By: Stephanie Heino
I don’t know about you, but I have certainly noticed that it is allergy season. My nose is running, and my throat is itching and I am consuming allergy pills like there’s no tomorrow. Hay fever is the most common allergic condition, where ragweed pollen accounts for about 75% of all hay fever cases in the United States. Other significant pollens that induce hay fever include various grass and tree pollens. I don’t know which one I am allergic to since I suffer in both spring and summer, but I guess it is tree pollen which develops in the spring, whereas grass and weed pollens develop in the summer. However, if hay fever symptoms persist year-round, this is known as perennial allergic rhinitis, and this form of hay fever may or may not be due to pollens. So make sure to see a doctor if you have problems year-round to get the right cure for you. Around 50 million Americans have allergies, and most Americans reach for prescription and over-the-counter antihistamines to treat their condition, as soon as they feel it coming. But hold on; natural medicines can offer significant advantages even in this case. Keep in mind that antihistamine drugs offer only symptomatic relief, and don’t solve the actual problem. The drug companies love these drugs because they only suppress symptoms, but don’t really effect a cure. Instead they create dependence, and of course, most beneficial to drug companies, the drugs are expensive, so they gain huge profits.
Before taking the easy way and reaching for OTC medications, try these 11 natural treatments:
1. Track the pollen count. With today’s technology you can actually track the pollen count in your area. You can use this info to know when to stay indoors when pollen counts are highest. Here is a great site you can use as an allergy tracker: http://www.weather.com/health/allergy/main
2. Showers. If you are prone to seasonal allergies and spend a lot of time outdoors make sure to shower when coming inside or before bed to remove pollen, especially from your face and hair where it’s more likely to get stuck.
3. Try nasal irrigation. Get a neti pot online or at your local pharmacy and wash your nasal passages with a saline solution once or twice a day to clear it out. If you find that your nose dries out after using a neti pot, follow irrigation with a drop of sesame oil in each nostril to lubricate the delicate lining of your nose.
4. Filter your air. Go to your nearest Home Depot and equip your home with HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters, which can be attached to central heating and air conditioner systems. The work wonders for allergies!
5. Clean your home & pets. Just like with our own hair, our pets also carry around pollen. So try to keep them out of your bedroom if you can and bathe them often. Pollen can also collect on furniture and in rugs, so make sure to vacuum everything frequently. You may want to use bedding made with Ventflex, a special hypoallergenic synthetic material. What I also recommend is to install an air purifier in the rooms you spend the most time in.
6. Immunotherapy. A popular treatment for seasonal allergies is immunotherapy, in which the patient receives a series of injections of the allergy-causing agent in minute amounts until the body builds up an immune response. At the end of three years about a third of patients will be cured. If shots aren’t your thing, the treatment can be performed with a liquid placed under the tongue, so no pain needed! It is not very fast, but you can usually see permanent results within weeks or months.
7. Quercetin. Quercetin consistently demonstrated the greatest anti-allergy effects among all flavonoids, according to a recent study. A highly bioavailable, enzymatically modified form of isoquercitrin (EMIQ) has been developed, which has shown significant effects in improving some of the symptoms of hay fever. The recommended dose of EMIQ is 100 mg twice per day.
8. Take polyphenols. A recent study showed that apple polyphenols reduced hay fever symptoms and had significant improvement in sneezing attacks and a runny nose. Take 100–250 mg of apple polyphenol extract twice per day. You can get similar results with extracts such as grape seed, pine bark, or green tree extract.
9. Use fish oils. Fish oil is great for pretty much everything, but usually known as an immune booster as well as reducing inflammation, therefore also inflammation associated with allergies, great! The best dosage is 2,000 mg of combined EPA and DHA per day.
10. Apple Cider Vinegar. As we’ve written about before, this is a magic cure-all, and healing the symptoms of seasonal allergies is just one of its many benefits. When you feel allergies start to come on, instantly pour yourself a glass of water with a tablespoon of organic, raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar, and shortly after I promise you will be totally fine. And the effects really last for the entire day! You can also start to drinking apple cider vinegar 2-3 times a day before allergy season hits.
11. Local honey. Regularly consuming local honey (and chewing on the honey combs too) helps to desensitize your immune system to the pollen in your area, effectively rendering it harmless to your body! Eat 1-2 tablespoons of local honey (raw and organic, whenever possible) every day starting two months before allergy season, and you’ll notice a big difference!