Question: Pollen is in full force where I live. Are there any herbs or natural remedies for seasonal allergies I can use to help us all breathe easier? I don’t want to take the over the counter meds that just dry the body out or put us to sleep.
Answer: I feel your pain. I’m dealing with the same, and so is just about everyone I know. There are several natural remedies for seasonal allergies that really work for many people or can provide relief from the constant runny nose and eyes and sneezing.
Blooming trees and flowers, grass, and weeds release pollen, causing seasonal allergies in more than 40 million people each year. (source) Different types of pollen affect people differently, and you can grow in and out of seasonal allergies.
Beyond being an itchy-nose and runny-eyes nuisance, these symptoms can lead to asthma attacks, resulting in wheezing, difficulty breathing, and chest tightness. In some cases, allergies can lead to bronchitis.
NATURAL REMEDIES FOR SEASONAL ALLERGIES
There’s always a bright side, and this one is that natural remedies for seasonal allergies can be more effective than conventional medicine for relieving allergic symptoms. Here are some of the most effective ways to reduce your exposure and support your body’s response to seasonal allergies.
CLEAN UP YOUR DIET
Make sure your diet includes antioxidants, Omega-3s, and raw, organic, local honey to boost your immune system. Just like virtually every other malady, a strong immune system is your best defense when it comes to natural remedies for seasonal allergies. Drinking bone broth (or adding it into your child’s food) is an excellent way to boost your immune system.
If you’re sensitive to corn or wheat, this is the time to avoid them. Sugar depresses the immune system, so kicking your sweets habit could go a long way in easing your allergy pain.
ELIMINATE THE ALLERGENS IN AND AROUND YOUR HOME
A good, nontoxic seasonal cleaning is important. Dust mites, mold spores, pet dander, all of these allergens can be prevalent year round. But their effects on your health can be more pronounced during pollen season. Be sure to clean with safe cleaners. The last thing you need is bleach aggravating the lungs of a family member who is already prone to allergies or asthma.
Pollen can hitch a ride into your home on your clothing, shoes, and even your hair. Take off your shoes at the door and change your clothes before sitting on your furniture or lying in your bed.
Replace your central air and heat filters regularly. Dust your home and vacuum with a HEPA filter cleaner at least once a week. You may want to invest in an allergen-removing air purifier to help remove dust mites, pollen, mold, pet dander, as well as other small particles and pollutants from your indoor air.
Here’s how to reduce pet dander and keep pets from bringing pollen and allergens into your home.
Mold spores can become airborne and a great place for mold to grow is that piles of leaves in your backyard. Keep them raked up and disposed of in your compost bin on a regular basis. Just because you don’t have mold in your house doesn’t mean you don’t have mold spores around you.
GET PLENTY OF SLEEP
Research from Johns Hopkins Medicine found that allergies are actually disorders of the immune system. (source) The body overreacts to allergen triggers and produces antibodies to attack the substance, resulting in your uncomfortable symptoms.
Stress and lack of sleep can weaken your immune system. Getting optimal rest and practicing mindful self-care will pay off big time when it comes to helping your body’s natural ways of dealing with seasonal allergies.
TRY CLEAN OTC OPTIONS + SUPPLEMENTS
Try homeopathic options. Keep Histaminum Hydrochloricum remedy on hand for sneeze attacks. These little pellets are safe for kids and they’re sweet, so you’ll have no problem getting them to take them.
Vitamin C is an anti-inflammatory and natural antihistamine. Be very careful when choosing a Vitamin C supplement. Avoid synthetic – they’re usually derived from GMO corn and don’t contain the co-factors and co-enzymes that come from whole food. Camu camu powder is a 100% food-based source with many benefits. The taste can be a bit sour but it mixes well with yogurt, smoothies, oats, and more.
A good nasal spray can really help clear irritants out of your nose. Your local drug store or health food store offers saline mists or try this xylitol nasal spray to reduce sinus pressure.
Consider adding Quercetin to your routine before pollen season starts. A natural bioflavonoid that can help stabilize mast cells to keep them from releasing histamine, Quercetin is a powerful antioxidant known for helping to reduce inflammation.
If you need to use an allergy medicine, opt for something gentle with clean ingredients. Genexa Kids’ Allergy Care checks most of the boxes for safe multi-symptom allergy relief.
HERBAL HELP FOR SEASONAL ALLERGIES
Research has shown that butterbur works as a leukotriene inhibitor and can block absorption of some chemicals that cause your nasal passages to swell and cause congestion. Butterbur extract also works as an antihistamine to ease sneezing and coughing, and it will not make you sleepy. Never eat raw or unprocessed butterbur root. Buy only brands that are UPA-free.
Nettles contain carotene, vitamin K and Quercetin (a chemical found in wine and some fruits and vegetables that helps block release of histamines in the body). Use only extracts of the stinging nettle leaf for allergies. You can buy nettles in tincture form or dried to use as a tea (one of the most nutritious teas you can drink, too, by the way) or to make your own infusions or decoctions.
Also called coneflower, Echinacea is a great immune-enhancing herb and helps to fight off disease and infection. It works by increasing T-cell activity to fight off infection and it is high in polysaccharides which help protect cells from viruses and bacteria. It works best when you start using it at the very first sign of illness. Echinacea is a very popular herb and easy to find or to grow and that is a double-edged sword. Because it is so popular, it’s easy to get products that are not pure or organically grown. As with this and any other herbal remedy, make sure you know and trust your source.
This herb is great for fighting everything from skin infections to digestive complaints to bronchial congestion. It is high in alkaloids and bitters and is particularly effective in treating infections in the mucous membranes. However, don’t use goldenseal for a long period of time without taking a break from it. Three weeks on and one week off is a good guideline. Goldenseal tea is pretty bitter so you may want to use it in a tincture or buy capsules.
Found in pineapples, bromelain helps reduce swelling in the nasal passages and thins mucus which will make it easier to breathe. If you think you’re getting a sinus infection (which often happens with seasonal allergies), try combining Bromelain with Echinacea to fight off the infection.