In the United States alone, it is estimated that more than 50 million people suffer from hay fever, one of the most common seasonal allergies. Additionally, most studies suggest that the number of individuals suffering from allergies is on the rise.
Just as we know that substances like pollen in the air can trigger allergic reactions, it is also known that there are elements in clean, unpolluted, natural air that can, with time, provide benefits to the body, including helping resist the effects of those allergy triggers.
Because modern humans live mostly in polluted cities with little nature, the air we breathe lacks a number of the beneficial compounds found in more natural settings. 1
What is an Allergic Reaction?
An allergic reactions occurs when the body perceives a harmless substance that has entered your system as harmful and attacks it. This overreaction is an allergic attack.
Some allergies are not seasonal and can occur year-round such as allergies to certain foods, dust mites, and materials such as latex. Other allergies are seasonal such as hay fever which is a reaction to pollen in the air. 2
What is Paleo Air?
It is important to remember that plant life developed and evolved alongside other life forms on Earth. Most importantly, humans evolved alongside plants, which provided food and shelter.
While humans have evolved by becoming more cognitively advanced, plants evolve by developing their own natural survival mechanisms.These plants create primary and secondary metabolites. The secondary metabolites have developed over the course of plant evolution, and work with the surrounding environment to increases the plant's ability to survive. 3
Paleo air is what our ancestors breathed. Just as secondary metabolites help the plant thrive, so too did the secondary metabolites support human health.
The hypothesis is then, by breathing the air of our ancestors, we expose ourselves to the benefits of chemical compounds during a time when allergies either did not exist or were quite uncommon, potentially decreasing the severity of our own allergies. 4
Three Reasons You Should Breathe Paleo Air
Detoxify the Body
One of the most common ways for the body to remove toxins is through bowel movements. By removing waste material, the body is better-able to absorb vitamins and minerals that improve and maintain good health.
Breathing in secondary metabolites produced by plants like burberry, lemon, rosemary, and even black pepper help support the liver and improve its ability to detoxify.
Stress is one of the most pervasive elements that lead to some modern health issues. This is no less true when it comes to allergies. Achieving a more relaxed state has been shown to decrease severity of allergic reactions.
Inhaling ylang-ylang, lavender, rosewood, geranium, and chamomile essential oils is a good way to alleviate stress and anxiety and its consequences.
The average city-dweller routinely fails to get enough needed sleep. Sleep is a time where the body is able to naturally repair itself, and failure to get sufficient restful sleep can lead to a range of health issues.
Breathing in the scents of cedarwood, lavender, mandarin, ylang-ylang, marjoram, and sage essential oils are is good for producing deeper and more restful sleep. For many, this will significantly improve the ability to fend off allergic attacks.
If You Can't Go to The Forest, Can You Bring the Forest to Your Home?
For many of us, it just isn't possible or practical for us to be able to spend significant amounts of time in natural settings such as a forest. Fortunately, there are some very good ways to bring the benefits of the forest right into your own home. 5
Take A Relaxing Bath
One of the best ways to benefit from essential oils is to simply add a few drops of the oil to a relaxing bath. This method is great for relieving stress and tension which can exacerbate allergies and reduce immune system function.
Additionally, the benefits of the essential oils used could potentially alleviate existing allergy symptoms, helping you breathe easier.
Use A Diffuser
Another great way to benefit from essential oils is with the use of a room diffuser or a personal aromatherapy diffuser .
Room diffusers can provide longer-lasting benefits, if it is used overnight for example, while a personal aromatherapy diffuser is a great on the go options for benefits anywhere, anytime.
We have extensive knowledge about the benefits of secondary metabolites on plants, as well as their potential benefits on humans. Going back to breathing in these higher concentrations of secondary metabolites by inhaling the aromas of essential oils filled with beneficial chemical compounds can allow us to reap the health benefits of our ancestors. This can, in turn, reduce the severity of symptoms associated with allergies, all while alleviating stress and improving overall health and well-being.
Of course, going to a natural setting is best, so try to make some time in your schedule to relax by going to a nearby forest preserve or a walk in the park. But if you can’t, remember that the benefits of essential oils are always at your fingertips.