for Hayfever and Allergies

by Judy Komatsu and Jeanne Rose

                        An allergy is a hypersensitivity to a substance called an allergen.  Some people are more prone to allergies than others.  Common allergens are foods, chemicals, antibiotics, dusts, molds, microbes.  Generally speaking allergens can be divided into 3 general groups: food, chemicals and those that are inhaled.

            An allergic reaction occurs because of an antibody known as IgE, immunoglobulin E.  Our normal, adaptive immune response relies on the ability of our immune system to recognize a foreign substance and mobilize our bodies defenses against the invader.  When a foreign substance is identified, cells, chemicals and antibodies rush to the area.  Chemicals called histamines are carried in the blood stream in mast cells.  Mast cells are like velcro and grasp onto allergenic histamines.  Mast cells have an outer membrane that can bind with IgE.  Once the mast cell has bound with 2 IgE molecules it is activated and releases its histamine along with some other chemical mediators.  These act on the skin and bronchioles, and are responsible for the immediate manifestations of hypersensitivity after the exposure to a trigger - itchy eyes, runny nose, difficulty breathing, hives, etc. 

            IgE is an antibody.  Our body will produce antibodies to substances that it is exposed to, prolonged exposure to substances may trigger the body to produce antibodies to that substance.  It is not known why some the same substance may cause an immune reaction on one individual and not another.  It may be due to an overall weakness of the immune system, it may be due to prolonged exposure to the substance.

            Hay fever is a respiratory allergy which challenges both its victims and health care providers.  Most sufferers of hayfever have other allergies and are reactive to many antigens, including house dust, animal dander, mold spores, feathers, powders, chemicals like insecticides and cleaners, and pollens, especially grasses.

            Symptoms of hayfever include, irritation of the mucous membranes of the eyes and nasal passages resulting in: itchy, watery eyes, runny nose, swelling of nasal mucosa and an excessive secretion of mucus, nasal congestion, with a watery discharge and sneezing and headaches.  Hayfever suffers may develop sinusitis if the inflamed mucosa becomes infected.  The use of a NETI pot to rinse the sinus is very effective.

            Traditional allopathic treatment of allergies and hayfever consists of antihistamines and other drugs to provide temporary relief of symptoms.  Desensitization to allergens though regular inoculation or exposure to the trigger has been used to treat allergies. These methods are by no means a cure and over the long term, these may weaken the body.  There is evidence to suggest that chronic use of these may cause reduced resistance to infection, skin problems, fluid and electrolyte imbalances, drowsiness, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

The Holistic Approach to Treatment

            A more holistic approach involves avoidance or reducing exposure to the various triggers, rebuilding the mucosa and reducing the inflammatory response, strengthening the immune system’s susceptibility to allergic reactions and symptomatic treatment.  This may involve reducing the levels of toxins in the body, home and work environment, including reducing exposure to chemicals, dust, spores and other triggers.  Sufferers may consider the use of home air filters and purifiers to clean toxins and allergens from the air they breathe.  One should also consider the use of anti- microbial bedding.  Bedding materials are prime sources of allergens.  Molds and mildews can embed themselves in the fibers of traditional pillows and mattresses causing continual exposure.  Animal dander and hairs may also become embedded in these materials.  Also, consider the fact that feathers and many fabric fixatives are allergic triggers for many individuals. 

            Dietary modifications are indicated for allergy and hayfever sufferers.  Reducing the intake of mucous-producing foods, such as dairy, wheat or gluten.  Dairy products may stimulate the production of catarrh, a thick mucus secretion in the nose, lungs, and gut.  Wheat, specifically gluten, also stimulates the production of mucus in many people, it is also an allergen for many individuals.  Sufferers may need to follow a low-acid diet.   Good nutrition can support the immune system.  Herbs such as Garlic, Khella (Ammi visnaga), Chaparral and Eyebright can all be useful.  Vitamins such as Vitamin C may help.  Nutrients such as bee pollen can also be added. 

            Khella, Ammi visnaga, is an ancient medicinal plant native to the Mediterranean.  It has been used in the Arabic materia medica to treat asthma and heart problems since the time of the Pharaohs.  It seems to act in a similar way to calcium-blocking agents, which has an over-all vaso- and broncho-dilatory effect.  Ammi visnaga, when inhaled as the medicine as cromolyn sodium, masks the function of the mast cells, which reduces the hyperactive response to allergens.  Over a period of time asthma-like symptoms decrease.  When used as an eye or nose spray (Nasocrom), the itchy eyes and runny nose reactions are also reduced.

            Feverfew may also have some anti-allergenic properties, some research has shown it to inhibit the release of histamine from mast cells.  This can be taken as a tea on a daily basis or taken in capsule form.

            A good diet may also help counteract the depression, fatigue and constipation many hayfever suffers have.  In Chinese medicine the Lungs and Large Intestine are energetically related, they are yin and yang complements to one another, so an imbalance in one may cause problems in another. 

            Developing better breathing habits to keep the body well oxygenated.  Deep, belly breathing provides better oxygenation, more release of carbon dioxide.  It is also relaxing.  For allergies, it is recommended to treat the liver with Milk Thistle herb  and promote elimination with a depurative such as Senna pod.


            Aromatherapy should consider essential oils with expectorant, anti-inflammatory, astringent, anti-microbial, immune stimulating or enhancing, tonic and restorative properties.  Essential oils are used by massage, 10 drops to 1 ounce of carrier oil, or in an inhalation, 1 drop in 1 cup of boiling water and inhaled.

            Useful EOs for allergies are German and Roman chamomile, Ammi visnaga, Blue Tansy,  Spike Lavender and Yarrow.  These can be inhaled via steam, or in a hankie.

            Useful EOs for hayfever are Cajeput, German chamomile, Eucalyptus, Lavender, Myrtle, Peppermint, Pine, Rosemary, Thyme, Tea tree.  German chamomile is especially useful if allergies are present.

            German chamomile (Matricaria recutita) is well known for its anti-inflammatory effect.  It contains both lipophilic (fat-loving) and hydrophilic (water-loving) components.  The flavonoids are involved in the suppression of histamine release.  ∂-bisabolol promotes granulation and tissue regeneration.  It should be used by application, with massage or in body care products.


An Essential Oil Blend for Hayfever:

            Tea Tree:  Contains terpenes, alcohols, 1,8 cineol.  Purifies respiratory system, strengthens breathing, relieves sinus infections, drains lymph, stimulates elimination through the bladder, intestines, throat and lungs, increases and liquefies mucus production, as an expectorant.

            Sandalwood:  Contains santolol.  Cleanses lymphatic system, Useful for respiratory conditions, stimulates elimination through the lungs and bladder.

            Rosemary 1,8 cineol:  Contains 1,8 cineol, alcohols, esters, ketones.  Stimulates mucus secretion, liquefies bronchial secretions, increases bile secretion, stimulates liver.  Indicated for pulmonary congestion and fatigue.

            When this combination is mixed together 3 drops of each in 1 ounce carrier oil that can be used as a massage or 1 drop of each in a bowl of boiling water can be inhaled for relief of symptoms.


Combined Effect of Aromatic Components

            Essential oils are composed of several chemical components including: Esters: are antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory and have a calming effect on the respiratory system; 1,8 Cineol, an oxide  is an expectorant; Terpenes; drain and dry mucus; Alcohols: energize, anti-infectious; Ketones: are mucolytic.

            A blend of oils which contains these components works mainly on the symptoms; it calms the respiratory system, reduces the irritation in the mucosa and dries some of the discharge.

            For an acute episode consider the addition of :

Thyme CT thymol which contains phenols. Phenols   are indicated for acute symptoms, but are too strong for long term use.

            For long term use, consider the addition of:

Thyme CT linaloöl which contains a high concentration of alcohols. It is gentle and suitable for use in children and the elderly, or for long term use.

            Thyme CT thuyanol contains terpenes and these are drying for warming blends and stimulating for individuals with cool temperaments.

            Many essential oil blends are available for use either by massage or inhalation, others are available for oral use. Here are a few.

Wheezing/Allergy- 1997 • Mix together the following:
20 drops - Red Mandarin
20 drops - Rosemary verbenon
10 drops Tarragon
10 drops Ammi visnaga,
10 drops Thyme borneol
Hyssop decumbens
Mix eo into a synergy.
Use 3 drops/Ginkgo biloba capsule
 3 times per day but not more than 3 days.

Chronic Respiratory Insufficiency Mix together the following:
Red Mandarin 15%,
Ammi Visnaga 10%,
Blue Tansy 15%,
Rosemary verbenon 15%,
Cypress CT pinene 20%,
Thyme CT thymol 10%,
Savory  CT carvacrol 15%
3 drops/Ginkgo capsule
3X3 = total 9 caps for 3 days

Bad Breathing with Sinus  Eye ache on left side- 2002

Mix together the following:
15 drops Blue Tansy
15 drops Ammi Visnaga
15 drops R. pyramidalis
15 drops E. smithii
10 drops Tarragon
10 drops Thyme serpyllum
3 d/capsule•2X/day•no more than 3 days

Chronic Bronchitis

Mix together the following:
1 d Cinnamon Bark
3 d Savory montana
1 d Inula
1 d Rosmarinus CT verbenon
Add 6 d to Ginkgo capsule
and take with 6 d Olive Oil
4X/day B4 meals• 10 days  

These exotic oils are available from several sources, including
Prima Fleur at 415/455-0957 and CH Imports at 336-282-9734.

All rights reserved 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006. No part of this article may
be used without prior permission from Jeanne Rose.
© Authors Copyright Jeanne Rose,

Please Check back often as we add more articles to the Jeanne Rose Website!
Jeanne Rose, San Francisco, CA,
© 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 Jeanne Rose, All Rights Reserved. Web Design by PS Design ~ Updated 10/14/06