Natural remedies to help alleviate allergy symptoms
By Lauren Paulsen, Senior Columnist
It’s that season again. The season when many people’s eyes turn red and itchy and feel like sandpaper. The season when sneezing becomes the most common occurrence and where nasal passages become so clogged not even a plunger feels like it would work. Unfortunately for thousands of people, spring becomes a dreaded time, rather than the beautiful rebirth it should signify. Thankfully, because allergies happen to be so common, much research has gone into finding ways to combat them. Nature herself has given us wonderful remedies to help our ailments.
Research has found that one of the most effective herbal remedies is butterbur. Butterbur works as a leukotriene inhibitor. In doing so, it blocks some of the chemicals in your body that cause swelling in the nasal passage. Prevention of this swelling helps to keep your nose unstuffed. Research indicates that it works just as well as over-the-counter antihistamines, minus the drowsiness. In fact, butterbur has been found to be so effective that it actually can alter allergy testing results. One big note of caution, however, is not to consume it raw, as it can be toxic. Instead, look for capsules containing it.
Another very effective herbal remedy is the leaves from a stinging nettle. This herb also works like an antihistamine. Many people make a tea or a tincture with it, but you can also find it in capsule forms. If you choose to use it in tea, peppermint is a good choice to add to the mixture. Peppermint has properties that help it act as a decongestant, anti-inflammatory, and even a mild antibacterial. If you don’t like the taste of either of these herbs, green tea can also aid you in your fight with allergies. It, too, acts as an antihistamine.
Another helpful supplement that you can take are probiotics. Research now indicates that there is a link between the presence of beneficial bacterial in the digestive tract and reduced allergy symptoms. Because this research is still relatively new, it is not known the exact reasons why this occurs, but perhaps it helps to keep your body systems in better balance so they do not overreact to allergens. It is a good idea to start taking probiotics several weeks before allergy season occurs, to give your gut flora time to develop into the beneficial flora that you want.
Apple cider vinegar is another useful natural remedy. If you can stomach the strong taste, taking two teaspoons daily can help you greatly. This is because apple cider vinegar has properties that cause it to reduce mucous production and to help cleanse the lymphatic system.
Outside of these natural remedies, it is also a good idea to remove your clothes and take a shower right after coming in, as this will reduce the allergens in your home. Investing in a HEPA filter is a great idea to keep the air cleaner, and an air conditioner or dehumidifier can help to keep mold down. If you take morning exercises, move them to dusk because trees release the most pollen at dawn. And if you are allergic to dogs or cats, you can remove the allergens they get on their fur through their saliva by giving them warm baths regularly.
So really, there are many natural ways that you can combat your allergies if you don’t like taking a lot of medicine. Keep in mind that everyone reacts slightly differently to different remedies, so you should try several of these remedies to find out what works for you.