The 7 Best Essential Oils to Relieve Children’s Allergy Symptoms
Spring has sprung, and that means it’s time for runny noses, itchy, watery eyes, and sinus congestion. In adults, these allergy symptoms are frustrating at best, but in little ones they can make springtime downright miserable.
Essential oils are an easy complementary or adjunctive therapy to working with your functional medicine practitioner. They can help you get through allergy season smoothly so you and your family can enjoy spring without the burden of allergy symptoms.
How to Use Essential Oils for Allergies
Essential oils are derived from flowers, herbs, roots, and other plants, and are rich in many health supportive compounds, which you’ll learn more about in a moment. For kids, essential oils can be used safely in a few ways:
- Rubbing on the soles of the feet
- Diffusing into the air
- Breathing them directly from the bottle (known as aromatherapy)
- Applying to the spine
When applying essential oils to your little one’s skin (topically), it’s important to always dilute your essential oils with a gentle carrier oil such as jojoba, almond, or apricot oil. This reduces the chance for skin irritation and any harmful reactions.
For more ways to use essential oils, head over to the Pediatric Guide to Essential Oils. Your functional medicine doctor can discuss with you the basics of essential oils and if they’re appropriate for your child’s allergy symptoms.
Which Essential Oils are Safe for Children?
Even though essential oils can support health in many different ways, there are a few oils with safety recommendations to keep in mind regarding use in children. These are:
- Spike lavender (Lavender latifolia)
Peppermint contains menthol, which, while it creates a feeling of free and easy breathing in adults, can stimulate certain receptors in your child’s lungs when overused that slow breathing, sometimes to dangerously low levels (1).
Eucalyptus and rosemary essential oils are high in 1,8 cineole which can create breathing problems and nervous system interactions in children when overused.
Take care to not apply these oils directly to the face or neck of young children, and always speak with your integrative doctor if you have questions about the safety of essential oils for your child.
Don’t let allergy season catch you by surprise, make an appointment with a CentreSpringMD provider today. It’s simple and easy!
The 7 Best Essential Oils for Children During Allergy Season
Frankincense essential oil can support respiratory health, as well as free and easy breathing. The compound d-limonene has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties and offers immune-supportive functions (2).
Frankincense may not be your child’s favorite aroma, but this article will share with you some popular blends containing frankincense and other more aromantially pleasing scents to camouflage it from little noses.
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Seasonal allergy symptoms are caused by the release of histamine from the body’s mast cells, therefore, if you decrease histamine release, you can minimize the body’s response to allergens.
Sandalwood has been shown to decrease the release of histamine which may help improve allergy symptoms (3).
One study examined the effects of a blend of sandalwood and frankincense oils on perennial allergic rhinitis (or hay fever). Study participants reported symptom improvement concerning nasal congestion, runny and itchy noses, and sneezing (4).
Histamine intolerance or mast-cell activation syndrome are two potential issues that may arise concerning histamine. Integrative medicine can help you better understand your body’s relationship with histamine.
Orange essential oil is usually made from the rind of the sweet orange. It has a high percentage of a compound called d-limonene, which has been shown to support the immune system.
Sweet orange has also been shown to be antimicrobial, which may support your natural defenses during seasonal allergy season (5).
You may be familiar with chamomile as a gentle tonic for infant colic, but German chamomile (Matricaria recutita) is an essential oil with an array of useful phytonutrient compounds, such as chamazulene, which has an effect upon histamine release.
Several of its natural flavonoids have anti-inflammatory properties that can help with an irritated respiratory tract, as well as with the treatment of otitis media (ear infections) (7).
Lavender (L. angustifolia)
True lavender (Lavender angustifolia) essential oil contains a natural terpene called linalool, which can have anti-inflammatory actions that may help relieve congestion.
Lavender has also been shown to have anti-allergic properties in a mice model by reducing the release of histamine from mast cells (8). In another study, lavender reduced the secretion of mucous and allergic inflammation (9).
The best part about lavender essential oil is that your child will probably enjoy its pleasant, calming scent when applied topically or diffused through the air.
Citrus-scented essential oils are often used in aromatherapy to support focus and alertness, but lemon essential oil can also support free and easy breathing in your child’s sinuses.
There’s evidence that peppermint acts as an antihistamine and helps clear airways. It can also provide some pain relief if you’re suffering from something like a sinus headache.
In young children, avoid the use of peppermint near the face and neck, and always consult your integrative medicine doctor with questions about the safety of essential oils for your child.
Tea tree essential oil (Melaleuca alternifolia) contains beneficial terpenes, and other plant compounds which have shown to be gentle, yet effective at modulating inflammation (6).
Tea tree oil also demonstrates anti-microbial and anti-allergic activity.
Rosalina essential oil, made from lavender tea tree (Melaleuca ericifolia) has a softer scent, and is commonly used to support upper respiratory health in children.
Now that you know the best essential oils for your child’s allergy symptoms, let’s find out the most effective (and best-smelling!) ways to use them.
The Best Essential Oil Blends for Sinus Allergies
Lavender, lemon, and peppermint in equal parts, diluted with a carrier oil such as olive, sweet almond or jojoba.
Apply to the spine 2-3 times a day, or on the bottoms of the feet for kids under 3. If peppermint is too strong for your little one, try substituting with tea tree oil instead.
Frankincense, sandalwood, and sweet orange. Add 2 drops frankincense, 3 drops sandalwood, and 3 drops sweet orange to diffuser or carrier oil.
Essential Oils for Sore Throat
Orange, Clove, Cinnamon, Eucalyptus, and Rosemary. In a gargling solution, add 2 drops clove, 1 drop cinnamon, orange, eucalyptus, and rosemary essential oils. If your child is too young to gargle, dilute this oil blend and apply to the neck and jawline.
Natranix includes a blend of all-natural botanical ingredients in a great-tasting respiratory support formula that provides immune support during seasonal changes.
Essential Oils to Help Your Child Relax
Lavender. Add 5 drops of lavender essential oil to a diffuser in your child’s room. Or, add 1-2 drops to a lotion or carrier oil and apply to the spine or bottoms of the feet.
Always check with your integrative medicine doctor to verify the safety of essential oils for very young children.
Chamomile and citrus. Add 3 drops German chamomile and 4 drops citrus essential oil (lemon, orange, or a blend) to a carrier oil or diffuser. Apply 2-3 times per day, or before bedtime to help your child relax.
Functional Medicine for Allergy Symptoms
When springtime allergies make enjoying the day difficult for your child, we know this affects the health and wellbeing of your whole family. And while conventional and OTC remedies are still a beneficial choice for treating allergy symptoms, integrative medicine doctors can help you explore all complementary therapies, such as essential oils, that will help your child enjoy their springtime fun, without the discomfort of allergy symptoms.