Lavender essential oil
Lavender has remarkable healing properties, but it may be best known for helping you get your zen on. While stress may not cause your stuffy head, runny nose, and watery eyes, it certainly doesn’t make them any better. In fact, stress pretty much makes everything—including your allergies—worse. “Lavender is also a cooling oil with anti-inflammatory properties,” explains Regina Touhey Serkin, MLic Ac, Dipl. Herbology, an herbalist in Lenox, MA. Japanese researcher found that a drop of lavender oil can out the brakes on allergic airway inflammation and decrease mucus production, suggesting a potential role as an allergic asthma treatment.
Essential Oil Expert Rx: Place a drop of lavender oil in a diffuser for total immersion in this healing scent. Ellia offers a full line of decorative diffusers that fit with any style or taste along with a host of oils including lavender to choose from.
Eucalyptus essential oil
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This is a go-to essential oil for many allergy sufferers, one of eucalyptus oil’s many useful tricks. “This menthol oil—which is the same as found in Vicks Vapo Rubs and other commercial rubs—opens up the nasal passages quickly and deftly,” says Neeta Ogden, MD, an allergist in private practice in Englewood, New Jersey, a member of the Medical-Scientific Council of the Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America, and an American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology spokesperson. “Eucalyptus oil will help break up mucus and phlegm,” Serkin adds.
Essential Oil Expert Rx: Place one drop in a neti pot (a small ceramic teapot) with distilled water, tilt your head over the sink at a 45-degree angle, place the spout into your top nostril, and gently pour the solution into your nostril,” she says. You can also make your own eucalyptus oil steam inhaler. Here’s how: “Boil water on the stove and place a drop of eucalyptus oil in it, and breathe in the steam.”
This is oil that can be placed on the skin, she says. Place a drop on your chest to help clear mucus there. But if you are unsure and tend to have strong reactions to creams, put a drop of the eucalyptus oil in some Aquaphor lotion to eliminate this risk and find relief from chest congestion, Ogden adds. Think of the Aquaphor as a carrier oil. Some strong essential oils can be mixed with carrier oils (a base oil or vegetable oil) to dilute their strength before applying them to the skin.