Ragweed. Pollen. Mold. Dust. The list goes on for miles…things millions of us are allergic to. And those of us seeking relief from allergies seems to continue to climb. And while many of us go the traditional route of OTC allergy medication, more and more people are seeking a way to naturally relieve allergies. Whether from a cost perspective, to eliminate risky side effects, or to engage in a more planet-friendly lifestyle, there are a plethora of ways to naturally relieve your allergies.
Before unlocking the secret to your allergies, it’s important to understand what causes them in the first place. It’s all about histamines and inflammation. For instance, when a grain of pollen saunters into your nose, if you are predisposed to being uber-sensitive to pollen, your nose is going to send out a red alert. Once the pollen touches a mucous membrane, receptors will identify it as a dangerous intruder and release an army of histamines to fight it. The histamines launch a war to vanquish the pollen, which can be itchy, watery eyes, sneezing, or congestion…all of which spell inflammation, often called your inflammatory response. The trick to calming your allergies is to calm your inflammatory response, and there are many schools of thought on different natural ways to recondition your body’s inflammatory response to allergens.
#1: Neti Pots+
A neti pot
is a simple contraption that looks just like a teapot. You fill it with a mixture of warm water and non-iodized salt, tip your head sideways over a sink, flush the mixture through one nostril, and after it takes a journey through your sinuses, it pours into the sink. Voila! Proponents claim the salt water loosens mucus and clears allergens out of your head, thus helping to naturally relieve allergies.
#2: Fish Oil+
Fish oil has been steadily gaining popularity for its myriad of health benefits, including fighting allergies. The EPA and DHA fatty acids in fish oil supplements block the pro-inflammatory chemicals in your body that are responsible for the allergy symptoms that cause you so much grief. The best part of taking fish oil versus taking an OTC antihistamine is that while your body eventually builds up resistance to antihistamine drugs, this isn’t the case with fish oil.
#3: Herbal Supplements+
There are many herbal ingredients reported to provide powerful allergy relief. Among the top rankers are Quercetin and Bromelain. Quercetin is a naturally-occurring flavonoid found in many foods, but some say modern farming techniques strip the quercetin content out of food, so that means supplementation is key. Quercetin is thought to encourage healthy histamine release, so your body doesn’t launch a full-fledged attack every time you walk through pollen. Bromelain is a mixture of protein-digesting enzymes, or proteases, that comes from pineapple stalks and helps fight inflammation. Natural health gurus recommend taking these two ingredients together because they work synergistically.
#4: Shower & Steam+
There are multiple reasons to jump into a hot steam shower. After being outdoors or gardening, this is especially useful simply to wash off any potential allergens and irritants that might be clinging to your hair and skin. As for steam, not only is it relaxing, but it may help temporarily relieve congestion and sooth nasal passages. If you don’t want to jump in, just cover your head with a towel, and lean over a hot, steaming bowl of water and inhale.
#5: Spicy Foods+
Many allergy sufferers claim to inherently crave spicy foods when their allergies are in full force. This may be your body’s way of saying, “Help me!” When hayfever strikes, increase your intake of ingredients like garlic, ginger, cayenne, wasabi, and chili peppers. Garlic
, for example, is packed full of antioxidants and healing essential oils that fight free radicals to control your inflammatory response to allergens.
#6: Hot Tea+
Whether you need a hot cup at night when congestion sets in, or any time throughout the day, hot tea can provide soothing relief. The menthol in peppermint tea acts as an expectorant to break up mucus and flush it out of your sinuses. The EGCG in green tea has antioxidant properties that block your allergic reaction.
#7: Saline Spray+
Saline sprays are a common way to get instant relief from allergies. For those not fond of the neti pot experience, saline spray
is a good alternative. Just hold one nostril shut and spray into your other nostril as you inhale.
In testing out some of these alternative natural remedies, in addition to naturally relieving allergies that have plagued you for years, you may also uncover other ways these natural remedies benefit your health. Tell us about your experience!