According to the Center for Disease Control, seasonal allergies affect over 6 million children and 20 million adults in the United States. Odds are you or someone you know have experienced the tell-tale allergy symptoms that come with the onset of Spring: congestion, runny nose, watery eyes, and itchy nose and throat. Before you head to the pharmacy to grab those antihistamines you may want to try some of these natural solutions to kick your allergies.
Local Raw Honey
Bees are great pollinators as they fly from plant to plant. They then take bits of pollen that sticks to their feet back to the hive and it gets integrated into the honey they produce. Taking a tablespoon of local, raw honey every day will introduce your immune system to the pollen in your area and help your body become tolerant so your immune system is no longer activated every time you walk outside.
The honey needs to be raw so the pollen particulates have not been filtered out and high temperature heating processes may negate the benefits as well. You can eat the honey straight or add it to tea or oatmeal.
Quercetin is a plant polyphenol naturally found in foods such as broccoli or cauliflower, onions, green tea and citrus fruits. In allergic reactions, a compound called histamine is released in an attempt to rid your body of the offending agent like pollen or dander. Quercetin acts to stabilize the release of histamines and minimize the allergy symptoms experienced from its release.
Quercetin can be a bit of a long game as it can take several weeks to see results but if you are prone to allergies you can start taking it in preparation before Spring arrives.
Neti Pot has the ability to provide immediate congestion relief as well as remove allergy causing agents responsible for the congestion in the first place! Using a neti pot only takes a few minutes and is a way to manually rinse your nasal passages of allergic triggers like pollen as well as flush out congestion.
When you use a neti pot, it is best to use distilled or filtered water to make sure the water is as sterile as possible. Tap water can have contaminants like chlorine, fluorine, or sediment and can aggravate your sinuses.
Consuming stinging nettles is known to help dampen the body’s response to allergens by binding with histamine receptors, preventing the histamine release from causing allergy symptoms. Research suggests nettle capsules can help reduce sneezing and itching in people with hay fever and half of people report nettles to be as or more effective in relieving allergy symptoms as allergy medications.
Making sure you are using the appropriate part of the stinging nettle plant is important. The leaves are especially helpful in preventing allergies and can be taken as a capsule, tincture, or tea. You can also consume the fresh or freeze-dried leaf as a food and can prepare it similarly to the way you would use spinach in soups or sautéed dishes.
CDC. National Center for Health Statistics. FastStats: Allergies and Hay Fever.
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