From the sniffling and sneezing to the red eyes and itchy nose, allergies rank high on the health misery scale.
Whether you flare up from time to time or live with them chronically, allergies can make you feel rundown, foggy brained and irritable. To make matters worse, most conventional allergy treatments will induce either drowsiness or restlessness. And they certainly don’t address the root cause of the ailment – they just suppress symptoms temporarily.
One of the best-kept secrets of “alternative” medicine is that allergies are treatable through natural methods. An allergic reaction happens when your immune system believes that it is being compromised. This occurs when a foreign substance (like pollen or dander) enters the body. In response to this “threat,” your immune system creates antibodies to fight off the attacker, which results in inflammation. The result? Swollen sinuses, headaches, skin reactions and all those other irritating symptoms.
With a few preventative lifestyle adjustments and holistic, plant-based remedies, treating allergies is possible without a prescription:
Clean Up Your Diet, Your Body And Your Environment
Even if you do your best to have a nontoxic household, environmental allergens can still accumulate in your home. Invest in a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter for your vacuum cleaner, forced-air heating or air conditioning system. Note: A HEPA filter is especially helpful for your vacuum, as vacuuming kicks up and redistributes allergenic particles.
In addition to supporting the immune system, yoga improves lung capacity, delivers oxygen to your cells and opens up nasal passages for better breathing. People with allergies and asthma often have an overactive hypothalamic/pituitary/adrenal (HPA) system, keeping the body in “alarm” mode. Yoga, with its emphasis on deep breathing and stress reduction, can help induce hormonal balance and promote calm.
The effectiveness of acupuncture as a method for allergy treatment is somewhat debated in the scientific community, but many people find that this ancient practice can offer relief from chronic sinusitis and the inflammatory responses associated with seasonal allergies. You may need repeated treatments to both prevent and manage symptoms.
Top dietary offenders that can produce allergy-like symptoms are wheat and dairy. If you cut out gluten and milk products from your diet, you might find that congestion, rashes and “brain fog” dissipate.
While you might cringe at the idea of flushing a baking soda and salt water solution up your nose, using a Neti pot drains away the irritants that contribute to inflammation in your sinuses. A daily Neti pot practice can offer significant relief for year-round allergy sufferers.
Cures From Nature
One of nature’s best allergy remedies, butterbur has the ability to promote respiratory health by reducing swelling in the nasal passages. And unlike most over-the-counter products, it won’t cause the dreaded drowsiness or restlessness that interrupts your sleep cycle or daily routine.
When used as a preventative remedy, quercetin has a histamine-blocking effect that shows promising results for most allergy sufferers. Quercetin can be found in many fruits and vegetables, but taking it in supplement form will offer the most effective results.
A mixture of enzymes found in pineapple fruit and stems, bromelain has been shown to reduce nasal swelling and thin mucus. The effectiveness of quercetin appears to be boosted by bromelain, too; the two are often found together in supplements.
Weleda’s Sinus Allergy Formula.
A homeopathic-based remedy, this product is one I give to my own children when allergies kick in. European elder clears up runny nose, while phosphorus helps to open up nasal blockages and reduce inflammation.
So while it may be tempting to pop those 24-hour allergy pills, it’s worth it to try more natural, safe methods. A combination of lifestyle changes and holistic supplements will help your body restore itself to a healthy state, without any disrupting side effects.