Seasonal allergies aren’t fun for anyone! Try these natural remedies to alleviate your symptoms.
It seems like no matter what the ailment, staying hydrated is one way to prevent or improve it. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this is the case for seasonal allergies as well.
First, a petite science lesson: Histamine is a compound made by our bodies that regulates physiological functions in the gut, acts as a neurotransmitter in our brain and spinal cord, and is involved in inflammation and immune responses. You’ve likely heard about histamine in conversations about seasonal allergies. This is because symptoms of elevated histamine levels include runny nose, itchy, watery eyes, hives, sneezing, nausea, and headache. Sound familiar? When we are dehydrated, our bodies produce more histamine in an attempt to help retain water. Unfortunately, this triggers seasonal allergy symptoms.
Technically, staying hydrated won’t prevent or treat an allergic reaction, but drinking enough water can help maintain normal histamine levels in your body.
This may be a bit of a bummer to hear, but regular, thorough cleaning of a few key things in your home can help reduce your exposure to allergens which trigger seasonal allergy symptoms. The good news is, you’ll feel better and your home will be so clean! We recently wrote a blog about natural home cleaning with 19 easy, safe, and inexpensive DIY cleaning products.
If you’re an allergy sufferer, make sure you’re vacuuming your floors, rather than sweeping them as brooms do a very good job of kicking up all kids of dust and debris into the air. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology recommends vacuuming twice a week with a vacuum outfitted with a HEPA filter.
Weekly dusting is highly effective against seasonal allergies. Skip the feather duster and opt for a microfiber cloth instead. Microfiber is designed to grab tiny particles, which means you’ll actually remove the dust from your home.
Wash your sheets
Your sheets are covered in potential allergens: human and pet hair, dander, pollen, dust mites, and a whole host of other creepy crawlies that can irritate your immune system. Wash your sheets (especially your pillow cases) once a week. If you get bad allergies, you’ll want to vacuum your comforter twice a week and your mattress cover once a month as well.
You can find the following natural allergy remedies in the Co-op’s Wellness Department. If you need help finding something specific, stop by the Wellness Desk and ask one of our Wellness Specialists!
Saline Nasal Irrigation
Sometimes called a sinus flush, saline nasal irrigation can help ease stuffy noses and make it a little easier to breathe when you have seasonal allergies. Rinsing your nasal passages with salt water can help restore moisture to your mucous membranes and ease inflammation. Some folks prefer daily irrigation during allergy season to help keep inflammation under control.
You may have heard that butterbur can be very effective in reducing the intensity and frequency of migraines (researchers at the National Institutes of Health have found this to be the case), but evidence is emerging in favor of butterbur as a treatment for seasonal allergies as well. One study found its participants’ allergy symptoms improved after just 5 days of taking a butterbur supplement by mouth. Scientists attribute this to butterbur’s ability to block allergy-producing leukotriene and histamine.
Quercetin is an antioxidant found in many fruits and vegetables including onions and apples. Researches at the National Institutes of Health found it has antihistamine properties as well (it’s actually the most common plant compound found in conventional allergy treatments). Quercetin eases allergy symptoms by decreasing inflammation in our airways.
Stinging Nettle Leaf
Although research has come back with mixed results, stinging nettle has been and continues to be a popular treatment for seasonal allergies. Stinging nettle reduces sneezing, runny noses, and itchy eyes by lowering inflammation. Stinging nettle can best be used in combination with other natural allergy remedies like quercetin.
Turmeric is well known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Emerging research suggests ingesting turmeric regularly may help relieve symptoms caused by seasonal allergies as well. Whether you take turmeric as a supplement or use it in meal preparations, be sure to take black pepper along with it as black pepper increases the bioavailability of curcumin by up to 2,000 percent!