There is nothing sweeter than that first wisp of spring air wafting through an open window or the first time you hear the crackle of fall leaves under your feet. Unfortunately, for more than 35 million Americans, these simple pleasures have come to herald another season of discomfort due to allergies.
I’m sure most of you are well versed in prescription and over-the-counter options that promise relief in handy 12-hour increments. If you have been battling allergies for years, you have probably worked your way through many of these drugs, yet you remain unsatisfied. That is because pharmaceutical allergy medications cause side effects, like drowsiness and dry mouth that can sometimes be as unpleasant as the actual allergies!
Relief Is Right Under Your Nose
If you can’t bear the thought of yet another season of popping expensive pills and spending all your time indoors, there is hope. There is a wide array of natural remedies for allergy symptoms and so are right in your own pantry.
The first one is simple table salt. Using a device called a neti pot that looks like a genie’s lamp you can flush out your nasal passages twice a day with a saltwater solution. This will clear out any pollen and thin the mucous so you feel clearer. You can also buy a prepared saline nasal spray, which is basically the same thing.
The Spice is Right
Have you ever been to a Mexican or Indian restaurant and sunk your teeth right into a chile pepper? After you’re done gulping down a cold drink and wiping the sweat from your brow, you may have noticed that your sinuses felt remarkably clear. Spices and certain aromatic herbs can actually thin the mucous in your nose, bringing welcome relief when allergies strike. Try acclimating yourself to spicier meals using cayenne pepper, fresh ginger, fenugreek, garlic and chiles in your cooking.
It’s also important to keep in mind that any food sensitivities can be doubly problematic during allergy season. Steer clear of foods that cause upset stomach so your immune system can stay strong enough to combat allergies.
Alternative Treatments–Something for Everyone
There are so many alternative methods for treating allergy symptoms, that I probably can’t fit them all into this article! Plus, new ones are being discovered everyday. Here is a list of the best natural allergy remedies I know:
1) Magnesium Supplements – This mineral acts as a natural antihistamine.
2) Lavender Oil – Rub this easy-to-find oil on your temples to help open nasal passages.
3) Nettle – Sold freeze-dried in capsule form, this weed naturally prevents the body from producing histamine.
4) Goldenseal – This herb, taken as a tonic or tea, has astringent and antibacterial abilities.
5) Quercetin – This nutrient is a powerful antioxidant that acts as an antihistamine. It is even more beneficial when taken along with vitamin C.
6) Omega-3 Fatty Acids – This nutrient fights inflammation that allergies can cause. It is found easily in nutritious foods like fatty fish and fortified eggs.
7) Acupuncture – This ancient Chinese therapy has been shown to relieve symptoms in allergy sufferers.
Remember to start some of these alternative therapies before allergy symptoms creep up on you. Taking quercetin supplements and eating omega-3 foods, for example, will prepare your body to handle the allergy onslaught, so start three to six weeks prior to allergy season.
Even more importantly, consult your doctor or allergist before mixing any alternative medicines with other drugs. Any new treatments, even if they are natural, should be cleared by your physician. Make this the year you will enjoy the changing seasons in all their glory!
Mark Rosenberg, M.D.
Web MD: http://www.webmd.com/allergies/features/natural-allergy-relief
Mother Earth Living: http://www.motherearthliving.com/issues/motherearthliving/natural_health/Natural-Allergy-Treatment_256-1.html