If you equate the coming of spring with red, itchy eyes; sneezing marathons; a runny nose; scratchy throat; and fatigue, you’re not alone. According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, up to 30% of American adults suffer from seasonal allergies.
Fortunately, there are ways to survive the season without resorting to heavy-duty prescription meds or staying cooped up indoors. Here are 10 natural remedies, many of which help solve underlying issues that cause allergies—and deliver swift relief!
- Inside Out – Clean your sheets, vacuum, and dust frequently. Use a HEPA air filter in your bedroom, and minimize opening the windows to keep pollen from entering your home.
- Wash Hair and Pets Frequently – Because pollen can travel into your home on your clothes, in your hair, and in the hair of your pets, you’ll want to wash frequently. You may also want to consider giving your pet a haircut during pollen season to make grooming easier!
- Nose, Meet the Neti – Using this simple device in the morning and the evening can ease sinus congestion and gently sweep allergens from your nasal passages. Fill your neti pot with lukewarm distilled water (this is important!) and ¼ teaspoon of pure sea salt, run the solution through both sides of your nostrils, and gently blow your nose. Relief should be almost instant.
- Helpful Herbs – Three herbs that have shown to be beneficial in fighting allergies are butterbur (found in tablet form), nettle, and goldenseal. In fact, a study published in the British Medical Journal found that butterbur’s effectiveness rivals that of antihistamine drugs, but without the sleepy side effects.
- Supplement with NAC – The antioxidant NAC (n-acetyl-cysteine) works to thin mucus and has valuable expectorant as well as anti-inflammatory properties.
- Raw Local Honey –This works much like allergy shots because the honey contains pollen that is present in your area. By exposing yourself to small doses of this pollen, via a daily spoonful of raw, local honey, you have a delicious way to build your immunity.
- Eliminate Offending Foods – If you have food intolerances, your immune system will be compromised as you head into allergy season and your body will have fewer defenses to deploy against allergies. By eliminating these offending foods, you can minimize your allergy symptoms considerably.
- Introduce Healing Foods – According to Chinese medicine, seasonal allergies are a result of a liver or gallbladder imbalance. To strengthen these organs, consume lots of leafy green vegetables (kale, chard, arugula, cilantro, parsley) as well as broccoli, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts. Also introduce such sour foods as apple cider vinegar and fermented foods (miso, sauerkraut) and Bone Broth.
- Try Acupuncture – With very high success rates and no reported side effects, acupuncture can help soothe an overactive immune system and reduce inflammation associated with allergies.
10. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate – Dehydration activates histamine production, which can exacerbate allergy symptoms. Therefore, one of the simplest things you can do to minimize these effects is drink plenty of filtered water during allergy season.
I feel the most important thing you can do is to eat a diet rich in whole, real foods. Processed and packaged foods weaken the immune system thus making your body more susceptible to allergies.
Neti pots: http://www.neti-pot.com/
British Medical Journal study on the effects of butterbur on seasonal allergic rhinitis: http://www.bmj.com/content/324/7330/144.short