Natural Allergy Relief Remedies
Spring means blooms, color, and flowers, but it also means sneezing, itchy eyes, and runny nose for some. For most of my life I have struggled big time with spring and summer allergies. When lawns were mowed, I had to close the windows and sit in the house for the grass to settle down. I was on multiple prescription allergy medications and while my eyes may have itched a little less, I felt loopy and out of it. The medicines put me in a fog and some days I wondered which was worse - the fog or the symptoms.
I became so fed up with dealing with allergies that I was on a mission to kick them for good. I looked into the allergy shots thinking they would be a cure. I was disappointed and, quite frankly, shocked at the process they entail. Allergy shots give you a little bit of the allergen each time to help your body build a defense over time. However, I learned you need to receive them weekly for a few months, then biweekly for a few months, until this process turns into years.
The kicker? People that I know who have done them say you can never stop or the symptoms come back. The shots don't cure the allergies.
This seemed insane to me. I had exhausted all medicinal avenues and came up empty. For such a common ailment caused by our natural environment, I couldn't wrap my head around how there was no way to manage or cure allergies without drugs and hundreds of needles.
I turned to researching natural allergy remedies and have had results I never thought possible. After just a couple years of natural supplements, my allergies are essentially gone. I have not had to take anything yet this season as I hear colleagues and friends lament how horrible this allergy season is.
Note: This is intended for minor seasonal environmental allergies from trees, flowers, and grass. This is not for food, medicine, animal, or other allergies or those that cause dangerous physical reactions. I am highly allergic to cats and still need to take prescription medications to prevent a reaction. If you have such allergies, do not change your medicines without speaking to a doctor.
Butterbur is an herb most commonly used to treat migraines and hay fever. Its use can be traced all the way back to the Middle Ages to fight the plague.
As for allergies, studies have shown that it may be just as effective as Zyrtec (cetirizine) and Allegra (fexofenadine). The study found that by taking the pills for one week patients had a significant decrease in the allergy producing substances leukotriene and histamine. (Source)
Most commonly taken in pill form, butterbur acts similarly to an antihistamine by blocking the allergic reaction. In my own experience, butterbur has been incredible. I have taken butterbur for a few seasons and my reactions have been drastically reduced and I barely have any symptoms. If you try it, make sure to give butterbur a week or two to get in your system to be most effective.
2. Neti Pot
Butterbur will help prevent allergy symptoms in the first place, but what if you're already feeling the congestion and runny nose? A neti pot can work wonders to relieve your symptoms by rinsing away what is irritating your nasal cavity.
The neti pot uses salt water to stream from in one nostril and out the other to help clear out the irritation and congestion.
A few tips if you are a first timer:
- Don't tilt your head backwards or it will go down your throat. Lean forward over the sink and it will help the water go in one side and out the other.
- It helps to blow your nose between flushing each nostril. You may find that your nose will run during this as it is cleaning out your nasal cavities.
You MUST MUST use sterilized water. Big emphasis on this one. Do not fill the pot straight from your tap. Tap water contains parasites that would normally be killed by stomach acid when drinking but if you use in the neti pot it presents a risk of entering your brain.
- To sterilize your tap water, boil the water for 3-5 minutes and then let cool (don't burn your nose!) to mix with the salt.
3. Drink Diluted Apple Cider Vinegar
ACV increases your potassium which helps decrease runny noses and breaks up the mucus. Dilute this with a glass of water and one teaspoon of ACV and drink warm or cold.
Optional: if the taste is too much you can add a dash of lemon juice.
4. Eat Raw, Local Honey
Similar to the idea of allergy shots, eating a tablespoon of local honey a day helps build an immunity to the pollen since it contains trace amounts of it. The key here is honey manufactured elsewhere and sent to the grocery store won't help. Try visiting your local farmers' market for honey produced near you.
You can eat the honey straight, mix it into tea, oatmeal, or your smoothie.