Natural Remedies for Seasonal Allergies – Healthy Rx for Life

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Natural Remedies for Pesky Seasonal Allergy Symptoms

I personally love the changing of the seasons, but many seasonal allergy sufferers would tend to disagree! With the transition of the seasons, there is an influx of pollen from grass, trees and weeds. These can all be a nightmare for someone with seasonal allergies.

Traditional over-the-counter (OTC) remedies may bring rapid relief but they come with a cost. Ditch the side effects and try these natural remedies for seasonal allergies instead!

What Causes Seasonal Allergies?

Seasonal allergies are caused when your immune system develops antibodies against certain proteins in pollen. This triggers your mast cells to produce a substance called histamine. Histamine is responsible for your typical allergy symptoms – stuffy nose, runny nose, itchy, watery eyes, and/or sneezing.

Even though seasonal allergy symptoms are undoubtably pesky, keep in mind that your immune system is only reacting the way it is supposed to in order to flush unwanted invaders out of the body and protect your delicate tissues.

The trouble is, seasonal allergy symptoms can be exacerbated when your immune system is already overwhelmed. This can happen when you are under chronic stress, consume a typical standard American diet, or don’t get enough sleep at night. Sound familiar?

Your typical OTC remedy includes either a nasal decongestant, an anti-histamine, or a combination of both. But they all have side effects that leave much to be desired!

Nasal decongestants work to constrict the blood vessels in the sinuses to help relieve congestion, but their effect is not limited to just the sinuses. Because of that, they can cause rapid heartbeat, jitteriness, and insomnia as well as contribute to high blood pressure.

Anti-histamines block histamine and dry up mucus to relieve runny nose and itchy, watery eyes. However, they may cause drowsiness, dry mouth, blurred vision, and constipation.

So if feeling foggy headed, dizzy, and sleepy doesn’t sound like much fun to you, read on!

Natural Remedies for Seasonal Allergies

Although these natural remedies may not bring as rapid of relief as their OTC counterparts, they can help those who suffer from chronic seasonal allergy symptoms – without all the side effects!

Quercetin is a flavonoid that is found in fruits and vegetables, such as apples, broccoli, onions, citrus fruits, and berries. It works to reduce inflammation and stops the release of histamine from mast cells. Try adding more Quercetin rich foods in your daily diet or you can take it in a supplement form.

Bromelain is an enzyme found in pineapples and can help reduce inflammation. It increases the effectiveness of Quercetin so they are commonly found together in supplements.

Butterbur (Petasites hybridus) is the best studied herb for seasonal allergies. It works to relax swollen nasal passage and reduce muscle spasms in the lungs. It interferes with the production of leukotrienes, a chemical that is released with histamine in response to allergens. Studies have shown it to have a comparable effect to anti-histamines but without the drowsiness.

Caution: Butterbur naturally contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PA), which are toxic to the liver. However, commercially produced products use an extraction process to remove the pyrrolizidine alkaloid content. Only use Butterbur products that are labeled as “PA-free”. Avoid use in pregnancy and lactation or in young children (under six years of age). 

Stinging Nettle 

Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica) is one of my favorite herbs for seasonal allergies. Although you may not want to brush up against it (it’s leaves contain hollow, stinging hairs!), it is a beneficial medicinal plant. It works by making receptors in your body less sensitive to the effects of histamine. You can find it in a supplement form and it can be paired with Quercetin if you are unable to find relief with Quercetin alone.

Other Natural Remedies for Seasonal Allergies

The foods you eat play a role in how well you manage your seasonal allergy symptoms. Make it a point to fill your diet with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and avoid mucus promoting foods, most notably dairy. A full elimination of dairy can be very beneficial, especially during the peak of allergy season.

It’s also important to get enough quality sleep at night and find ways to manage or reduce stress. These simple lifestyle upgrades will help keep your immune system in top shape so you can stay healthy and THRIVE with every season of the year!

How will you manage your seasonal allergy symptoms naturally? Share in the comments below!

Sources:

1. Balch, Phyllis A. Prescription for Nutritional Healing: the A-to-Z Guide to Supplements. Avery, 2010.
2. Butterbur. Lexi-Comp, Inc. (Lexi-Drugs® ). Lexi-Comp, Inc.; Version 4.0.4. Accessed April 8, 2018.
3. Duke, James A. The Green Pharmacy: the Ultimate Compendium of Natural Remedies from the World’s Foremost Authority on Healing Herbs. St. Martin’s Press, 1998.
4. Hoffman, David. Holistic Herbal: a Safe and Practical Guide to Making and Using Herbal Remedies. Thorsons, 2002.
5. Hoffmann, David. Medical Herbalism: the Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Healing Arts Press, 2003
6. “Natural Medicines in the Clinical Management of Allergic Rhinitis.” Natural Medicines in the Clinical Management of Allergic Rhinitis. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, naturaldatabase.therapeuticresearch.com/ce.
7. Schapowal, Andreas. “Randomised Controlled Trial of Butterbur and Cetirizine for Treating Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis.” BMJ : British Medical Journal, BMJ, 19 Jan. 2002, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC64514/.
8. Stinging Nettle. Lexi-Comp, Inc. (Lexi-Drugs® ). Lexi-Comp, Inc.; Version 4.0.4. Accessed April 8, 2018.

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