The term allergy is used to describe a response within the body to a substance which is not necessarily harmful in itself, but results in an immune response and a reaction that causes symptoms and disease in a predisposed person. An allergy is everything from a runny nose, itchy eyes and palate to skin rash. It aggravates the sense of smell, sight, tastes and touch causing irritation, extreme disability and sometimes fatality. It occurs when the body's immune system overreacts to normally harmless substances
In the cases of skin allergies, it is common practice to be given steroid creams that are primarily made from synthetic materials. These creams ‘cover up’ the problem rather than cure it – in fact the best ‘cure’ for an allergy is to avoid the allergen!
Although essential oils are useful to help allergic situations, they can sometimes be a little too strong and cause further irritation. Hydrolats are perfect for helping to calm and reduce inflammation because they are extremely gently and non-invasive.
Hydrolats contain many natural steroidal-type molecules that naturally reduce inflammation and swelling. They are sometimes anti-allergic when applied to the skin or ingested and can help clients to control their allergic responses. Particularly useful for eczema-type skin, hydrolats can also be added to hand creams for contact dermatitis.
Geranium is very soothing when added to skincare, geranium is balancing for all skin types, particularly eczema-type skin. It is also excellent for general health, mildly anti-inflammatory, promotes healing and is balancing to the hormonal system. To help contact dermatitis, add 30mls of geranium hydrolat to 100mls of hand cream, ensuring that the cream is not perfumed or coloured. A moisture lotion base can be purchased from your aromatherapy supplier for this purpose. Add 50ml – 100ml to the bath for an all-over calming effect, or use with a little peppermint hydrolat to relieve itching.
Lavender hydrolat is soothing on damaged or fragile skin and can help relieve itching and inflammation in an allergic situation. Used in an atomiser bottle, it can be sprayed over large areas of eczema, hives, dermatitis and heat rashes for an instant calming effect. Add 30mls to 100ml of organic base cream and apply regularly to smaller areas of irritation.
Chamomile has been used for centuries to help calm the mind and help with inflammatory conditions in the body. It can be used in creams and lotions as above, or added to the bath for a calming effect.
This hydrolat is wonderful for helping irritation and pain in the allergic situation. Use in an atomiser for direct application or in a cream or lotion as above. Lime is also helpful for an irritated mind and can help calm the emotions and promote restful sleep. Take 20mls in warm water before bedtime.
Understanding Hydrolats: L Price
Hydrosols: S Catty
By Penny Price MEd (Oxon.)Academy Principal and Director, Penny Price Aromathera
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