Spring and summer may mean the end of the winter season and more time spent outdoors in the sun, but they also mean the beginning of allergy season.
For those with seasonal allergies, this makes spring and summer the most dreaded time of year – sufferers experience itchy, watery eyes, a stuffy nose, sneezing, and even difficulty breathing.
Many people with allergies seek relief from over-the-counter allergy medication. But before you reach for the anti-histamines, check out these natural remedies for common allergy symptoms.
Butterbur roots and leaves have a long history of being used to treat grass and pollen allergies. A double-blind trial found that the effectiveness of butterbur isn’t just an old wives tale – it’s not only an affective treatment for allergies, but it’s relatively well-tolerated as well(1).
Just be sure that your butterbur extracts are certified as “PA-free” – the plant itself contains a highly toxic ingredient known as pyrrolizidine alkaloids, which can damage the liver and cause cancer.
Quercetin occurs naturally in onions, green tea, red wine, apples, berries, and several other foods as well. It works by affecting the immune system, preventing it from releasing histamines in response to specific allergens.
An anti-inflammatory, quercetin is effective in dealing not just with allergies, but in inhibiting contact dermatitis and photosensitivity as well(2).
Also known as Tinospora cordifolia, guduchi – a staple in the Ayurvedic pharmacy – has only recently begun to catch on in the west as an allergy medicine, but it’s newfound popularity is not unearned. There’s scientific evidence that guduchi is an effective anti-allergen(3).
4. Stinging Nettle
Despite the fact that this plant, when untreated, can deliver a chemical “sting” to the skin, when properly processed, stinging nettle extract can effectively inhibit several key inflammatory events that cause the symptoms of seasonal allergies(4).
5. Timothy Grass
Notable in particular because of it’s safety – even when taken by children – timothy grass can gradually immunize against hay fever(5).
6. Local Organic Honey
Although scientists still aren’t sure exactly how this works, early trials have concluded that honey can improve allergy symptoms significantly(6).
7. Neti Pot
Finally, there’s the Neti pot – a handy little device that can be used to flush out allergens from the nasal cavity using a saline rinse. It’s recommended that you use the Neti pot twice a day to keep your sinuses clear and healthy(7).
Managing Seasonal Allergies
When dealing with seasonal allergies, it’s important to keep in mind that everyone’s immune system is different – what works for some people may not be as effective for others.
If your allergies are causing you difficulty breathing, consult with a doctor before you try any home remedies – it’s better to be safe than sorry, after all.
But for the low-level daily irritation of regular allergy symptoms, these natural remedies can provide some much-needed relief – without the need of anti-histamines.