As winter changes into spring, around the world many of us are suffering from the sneezing, wheezing, runny nose and itching eyes that accompanies seasonal allergies. Relief doesn't necessarily have to come in the form of a drugstore counter remedy, there are many natural ways to help your body deal with the effects of seasonal allergens.
1. Nasal Passage and Sinus Washing: The Neti Pot
The Neti pot naturally cleanses and refreshes the nasal passages to help relieve allergy symptoms. A simple saline solution works well to wash out allergens and thin nasal mucous, but you can boost the effectiveness of the wash by adding a tonic of goldenseal and freeze-dried nettles. The goldenseal acts as an astringent and has some anti-microbial properties. I usually recommend a Neti Pot cleanse once or twice daily.
2. Quercetin: The Anti-Allergy Bioflavanoid
Quercetin, a naturally occurring bioflavanoid, has properties that reduce the inflammation associated with allergies and control the release of histamine. Quercetin is non-toxic, but barely soluble in water and therefore is not absorbed very well. I usually recommend combining it with bromelin, an enzyme from pineapple, to increase its absorption. Quercetin dosed 1,000 -2,000mg per day in 4-6 divided is optimal for reducing allergies. Vitamin C also helps to reduce histamine.
Based on the idea that stimulating points outside the body can change or initiate reactions inside, in this case treatment is thought to affect the immune system, where allergic reactions begin. In a small but significant study of 26 hay fever patients published in the American Journal of Chinese Medicine, acupuncture reduced symptoms in all 26 -- without side effects. A second study of some 72 people totally eliminated symptoms in more than half, with just two treatments.
A simple HEPA filter placed in your bedroom, where you spend significant hours daily, is beneficial for reducing airborne allergens brought in from outside and well as those that reside indoors. If you are particularly sensitive, washing your outdoor clothes and even your hair after spending significant time outside can help reduce the allergens brought into the house.
5. Eat Well!
A diet rich in anti-oxidants from fresh fruits and vegetables and Omega-3 fatty acids from fish or flaxseed are important in controlling the inflammatory response associated with allergies.
BONUS: Locally produced honey can possible be beneficial in helping those who suffer from allergies. Theorized to work similarly to the "vaccine" the honey made from the flowers and plants in your local area may help ward off your reaction to allergies. I would consider dosing 1-3 spoonfuls per day for 1-2 months prior to allergy season.
Posted by Lakeshore Wellness Center: Naturopathic Medicine and Acupuncture in Chicago.
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