The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America reports that 50 million people in the U.S. suffer from nasal allergies.
Worse yet, this number is increasing over time, making it the sixth leading cause of chronic illness and the most common health issue for children today.
If you have allergies yourself, you know how horrible they can make you feel. Stuffy nose, watery eyes, scratchy throat, blocked ears – all of these symptoms have the ability to consistently remind you that your allergen is definitely in the air, and in your body.
How do you find relief without taking over-the-counter medications that make you sleepy and unable to concentrate? Here are a few natural allergy relief options to consider.
Though many allergens are caused by Mother Nature herself, so too are the remedies. Some of the most common (and most effective) include:
Part of the daisy family, Medical News Daily (MND) indicates that echinacea is a perennial that is “slightly spiky and has large purple to pink flowers.” Often used for colds, flus, and a variety of other illness and conditions (like rheumatism and urinary tract infections), what makes echinacea so effective is its positive effect on the immune system.
When purchasing echinacea supplements, MND warns that choosing products made by a reputable supplemental company is extremely important as some lower quality brands have no echinacea at all. Others have been found to contain arsenic, lead and selenium.
This plant has a long history of providing relief from a variety of medical issues, and University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) states that it is its fine hairs that are thought to reduce inflammation by “interfering with the way the body transmits pain signals.” Furthermore, studies have found that 57 percent of patients consider this herb effective, with 48 percent saying that it provided more relief than allergy medications.
To take stinging nettle, UMMC strongly recommends that you take it as directed by the individual tea, tincture, extract, or cream itself. Furthermore, if you’re taking blood thinners, drugs for high blood pressure or diabetes, on diuretics, or take lithium, you may want to avoid stinging nettle completely as it can interact with all of these.
Also known as ‘eyebright,’ the University of Michigan (U of M) explains that euphprasia officinalis is a flowering plant that grows wildly in “meadows, pastures, and grassy places in Bulgaria, Hungary, and the former Yugoslavia.” The way this herb helps is by providing relief to the eyes.
You can use euphrasia topically in the eye area, says U of M. However, they also advise that, if you choose to take this route, you should only do so under a doctor’s supervision to ensure that you’re using it appropriately and don’t cause damage. Otherwise, it is also available in supplement or tea form.
Another way to ease your allergies is to alter your diet, eating more anti-inflammatory foods and staying away from the items that can actually make your allergy symptoms worse. Which foods are which?
The American Association of Naturopathic Physicians states that one of the food items that can irritate allergy sufferers most is red meat. Therefore, limiting this protein during allergy season may help you get through it with fewer issues. Anti-allergen foods that have the opposite effect, making you feel better instead of worse, are whole grains, oily fish, spirulina, pineapple, papaya and the spice turmeric.
Honey has been deemed beneficial to allergy sufferers as well. For instance, one study published in the Annals of Saudi Medicine involved 40 subjects with allergic rhinitis, commonly known as hay fever. Some of the participants were given the medicine loratadine for four weeks and others ingested honey for the same period of time. After eight weeks, only those taking honey exhibited an improvement in symptoms.
In The Whole Body Approach to Allergy and Sinus Health, Murray Grossan, M.D. shares that humming is a great, natural way to help your body better deal with allergens in the air. “When you hum, the vibration of the sound stimulates your nasal cilia to move faster,” says Grossan, adding that another benefit of this is that “the vibration breaks up the thick mucus that may impede cilia movement.”
The reason this is important is because it is the cilia in the nose that help filter out the airborne substances that irritate the body. Thus, by getting them to work a little harder, you’re able to find some relief. Grossan says that lower frequency hums work best, as does humming loudly.
Though you can’t stop allergy season from approaching, you can help ease the symptoms. And these three options may help.