping ease irritation in your nose and throat. Looking for a little kick? Spices like cayenne pepper, garlic, anise or ginger can help clear congestion. When you feel your allergies kicking in, generously sprinkle these spices onto meals and sneak into smoothies.
4. Get a detox massage.
- Geranium (Pelargonium roseum x asperum) and Grapefruit (Citrus paradisi) to stimulate the lymphatic system
- Lemon (Citrus limon) and Cardamom (Ellettaria cardamomum) to nourish and support an overworked liver
- Juniper (Juniperus communis) and Ginger (Zingiber officinale) to cleanse the kidneys
Remember to dilute these essential oils, using 5-7 drops per ounce of carrier lotion, for a full-body massage.
5. Use a homemade chest rub.
Mixing unscented lotion with essential oils creates a clarifying rub to cure chronic congestion. Try this easy recipe:
- 1 oz unscented lotion or carrier lotion (Oil distilled from the fatty parts of plants)
- 5 drops eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus)
- 5 drops myrrh (Commiphora myrrha)
- 3 drops thyme ct. thymol (Thymus vulgaris ct thymol)
- 2 drops black pepper (Piper nigrum)
Blend ingredients together, then massage gently onto your chest.
6. Try a neti pot.
This teapot-like vessel is a secret weapon against sneezing and stuffy noses, rinsing away bacteria and icky mucus from sinus pathways. Fill it with one cup distilled water, ½ a teaspoon of salt, a pinch of baking soda and a drop of rosemary oil — the stimulating aroma acts as a decongestant. Bending over the sink, gently flush each nostril.
7. Inhale essential oils while you sleep.
Using a diffuser is the best way to release essential oils into the air, letting you reap the mind-body benefits of the healing aromas while you drift off to sleep. Unless you need the humidity of a humidifier, we recommend a nebulizing diffuser, which saturates the air with a greater concentration of the oils more quickly to dissolve mucous and stimulate your immune system. Before you get in bed, set the timer on the nebulizer to run for 15 minutes. Our favorite essential oils for nighttime allergy relief are:
- Niaouli (Melaleuca quinquenervia ct 1,8 cineole)
- Tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia)
- Ravintsara (Cinnamomum camphor ct 1,8 cineole)