Natural Remedies for Allergies
My eyes are red and itchy. I have a runny nose and keep having sneezing fits. Yes, it’s that time of year again ... allergy season. Unfortunately, the downside of the weather finally turning warmer and everything being in bloom is all the pollen, etc. that is being produced. Just when I had finally gotten rid of my cold weather sniffles, my allergies kicked in.
We all hear about natural ways to look after our skin and hair, so why not the rest of our body? So, instead of over-the-counter medications, I’ve been trying some natural ways to relieve my allergy symptoms. Of course, some work better than others and they will also affect differently people differently. But if you’re tired of being tied to chemicals and feeling drowsy for the spring and summer, why not give these natural allergy remedies a try?
Not only does vitamin C boost the immune system (we all know about taking it during cold season), but it can also help with hay fever. Allergies are caused due to an increased level of histamine in our bodies (which is why allergy drugs are anti-histamines). Histamine is always present in our bodies, but when the substance that causes the allergy is introduced to our system (pollen, dust, etc.); histamine production increases and the allergic symptoms begin. At the same time, vitamin C levels in our body go down. Vitamin C actually reacts with histamine, causing it to be broken down. So, by keeping the levels of vitamin C high in our body, we can help reduce the amount of histamine causing the allergic symptoms, thus reducing the symptoms themselves.
Quercetin is a type of compound found in plants called a bioflavonoid. It helps stabilize cells in your immune system and stops them from releasing histamine. It is also an antioxidant, which helps stop cell damage, which could lead to cancer. High levels of quercetin are found in citrus fruits, tea, parsley, broccoli, wine, tomatoes, apples onions and lettuce. During allergy season, eating more of these foods may not give you enough quercetin to help with your symptoms. You will likely need to take a supplement to build up enough of this compound in your system. Also, if possible, you should begin taking it four to six weeks before allergy season, as, like all herbal supplements, it takes some time to build up in your body.
If you are looking for a natural anti-histamine, stinging nettle treats allergy symptoms much like over-the-counter drugs. A bonus is the fact that side effects like drowsiness are either reduced or not felt at all. Stinging nettle is a common weed found in many places in the world and it is easy to get as a supplement from most grocery stores, natural stores or pharmacies (wherever you get other vitamins and minerals and supplements). Nettle reacts with the cells of our body and stops them from producing histamine, thus stopping allergy symptoms from being produced.
Many studies have found that by eating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as eggs, flax seeds, walnuts and cold water fish like salmon, symptoms of allergies were a lot less compared to those who didn’t eat these foods. Omega-3 fatty acids actually act in an anti-inflammatory way. They don’t reduce the levels of histamine, but they do reduce the level of inflammation due to the histamine. Allergies aren’t reduced, but your symptoms should be a lot less.
Neti pots are used to flush out your nose and sinuses with salt water. They are very small containers that look like tea pots or genie lamps. By using a neti pot, you rinse away any pollen, dust, grime, etc. that is in your nasal passages, stopping them from getting into your body and starting the allergic reaction. You should try to use a neti pot twice a day, particularly in the morning and if you have been outside for any length of time. By following this routine, your symptoms should be much reduced. (I actually haven’t tried this yet, but I have a friend who swears by them.)