Have you ever experienced the uncomfortable scratching, swelling, redness and pain that are associated with hives? If you're looking for natural remedies, you've come to the right place. You'll learn about essential oils for hives and how to use them.
This page will also give you a brief overview of the causes of hives and the best natural remedies to soothe the symptoms of hives.
What are hives?
Hives, also known as urticaria or nettle-rash, usually develop quite suddenly and can spread quickly. This skin rash tends to burn at first and be very itchy. Hives can resolve without specific treatment in a few days but they can also require medical treatment depending on how severe your reaction is.
Hives are actually a symptom of a condition known as Idiopathic Chronic Urticaria. Basically, this refers to a reaction to certain allergens. The allergens that can cause hives include certain foods, cosmetic products, infections, insect bites and certain drugs.
Hives can manifest on any part of your body and the symptoms are often recurring. This is why hives often come and go. Your body responds to allergens by releasing Histamine. This is the chemical that is responsible for the itching and the resulting inflammation on your skin.
The causes of hives
Hives are caused by the release of histamine. They can be the result of an allergic reaction (in most cases) but also an autoimmune trigger.
The main causes of hives are:
- Food allergies
- Drugs such as aspirin and penicillin
- An insect bite or a sting
- Extreme temperature
- Excessive scratching
- Emotional pressure / stress
- Poor digestion
- Liver malfunction
- Intensive exercise involving sweating
- A common cold or a hidden bacterial infection
It can take a while to be able to find what triggers hives. You might need to do some allergy tests or follow a strict diet to figure out what the culprit allergic substances are.
If you really want to get rid of urticaria, it's necessary to figure out what triggers it. Did you try to eliminate some foods from your diet and have you noticed any change? Do you get urticaria every time you feel stressed? Do you have a sluggish liver?
Most of the time, it's the result of an allergic reaction, but finding the underlying cause of urticaria is paramount in order to treat it effectively.
Best essential oils for hives
Essential oils can be very helpful in case of hives. However, be aware that they are not cures for Idiopathic Chronic Urticaria. External remedies can help in a short term to relieve itching, alleviate symptoms and get rid of the rash. However, an internal therapy will achieve much better results in a long term.
The best essential oils for hives are lavender, peppermint, tea tree and chamomile essential oils. Lavender is great for soothing your skin and peppermint for cooling your skin. There are other essential oils that you can use to treat hives including helichrysum, myrrh, eucalyptus and oregano.
How to use these essential oils for hives?
It is advisable to dilute pure essential oils before applying them to your skin. Prepare a blend of about 15 drops essential oil per oz. carrier oil. There are several carrier oils you can choose from including jojoba, almond or coconut oil. Apply the mixture on the affected areas and gently massage until it is fully absorbed.
Before using essential oils, please check this page to learn about the benefits of essential oils for skin. Be aware that there are contraindications with essential oils. It's strongly recommended that you use them under the guidance of a qualified aromatherapist.
Peppermint Essential oil for Hives
Peppermint is widely known for its cooling effect due to its menthol content. It is therefore used for soothing skin inflammation. Peppermint essential oil has antibacterial, anti-allergenic, anti-inflammatory, antiviral and insecticidal properties. (1)
All these make it one of the best treatment options for hives. Peppermint oil is much more concentrated than other essential oils. Direct application to your skin can cause irritation.
How to use peppermint essential oil for hives?
Add 1-2 drops of peppermint essential oil to carrier oil. Almond or jojoba oil works best, but you can use pure distilled water if carrier oil is not available. Pour the mixture into a small spray bottle and then spray the oil onto the affected areas to receive almost instant relief.
Lavender Essential oil for Hives
Lavender is the most versatile of all essential oils. It has a therapeutic effect on your body. Lavender essential oil has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. It can greatly reduce the itching and swelling associated with hives. (2)
According to Valerie Ann Worwood in The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy, lavender is safe for babies. So if your baby suffers from hives, you can use this essential oil to soothe the symptoms.
The best way to use lavender essential oil is through an Epsom salt bath. A warm Epsom salt bath several times a week (no soap, nothing else than salts) is beneficial. You could also replace Epsom salt by baking soda or uncooked oatmeal.
How to use lavender essential oil for hives?
Add 1-2 cups of Epsom salt to your bath water. Combine some of the salt with the lavender essential oil and stir it into your bath. Soak in the water for about 30 to 40 minutes. In order to get the best results, schedule your bath in the evening right before you go to bed.
Tea Tree Oil for Hives
Tea tree has become very popular oil due to its ability to promote normal immune system function, protect skin from sun damage and reduce the appearance of blemishes. Tea tree essential oil has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties.
How to use tea tree essential oil for hives?
Add 1-5 drops of tea tree essential oil to hot water. Soak a clean towel in the water then carefully dab it on the affected areas. If the hives occur on your head area, you can cover your head with the towel and allow the steam to circulate inside the towel.
Chamomile Essential Oil for Hives
Chamomile essential oil offers numerous health benefits. It is extracted from the chamomile plant flowers. There are two types of chamomile; Roman and German chamomile.
Both have almost similar properties. Roman chamomile has a greater soothing effect while German chamomile is an effective anti-inflammatory agent. The German chamomile essential oil is better at treating hives. (3)
How to use chamomile essential oil for hives?
Add 5 drops of chamomile essential oil to carrier oil or distilled water. You can use coconut, baobab or almond oil. Cleanse the skin on the affected area then apply this mixture directly three times a day.
Coconut Oil for Hives
Coconut oil is prepared industrially by processing sun-dried coconut pulp under high pressure. It is well known for both its dietary and therapeutic properties. Coconut oil is rich in vitamins and especially vitamin E which is essential for optimum skin and hair health.
It is highly recommended for treatment of dermatological conditions due to its antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. According to nourishingroots.com, coconut oil also reduces inflammation and soothes your skin. (4)
The best way to use coconut oil to treat hives is through massage.
Choose a high-quality coconut oil for hives!
Avoid using refined coconut oil which is treated with sodium hydroxide and bleached - which could cause an allergic reaction, such as hives! Use an organic coconut oil for hives, such as this one from the brand Nutiva: Organic virgin coconut oil.
Other natural remedies for hives
Some herbs, such as stinging nettle or milk thistle, are sometimes recommended for hives. If hives are caused by stress, lavender or chamomile can be helpful. Peppermint can also reduce inflammation and pain. Make a tea several times a day with these herbs. You can add a little bit of honey as well!
Have you very tried homeopathic remedies? Take Apis if urticaria involves swelling, itching and burning, Urtica urens if urticaria is triggered by exercising or overheating, or Rhus toxidendron if hives involve blisters.
In terms of home remedies, applying apple cider vinegar on the skin several times a day (approximately 1/3 apple cider for 2/3 water) may also help. Cabbage leaf or raw onion compresses can also relieve itching.
Do not scratch urticaria as it slows down healing. Apply cool wet compresses instead to soothe the skin and prevent scratching. Avoid exposure to cold because cold can be an allergen for your skin. Sunlight and fresh air is healing. But be careful of sunburns because the affected skin is more sensitive.
The foods that can help get rid of hives
Hives are often caused by the release of histamine due to allergies. This is why a proper diet could definitely help in many ways.
Also, a type of foods can also trigger hives. The most common allergens are:
- Shellfish, milk, strawberries, eggs, peanuts, soy, wheat
- Foods containing additives, preservatives, flavorings, and stabilizers
Be aware that caffeine and alcohol can aggravate urticaria. So it's best to stay away from chocolate, coffee, tea or alcohol for several weeks and see if it gets better. Reintroduce these foods in your diet one by one and watch out for any reaction.
It's recommended that you work with a qualified Nutritionist or Dietician to identify and eliminate the culprit foods that may cause the problem. In the interview "How to Treat Urticaria with Naturopathy", Naturopathic Doctor Deborah Wiancek said:
Doing an anti-inflammatory diet by eliminating white flour, sugar, alcohol and caffeine can be helpful in the treatment of hives."
Following an anti-inflammatory diet also consists of eating foods rich in good fats such as fish, seeds and nuts (except peanuts). Flax seed oil is a great source of omega 3 and you can easily incorporate it in your diet every day.
As far as supplements are concerned, you may take evening primrose oil in capsules as it contains GLA which is anti-inflammatory.
You should eat foods that are rich in vitamin C to help with the allergic reaction and foods rich in fibre for a better internal cleansing.
Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, and avoid animal fats because these fats can trigger inflammation and are more difficult to digest.
Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, curcumin is a great spice to include in your diet or take as a supplement.
Don't forget to drink plenty of water to cleanse your body, especially your bowels and liver!
You should consult a practitioner if the rash doesn't go away. Chronic urticaria refer to hives that persist for 6 weeks or more. Also, Urticaria can be an emergency problem and can require immediate medical treatment.
Watch the video below with Dr Dantini who discuses the causes, symptoms, and treatments of urticaria and hives. If you have any helpful information on other effective treatments or essential oils for hives, feel free to share with us on the comment section!