How to use Chamomile Essential Oil for Hay Fever and Allergies

Last week I ran a natural skin care making workshop and the client was suffering from hay fever. It was obvious they would not enjoy the few hours we had together when suffering with congestion in the nose and sinuses, sneezing, eyes watering and itchiness. They did have anti histamines, but I suggested we make a chamomile essential oil blend first to apply around the eye and nose area to see if it would ease the symptoms.

Chamomile essential oil is very potent, so you just need a tiny amount, we used 1 drop of oil in 5ml of carrier oil (e.g. apricot oil) and applied around the eyes, across the nose and cheeks. We continued the workshop and the symptoms eased in a few minutes, leaving behind just a little sniffing for the rest of the morning and there was no need to use the anti histamines which often have other unwanted side effects (fatigue, dry mouth). It was a great confirmation to observe for my self how the chamomile blend eased and calmed the allergies swiftly and effectively.

Chamomile is great for calming allergic reactions, such as rashes, inflammation and hay fever, it also calms the nervous system which is useful because when suffering from the symptoms it can make your mood quite irritable, aggravated and upset.

Caution: You must blend the chamomile essential oil with a carrier oil before applying to your skin, you can use any of the Carrier Oils listed for sale in my shop or simply use a little olive oil from your kitchen cupboard.

Click here to order a Bespoke Chamomile Blend to help with hay fever and other allergies.

Click here to buy Chamomile Essential Oil.

You may also like to read: Lavender and Chamomile for Hay fever

TESTIMONIAL:

‘My hay fever symptoms have improved a lot thank you. I still get itchy eyes and a little blocked and sneezing but thats usually in the mornings or evening when I need to re-apply the blend.
Your bespoke blend is really beautiful to apply thank you. I think in the first few days as my symptoms were so strong I applied quite a lot and then felt a bit greasy as I’m not used to using oils (I’m also quite heavy handed sometimes with things). I am now applying less (3 drops to my face and neck, twice a day unless I need during the day) and it’s working really well thank you. It’s so nice not to be taking medication, which I always avoid if I can.
I have also had dry patches of skin across my cheek bones for months despite applying moisturiser daily and they are now beautifully soft! ‘ Michelle Foulser

Yarrow Essential Oil and How to make a Balm

Yarrow - painted by Elena Light
Yarrow – painted by Elena Light
Many people are unaware that yarrow, Achillea millifolium, a common plant growing abundantly in British country side, actually produces a very powerful, useful and rather beautiful essential oil.

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It’s an oil that stands out when you see its striking, ink blue colour, which is very unusual for an essential oil. The plant itself is made up of an umbrella of little white flowers, sometimes pink, but during the production process, a naturally occurring chemical component in the plant called chamazulene, turns bright blue.

yarrow flower and blue essential oil

Most essential oils come in tinted glass bottles as they are sensitive to light, so it’s rare to see such amazing colours as in the below photo.

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Bright blue yarrow essential oil.
Chamazulene is also the particular part that makes yarrow so useful as it is anti-inflammatory in effect and therefore useful for any condition where inflammation is present, for example:

Arthritis, allergies, bumps, bruises, breaks, gout, strains & sprains.

Even conditions such as period pain and back ache can be helped by using yarrow because of the presence of inflammation.

Yarrow & Lavender Balm Recipe – for pain and inflammation.

A balm is a very practical method of application for areas of inflammation. I would recommend applying this simple balm, made with yarrow and lavender essential oil, twice daily. Massage in very gentle anti-clockwise circles to the affected area, if the area is too tender to touch, or is an open wound then apply the balm as close to the site as is comfortable.

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Ingredients ~ to make 100 ml pot:

  • 10g beeswax
  • 10g shea butter
  • 80g or ml of base oil, e.g. Olive oil or Almond oil
  • yarrow essential oil – 40 drops (2ml)
  • lavender essential oil – 60 drops (3ml)
  • vitamin E (optional)

Caution ~ yarrow can contain a varying amount of camphor in it, which means it is advisable to avoid with epilepsy, in pregnancy, and could cause sensitisation in ragweed allergy sufferers.

See my blog on ‘How to make a Massage or Body Balm’ for full recipe instructions.

Blue chamomile essential oil, Matricaria recutita (also known as German chamomile) also appears blue in colour, it contains the same anti-inflammatory agent chamazulene and would be suitable for all of the above inflammatory conditions. Click here to purchase this essential oil.

See my blog on Lavender & Chamomile for Hay fever for more details.

How to use Essential Oils on Holiday

essential oils on holiday

Inspired by the sprinkling of sunshine over the UK this week, it’s time to share some summertime essential oils, essential for taking on holiday.

Essential oils come in very small bottles so they are a practical addition to your luggage, even if you’re only taking cabin bags. However, it’s still worth considering which are the most useful ones to take with you, so this blog is to help you weedle it down to just a few essentials that will come in most handy.

The main issues or symptoms that are commonly experienced when travelling are: around the journey itself; skin care; insects and first aid, so here I have listed some specific symptoms, some appropriate essential oils and simple, practical ways to use them.

Travel

essential oils on holiday

Travel sickness -cardamom, spearmint, chamomile (roman*)

Jetlag – peppermint, lavender

Anxiety (fear of flying) – neroli, lavender

How to use – make a blend in a ‘rolette’ bottle (see how below) to roll across your wrists and tummy, or sprinkle a couple of drops on a tissue to keep in a pocket or in your bag and gently breathe in as a preventative measure or at the time of feeling the symptoms.

Skin Care

After sun skin care – lavender, palmarosa, chamomile (roman*)

Sun burn – lavender, chamomile (german/blue*), peppermint

How to use – blend in a base of aloe vera gel or add to your aftersun lotion, see my previous blog for Blending every day products – how many drops should I use?

Insects

bee flower yellow

Insect repellent – lemongrass, citronella, geranium, lavender or tea tree -use one or a combination of those you like the most.

How to use – blend in a base of aloe vera gel, add to your aftersun lotion, (see my previous blog for How many drops should I use?) or make a blend in a rolette bottle (see how below). Some of these essential oils combined would double as a perfume – I like geranium, lavender & lemongrass.

Insect bites – chamomile (german/blue*), lavender

How to use – apply directly to the affected area or as a blend in a ‘rolette’ bottle (see how below).

First Aid

Lavender

white lavender

If you only take one essential oil on holiday make it lavender, it’s the most useful essential oil for most minor first aid situations.

It’s antiseptic, anti microbial & cleansing so ideal for first aid, it is particularly effective on burns, so great for skin care and after sun, it’s ‘insecticidal’ so will deter insects and is very relaxing and calming so it helps with easing travel sickness and tension.

It’s also nice to sprinkle a little in hotel rooms if they don’t smell lovely, especially on the pillow.

For more details on how to use lavender essential oil, see my previous blog on ‘Lavender, Essential First Aid’ .

Rolette Bottles

Here’s how to prepare a rolette bottle:

Using a ‘rolette’ bottle (as pictured) is very practical as you can keep it in a pocket or handbag and it is easy to use. It comprises of a small glass bottle (10 or 15ml), a roller ball top (that releases a little oil across the skin when you pass it over), and a cap.

rolette bottle

Instructions

Fill the bottle with a base oil eg. olive oil, then drop appropriate essential oils directly into the bottle, if you have a 10ml bottle, then you will need between 2 and 10 drops of essential oil, see my previous blog for more details on How many drops should I use? Fix the roller ball cap and lid and give it a shake to disperse the oils evenly.  Make a label for the bottle so you don’t forget what it contains.

Holiday tip: Rather than take bottles of essential oils you could prepare the blends that you are likely to need in rolette bottles and take these with you instead.

chamomile & blends

* Chamomile roman or blue/german – There are two types of chamomile essential oil: roman chamomile is more gentle, and german/blue chamomile, which is deep blue in colour, is more powerfully anti-inflammatory in action. I have recommended the german/blue chamomile for sunburn and insect bites, but the roman chamomile is also suitable in each instance.

Travel Tips: here’s a blog to help you in general with how to pack your suitcase: ‘Travel Suitcase – What to Pack?

A List of the most popular Essential Oils, their Uses and Cautions.

A list of the most popular Essential Oils, their Uses & Cautions (in alphabetical order).

To help you choose which essential oils to use in what ever you’re making, be it bath blend or room scent, here is a list you can refer to with some of their most useful properties and any cautions you need to be aware of.

I will be constantly updating this list, so if there are any essential oils that do not appear yet or that you would like more details on, then please contact me, or comment on the post and I can add to the list.

Basil (sweet basil) ~ Supports digestive problems, another great oil for a tummy balm blend.

Caution ~ Avoid in pregnancy (due to varied methyl chavicol/estragole content). Maximum 2% blend strength. 

Basil essential oil

Black pepper ~ Similar to eucalyptus in effect – powerfully clearing, specifically great for respiratory system, especially lungs. Also great for muscle aches & pains but black pepper is much more warming and gentle than eucalyptus. A lovely oil to use in the evening in a bath blend, or if you feel you are run down or ‘coming down’ with something.

Caution ~ possible irritant to some in high dose.

Cardamom ~ Gently soothing tummy aches and nausea, supports appetite and is refreshing and comforting. A great oil for children, for travel sickness or for morning sickness.

Chamomile (german) ~ Very anti-inflammatory, so perfect for any condition with inflammation from bumps and bruises to arthritis and gout. It’s also good for skin inflammation especially bites, but Roman Chamomile ay be more suitable if it’s for delicate sore skin, as it’s more gentle.

Caution ~ Sensitisation possible, avoid with ragweed allergy.

Chamomile

Chamomile (roman) ~ Gentle, soothing and calming, great for very delicate skin, and skin conditions. Relieves itching, and allergies.  See my blog on Chamomile for Skin Conditons  for more details. A great oil for children.

Caution ~ Potential sensitivity to those with ragweed allergy.

Clove ~ Very powerful pain reliever, especially where there is nerve pain. Useful for toothaches and for warming and releasing aches and pains.

Caution ~ Maximum blend strength 1%. Sensitisation possible. Caution with hyper sensitive, diseased or damaged skin. Not suitable for children under 2 years.

Eucalyptus (globulus) ~ Powerfully clearing, specifically great for respiratory system, especially lungs. Also great for muscle aches & pains.

Eucalyptus radiata ~ this species of eucalyptus is more gentle than the globulus, so I would use it with children, elderly, or if someone feels the globulus is too fierce.

Frankincense ~ A fantastic skin oil, very good for dry and mature types. Also good for calming and focusing on breathing so very useful in a burner to scent the room and to help calm anxiety.

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Geranium ~ Very sweet and feminine, balances the endocrine system, a great oil to use to support females cycles and any hormone related issues, including irregular periods and menopause. A very lovely, sweet and fresh oil for young women.

geranium essential oil

Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) ~ Powerfully cleansing and clearing. Helps clear stress and tension. Great for supporting sleep. Very anti-microbial and great natural antiseptic. See my blog on Lavender Essential First Aid  for more details.

Caution ~ There are no cautions with Lavandula angustifolia, it is a very user friendly oil, but just ensure you buy a pure, good quality oil, especially if you intend to use it neat on your skin -you don’t want to be using a synthetic perfume quality oil on a spot or graze.

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Lemon ~ Cleansing and detoxifying, ideal for using in a face cleansing balm (with lavender). Fantastic oil to use in a burner to cleanse and brighten the atmosphere especially when someone is sick.

Caution ~ Phototoxic, meaning it reacts with sunlight (and sun beds), so avoid use on skin if exposed to sunshine. Citrus oils have a shorter shelf life, meaning they react with oxygen much quicker and can cause sensitisation and irritation.

Lemon essential oil

Mandarin ~ Very gentle to the skin, soothing and calming, a lovely one to add to an evening blend or for use in a blend for stretch marks. A great oil for children.

Myrrh ~ Deeply healing skin oil, especially for festering, difficult to heal wounds.  Great for connecting to and supporting breathing very gently. See my blog on Myrrh Essential Oil for more details and Gargling with Myrrh for oral problems.

Caution ~ Avoid in pregnancy, although can be useful in 3rd trimester to prepare for birth -seek professional advise here though.

Myrrh

Neroli (orange blossom) ~ Apart from smelling completely beautiful and delicate, it is very soothing and calming to the nervous system, and so has an amazing effect on all that the nervous system controls, so this would include digestion, muscle tension & emotions. It is a great oil for melting stress, and anxiety.

Peppermint ~ Great for muscle aches and pains, sometimes has a tingling sensation, great for refreshing feet. Supports digestion, would make a great tummy or foot balm.

Caution ~ Do not use if cardiac fibrillation. Maximum blend strength 3%. Avoid use with babies.

Rose (Rose otto – Rosa damascena or Rose absolute – Rosa centifolia)~ Deeply nurturing, great for those self-loving moments. Very supportive for women and men. A gorgeous oil to use in beauty and skin care, particularly for mature and dry skin.

Leonardo da vinci flower study

Thyme (Mild – Thyme linalool)~ Powerfully anti-microbial, and anti-fungal, great for coughs, especially deep chesty ones. A fantastic oil to include in a blend for athletes foot.

Caution ~ Use this mild version of thyme. Avoid use on hyper sensitive or damaged skin. Do not use with children under 2 years. Maximum blend strength 2%.

herbs

Yarrow ~ this unusual bright ink blue oil is highly anti-inflammatory and is great for any conditions where inflammation is present e.g. gout, arthritis, allergies, pain, breaks, strains. See my blog on Yarrow Essential Oil for more information.

Caution ~ yarrow can contain a varying amount of camphor in it, which means it is advisable to avoid with epilepsy, in pregnancy, and could cause sensitisation in ragweed allergy sufferers.

yarrow essential oils

Note: Always ensure you buy good quality essential oils from a trustworthy source. I will be launching my own range of essential oils very soon, in the meantime you can contact me to purchase: laura@essentialoilsandyou.co.uk

How to use Lavender and Chamomile Essential Oils for Hay fever

white lavender
I had a lovely email from a friend last week who was inspired by a previous blog (‘Lavender, Essential First Aid) to use lavender essential oil when suffering symptoms of hay fever.  I asked if I could post it here since it was so timely for me, as I’m sure it will be for others, so thank you Catherine Jones for sharing your experience.
‘I felt to share how lavender oil is helping me right now, as it has taken me by surprise.  I have hay fever, and so have very itchy eyes, an itchy & runny nose, and my face is generally congested and reactive all over. I don’t have any drugs yet, and last night I felt to try dabbing some cool wet cotton wool on my eyes to calm them down. I added a drop or so of lavender oil, and it made such a difference. I used it a few hours ago, pretty much all over my face, but paying attention to the area around my eyes, and across my cheeks, and down the gall bladder lines from nose to chin. It was amazing. I often use lavender in things, but it had never occurred to me that it might ease an allergy. Right now I am not sneezing, nor itching, and I am breathing freely. ‘
Chamomile
Her message inspired me, as I was experiencing similar symptoms at the time, and I have since tried the same technique using roman chamomile essential oil, as it is specifically good for allergies and particulary soothing and calming.  For more details on chamomile essential oil see ‘Soothing Chamomile for Skin Conditions’.

How to Use Chamomile Essential Oil for Soothing Skin Conditions

Chamomile

I had a request to write a blog on skin conditions from a friend recently, and when I began to consider this, I immediately thought of chamomile, so I decided to focus this particular post on using chamomile essential oil to treat a variety of skin conditions, although there are many other oils that are incredibly useful, I will bring focus to them another time.  There are two main types of chamomile essential oil one is called Roman chamomile (Anthemis nobilis) which is the oil I would recommend here for use with skin conditions, it has a fresh, smooth, appley, summery scent.  The other type is known as German or Blue chamomile (Matricaria recutita) which is more intense, inky blue in colour and incredibly anti-inflammatory.

Skin conditions can be unpleasant, annoying and stressful, I experienced eczema as a child and again more recently as an adult, so I have a strong relationship with the issues surrounding this condition.  Many other conditions that affect the skin, for example psoriasis, insect bites, rashes such as those caused by measles and chicken pox, will show the same or similar symptoms, and it is the symptoms that chamomile is particularly appropriate for alleviating.  Chamomile is very soothing and calming on a physical level and really helps with symptoms like itching, inflammation, pain, weeping, redness, irritation.  Chamomile also soothes and calms your disposition. It has a strong anti-inflammatory action and anti-allergic action, so it is ideal for things like bites, spots and rashes. The symptoms themselves in turn cause a feeling of stress and discomfort and general irritation, so chamomile is perfect to help calm and soothe these internal feelings as well as the outside physical ailments.  Chamomile is also very gentle, and does not have any contraindications, so this makes it appropriate for use on delicate skin, that may be damaged or sensitive, and for young children.

One very annoying symptom of skin conditions is the itching sensation, and of course the worst thing to do is to scratch, yet scratching seems to be the only thing to bring relief.  Alas, the after effects usually mean your skin is left in a much worse state.  I remember being able to resist the urge to scratch more easily during the day,  but in the night, I wouldn’t really be conscious enough to have control, and I would scratch until I drew blood.  One of my best pieces of advice here is to cut your finger nails down to the absolute minimum which will help minimise damage.  I did consider scratch mitts, but the lack of finger nails really made a difference.

Many skin conditions can leave the skin very dry, so it is important to keep the skin hydrated, hydrated skin will bode better under a scratch attack than dry.  Drink plenty of water to keep the skin hydrated from the inside out.

Treatment & Application: I would recommend applying chamomile essential oil diluted in either a simple cream, lotion or in a plain aloe vera gel, as they are easy to apply, address the hydration issue, and can feel soothing and cooling in themselves when massaged into the affected area.  See my recent blog on ‘Blending Every Day Products with Essential Oils’ for details on mixing and the appropriate number of drops to use when blending yourself, my recipe for making your own natural cream, or see some recommendations for products below.  Make sure you use a base that is very natural and avoid harsh products with nasty chemicals, as they can sting, or cause the skin to react and make it worse.  A cream can be applied to large areas of damaged or affected skin, or just dabbed onto spots or bites.  I would recommend using this for acne when it is very sore, red and inflamed, although treating first with lavender or tea tree would be more suitable because of their powerful anti microbial and cleansing effects, chamomile would then be ideal to apply afterwards for it’s more soothing gentle action.

An important point to note is that a lot of skin conditions that are not caused by an obvious outside influence (a wasp sting, nettles or allergies) are caused by stress.  Stress is a word that can literally mean anything, so it needs to be looked at on a personal level, some might experience stress in traffic on their journey to work, or when trying to get the lid off a jar that is really stiff; some may be dealing with a life crisis for example the death of someone close or a relationship breakdown.  What ever the situation is, the body can still be reacting in the same way, and often it can be several months after the upheaval that the skin condition arises.  It may be worth keep a diary so you can become more aware of your symptoms, and notice what has an effect on them.  Although there may be many things that effect it such as foods, or products that your skin comes into contact with, there is usually an emotional issue which is the root cause.

It wasn’t until I was having a conversation with a friend that I made the emotional connection.  I was struggling to manage eczema at the time and she asked me a question about an uncomfortable subject for me at the time -relating to a difficult relationship.  Whilst I was speaking, she said to me “Do you realise that you started scratching when I asked you about…..”   It was a real ‘ah ha’ moment, and has now become a great marker for me, as whenever I begin to scratch my skin, I know that I must be feeling stressed about something, and having that awareness helps me to question what is going on.  When I notice this, I know I need to be more gentle with myself, and look at what is happening in my life to make me feel stressed or overwhelmed.  I also like to make time to massage a little chamomile cream into the area on my body that is itching.  At the moment I often get an itch and a little patch of eczema on various parts of my hands, so I have a bottle of chamomile cream by my bed, and massage it into my hands at night, which helps calm and prepare me for sleep too.

Whilst putting this post together, I have been chatting to a few people about skin conditions, and a conversation arose where we discussed how the sea and sun often helped to clear up eczema and psoriasis, but of course the sea and sun also usually mean holidays, and inevitably less stress!

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If you are not confident blending your own essential oils into a base of cream or aloe vera gel, or it isn’t convenient, then you can contact me to order a bespoke cream: laura@essesntialoilsandyou.co.uk