Also known as urticaria, hives impact approximately 20 percent of the population at some time or another.
They can be caused by stress, which believed to weaken the immune system and make the body less resistant to hives.1 However, they can also be caused by a range of other issues:
- Food allergies
- Drug interactions
- Bug bites
- Extreme heat
- Excessive cold
- Skin sensitivities
- Digestive issues
- Health problems
- Excessive sweating
Hives can appear quickly and disappear just as fast or they can linger on for days, causing extreme itching and pain. They can also range in size, sometimes appearing as tiny, itchy little bumps or sometimes grouping together to create one large patch of hives.
According to WebMD.com, hives form as a response to histamine, a chemical released by the body’s mast cells as a way to get remove whatever allergen triggers it. Hives can be a natural, unpleasant, result.2
Essential Oils for Addressing Hives
There are many reasons to turn to essential oils to remedy hives. Essentials can relieve pain and itching and can reign in histamine activity, so hives clear up quickly.
Essential Oils for Histamine Control
One of the most effective ways to target hives is to seek out essential oils that control histamine release and slow mast cell activity. Some of these oils are highlighted below.
Peppermint Essential Oil
Peppermint oil is a natural antihistamine, but it also contains menthol, which helps cool the itching associated with hives. An Iranian study that appeared in a 2012 issue of the Iranian Journal of Pharmaceutical Research found that peppermint not only eased itching but also relieved the heat caused by inflammation that accompanies hives.3
Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender oil was shown to inhibit mast cell activity in a 1999 study from South Korean researchers that appeared in Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology.4 Lavender may also help ease the itching that can make hives unbearable.
Holy Basil Essential Oil
A natural antihistamine, a 2007 study in the Indian Journal of Experimental Biology found that holy basil acted as both an antihistamine and analgesic. So, it has the potential to speed the healing of hives while easing pain before the raised, itchy bumps dissipate.5
Blue Tansy Essential Oil
Also a natural antihistamine, blue tansy contains chamazulene, a compound that acts as an anti-inflammatory because it helps inhibit the activity of leukotrienes, which accompany the release of histamines. Blue tansy may also help speed up the healing of hives due to the high level of antioxidants it contains.6
German Chamomile Essential Oil
Like blue tansy, German chamomile also contains chamazulene, which acts as a natural anti-histamine. One of the gentlest essential oils, chamomile helps soothe the itching associated with hives.
Essential Oils for Itching Relief
In addition to peppermint, lavender, and German chamomile, there are several other essential oils that can ease the itching associated with hives.7
Helichrysum Essential Oil
The anti-inflammatory compounds in helichrysum oil help put a stop to the itch associated with hives. According to a 2013 study that appeared in the Scientific World Journal, helichrysum contains arzanol, a compound that controls inflammation, including inflammation related to the histamine response. The compound also acts as a powerful antioxidant to help encourage healing.8
Lemongrass Essential Oil
According to a 1991 study from Brazil, the myrcene in lemongrass helps act as an analgesic, relieving the pain and itching of hives.9
Geranium Essential Oil
Not only does geranium oil relieve the itching associated with hives, but it also helps ease inflammation, according to a 2012 study in the Libyan Journal of Medicine.10
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Other essential oils that can control the itching of hives include lemon, sandalwood, palmarosa, patchouli, and thyme.
Essential Oils to Promote Skin Healing
Because of the redness and discomfort, healing the inflammation associated with hives as quickly as possible is one of the main concerns for those who suffer from an outbreak. There are also essential oils that work well to help the skin heal.
Chamomile Essential Oil
Chamomile contains the flavonoid quercetin, which not only helps protect against free radical damage but also encourages healthy inflammation, so hives that are the result of an allergic reaction heal faster.11
Myrrh Essential Oil
Myrrh acts as an anti-inflammatory, calming and soothing inflamed skin. Myrrh is not only a powerful antioxidant, which protects skin during the healing process, but it also helps boost white blood cell activity at the site of wounds or skin irritations, speeding up the healing process.12
Calendula Essential Oil
This gentle, moisturizing oil offers linoleic acid, which helps relieve inflammation and expedites healing.13
Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender is not only an antihistamine and an itch reliever, but it also helps skin heal. According to a 2016 study in BioMed Central Complementary Alternative Medicine, lavender helped wounds heal faster, suggesting that it would also speed up the healing of the inflammation associated with hives.14
It’s important to note that all of the essential oils discussed above should be combined with a carrier oil. Jojoba, tamanu, rosehip, argan, evening primrose, avocado, and olive oil are all skin-friendly options that will boost the effectiveness of the essential oil you choose and protect skin from further irritation.
Once you’ve selected your essential oils and carrier oil of choice, you’re well on your way to using the natural healing properties of essential oils to boost your skin health.
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