No one wants to spend their entire spring season dealing with seasonal allergy symptoms: sneezing, coughing, stuffy, watery-eyed, miserable.
And if you do a quick internet search, there is an abundance of advice on of natural ways to treat allergies, from stinging nettles to apple cider vinegar to using essential oils and eating local honey. But do any of them work? It turns out that the science is either iffy or nonexistent on most natural allergy treatments.
Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as taking a spoonful of honey every morning (though it is delicious and helps local bee populations!) But there are some non-medication options to try that can help alleviate some of the symptoms of seasonal allergies or reduce an allergic response altogether:
1. Neti Pot
This is a nasal irrigation device that uses salt water to clear out cold and allergy-related congestion. It’s a popular treatment that also has the science to back it up, and for allergies in particular, a neti pot not only helps get the gunk out of your sinuses but also helps to clear out histamines and leukotrienes (inflammatory compounds), thus reducing allergy symptoms significantly. Be sure to use distilled water and nonionized salt in a neti pot.
Probiotics have also been proven effective against seasonal allergies in numerous studies, including a new one from the University of Florida that found that a combination of lactobacilli and bifidobacteria helps to boost the immune system, maintain digestive health, and regulate allergies. Lactobacilli and bifidobacteria can be found in a supplement sold as Kyo-Dophilus or in Lifeway brand kefir.
This is a flavonoid found in fruits and vegetables like broccoli, onions, apples, grapes and some berries, is a natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. For allergy suffers, quercetin may inhibit histamines and boosts the immune system. Though available as a supplement, the evidence of effect on those is still fairly new, and supplements largely unregulated, so instead eat foods that are rich in quercetin to help alleviate allergies and boost overall health.
This ancient technique originating in China that uses needles to stimulate strategic points on the body, is already proven to be an effective treatment for pain and other various ailments and is now known to be a safe choice for treating seasonal allergies and respiratory disorders. Studies show that acupuncture helps relieve symptoms like a runny nose and congestion, and improves the overall quality of life for allergy sufferers.
Finally, other non-pharmaceutical tactics for reducing allergy symptoms are: using an air purifier, keeping the window closed, vacuuming often using a vacuum equipped with a HEPA filter, regularly washing dogs or other animals that go in and out, and making sure to always wash your hands and face after coming in from outdoors.