At least we like to think of it as love, though botanists will tell you it’s raw, nasty, funkadelic, unapologetically opportunistic sex. Yes, pollen is how adult plants make baby plants (well, okay–one of the ways–they’re crafty, and persistent, and have numerous procreative techniques). And pollen, like sex, makes many of us sneeze.

One of the best approaches to living with pollen in the air, hay fever, allergies and even asthma is to get up close and personal with the essential oil of Eucalyptus on a regular basis. The essence of this ancient tree is a key component in our BREATHE blend of aroma therapy for the shower, created specifically with our patented aroma therapy diffuser design to ease up congested respiratory passages. In addition to helping you breathe easier when the pollen count is high, the Eucalyptus-Peppermint combo in this blend is also great for soothing and easing coughs and sniffles, cold and flu, any time of year.

Among the 600 or so known varieties of Eucalyptus, there are subtleties of fragrance. Some are more lemon-y, some are more camphor-y, but all have a woodsy-sweet, spicy-cooling base, created by terpenoids in the tree. On warm days in the vast Eucalyptus forests, the trees actually create a visible fog or mist from these vaporized volatile organic compounds, and the entire forest smells like our favorite cough-drops. This fragrant haze rising from the trees gave the Australian Blue Mountains their name, and the damp, incredibly refreshing experience may remind you of showering with Essio BREATHE blend, except that you don’t have to fly for entire day to get there– it’s as close as your own shower.

More significant than the aroma alone is the beneficial action of the compounds of Eucalyptus. A substance called cineole or eucalyptol, a colorless liquid created by the plant, is a natural astringent which restrains or reduces mucus production.  This is good news for anyone with a runny nose. This botanical also is a natural antimicrobial, and suppresses pathogenic bacteria in the respiratory tract.

Eucalyptus also brings thousands of years of street-cred– well, bush-cred– as a traditional medicine of the Aboriginal peoples of Australia. This culture values Eucalyptus for its broad immunosuppressive and anti-inflammatory properties, whether taken internally or applied externally. Original indigenous teachings include using Eucalyptus on the skin to cleanse and heal wounds, infections and burns, and as a poultice to ease muscular cramps. It’s also an effective natural insect-repellant, and has been taken internally as a tea or infusion to treat everything from dysentery to cold and flu.

In fact, after centuries of imperialist colonial dismissal, traditional Aboriginal “kino” treatments (using crushed, pure Eucalyptus and the astringent tree-gum) are now receiving close scrutiny by Western science for their beneficial effects.

So, when you’re feeling stuffy, get un-stuffed with Essio BREATHE blend. And while standing in the shower, give yourself a light facial aromatherapy pressure-point massage–using your fingertips– to open up congestion:

FRONTAL SINUSES: Press your index finger lightly between your eyebrows, massage in small circles out toward temples. 10 x

ETHMOID SINUSES: Gently press the pads of both index fingers on both sides of the nose at the bridge. Make small circles, moving up. 10 x

MAXILLARY SINUSES: Press downwards on cheek, just below the cheekbone, parallel with the nostrils. Make small circles, moving toward ears. 10 x

SPHENOID SINUSES: Place index fingers behind earlobes and gently, slowly, luxuriously rub– pretend you’re doing this to a dog or cat.  Purrrrrrr, nice kitty. 10 x

Breathe deeply.

Light pressure is best at the beginning. If you want more pressure, use your thumbs, especially under the cheekbones to loosen compaction in the Maxillary Sinus. Just don’t punch your own lights out. Then, tap your fingers on your Maxilla, the bone directly behind your upper lip, to help release blockage.

Have a big box of kleenex waiting beside your towel. When you emerge from the shower, heartily blow your nose. Then, drink an 8 oz. glass of water. Do all of this twice a day, first thing in the morning and last thing at night, to help un-plug your snoot. It’s especially important at night before bed, since lying still, in a horizontal position for several hours, encourages mucus to pool. Ewwwwwww, but true.

And even more good news about Eucalyptus: many modern-day aromatherapists believe that breathing in its essential oil is useful for resolving disagreements, and “airing out” personal conflicts.