Treat Your Spring Allergies Naturally with These Tips and Products
inally, winter is breaking! In the Northern hemisphere, it’s a cause for taking advantage of warmer, longer days. The outdoors are likely calling. While you may welcome the buds and blooms around you, it’s possible your body is not so happy. Headaches, sinus pain, itching, sneezing, runny eyes and more. It’s allergy season! The onslaught of snot (rhyme intended) can be a major damper. There’s a price to pay when nature comes alive again, often in the form of pollen, molds, and other irritants. Like clockwork, you’re sneezing. The inflammation from allergies can also make you more susceptible to sinus infections and generally leads to a feeling of malaise and fatigue. Luckily, there are some all natural ways to treat spring allergies.
What causes spring allergies?
Nature’s fecundity is not everyone’s friend! Spring allergies, commonly called “Hay Fever,” tend to be seasonal. In Virginia and along the East Coast, this particular time of year triggers those allergic to pollen and mold spores. For some people, non-allergic triggers such as changes in humidity levels and temperature can also be to blame. If allergic, your immune system produces chemicals, including histamines, to treat the arrival of these particles into your system. It’s this bodily response that causes the bevy of symptoms we call allergies. Not sure if what you’re experiencing stems from allergies? It’s never a bad idea to see an allergist, but symptoms to look out for include itchy throat, itchy eyes, runny nose, sneezing, and nasal congestion.
All natural ways to treat spring allergies
It’s difficult to prevent allergies altogether, but there are many ways to relieve the immune response and naturally treat the symptoms before or after they arrive. You can also take measures to keep your sinuses clearer so your allergies don’t develop into sinusitis. A few preventative measures include keeping your windows closed to decrease the amount of pollen and allergens in the home, showering after being outdoors, using your neti pot, and spending less time outdoors, esp. between 5-10 a.m. or at dusk when the pollen count is higher. Warmer weather means you’re likely eager to get outside, and allergies are inevitable. We carry many products that are all natural and can help you safely treat allergies.
One way to quell the symptoms of allergies is to improve the inflammatory response. We sell quercetin, nettles, NAC, butterbur, and herbal or homeopathic blends specifically formulated to decrease the inflammatory response and relieve allergy symptoms.
Quercetin is a powerful antioxidant and helps fight inflammation across the board. It’s a type of flavonoid that’s found in plant foods, including deeply colored leafy greens, tomatoes, and berries (in small amounts). Research has demonstrated the antihistamine effects of quercetin, making it a key ingredient in helping with allergies. We carry quercetin on its own in capsule form, and also as a potent combo in a tab/cap or liquid with immune-boosting Vitamin C, bromelain (derived pineapple, it enhances quercetin’s effectiveness), or herbs such as nettles.
Nettles, especially freeze-dried, have been shown to control histamines and thus are featured in many allergy combinations. You can also buy them on their own.
NAC is an amino acid that is a fantastic antioxidant that also thins mucus and acts as an expectorant.
Butterbur is an herb that was featured in the British Medical Journal. A group of Swiss researchers found when taken four times a day, one tablet of butterbur was as effective as a popular antihistamine drug in controlling the symptoms of hay fever. Plus, it doesn’t cause drowsiness. Butterbur can also be helpful for sinus and allergy-related headaches, including migraines.
Gaia Herbs makes an excellent allergy formula called Turmeric Supreme Allergy. It combines turmeric, quercetin, nettles, and other herbs to reduce the allergic inflammatory response. We’ve written about turmeric before and couldn’t sing its praises more!
Another easy homeopathic remedy is honey. Take one tablespoon of local, raw honey per day, such as Golden Angels Raw Honey. This may help your body build a tolerance to the local pollen that wreaks havoc on your system The International Archives of Allergy and Immunology published an article in 2011 demonstrating that raw honey was beneficial in reducing allergy symptoms in their test group.
Our most popular allergy combinations are Oregon’s Wild Harvest Aller-Aid, Rootology Breathe Free (Chinese herbal), and Clear Products Clear Sinus & Ear capsules. These are which are great for allergies that affect your sinuses and eustachian tubes. We also carry Boiron homeopathic RhinAllergy quick-dissolving tabs (formerly Sabadil), and BioAllers homeopathic Pollen Hayfever/Tree Pollen liquids.
Foods to potentially avoid:
Dairy has been shown to increase mucus production, so find a milk alternative if you haven’t already! Almond milk, makes sense as a substitute during allergy season. Interestingly, milk, eggs, cucumbers, zucchini, melons, bananas, lettuce, and chamomile have been shown to exacerbate ragweed allergies, so keep your consumption of these foods a minimum if ragweed bothers you. For grass allergies, keep grain and legume consumption to a minimum. There are several foods that are naturally high in histamines and thus can aggravate existing allergies, including red wine, citrus, strawberries, chocolate, and cheese. For more information on concomitant foods with specific allergies, click here.
Eyes and nose
For itchy eyes, we recommend Similasan Allergy Eye Relief eye drops. Most run of the mill drug store eye drops contain preservatives and other harmful chemicals. We also carry Dr. Rydland’s Herbal Eye Wash with eyebright and other herbs to soothe irritated eyes.
Rinsing out and decreasing inflammation in the sinuses will also go a long way to treating allergies and preventing them from developing into sinus infections. Rinse with a neti pot, Nasopure Nasal Wash Bottle, or Nasaline irrigator. For a simple nasal spray, try one of the saline or natural nasal sprays we carry.
We also carry many throat lozenges that could help dry, itchy allergy throats.
For the kids:
We carry Hylands 4Kids Allergy Relief quick-dissolve tabs, as well as locally made Dr. Rydland’s Sinus & Allergy drops (based on weight-safe for 5# & up). These are formulated specifically with kids’ needs in mind.
As always, if you’re looking for help with your allergies, come see us at Rebecca’s Natural Food.