Oh, spring. We await its arrival for months, looking forward to seeing sunshine, greenery, and sidewalks once again. Yet for some 18 million American adults (source), this much anticipated season stirs up allergies to tree, grass, and weed pollens, among other things.
This season my allergies are at an all-time high. I went for a full week earlier this month thinking I must – must – be sick because of how poorly I felt. Low energy, coughing, sneezing, watery eyes, barely being able to breath out of my nose – nope, these were definitely allergies I was (and still am) experiencing.
Those of us who deal with allergies know that it feels like we have to choose between enjoying our newfound spring barefooted freedom while sneezing our noses off, or breathing easy by staying inside until the pollen subsides.
The good news is that we can have our barefooted freedom and our easy breathing too. There are plenty of ways to relieve allergies, and I’ve rounded up 7 of my favorite natural remedies to allergies here:
Stinging nettle is a wonderful allergy-fighter. It’s a natural antihistamine that is very effective for allergy relief if taken regularly.
Consuming honey from our local environment can actually help our bodies adapt to allergens. This works because bees travel from flower to flower, collecting pollen spores along the way. These pollen spores wind up in their honey, which, if eaten in moderation daily, can help us build up immunity through gradual exposure to the pollen.
From Mother Earth News:
Just last year, an Italian study published in the International Archives of Allergy and Immunology found that nasal flushing was a mild and effective way to treat seasonal allergies in children, and markedly reduced their use of antihistamines.
As I mentioned, my allergies this year have been rough. After it hit me that it was allergies and not some sickness, I pulled out my trusty Neti pot. Here’s a great tutorial with photos on how to use one if you’ve not yet.
I could only use it for 5-10 seconds before having to blow my nose. I won’t go into detail on the stuff that came out. Let’s just say it used up lots of tissues. . . and woke my husband up.
Anyway, here’s the Neti pot I use and love it (it’s also great for colds) :
Even when we’re indoors, allergies can still find their way in, so having something within the home to actually filter out allergens can be really helpful for those who experience allergies pretty intensely.
A HEPA (high-efficiency particulate) air filter like this one actually pull allergens such as pet dander, dust, pollutants, and other environmental allergens from the air.
Similar to local honey, actually ingesting bee pollen can ameliorate allergies. It’s also an overall immune booster and supports digestive and respiratory health. AND it’s 40% protein – interesting, huh?
According to researchers at the Institute of Apiculture, Taranov, Russia, “Honeybee pollen is the richest source of vitamins found in Nature in a single food. Even if bee pollen had none of its other vital ingredients, its content of rutin alone would justify taking at least a teaspoon daily, if for no other reason than strengthening the capillaries. Pollen is extremely rich in rutin and may have the highest content of any source, plus it provides a high content of the nucleics RNA [ribonucleic acid] and DNA [deoxyribonucleic acid].”
If this sounds crazy to you or you’ve never heard of anyone taking bee pollen, fear not, it weirded me out at first too!
I add it to smoothies mostly, but you can also take it in powder form mixed with water. Here’s the kind I use:
Just be aware about how much you take: it’s recommended to take up to one teaspoon daily for allergy prevention, but we’re all different so start with a little and see how you feel.
Apple Cider Vinegar
As if this stuff isn’t magical enough, apple cider vinegar (ACV) is also a natural allergy reliever. Because of its ability to cleanse the lymphatic system and reduce mucous production, ACV is useful in remedying allergies.
Essential oils like peppermint and eucalyptus can be a lifesaver when it comes to allergy relief. Anyone who’s had a cold or any kind of sinus suppressing sickness (say that three times fast) knows that these two can be your best friends when it comes to opening up your nasal passage. Eucalyptus is also known for its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Peppermint is a decongestant and expectorant, meaning it aids in breaking up mucous and clearing your sinuses.
Simply holding a bottle up to your nose and inhaling in the oils can do the trick, or try using an essential oil diffuser to spread the gentle, healing properties around your home.