A reader recently asked me about managing seasonal allergies naturally, a timely issue that affects so many of us as we head into fall.
First of all, know your triggers and do your best to avoid them. For example, if your problem is ragweed or pollen, then stay inside as much as possible during pollen season. Or, if you know certain foods provoke a reaction, obviously stay away from those foods. Often you don’t know what triggers an allergy, so it’s best to consult a doctor, allergy specialist, or homeopathic physician. For mild seasonal allergies however, there are nature-based products and certain foods that are effective in relieving those annoying symptoms.
Goldenseal and grape seed extract, which is found in red wine, have been found to reduce seasonal allergy symptoms, especially when combined with Vitamin C. Quercetin, a flavanoid compound found in capers, apples, red grapes, citrus, broccoli and green leafy vegetables has also proven to help relieve allergy symptoms. Nettle has a long history of treating seasonal allergies too. All of these come in supplement or tea form as well and can be found at natural food stores.
Don’t be afraid to indulge in spicy foods during allergy season! Common spices like cayenne pepper, hot ginger, onion, and garlic have shown to be effective in symptom relief. Spicy dishes are more likely to thin mucous secretions, which can clear nasal passages making it easier to breathe. Cayenne is also loaded with natural anti-oxidants and garlic is a highly beneficial immune system booster.
With regular use bee pollen is showing promise to help the immune system rid itself of seasonal allergy symptoms. It can trigger an allergic reaction however, in some individuals who have sensitivity to bee stings, honey intolerance or severe allergic reactions to plant pollens. As always, it’s best to check with your doctor before using.
Saline sprays or neti pots are helpful in flushing out dirt, pollen, dust and other irritants. Some people find relief with acupuncture, which seems particularly useful if someone suffers from multiple allergies.
The above natural treatments are more effective if you increase your intake of allergy fighting foods and supplements three weeks before allergy season starts. With supplements, follow the label and don’t take too much – even natural products can cause toxic reactions if not used properly. And never mix conventional medications with alternative treatments without first consulting a doctor.
For more green tips, visit greenwithbetsy.com.