Allergies can be a real pain. The sneezing, itching, watery eyes, sore throat, swelling, stomachaches, and other symptoms that go with an allergic response can be uncomfortable at best. An allergy is caused by an immune system response to all kinds of things, from food and animals to chemicals, the temperature, and even things as natural as grass and plants. For some people, allergies can be life-threatening.
People who suffer from allergies are told to avoid the things that trigger a reaction—but pollen and other natural allergens can be hard to avoid. Our immune systems can also be affected by processed food and environmental toxins. Essential oils can help boost the immune system, reduce inflammation, and decrease the symptoms of an allergic response.
Allergens trick the immune system into thinking something is a threat to the body. The immune system overreacts and produces antibodies, which release histamine and other chemicals, causing an allergic response.
Some theorize that the rise in allergic reactions is due to toxins in the foods and our environment that cause inflammation in the body. If there is already disease or inflammation in the body, the immune system is already overworked and more likely to overreact. If inflammation is treated and the immune system is not over-stressed, allergic reactions decline or may disappear entirely.
Essential oils have a great ability to balance the immune system and reduce inflammation. They help the body detoxify, eliminate free radicals, and fight infections, bacteria, parasites, and microorganisms.
Here are some of the many essential oils that may help reduce allergic response:
Peppermint essential oil clears sinuses and offers relief to scratchy throats when inhaled. Peppermint acts as an expectorant, helping to discharge the phlegm and reduce the inflammation that triggers an allergic reaction.
Eucalyptus essential oil opens up the airways, lungs, and sinuses and improves circulation. It has anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects. It cleanses toxins and also acts as an expectorant.
Basil essential oilreduces the inflammatory response triggered by allergens and supports the adrenal glands, which helps balance hormones and distribute blood to the needed areas when the body is exposed to a threat. It also is effective at detoxing and decreases inflammation, fatigue, and pain. It kills the bacteria, yeasts, and molds that can cause an asthmatic response.
When diffused, tea tree essential oil kills airborne pathogens such as the molds, bacteria, and fungi that cause allergic reactions. It works as an antiseptic with anti-inflammatory properties.
Lemon essential oil supports the lymphatic and respiratory systems. It inhibits the growth of bacteria and strengthens the immune system by stimulating white blood cell production. It also can eliminate allergens in the air when diffused.
*Enjoy the benefits of these essential oils by inhaling, diffusing, or adding to a drink such as water, a smoothie, or tea (internal use not recommended for tea tree essential oil). Essential oils can also be applied topically to the feet, chest, back of neck, and temples. For sensitive skin, dilute with a good carrier oil such as sweet almond or coconut oil. When using essential oils internally, only consume 1–2 drops per day for 1 month at a time. Then take a 2-week break before resuming treatment.
A lot of parents are concerned about their children being inside too much. Screen time can easily dominate what used to be outdoor play time. Children need to stay active and engage with nature and their own imaginations for good mental and physical health. If you feel like you’re running out of ideas and money to keep your kids active, sometimes simple things can be the answer—with an unexpected twist. Kids love to play with bubbles. While it’s sunny, add some fun to your kids’ bubbles by mixing in essential oils! They can enjoy the benefits of aromatherapy while playing outside.
Try adding your favorite essential oils to pre-made bubbles or to unscented dish soap thinned with a little water. Reuse old bubble containers and bubble wands, or have fun experimenting and creating your own bubble-blowing devices with items like yarn and mason jar rings. If you’re feeling ambitious, follow the recipe below for some DIY bubble fun!
During the summer, grilling outside is a good way to enjoy the weather and keep the house cool. This recipe is a delicious blend of spices and essential oils that really enhance the flavor of the meat. Enjoy these kebabs with a tossed salad, watermelon, and something cold to drink!
Hair can be damaged by the weather, hard water, and your daily styling routine. If you color, blow dry, curl, or straighten your hair, there is a good chance that it is damaged. Many of the shampoos and conditioners available at the store may smell good and initially make your hair feel soft, but ultimately dry it out, depriving it of elasticity and shine. Dryness will cause hair to become brittle and dull and break off.
Essential oils can restore luster and strength to your hair. Also, essential oils are all-natural and don’t contain dangerous chemicals, making them better for the environment and your home than commercial hair products. In addition to essential oils, you can also use all-natural vegetable (carrier) oils to nourish your hair. Here are just a few oils that will improve the health of your hair and scalp:
In a 2 oz. bottle, mix several drops of the oil combination of your choice into 2 oz. (60 ml) of a carrier oil like jojoba. After you apply the oil mixture from the scalp to the ends, cover your head in a towel or shower cap. Wash out after 30 minutes, or for very damaged hair, leave it on overnight and shampoo in the morning.
When using oils to repair your hair, always wash them out completely. If left in too long, they can make hair limp or oily.
Sage essential oil is steam-distilled from the leaves and flowers of the Salvia officinalis plant in the mint family.
It is commonly used to to decrease the effects of diabetes and gum disease and for stimulation. Sage has many beneficial properties such as antibacterial, anticancerous, antiseptic, and diuretic.
Lakota Indians used it as a purifier and master healer, and the Romans referred to it as herba sacra, or “sacred herb.” Historically, sage has been used for menstruation issues, digestive problems, respiratory infections, and inflammation of the mouth and throat. The French use sage to treat asthma, poor digestion, bronchitis, night sweats, and other ailments.
It may also be useful in balancing hormones, treating liver problems, dandruff, skin conditions, fatigue, sprains, and strengthening the vital centers of the body.
When diffused, the aromatic qualities of sage help relieve depression, mental fatigue, and strain.
Lavender aromatherapy has long been known to decrease stress and to promote relaxation. Some research also suggests that lavender oil reduces anxiety and lowers pulse rates. Lemon has detoxifying and uplifting effects. Together in this recipe, lavender and lemon are a delicious way to relieve anxiety and headaches.
Skin needs vitamin D from the sun, but it also needs protection to prevent burns. Sunscreen from the store can be expensive and often has chemicals that are not healthy for your skin. Why not make your own all-natural sunscreen at home?
There are several essential oils that are great to nourish your skin and protect it from the harmful effects of the sun:
*Do not use citrus oils in a sunscreen or apply citrus oils whengoing out in the sun.
Good carrier oils to use in homemade sunscreen include the following:
You can create your own combinations to see which work best for you. If you like a sunscreen with a thicker texture, essential oils can be added to an all-natural lotion, or you can try this recipe:
Essential oils aren’t just for massages, spa treatments, and aromatherapy. Essential oils are useful in healing, and they also kill off bacteria, viruses, and fungi and fight infections. They can be a healthier method of fighting bacteria without the side effects that come with antibiotics while also avoiding the problem of antibiotic resistance.
Many essential oils have antibacterial properties that make them very versatile for household use and body care. The following oils, as well as several others, are said to be effective in fighting bacteria:
Some research suggests that essential oils are more powerful antibacterial agents than penicillin and ampicillin. They have been found to actively combat bacteria and germs without disrupting the healthy balance of bacteria in the gut that is caused by the overuse of prescription antibiotics. An imbalance of the body’s natural bacteria can lead to many side effects, including the following:
Fungal (yeast) infections
Severe allergic reaction that results in difficulty breathing or facial swelling (lips, tongue, throat, face)
Vaginal yeast infection with white discharge and severe itching
Mouth sores or white patches in your mouth or on your tongue
These issues can also lead to mood disorders, weight gain, and inflammation.
Here are some ways to make use of the antibacterial properties of essential oils:
Ingestion: Take a few drops of essential oils daily. This can be done by capsule, mixed in a drink, or added to recipes. There are many ways to use essential oils in cooking. Find delicious recipes here.
Fill your mason jar mug 1/3 of the way full of CranApple juice.
Fill mug to the top with ice. (Note: This step is not optional! It is necessary in order for the layering to work.)
Slowly pour the SoBe® directly on top of the ice until the mug is 2/3 full of liquid. Then (again, slowly) pour the Gatorade® in to finish filling the mug.
Note: In order for the layering effect to work, you have to start with the heaviest drink and end with the lightest. The drink with the highest sugar content will be the heaviest, and vice-versa. So if you decide to use drinks other than the ones listed, make sure to check their sugar content and modify the order you add them if necessary. If you decide to try sugar-free drinks, experiment with adding agave nectar for sweetness and weight so that the layering will work.