When seasonal allergies come to call, do you know how to handle them? Here’s a few all natural solutions for allergies to deal with the effects of seasonal pollen and other perennial allergies.
- Eating Clean – this is by far the best way to initiate a positive, non-allergic response. Eating clean includes avoiding foods known to cause inflammation, which is a root cause of allergies. By giving your body the nutrients it needs, you can be sure it’s functioning at its best and will be able to properly respond to allergens. Be sure you’re getting at least a daily dose of probiotics like yogurt, kefir (water kefir, dairy or non-dairy), or fermented vegetables as these help immensely with maintaining your immune function. Drinking more water can also help with thinning out mucous and eliminating toxins/allergens from your system. For some, eliminating dairy from your diet especially during allergy season helps immensely. Dairy is known to increase mucous levels in all individuals so if you’re particularly sensitive, I’d highly recommend eliminating diary at least for allergy season.
- Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) – this one works REALLY well for me. The enzymes in organic non-pasteurized raw apple cider vinegar fight off infections, boosts immunity, thins mucous and reduces congestion. ACV has a multitude of other amazing health benefits as well! Consume ACV either as a salad dressing, sprinkled on your food or just add a tablespoon to a glass of water and drink it that way. Sweeten with raw local honey for added benefit and improved taste.
- Raw Local Honey – honey contains local pollen from bees which can build your immunity from these pollens.
- Quercetin – Quercetin is a fabulous little bioflavanoid that is a natural anti-histamine with anti-inflammatory properties. I personally take this one during allergy season and works better for me than OTC anti-histamines.
- Vit D3 and Vit C – immune system superheros being anti-histamine, anti-viral and anti-inflammatory.
- Ginger Root – natural anti-histamine and anti-inflammatory especially good at targeting the sinuses.
- Goldenseal – Goldenseal is a natural antibiotic and anti-inflammatory herb useful in preventing or alleviating an infection caused by sinus and allergy congestion.
- Butterbur – according to a study by the British Medical Journal, butterbur is an herbal antihistamine and can be as effective as an OTC anti-histamine. Be forewarned, however, that if you are allergic to ragweed, you should not take this one. I made that mistake and I was miserable for days.
- Stinging Nettles – Stinging nettles are anti-histamine and anti-inflammatory thereby decreasing allergic reaction specifically effective in allergic rhinitis.
- Astragalus – This is an herb that’s been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine to balance and regulate the immune system. Astragalus is adaptogenic meaning it will aid your system to increase or decrease its response depending on what you individually need.
- Bromelain – bromelain is an enzyme from the pineapple plant that helps dissolve foreign proteins and antigens that can cause allergic reactions and inflammation.
- N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC) – NAC is an amino acid that is known to help with detoxification. It provides immune system support and improves mucus flow to flush out irritants.
- Essential Oils –I use these to alleviate congestion due to allergies or a cold, I combine a few drops of lemon, lavender, and peppermint oil with a few drops of carrier oil such as almond oil and massage onto my temples, the sides of my face near my jaw/ear intersection and on my neck/chest. This helps open airways and encourage drainage of sinuses. At night, I place the lemon/lavender/peppermint blend (about 2 drops each) in my diffuser to work its magic while I sleep.
- Sinus Steaming – This is an easy tool for helping clean out your sinuses. I personally can’t use a neti-pot or similar sinus rinses as I notice I get dizzy soon after doing so (possibly from the pressure change of having the solution poured into my sinuses??). Therefore, I sought out another method of clearing sinuses that didn’t include putting liquids up my nose. Sinus steaming is simple. Get a cup of water and heat it to steaming. You can add a few drops of a disinfecting essential oil if you want such as oregano or tea tree oil. Or add a combo of lemon, lavender and peppermint for an allergy soothing mix. Then sit at the table with the cup in front of you and lean your head over the cup close enough that you can feel the steam entering your sinuses when you breathe in. It helps to drape a towel over your heat to create a little sauna effect. A nice hot steamy shower can also have a similar effect. I’ve found that this not only helps to dislodge any congestion but also is meditative and stress relieving. All wins in my book!
- Oil Pulling – This is an old Ayurvedic remedy that helps clear your sinuses. To do this, take a spoonful of oil (I use coconut oil) but you can use sesame or olive oil too) and swish it in your mouth for 10-20 minutes and then spit it out into the trash. The idea is that the bacteria in your mouth that cause bad breath and oral health issues cling to the oil and are then discarded rather than swallowed. I do this from time to time and can say it definitely makes your mouth feel cleaner and I have noticed that my sinuses drain more effectively after oil pulling which may be just due to the mechanics of moving your jaw to swish. It is also possible that the lessening of bacteria in your mouth leads to less bacteria in your sinuses by virtue that they are connected and therefore can avoid sinus infection.
- Immunotherapy (allergy shots) – I found these to be incredibly helpful. I did allergy shots for about 5 years. I attribute much of the decrease in my allergic response to those very specific allergens to undergoing monthly immunotherapy. The shots do have to be administered in a clinic and you have to wait for 30 minutes after in case you have a reaction to the injection so it takes a bit more time. Since these shots are sub-dermal instead of intramuscular, the needles aren’t as long so it’s not as painful as a regular shot. The cool thing about shots, is they do aim to cause permanent change in your immune response so you can eventually stop getting them.
** as always, do your research or check with a professional before adding herbal supplements to be sure they do not interact with any medications or other supplements you are currently taking.
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