Natural Health and Fitness

Natural Remedies for Seasonal Allergies

natural remedies for seasonal allergiesOh, the seasonal allergies. They really can make our lives miserable. Symptoms include sneezing, sinuses, watery or itchy eyes, itchy roof of mouth, and coughing. While there are over the counter medications that may offer relief, some people prefer to try natural treatments first. In this post we shall briefly look at some natural remedies for seasonal allergies.

Seasonal allergic rhinitis is what is commonly referred to as hay fever. It can be seasonal but may also be perennial. Symptoms of seasonal allergies appear in spring, summer, and/or early fall. They are usually caused by sensitivity to pollens from trees, weeds, or grasses.

Let’s now look at some natural treatments that may help ease symptoms of seasonal allergies.

Natural Treatments for Seasonal Allergies

1. Quercetin

green apple with water drops on white backgroundNot many people may have heard of quercetin. So, what is it?

Well, quercetin is a phytonutrient or phytochemical. This is a substance found in certain plants that may have beneficial effects in preventing disease. Quercetin is a powerful natural antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antihistamine that has been linked to a number of benefits including heart health, improved immune function, and longevity.

Besides supporting your immune system, which by itself may be help combat allergies, quercetin has been demonstrated to reduce allergy symptoms and improve lung function.

Natural food sources of quercetin include apples, peppers, spinach, kale, broccoli, cherries, and berries. However, taking quercetin supplements made from plant extracts may be more effective than trying to eat enough quercetin-rich foods to fight off allergies.

Quercetin extracts are a main ingredient in many anti-allergic drugs, supplements, and enriched products. Studies have shown these to be effective in the treatment of bronchial asthma responses, allergic rhinitis and restricted peanut-induced anaphylactic reactions.[1]

Quercetin works well with bromelain (below). The latter is said to improve the absorption of the former.

2. Bromelain

fresh pineapple on white backgroundHardly known until recently, bromelain is just beginning to get known as a seasonal allergies fighter. Bromelain, an enzyme found in pineapple juice and the pineapple stem, is a natural-anti-inflammatory often used as medicine.[2] It is often marketed as a natural treatment for arthritis.

Bromelain benefits include reducing inflammation and swelling and promoting wound healing. It may help in reducing nasal swelling and thinning mucus, which can offer relief for seasonal allergies as well as making it easier to breath.

Though you can get bromelain by eating pineapple or drinking pineapple juice, to get it in effective doses would require taking bromelain supplements.

Bromelain works well with quercetin (above) and is said to improve quercetin absorption.

3. Neti Pot

Plastic neti potThis is the one treatment for seasonal allergies that is neither food nor herb. And it is one that does not require oral consumption of something. I discovered the neti pot many years ago, long before it came to be known in the west, via a book on yoga and clean living.

Dr Oz helped popularize the neti pot (see image above) in America through his show. Use of the neti pot has been shown to help ease allergy and respiratory symptoms, without side effects.

You simply clear your nostrils by pouring lukewarm water through one nostril and letting it come out the other (with head tilted to one side). It is best to use distilled or sterile water, as tap water may contain chlorine and fluoride that could aggravate symptoms. Some health experts recommend adding a teaspoon or so of non-iodized salt in the water.

4. Butterbur

Petasites officinalisButterbur (petasites hybridus), comes from the butterbur plant, which is a perennial shrub found in Asia, North America, and Europe. It is also known as petasites or purple butter. Butterbur is one of the most well-researched natural treatments for seasonal allergies. Butterbur extract, known as Ze 339, has been shown to work as well as antihistamines.[3]

Butterbur supplements containing the active ingredient, known as petasin or isopetasin, are available. You should only go for butterbur products that are certified “PA-free” as these are considered safe and well-tolerated when taken by mouth and in the recommended doses for up to 16 weeks.[4]

5. Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)

apple cider vinegar with the motherOne of the most popular everything-but-the-kitchen-sink remedies, apple cider vinegar (ACV) is indeed a wonder liquid. While some of the claims may be a stretch, ACV does have some amazing health benefits. ACV may also help seasonal allergies, although evidence on this is largely anecdotal.

Taking one teaspoon of ACV first thing in the morning may help reduce allergy symptoms. Take with juice of one lemon and honey, or even throw in a dash of cinnamon, for a power-packed morning beverage. And no, you don’t have to skip your morning cup of coffee or breakfast; just take it about 30 minutes later.

6. Probiotics and Prebiotics

Probiotic yogurt.There’s not healthy body without a healthy gut. Probiotics are healthy bacteria or microorganisms that help fight off unhealthy bacteria. Prebiotics help nourish and sustain probiotics.

You can get probiotics by eating fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, cheese, and kimchi. Prebiotic foods include kiwi, artichoke, garlic, onions, and bananas.

You can also take a good quality probiotic supplement (that also contains prebiotics to keep the probiotics healthy). Remember we’re talking about living healthy bacteria here, so you can’t afford to compromise on quality.

Related: Probiotics May Help Fight Cold Symptoms

7. Coenzyme Q10

Coenzyme Q10 capsule, 3D renderingA fairly new entrant to the market, especially when compared to fish oil and multivitamin, Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) has become one of the most popular supplements today. CoQ10 is an enzyme that occurs naturally in the body as well as in in many foods.

CoQ10 is also a powerful antioxidant and may protect your cells against damage from free radicals. Many health conditions including Parkinson’s, diabetes, bronchitis and allergies have been linked to depleted levels of CoQ10. People with severe allergies often have low levels of CoQ10.

Although the body can make some CoQ10 on its own, production naturally declines with age. In fact, this decline begins quite early – it peaks at around 21 years of age and then begins to decline. Therefore taking CoQ10 supplements may be a good way to get this vital enzyme.

8. Eucalyptus

EucalyptusEucalyptus is a tree whose dried leaves and oil are used to make medicine. Eucalyptus is used in the treatment of various conditions, by itself or as an ingredient. These include bronchitis, asthma, plaque and gingivitis, and toe nail fungus, among other conditions. Eucalyptus oil contains chemicals that may help pain and inflammation, and block chemicals that cause asthma.[5]

Eucalyptus oil may also open up the lungs and sinuses. This combined with its anti-inflammatory properties may help with your congestion.

For seasonal allergies and/or congestion, diffuse a few drops of eucalyptus oil in the air or apply topically to chest and temples. To clear nasal passages and relieve congestion, pour a few drops of eucalyptus oil into a bowl of hot water. Next, cover your head and the bowl with a towel and inhale deeply for a few minutes.

9.Tea Tree Oil

Melaleuca essential oil in the pharmaceutical bottle with twigs.Despite what the name suggests, tea tree has nothing to do with the popular brew or its tree. Also known as melaleuca oil, tea tree oil comes from an entirely different plant known as Melaleuca alternifoli, or the Australian tea tree. Believed to be an antibacterial, tea tea oil is commonly used to treat athletes foot, acne, nail fungus, and insect bites among other uses.

Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, tea tree oil oil may help with allergies.

Diffusing the oil in the home may help kill mold, bacteria, and fungi.

While it may help with allergies, tea tea oil is known for triggering allergies (a paradoxical effect). You should therefore test a skin patch test carefully first. Tea tree oil should never be taken orally. Consulting with a healthcare professional is advised.

10. Lavender

lavenderLavender (Lavandula) is a flowering plant with medicinal properties and a variety of uses. Lavender oil is a powerful anti-inflammatory and therefore may help with allergy symptoms, including seasonal allergies. It is also a natural antihistamine. The oil is an ingredient in many skin care products and is used to treat rashes and hives.

For seasonal allergies, you can use lavender oil in diffuser or add a few drops to a bowl/cup of hot water, cover your head over it and inhale deeply for a few minutes. Or, soak in a hot bath with the oil added to it.

Although it may offer relief, lavender oil may also trigger allergies in some people. A skin test patch is advised. Consulting a healthcare professional is advised.

Just a Few Other Basic Things

While you’re at it, don’t forget about the benefit of good old cleanliness. Wash your face often, and flush your eyes with clean water, to remove allergens. Take a shower and change your clothes as well. Shoes carry all kinds of allergens and toxins from everywhere you walk. Leave them at the door.

Also, we’re talking about natural remedies for seasonal allergies for mild to moderate symptoms. Severe symptoms still need medical attention and could even be an emergency.

You should also consult a physician for allergies that don’t seem to go away in about a week or two. Plus, it is possible to be allergic to a natural allergy treatment itself. When in doubt, consult your doctor.


References:

[1] PubMed: Quercetin and Its Anti-Allergic Immune Response

[2] WebMD: Bromelain

[3] WebMD: 12 Natural Ways to Defeat Allergies

[4] NIH: Butterbur

[5] WebMD: Eucalyptus


None of the statements on this page have been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Any featured, recommended or mentioned products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Contents are provided for your information only and should not be construed as medical advice or instruction. You should consult appropriate health professionals on any matter relating to your health and well-being.

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