Allergies- Top 10 Natural Remedies to help relieve symptoms
So it is allergy season, your nose is stuffy, eyes are watery and itchy, you can’t open your windows, & you are miserable. But what are allergies and what can you do to feel better?
Think of pollen as little sea urchins floating up your nasal passages and traveling into your body and invading it. Now your body is going to create soldiers (histamines) to fight these invaders. When an allergen (pollen, dust-mites, pet dander, etc.) triggers the immune system, mast cells (a type of white blood cells) release histamines as part of the inflammatory immune reaction. It’s this inflammation that gives you puffy, swollen eyes or a blistery skin rash.
Most allergy medicine you take contain ‘antihistamines’ , antihistamines block or reduce your bodies ability to produce histamines, thus reducing your allergy symptoms. The truth is, you might not even have allergies, but your body might just be really good (too good in fact) at creating soldiers to fight invaders. However, none of this information helps you feel better during allergy season so what can you do now to relieve the symptoms?
Top 10 Allergy Remedies #1 Stinging Nettle
Nettle has been studied extensively and has shown promise in treating Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, asthma, bladder infections, bronchitis, bursitis, gingivitis, gout, hives, kidney stones, laryngitis, multiple sclerosis, PMS, prostate enlargement, sciatica, and tendinitis! Externally it has been used to improve the appearance of the hair, and is said to be a remedy against oily hair and dandruff.
Stinging nettle is a blessing for any one who suffers from allergies. Its secret lies in the nutritional boost it gives the body as well as the anti-inflammatory action of its leaf. Nettle is usually thought of as relief for pollen allergies but recent studies have concluded patients with skin conditions such as eczema and hives benefit as well. Nettle root increases the production of T cells, which is vital to controlling allergic reactions. A dose of nettle before meals can help people with mild to moderate food allergies.
Pour one cup of boiling water over 1 teaspoon of nettle leaf or 2 Tbsp of fresh nettle leaf
Allow to steep for 10 minutes.
Strain and serve
Top 10 Allergy Remedies #2 Honey- Local and Raw
Honey contains a treasure chest of hidden nutritional and medicinal value for centuries. The sweet golden liquid from the beehive is a popular kitchen staple loaded with antibacterial and antifungal properties that has been used since the early days of Egyptian tombs.
The way honey helps with allergies is based on the immunotherapy concept. Immunotherapy is slowly introducing your body to it’s allergen in very small doses so your body can build a natural resistance to the allergen.
Bees forage up to five miles from their hive visiting thousands of plants collecting nectar and pollen. The pollen from these thousands of plants gets transferred into their honey so when you consume this raw, local honey you are receiving tiny amounts of various types of pollinating plants in your area. Consuming the honey over a period of time, your body will build a natural immunity and no longer think of these pollen’s as invaders during allergy season. The key is to consume local honey, honey from somewhere other than where you live will not serve you any purpose in creating a defense against vegetation in your area. Another tip, if you plan to travel to an area during allergy season, order some local honey from there in advance to help prepare your body for it’s new environment.
Top 10 Allergy Remedies #3 Nose Trap
To help reduce allergens from entering your body in the first place, rub a good amount of salve (think Vaseline but all-natural) on your nostrils before going outside. The pollen/dust particles will get trapped in the sticky salve before entering your nasal cavity. Once you return indoors wash the salve off and your face then follow up with a cold face compress.
To make your own all-natural salve, click here for the recipe from Mountain Rose Herbs
Top 10 Allergy Remedies #4 Neti Pot
A neti pot is a container designed to rinse debris or mucus from your nasal cavity. Many people with sinus symptoms from allergies and environmental irritants also have begun to regularly use the Neti Pot or other nasal irrigation devices, claiming that these devices alleviate congestion, and facial pain and pressure. Research backs up these claims, finding that nasal irrigation can be an effective way to relieve sinus symptoms when used along with standard sinus treatments. For some people, nasal irrigation may bring relief of sinus symptoms without the use of medications.
A neti pot is a simple device that looks like a small teapot. Warm, sterile water is mixed with pure salt in the pot. While tilting your head slightly to one side, place the spout in your nostril on top and let the saline solution drain through your bottom nostril.
Top 10 Allergy Remedies #5 Stop Eating Dairy
(just during allergy season, don’t worry)
Consuming pasteurized dairy products could compromise your immune system, thus making it hard to fight off intruders. While the CDC acknowledges that pasteurization inactivates certain enzymes and reduces certain vitamins like Vitamin C, it argues that “milk is not a major source of Vitamin C” in the U.S. diet.
‘Skip the dairy aisle James Matthew Andry, MD, co-founder of MDWeightWorx, says dairy is a somewhat complex category. The story begins with evolution: “We started domesticating animals 10,000 years ago, and since then we’ve been debating on whether it’s OK to eat dairy or not,” says Andry. He says most commercial dairy products exacerbate allergies due to their primary protein, beta-casein, which is created during the pasteurization process and which the immune system tries to “fight.”
BUT good news! Consuming raw and Unpasteurized dairy helps seasonal allergies.
The exception when it comes to dairy? Raw, unpasteurized milk from grass-fed cows, which can actually treat seasonal allergy symptoms, says Andry. “I’ve seen scores of patients with eczema, asthma, and allergies whose symptoms improve thanks to all the antibodies in the milk that aren’t pasteurized out. It’s like giving someone an IgG, which is a bunch of antibodies. It helps fight infections, allergens, and supports the immune system.”
Top 10 Allergy Remedies #6 Elderberry
Elderberries were listed in the CRC Handbook of Medicinal Herbs as early as 1985, and are listed in the 2000 Mosby’s Nursing Drug reference for colds, flu, yeast infections, nasal and chest congestion, and hay fever.
Elderberry is a European folk remedy typically used for supporting health during bouts of the cold and flu. However, there is evidence that the active ingredients in elderberry also support the sinuses by discouraging swelling of the mucous membranes. This benefit makes elderberry an excellent tool for supporting health while combating seasonal allergy symptoms. It naturally protects defenses by keeping bacteria in check, and it has also been used to deter sinusitis and nasal congestion.
Elderberries contain organic pigments, tannin, amino acids, carotenoids, flavonoids, sugar, rutin, viburnic acid,vitaman A and B and a large amount of vitamin C. They are also mildly laxative, a diuretic, and diaphoretic. Flavonoids, including quercetin, are believed to account for the therapeutic actions of the elderberry flowers and berries. According to test tube studies these flavonoids include anthocyanins that are powerful antioxidants and protect cells against damage.
Extensive research confirms that the most powerful antioxidant berries are those that contain a class of polyphenols known as anthocyanins. These nutrients create the deep red, blue, and purple pigments found in plants such as blueberries, elderberries, blackberries, and açaí.1,6-8 Berry anthocyanins strongly combat oxidative stress, a causative factor in the pathogenesis of many major diseases1 such as Parkinson’s disease,9 Alzheimer’s disease,10 amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS),11,12 cancer,13 and allergic disorders.14
My favorite Elderberry Syrup to make is this one from Wellnessmama, we make it every year and take it during allergy and cold season.
Top 10 Allergy Remedies #7 Quercetin
Quercetin is a natural bioflavonoid that is said to help stabilize mast cells to keep them from releasing histamine. It is also a potent antioxidant that is said to help reduce inflammation. It is best used as a long term remedy and many people start taking it about 4-6 weeks before allergy season to help prevent allergy symptoms.
Though Quercetin is naturally found in foods, it is very difficult to get the amount needed to relive allergies from food alone. A supplemental dose can be helpful for preventing allergies or helping acute symptoms.
Fruits and vegetables are the primary dietary sources of quercetin, particularly citrus fruits, apples, onions, parsley, sage, tea, and red wine. Olive oil, grapes, dark cherries, and dark berries such as blueberries, blackberries, and bilberries are also high in quercetin and other flavonoids.
Top 10 Allergy Remedies #8 Eat Healthy
Several foods have been associated with reducing allergy symptoms and asthma. Eating your way to better health will not only make you feel great but will be better for you than over the counter medicines.
- Fish- Some studies show that omega-3 fatty acids found in fish might lower your chances of getting allergies in the first place.
- Nuts- high in omega fatty acids and selenium. Selenium is a powerful antioxidant that reduces inflammation in the body and also helps lower the allergic response one suffers from during allergy season.
- Foods high in Quercetin (see above list)
- Eat foods high in antioxidants: fresh fruit and vegetables. Antioxidants reduce inflammation and oxidative stress in our bodies.
Top 10 Allergy Remedies #9 Prevention
This list may seem all too obvious but sometimes it is the simplest solutions that we often overlook.
- Avoid using window fans to cool rooms, because they can pull pollen indoors.
- Keep windows closed when driving, using the air conditioner if necessary, to avoid allergens.
- Limit your time outdoors when ragweed pollen counts are highest
- Wash your face and change your clothes as soon as you return from the outdoors
- Use the hottest water possible when washing clothes to completely rid them of pollen and dust mites
- Use a HEPA filter. The best-known mechanical filter is the high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter. HEPA (which is a type of filter, not a brand name) was developed during World War II to prevent radioactive particles from escaping from laboratories.
- Don’t rake or mow the lawn, if it is unavoidable wear a respirator and eye-ware.
- Don’t forget your fur family during allergy season, keep their coats clean and pollen free.
Top 10 Allergy Remedies #10 DIY Eye Drops
If you have itchy watery eyes from allergies, eyedrops help you feel better. First wash your face with cold water and place a cold cloth over your eyes, next use eye drops to help rid your eyes of allergens and keep moist.
Keep your eyes free of debris and clear with this all-natural DIY Eye Drop Recipe.
- 1 cup Distilled Water (do not use tap or filtered- only distilled)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Pinch of baking soda
- First, boil the eye dropper in water to sanitize it.
- Add 1 cup of distilled organic water into a clean pan. Into the water,
- Add ¼ tsp of salt and a pinch (less than 1/8 tsp) of baking soda.
- Mix well
- Boil for a minute to sterilize the mixture.
- Allow the mixture to cool completely before using. Be careful because you don’t want to injure your eyes with a mixture that is too hot.
- When the solution is cool, use the sterilized eye dropper and add two drops to each affected eye.
- Store the eye-drop mixture in a clean and sterilized container.