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Natural remedies for hay fever


Did you know that pure essential oils can calm and soothe allergic responses and ease the symptoms associated with hay fever?

Natural allergy treatments are proving just as beneficial, and in many cases even more so, than standard medication for related symptoms of hay fever. The antiseptic properties of essential oils are well documented and combined with their decongestive and analgesic action on the central nervous system, can offer effective relief during the hay fever season.

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What is hay fever?

Hay fever is a common condition mostly experienced throughout spring and summer. The symptoms are similar to those of a cold and triggered by allergic sensitivities to pollens from grasses, weeds, seeds and flowers. Each year it strikes and the misery that follows the release of histamine affects 1 in 5 Australians and can last for months. It starts with the all too familiar itch at the back of the throat, and before too long it hits full force manifesting as congestion, a runny nose, itchy eyes and throat, sinus pressure, constant sneezing and a foggy throbbing headache. We have all experienced some, if not all of such exhausting symptoms that wear the body down during this dreaded season. Otherwise known as, seasonal allergic rhinitis, the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA), defines hay fever as “an over-reaction of the immune system to airborne allergens, caused by the body’s immune response to inhaled pollen, resulting in chronic inflammation of the eyes and nasal passages.”

Over the counter medicines

There are a wide range of over the counter medicines available today, including nasal sprays and oral antihistamines which are recommended as the first-line therapy for mild intermittent hayfever. Spending for such products has doubled in recent years and reached a staggering annual $AU 200 million. Yet it is becoming all too clear that topical and systemic decongestants often just mask the symptoms and can at times cause “rebound congestion,” Borish (2003) which then only makes us feel worse. This fact, along with the surge of interest in alternative medicine has seen a shift to using pure essential oils as a complementary solution.
What makes essential oils so effective in treating hay fever?

Sourced from plants, pure essential oils provide the perfect natural solution for relief of hay fever symptoms. Research confirms that they are endowed with so many amazing medicinal properties. Their decongestant action for instance, breaks down mucous and relieves the build up of mild upper respiratory congestion. In addition to acting as natural antiseptics, certain oils are renowned for their analgesic effect and ability to reduce pain and inflammation which are the main culprits when it comes to the discomfort experienced during the hay fever season. Studies in clinical immunology confirm that any “effective hay fever therapy should be directed at underlying inflammation,” Borish (2003). 

Top Picks for Hay Fever

The following oils are all indicated for hay fever. They are my top picks and include, though are not limited to: lemon, eucalyptus, peppermint, tea tree, Australian sandalwood, Roman chamomile, German chamomile, helichrysum and lavender. These oils used on their own can provide relief, yet once blended are even more potent. Their many healing properties combine to not only offer an effective treatment but also their fresh scent makes them a pleasure to use.

And, unlike synthetic sprays, which can often exacerbate the condition, essential oils help build up immunity and long term resistance. With regular use, they can even prevent subsequent complications such as eczema, fatigue and persistent headaches argues, Lawless (1992). Remember however, to always seek medical advice immediately if you experience shortness of breath or chest constriction.

Most effective essential oils for hay fever relief:

German chamomile: Matricaria recutita, is my top pick for hay fever. The azulene content (which gives the oil its blue colour) reduces inflammation and provides relief from itching.

Helichrysum: Helichrysum italicum, Lavender: Lavandula angustifolia and Roman chamomile: Anthemis nobilis: have a marked effect on destroying rhinitis-related bacteria. The high linalool and linalyl acetate compounds in these oils are excellent relaxants and regulators of the airways.  

Peppermint: Mentha X piperita, on the other hand is high in menthol content hence cooling. It reduces the urge to sneeze. Its antispasmodic action relieves blocked nose and manages systemic inflammation, Borish (2003).

Cypress: Cupressus sempervirens, and Lemon: Citrus limon: have a remarkable astringent and drying action on the bronchial tract.

Eucalyptus: Eucalyptus globulous, and Australian sandalwood: Santalum spicatum are renowned decongestant with antimicrobial effect. They clear mucous and debris from the airways as well as fight infection.

Here are some natural recipes using essential oils

Ease general hay fever symptoms: diffuse 2 drops each of the soothing properties of helichrysum, lavender, lemon and German chamomile.

Treat infection: diffuse 2 drops each of eucalyptus, lemon, lavender and tea tree to fight rhinitis-related bacteria in the air.

Manage secretions: diffuse 2 drops each of lemon, cypess, peppermint and Australian sandalwood to help dry up runny nose.

Energy boost: diffuse 2 drops each of lemon, peppermint and eucalyptus when feeling run down and exhausted and to breathe easier.

Reduce histamine response: Combine 2 drops each in 20ml of sweet almond carrier oil of lemon, lavender, Australian sandalwood and German chamomile and massage over chest and back to reduce histamine-induced reactions.

Quick relief: For quick effective relief add 1 drop each of lavender, Australian sandalwood and Roman chamomile to 1 tsp of sweet almond and add to a bowl of steamy water for a steam inhalation. Drape a towel over your head and breathe in the rising particles for 5 minutes, or as required. OR simply Add a few drops of peppermint and German chamomile onto a folded TISSUE and inhale at regular intervals for immediate relief.


Given hay fever affects people in so many different ways, it’s important to seek medical advice if symptoms persist. If you are prone to asthma attacks do not self-medicate, seek professional advice. Do not ingest. Do not use neat. Avoid use on children without the advice of a registered aromatherapist.

Ready to use products

FYI: There are so many ready to use natural remedies available on the market today. Reputable aromatherapy companies are preparing therapeutic solutions for major health concerns for ease of use. A few drops of ie. Hay fever, will help dry-up those dreaded symptoms. This powerful medicinal remedy is formulated with 100% pure essential oils of lemon, peppermint, lavender and cypress for the relief of symptoms associated with hay fever, seasonal allergies, mild upper respiratory congestion, nasal secretions, headaches and catarrh. Apart from offering effective relief, this blend is also uplifting and refreshing. You will love this totally natural product, especially if it is your first experience of aromatherapy and In Essence pure essential oils.

Pat Princi-Jones April 2018
Aromatherapy advocate, expert and educator @ Heritage Brands Pty Ltd

Associate member of IAAMA, International Aromatherapy & Aromatic Medicine Association, 2016; Bachelor of Arts and Dip. Education (English/History major) UNSW, Sydney, Australia; Aromatherapy 1, Australian College of Natural Medicine; Cert 1V in Training and Assessment, TAE40110, HBA Learning Centre, Victoria; 2014 

Sadlon and Lamson Alternative Medicine Review, 15, 33-47
Lawless J. (1992) The encyclopedia of essential oils. Elements books, Shaftesbury.
Holmes, P (2016) Aromatica, a clinical guide to essential oil therapeutics. Singing Dragon London
The Australian Society of Immunology and Allergy ASCIA 2015
Borish (2003) Journal of clinical immunology, 112, 1021-1030
Gelfang (2004) Journal of allergy and clinical immunology, 114, 135-138
Tissard and Young (2014) Essential Oil Safety pp. 99-110