Natural Remedies for Seasonal Allergies

Oh, springtime! 

While everyone is oooohing and ahhhhing about the trees that are beginning to bud and the flowers that have started to bloom – your eyes have started to itch and your nose is running like a faucet! 

Coughing, sneezing, sinus congestion, and even skin rashes can make an otherwise beautiful time of year quite unbearable. According to the CDC, 24.4 million people struggle with seasonal allergies in the spring so this time of year is no joke for many.1

Sure, you can take over-the-counter medications and prescription drugs to manage the symptoms… but who wants to deal with all the side effects? 

Here are just a few of the common side effects:  

  • drowsiness     
  • dizziness         
  • blurred vision 
  • headache       
  • rapid heart rate
  • low blood pressure
  • dry mouth
  • dry eyes
  • nausea           
  • abdominal pain
  • difficulty urinating
  • vomiting
  • confusion
  • constipation

Hard pass. Better to live with a congested head for a few days over having a rapid heart rate, vomiting, and blurred vision, any day.

Fortunately, there are quite a few natural options that will work as well – or even better – than the ones available over the counter. And they’re MUCH safer!

But before we dive into our options, let’s talk about what’s actually happening in your body when those allergies flare up.

When you first start to notice a stuffy head, watery eyes, or you have a sneezing attack out of nowhere, this is your body’s way of letting you know that the immune system is mounting a response to the pollen in the air. When this happens, mast cells in your body release a certain chemical known as histamine which jumps into action, trying to manage the airborne invaders. 

Histamines are like bouncers at a nightclub. They identify the troublemakers and get rid of them. So if the pollen is in the nasal passages, the histamines trigger increased mucus production to try and ‘flush’ it out. Or, if the pollen is irritating the eyes, histamines will increase fluid production in the eyes. Even those obnoxious sneezing attacks are a sign that histamines are hard at work, doing their job.

But the over-the-counter options are actually trying to squash that histamine response (hence the term ‘antihistamine’) to reduce the symptoms.

Now, let me be clear. I’m all about reducing your allergy symptoms and helping you feel better as quickly as possible. But not at the expense of your health or those nasty side effects from the traditional options. 

So let’s look at a few natural options that will not only reduce your symptoms but would actually improve your overall health at the same time!

10 Natural Remedies for Seasonal Allergies

Butterbur

This little-known flowering plant has some amazing properties when it comes to fighting allergies. The British Medical Journal published findings of a study conducted on 125 people experiencing hay fever.2 They concluded that those treated with butterbur had the same reduction of allergy symptoms as people who were taking cetirizine – otherwise known as Zyrtec, but without the sedative side effects. 💥

Imagine that! All-natural allergy relief with no fatigue or drowsiness. Why do we need pharmaceuticals??

Garlic

Garlic is a great option when it comes to boosting your overall health and combatting seasonal allergies. It contains quercetin, a potent anti-inflammatory and immune enhancer which is exactly what you need. And, the list of other benefits is quite long so it would always be a good idea to include it in your daily regime, just because!

You can eat it 10 ways till Sunday so I won’t bore you with a list of how to take it. But taking it in its natural form will always be better than in pill form. But if you can’t tolerate the taste, we recommend taking Garlic Forte, 1-2 tabs per day. 

Rosemary

Rosemary contains something called rosmarinic acid. It’s a compound found in a wide variety of spices. It has both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Rosemary can help reduce the inflammatory response that comes with an allergic response. (side note: it may also protect against cancer!)

How to take: Rosemary can be used in cooking, consumed as a tea, inhaled, or taken in supplement form.

Turmeric

This spice has a loooong list of health benefits. In many cases, it can be just as effective as many pharmaceuticals! Turmeric contains a compound called curcumin which can help inhibit allergic responses. 

And check this out: 👇

A study of over 241 people with allergic rhinitis found the people who took curcumin for two months had a significant reduction of symptoms such as sneezing and congestion as well as improved nasal airflow when compared to those who only took a placebo.3

How to take: The best way to take it is to eat it! Cook up some curry, or add it to a pot of stew or soup. You could also drink turmeric tea, or take it in capsule form.

Stinging Nettle

Stinging nettle has been used for centuries to treat joint & muscle pain, eczema, arthritis, gout, anemia, and even urinary tract problems. But what about allergies you ask? Well, stinging nettles are also used to reduce histamine interactions produced by the body when it's responding to incoming allergens.

In an article posted on PubMed, one study conducted on stinging nettle revealed 57% of patients who took stinging nettle to relieve their allergies reported improvement in their symptoms. And 48% said that stinging nettle was more effective than the allergy medication they had previously used!4

How to take: Start by drinking 2-3 cups of nettle tea every day to improve allergy symptoms. You can also find it in supplement form.

Essential Oils

There are several essential oils known to improve allergy symptoms. Try these popular favorites to relieve congestion; peppermint, eucalyptus, & frankincense. These natural oils prevent mucus cells from becoming enlarged, reduce inflammation, and open nasal & bronchial passageways. And they smell fantastic!

How to use: Diffuse essential oils into the air, add them to your bath, or apply them to the skin with a carrier oil such as almond oil. I suggest behind the ears & on your chest. You can even dilute them with water, pour them into a spray bottle & use them as an air purifier/freshener. 

Want a powerful decongestant? Place 1 or 2 drops of peppermint oil in a cup of near-boiling water. With the cup before you on a table, place a towel over your head & inhale the steam. 

You’re welcome!

Nasal Irrigation

I know the idea of squirting a bunch of water up your nose may make you cringe, but hear me out. This natural remedy for allergies really makes sense. Allergens collect in the sinus cavity. Right? So why not wash all those allergens out?

There are many products you can purchase to help irrigate your sinus cavities. These products gently flush & clean your sinus cavities, reducing your allergy symptoms tremendously.

The most common is the Netty pot, but newer systems are now available like the Navage Nasal Care system, NeilMed Sinus Rinse, & other nasal wash solutions available at any local pharmacy. They are easy to use, affordable, natural & highly effective.

How to use: Follow product instructions. 

Local Honey

Eating raw local honey every day produced by bees in your region may help relieve allergies.5 Since bees produce honey from the local pollen sources the theory is if you consume it every day, it may gradually increase your tolerance to pollen grains & thereby reduce your sensitivity to it. 

How to use: Start by taking 1 teaspoon of local, unpasteurized honey 1x day. Slowly increase the amount of honey to 1-2 tablespoons per day. Try it in tea or add it to yogurt, cereal, or other dishes.

Spicy Food 

Know how your eyes water & your nose starts to run when eating hot & spicy foods? That’s because the capsaicin in various peppers causes a physiological response. This is just what you need when seeking relief from allergy symptoms. 

Spicy foods help turn thick mucus into thin mucus. That means you can blow your nose more easily. It helps to clear your blocked nasal passages. Try hot spicy soup, curries, chili & stews. 

How to use: Add chili pepper or other favorite peppers & hot sauces to your cooking. Capsaicin is also available as a dietary supplement. Take as directed.

Hydration

Stay hydrated! Allergy symptoms worsen when you are dehydrated. It causes your immunity to decrease. It will lead to more stubborn nasal congestion, coughing, sneezing, itchy watery eyes, etc. 

How to use: Drink it. Try drinking 16 oz. of water when you wake up. Then be mindful to continue consuming water throughout the day. You can also consume juices, soups, & herbal teas. 

Bottom line – you don’t have to suffer from seasonal allergies. 

There are plenty of solutions that don’t involve pharmaceuticals. 

Mother nature has already provided solutions for you. I shared 10 alternatives for you to consider but there are plenty more. Do some research & talk to your medical practitioner for more help. 

{Quick disclaimer here… This information is meant to be educational and is not intended to be considered medical advice. Before using any of these methods be sure to consult your medical practitioner.}

 

References:

1.  "Allergies and Hay Fever – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention." https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/allergies.htm. Accessed 24 Feb. 2023.

2.  "Butterbur is as effective as cetirizine for hay fever – PMC – NCBI." https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1122046/. Accessed 23 Feb. 2023.

3.  "Effect of curcumin on nasal symptoms & airflow in patients with …." https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27789120/. Accessed 23 Feb. 2023.

4.  "Efficacy of Supportive Therapy of Allergic Rhinitis by Stinging Nettle …." https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5963652/. Accessed 24 Feb. 2023.

5.  "Benefits of Raw, Unpasteurized Local Honey for Seasonal Allergies." 17 May. 2021, https://bcbhoneyfarm.com/blogs/education/benefits-of-raw-unpasteurized-local-honey-for-seasonal-allergies. Accessed 23 Feb. 2023.

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