Spring is officially here. In addition to the birds, flowers and sweet-smelling air, spring is also the season for allergies. If you suffer from a wide array of seasonal allergy symptoms such as fatigue; sinus congestion; itchy eyes, nose or throat; or watery eyes, don’t let a high pollen count get you down this season. Here are 10 natural remedies for allergies from my book Allergy-Proof: Over 60 All-Natural, Drug-Free Ways to Beat Allergies.
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1. Build Your Defenses with Bacteria
Research by scientists at the Osaka University School of Medicine found that certain probiotics were effective in the treatment of nasal and sinus symptoms linked to allergies. According to their study, published in the International Archives of Allergy and Immunology, the specific strains that are effective include: Lactobacilli casei, Lactobacillus paracasei, L. acidophilus, and Bifidobacterium longum. Supplement your diet with a high-quality probiotic taken on an empty stomach.
2. Drink More Alkaline Water
Drink at least 8 to 10 cups of pure alkaline water daily to support the natural cleansing systems in your body. Research even shows that staying well hydrated helps 38 percent of women relieve allergy symptoms. Most tap or bottled water is acidic. Acidity has been linked to allergies (The Ultimate pH Solution). By switching to alkaline water, you’re helping to further reduce allergies. Read my post The Healing Power of Alkaline Water to learn more.
3. Supplement with Sea Buckthorn
If spring pollens aggravate asthmatic symptoms, you might want to supplement with sea buckthorn. Sea buckthorn has been used extensively in Traditional Chinese Medicine for lung conditions and asthma. Its use for asthma and chronic coughing are recorded in the Tibetan and Mongolian Pharmacopoeia. Learn more about sea buckthorn on my website.
4. Drink Green Tea
Green tea is packed with a powerful antioxidant phytonutrient called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) that blocks histamine and immunoglobulin E (IgE). Both of these naturally-produced chemicals are linked with uncomfortable allergy symptoms. Because EGCG blocks their production, allergy symptoms are reduced. If you don’t like the taste of green tea, add matcha powder, which is simply powdered green tea, to your dairy-free fruit smoothies. (Dairy products are mucus-forming and can aggravate allergies). Drink two to three cups of green tea daily for the best results.
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5. Take Quercetin to Quell Allergy Symptoms
Quercetin is an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-histamine phytonutrient. Quercetin has an excellent ability to reduce allergy symptoms and to improve lung function. Apples and onions are excellent sources of quercetin. Some studies show that people who eat a lot of apples have improved lung function and reduced risk of lung conditions. Other good sources include: berries, cabbage, cauliflower, nuts, and black, green or white tea.
6. Choose Nettles for Allergies
Native Americans used stinging nettles for thousands of years to treat many health conditions, including allergies. Now, science has proven what these wise people knew from experience: that nettles are an effective allergy treatment. Unlike pharmaceuticals, which cause heart problems or drowsiness, nettles do neither. Nettles are conveniently available in the dried form for making tea, liquid tinctures to take as drops, or in capsule form.
7. Pick Pineapple Enzyme for Allergy Relief
Extracted from pineapple, when taken on an empty stomach, the enzyme bromelain treats sinusitis, bronchitis, pneumonia and other respiratory disorders; acts as an anti-inflammatory; and reduces lung swelling. I usually suggest one or two capsules containing 5000 mcu each on an empty stomach, three times daily.
8. Select Homeopathic Allium Cepa
If you have allergy symptoms that are worse indoors, at night or in warm rooms, along with red and burning eyes and a clear, burning nasal discharge, the homeopathic remedy Allium Cepa may be best for you. Start with a 6X or 30X remedy if you can find it. Let three pellets dissolve under the tongue every 15 minutes for the first hour or two. Then take three pellets, three times daily.
9. Flush Your Nasal Passages
Using a neti pot, which is a small ceramic dish shaped a bit like a gravy boat, you can flush your sinuses with a salt-water solution. Most health food stores sell neti pots and saline packets ready to mix with water. You can either follow the package directions or you can purchase sea salt and mix it with pure warm water. Start with one-quarter teaspoon of sea salt to one cup of water. Simply lean over a sink and tilt your head to the side to pour the water into one nostril and allow it to run out the other nostril. It may take some practice but it is an excellent way to cleanse and eliminate mucous and microbes. Over time, you can increase to one-half a teaspoon of sea salt per cup of water and cool down the temperature of water you use.
10. Eliminate Sugar
Sugar is highly acid- and mucus-forming, helping to aggravate allergies. I put my clients on a minimum 30-day low sugar diet (and no that doesn’t mean adding artificial sweeteners), and most of them see dramatic improvements in their environmental allergies even if they do nothing else.
Adapted with permission from Allergy-Proof: Over 60 All-Natural, Drug-Free Ways to Beat Allergies from Michelle Schoffro Cook, MSc, PhD.
Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, ROHP, is an international best-selling and fourteen-time author and publisher of the free e-newsletter World’s Healthiest News. Subscribe to her free e-magazine World’s Healthiest News to receive monthly health news, tips, recipes and more. Follow her on her blog on care2.com, Twitter @mschoffrocook and Facebook.