The Best Essential Oils for Allergies + How to Use Them


Spring is a welcome change for many of us, but it’s also the beginning of allergy season. For around 50 million people in the United States, spring means airborne pollen and other seasonal allergies. It can be hard to find natural allergy treatment without nasty side effects.

As a functional medicine practitioner, it is my job to help people find all-natural relief for ongoing symptoms, and one of my favorites has to be essential oils. These plant compounds offer a wide variety of benefits with almost no side effects — plus, they smell amazing!

Let’s take a look at how exactly essential oils can help with allergies and why you should consider adding them to your home remedy cabinet.

Looking to reset your immune system health? Check out my Autoimmune Health Reset training.

How Do Essential Oils Help With Allergies?

Essential oils help with allergies in various ways, depending on which oil you’re using. For example, lavender oil is anti-inflammatory, but chamomile is antihistamine. Eucalyptus and lemon oil both help your breathing but for different reasons.

Essential oils are chemical compounds that have been extracted from specific plants and put into a concentrated liquid form. In my clinic, I have seen hundreds of success stories with essential oils.

The research concerning essential oils for allergies keeps growing, but there is already plenty of evidence showing them to be a great tool for helping relieve seasonal allergies. (1)

In fact, studies have shown the following benefits of treating allergies with essential oils:

  • Congestion
  • Headaches
  • Inflammation
  • Skin problems (hives, eczema, rash)
  • Sneezing

When it comes to managing seasonal allergies, conventional medicines’s solution is to pop a daily antihistamine pill from over the counter and call it a day. But for those wanting to go the natural route (with far fewer side effects), essential oils can be a powerful solution.

Check out this “Allergy Solution” Q&A with my friends Leo Galland M.D. and Jonathan Galland J.D.

6 Best Essential Oils For Allergy Relief

Allergy sufferers want a quick fix that’s safe. Essential oils can be a godsend, but figure out what helps your unique situation.

Just like everything in functional medicine, there is no one-size-fits-all magic solution to symptoms. Biocompatibility is a big word that just means “works for your body.”

While these essential oils can help alleviate symptoms, they aren’t meant to treat the underlying cause. The level of relief varies for each individual.

LISTEN: Nicola Elliot & Dr. Will Cole Talk Essential Oils And Aromatherapy, Plus Toxic Conventional Fragrances That Can Hurt Your Health

Below are the essential oils I’ve found to be the most effective in clinical studies and anecdotally for my patients.

1. Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus extract is used as a frequent ingredient in many remedies for cold and flu symptoms. That’s because eucalyptus can help soothe inflammation, relieve congestion, and ease a sore throat that can also coincide with seasonal allergies. (2)

I like to diffuse eucalyptus essential oil, but you can also apply this decongestant to your chest topically for easier breathing while you sleep.

2. Lavender

This powerful anti-inflammatory oil may be the answer to your allergies. Research has shown lavender’s ability to soothe allergy-induced inflammation of your mucous cells. (3)

This is a great oil to diffuse. I’ve always liked the calming aroma of lavender.

Check out my video course on Reducing Inflammation & Mastering Autoimmune Conditions.

3. Frankincense

This substance has been an ingredient in oils since the Biblical Exodus, and it features prominently in the Christmas story. I think people in the ancient Fertile Crescent realized its healing potential even back then.

Since inflammation is a major contributing factor to allergy symptoms such as coughing, runny nose, and sneezing, frankincense is one of the best essential oils to use since studies have shown its ability to reduce inflammatory activity in the body. (4)

4. Chamomile

Though it is famous for being in herbal tea, I think chamomile makes an even better essential oil.

Chamomile is known for its histamine-reducing properties, making it a good choice to diffuse throughout your day. Recent studies have shown its ability to help with allergy-related skin problems like eczema. (5)

5. Peppermint

Peppermint has long been used to clear up congestion, reduce nasal passage inflammation, and make breathing easier. (6)

Peppermint essential oil can also soothe sore muscles when applied topically, which can bring relief to anyone who has coughing-induced soreness. (7) It can also relieve headache pain caused by sinus pressure. (8)

6. Lemon

Citrus oils like lemon are able to help treat allergic rhinitis — inflammation of the inside of the nose caused by seasonal allergies. (9) Lemon essential oil can do wonders when diffused throughout the day. I love the smell, too!

How To Use Essential Oils

When looking to alleviate seasonal allergy symptoms, you can use essential oils in one of two ways — aromatherapy or topical application. I do both methods depending on the situation.

Note: Many oils aren’t meant to be ingested.

Aromatherapy: Diffusing Essential Oils

Aromatherapy is a powerful treatment option for reducing symptoms. Adding a few drops of your desired essential oil to a diffuser will allow you to breathe in the compounds and find relief for most symptoms.

Many people ask me how to mix essential oils for allergies. I say using a diffuser is the simplest way to reap the benefits of multiple essential oils at once.

Topical Application: Blending With Carrier Oils

Putting oils on your skin in various places often offers fast-acting relief for certain symptoms.

Always check the label to see if there are any warnings against topical application. For example, peppermint, frankincense, and lemon oil are considered “hot oils” that may be too intense for some people to apply topically. They may require diffusion or dilution.

If you struggle with hives, cold sores, or eczema, add a few drops of your desired essential oil to a carrier oil, then apply it to the affected area. Common carrier oils include:

  • Coconut oil
  • Olive oil
  • Sweet almond oil
  • Jojoba oil

Other Methods

Here are other creative ways people use essential oils for allergies:

  • Hang fresh eucalyptus in the shower.
  • Add a few drops of chamomile or eucalyptus to a hot bath or sauna.
  • Add oil to a hot compress towel and place it over the face to relieve sinus pressure. Reminder: use caution with “hot oils” near the face.
  • Steep soothing herbs in tea bags with a drop of essential oil. (More than one drop could be too powerful. Only use oils that are safe for ingestion) Cup your face over the hot steam of the teacup and breathe it in.

Read Next: 10 Benefits of Infrared Saunas

Things To Consider When Using Essential Oils

Just because essential oils are natural doesn’t mean they’re right for everyone. There are some precautions that certain people need to take, including pregnant women and people with potential allergies.

Potential Allergic Reactions

Although essential oils are generally safe for most people, they are all derived from plants to which some people may still be allergic. If you react badly to any known allergens, make a note and stick to the other essential oils on this list. Seek medical advice about any allergy concerns.

Precautions For Pregnant Or Breastfeeding Women

Some essential oils should be avoided if you’re pregnant, trying to get pregnant, or breastfeeding. It’s always best practice to check with your healthcare provider first before trying essential oils, doubly so when pregnant or breastfeeding.

Quality Sources: Choosing The Right Brands

When purchasing essential oils, research the brand to ensure you are getting high-quality essential oils.

Unfortunately, many oils are not 100% pure and include other synthetic additives. Try to find supplements and essential oils sourced from the USA or Canada, and avoid anything from low-safety regulation countries like China.

Seeking Support From A Functional Medicine Expert

Essential oils are a great, natural way to relieve common symptoms of seasonal allergies and other respiratory conditions. Just be aware that essential oils are not a cure for your underlying cause.

If you are experiencing any sort of life-threatening symptoms, such as swelling of the throat or symptoms that become chronic, seek medical attention immediately.

If you are struggling with seasonal allergies or long-term allergic reactions, it may be time to address the underlying cause. By taking a functional medicine look at what triggers your immune system to react to foreign substances, we can take steps toward healing. In fact, many people with seasonal allergies find that once they address specific areas of their health, their symptoms are greatly reduced.

As one of the first functional medicine telehealth clinics in the world, we provide webcam health consultations for people around the globe. 


Peppermint, eucalyptus, and tea tree oil are best for allergy symptoms. They have antimicrobial, analgesic, and anti-inflammatory properties.

Eucalyptus and lavender essential oil are really good for sinus issues, like congestion and pressure.

Depending on the oil, I recommend diffusing anti-allergy essential oils in a quality diffuser. On the go, it’s good to keep a peppermint oil roll-on.

While many people experience allergies year-round from certain foods, dust, or mold, seasonal allergies affect people at only certain times during the year. Spring is most common as trees and other plants release pollen which can trigger your immune system.

Allergies are caused by an immune system reaction to a foreign substance. This reaction triggers symptoms such as:

  • Runny nose
  • Stuffy nose
  • Itchy, watery eyes
  • Dry eyes
  • Scratchy throat
  • Swelling
  • Digestive distress
  • Sneezing
  • Cough
  • Headache
@drwillcole Allergies vs. Intolerances vs. Sensitivities - what’s the difference? Learn more in this episode of the Habits and Hustle podcast with @therealjencohen! #wellnesspodcast #functionalmedicine #doctorsoftiktok #autoimmunedisease ♬ original sound - Dr. Will Cole

Start Your Health Journey Today


  1. Nakamura, T., Yoshida, N., Yamanoi, Y., Honryo, A., Tomita, H., Kuwabara, H., & Kojima, Y. (2020). Eucalyptus oil reduces allergic reactions and suppresses mast cell degranulation by downregulating IgE-FcεRI signalling. Scientific reports, 10(1), 20940.
  2. Mieres-Castro, D., Ahmar, S., Shabbir, R., & Mora-Poblete, F. (2021). Antiviral activities of eucalyptus essential oils: Their effectiveness as therapeutic targets against human viruses. Pharmaceuticals, 14(12), 1210.
  3. Ueno-Iio, T., Shibakura, M., Yokota, K., Aoe, M., Hyoda, T., Shinohata, R., ... & Kataoka, M. (2014). Lavender essential oil inhalation suppresses allergic airway inflammation and mucous cell hyperplasia in a murine model of asthma. Life sciences, 108(2), 109-115.
  4. Al-Yasiry, A. R. M., & Kiczorowska, B. (2016). Frankincense–therapeutic properties. Advances in Hygiene and Experimental Medicine, 70, 380-391.
  5. Lee, S. H., Heo, Y., & Kim, Y. C. (2010). Effect of German chamomile oil application on alleviating atopic dermatitis-like immune alterations in mice. Journal of veterinary science, 11(1), 35.
  6. Park, N., Chung, J. Y., Kim, M. H., & Yang, W. M. (2022). Protective effects of inhalation of essential oils from Mentha piperita leaf on tight junctions and inflammation in allergic rhinitis. Frontiers in Allergy, 3, 1012183.
  7. Chumpitazi, B. P., Kearns, G. L., & Shulman, R. J. (2018). The physiological effects and safety of peppermint oil and its efficacy in irritable bowel syndrome and other functional disorders. Alimentary pharmacology & therapeutics, 47(6), 738-752.
  8. Göbel, H., Heinze, A., Heinze-Kuhn, K., Göbel, A., & Göbel, C. (2016). Peppermint oil in the acute treatment of tension-type headache. Der Schmerz, 30, 295-310.
  9. Ferrara, L., Naviglio, D., & Armone Caruso, A. (2012). Cytological aspects on the effects of a nasal spray consisting of standardized extract of citrus lemon and essential oils in allergic rhinopathy. International Scholarly Research Notices, 2012(1), 404606.

The information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration or any other medical body. We do not aim to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. Information is shared for educational purposes only. You must consult your doctor before acting on any content on this website, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition.

Our content may include products that have been independently chosen and recommended by Dr. Will Cole and our editors. If you purchase something mentioned in this article, we may earn a small commission.



Evidence-based reviewed article

Dr. Will Cole, DNM, IFMCP, DC is a leading functional medicine expert who consults people around the globe, starting one of the first functional medicine telehealth centers in the world. Named one of the top 50 functional and integrative doctors in the nation, Dr. Will Cole provides a functional medicine approach for thyroid issues, autoimmune conditions, hormonal imbalances, digestive disorders, and brain problems. He is also the host of the popular The Art of Being Well podcast and the New York Times bestselling author of Intuitive Fasting, Ketotarian, Gut Feelings, and The Inflammation Spectrum.

Gut Feelings Dr. Will Cole 6

Gut Feelings

Healing The Shame-Fueled Relationship
Between What You Eat And How You Feel