Spring is just around the corner. Yay! Or not, if you’re one of the millions for whom spring means itchy, watery eyes, sneezing and a streaming nose. Help is at hand – we bring you 10 all-natural treatments for allergies.
The change of seasons can be a mixed blessing. Spring and autumn may be beautiful, but they’re treacherous if all that pollen and dust in the air trigger soggy misery. Many over-the-counter remedies clear your head but leave you feeling lethargic. So what’s the natural alternative?
Well, the truth is that there are no silver-bullet natural treatments for allergies. But if you want to keep your symptoms to a minimum now and into the future, these lifestyle changes offer the healthiest and most natural long-term solutions to your wheezes.
Try our 10 all-natural treatments for allergies – and let us know what works for you:
- Apple cider vinegar is one of the age-old treatments for allergies. It’s said to help reduce mucus production and cleanse the lymphatic system. You need to use it consistently. Mix one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, one tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice and ½ tablespoon raw honey – drink three times a day.
- Rinse your sinuses. Get a neti pot (available online or from large pharmacies and health shops). This teapot-shaped vessel basically flushes out your sinuses with a salt-water mixture. ‘Rinsing the nose with saline solution is similar to using saline eye drops to rinse out pollen,’ says Dr Steven Osborne, a medical officer in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health. Use a pre-made saline rinse or make your own by dissolving 1 teaspoon of Himalayan or sea salt in a litre of boiled distilled water. Once cool, decant into the neti pot and pour through one nostril, letting the liquid drain out the other. A word of warning from the Mayo Clinic: if you use tap water, make sure to boil it for a few minutes before using it. And clean the pot properly – bacteria in tap water can cause infections.
- Local honey.. There’s little scientific evidence to back this one, but many people who have used local honey to immunise their bodies against seasonal allergies swear by its effectiveness. There are no side effects (unless you are allergic to bees, of course), so take a teaspoonful twice a day to relieve symptoms. (Remember that young children should not have raw honey.) Check with your healthcare practitioner beforehand.
- Shut the windows and turn on the aircon. Create a barrier between you and the outdoors. According to Dr Myngoc Nguyen of the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in the US, ‘Using an air conditioner in your car can cut the amount of pollen you breathe by as much as 30 per cent.’
- Balance your gut bacteria. Allergies are caused by an imbalance in the immune system that causes the body to experience extreme reactions to certain stimuli. Research from the US has linked the presence of ‘good’ bacteria in the gut with reduced allergic reactions. So make sure your diet is varied, with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, and fermented foods and drinks such as kombucha and kefir. And take a good-quality probiotic capsule.
- Drink green tea. A Japanese study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry revealed that the anti-oxidant EGCG (methylated epigallocatechin gallate) in green tea blocks the production of histamine and reduces the production of immunoglobulin E, both of which trigger allergy symptoms.
- Take quercetin. This anti-oxidant, found in many fruits and vegetables, has an anti-inflammatory effect that helps quell allergic symptoms. A Japanese study found that taking quercetin daily for eight weeks significantly reduced itching and irritation of the eyes in people with pollen allergies.
- Up your intake of fish oil. Research published in the American Review of Respiratory Diseases found that the omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil, which are potent anti-inflammatories, reduced the symptoms of asthmatics who were sensitive to pollen. Fish oil lowers the levels of leukotrienes, chemicals that prompt allergic reactions.
- Change your clothes. One of the really simple treatments for allergies is to prevent pollen spreading in your home by changing your clothes and shoes after venturing outside during allergy season. Pet fur carries pollen too, so keep dogs and cats as clean as possible.
- Take a good-quality allergy fighter. Many over-the-counter allergy remedies make you sleepy. Flora Force AllergoTM combines all-natural ingredients that may help reduce allergic irritation and inflammation of the mucous membranes without making you nod off at your desk. It’s one of our favourite go-to products for allergies.
We wish you a sneeze-free spring!
Acknowledgements & Photo credits
Article compiled for Flora Force by Judy Beyer.
- Furrie, E. Probiotics and allergy. The Proceedings of the Nutrition Society. 2005, Nov;64(4):465-9. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16313688
- Hubbard, S.B. 7 Natural ways to treat spring allergies. NewsMax Health. 2016, March. http://www.newsmax.com/Health/Headline/natural-ways-treat-spring/2016/03/14/id/719064/
- Schumaker, E. 4 All-natural seasonal allergy remedies and one big myth. The Huffington Post. 2016, April. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/natural-allergy-remedies-honey_us_5717e3e6e4b0c9244a7abb32
- US Food and Drug Administration. Is rinsing your sinuses safe? 2015, July. http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm316375.htm
- Wellness Mama. 7 Natural remedies for allergy relief. 2016. http://wellnessmama.com/8370/allergy-relief-remedies/
- Image courtesy of Mojpe / Pixabay.com