With spring starting, allergy sufferers are dreading the onset of allergy season. Perhaps you are like so many patients for whom the typical allergy medications don’t work that well.
For those of you who think you may have run out of options, there are powerful natural alternatives that can help prepare your body in advance to prevent allergy symptoms and treat them if you already are suffering.
Seven natural remedies for seasonal allergies:
1. Begin with a non-allergenic diet: Although allergens are external, it is actually our body’s response to them that is the cause of the allergy — it is an allergic reaction. If your body is already inundated with food allergy triggers, your immune system will be hyper-wired to react to external allergens. Eliminate wheat, dairy, and excess sugar, the most common allergens.
2. Try a spoonful of honey: Choose local raw unfiltered honey produced by bees that live in your area. The theory is that consuming honey may be much like immunotherapy, in the same way that allergists introduce tiny doses of an allergen to reduce sensitivity. As bees collect nectar from flowers, they inadvertently pick up pollen grains, which get into the honey, creating homeopathic immunotherapy.
Using honey as a preventive works best with a daily dose several weeks or months before allergy season. For example, New York City recently approved beekeeping, and one brand, called Hi-Rise Hive, is sold at local health food stores.
3. Take vitamin C and quercetin: Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and also a mast cell “stabilizer.” Mast cells are tiny cells that line the mucous membranes, which when exposed to an allergen, release histamine.
Histamine in the bloodstream is the cause of symptoms such as, eye irritation, sneezing, and a runny nose. Vitamin C makes mast cells less reactive, thus reducing allergy symptom, and quercetin is a powerful flavonoid that enhances the effects of vitamin C.
Take 1500mg of vitamin C with 500mg quercetin at the first signs of allergies and repeat every four to six hours as needed. This crafty combination can put a sneezing attack to rest within 20 to 30 minutes. Another great product, Natural D-Hist also contains singing nettle leaf, bromelein (an enzyme), and N-acetyl cysteine (thins mucous).
4. Drink stinging nettle leaf tea: If you have come in contact with this perennial, you probably remember the sting. But it’s safe and healthy in drink form. Steep the tea for 10 to 15 minutes to obtain the full benefits of the medicinal oils.
5. Sooth your nose with a neti pot: Seasonal allergies are usually due to pollen from flowering plants, grasses, and trees that become stuck in the nasal passages. Pollen triggers the inflammatory process that we call allergies. One way to reduce symptoms is to wash the allergens out with salt-water.
Neti pots have been used since ancient India to clear nasal passages. Using a neti pot or a saline nasal rinse is a great way to help reduce allergy symptoms.
6. Inhale steam with essential oils: Bring water to a boil in a saucepan and then turn off the heat. Place 4 drops eucalyptus oil, 1 to 2 drops tea tree oil, and 3 drops rosemary essential oil. Drape a large towel over your head and inhale deeply for 5 to 10 minutes.
7. Give acupuncture a shot: Acupuncture can be effective, and it is thought that acupuncture may temper an overactive immune system. Applied locally, it can help reduce nasal and sinus inflammation that is the cause of much of the discomfort from allergies
Akilah M. El, N.D. is a Naturopathic Doctor and board-certified Master Herbalist with a private practice in Atlanta Georgia and Berlin Germany. Join Dr Akilah El on Facebook and Twitter