The Spring is almost here, and with the unfolding of unfolding of exotic flower petals (my favorite things to give & get!) comes a panoply of seasonal allergies. Sneezing, sniffling, and low-grade fever… or full-fledged flu-like symptoms including total body aches, sore throat and inflamed sinuses can make the beauty of the season feel like a curse. While there are a handful of drugs you can buy over-the-counter at a pharmacy, never have any of the Claritin/Zyrtec pills left me feeling anything short of wired out of my mind or shattered to bits in exhaustion. In lieu of chemical antihistamines, I unearthed a ton of time-tested, natural remedies that are invaluable in the quest to banish seasonal allergies for good!
5 Ideas To Alleviate Seasonal Allergy Misery Without Conventional Drugs
1. Mangosteen! You can get this exotic and quite gorgeous fruit in both juices and pills. Mangosteen is thought to regulate histamines in the human body, and the anecdotal testimonial is huge in its allergy-squashing capability! Super-packed with antioxidants, mangosteen is a great way to get extra vitamin protection while shielding yourself from the elevated pollen counts.
2. Get out the neti pot and take it to the next level with essential oils. If you have never seen a neti pot, they are extraordinarily useful little things to have on hand. I prefer metal neti pots, but they are also made from plastic and you should be able to find one at your local pharmacy or online pretty easily. Its admittedly weird at first to use, since it feels like you are pouring water into your head (!) but once you get the hang of it, it can be awesome! I will say this: do not use a neti pot before consulting your doctor. I use it very sparingly, per my own doctor and holistic specialist recommendation, as if used incorrectly it can create more issues than it solves!
Here’s the Always List for using a neti pot:
- Always use distilled or well-boiled water that is cooled to a very warm – but not hot- temperature.
- Always use proper fine sea salt made for neti pots- don’t do this with table salt please!!!
- Always follow the instructions! THESE instructions are great.
At the worst part of allergy season (here in LA, its when the crazy-hot Santa Ana winds are blowing) I do the net pot twice a day and feel about 80% better minus pharmaceutical pills. To take it to the next level and get more instant allergy relief, add essential oils to the salt water mix!
Adding Essential Oils (*** test all oils on your wrist for a day before doing this to be sure you have no bad reactions! also, heed your doctor’s advice here!):
- 3 drops rosemary oil & 2 drops tea tree oil mixed into your salt water (people suggest more, but it can cause irritation!) pre-neti pot
- put a drop of lavender oil on the bridge of your nose. yang yang is also great for this, but just a bit.
- use a few drops of peppermint oil mixed with sweet almond oil or a little coconut or olive oil to rub on the back of your neck, shoulders and chest pre-shower in the morning (note: peppermint oil used at night can cause insomnia!)
3. Probiotics. Beneficial bacteria in your digestive system has been proven to keep your immune system strong. A stronger immune system can handle allergen attacks much better. Probiotics can also help your digestion, your skin (especially any rashes or inflammation) and can help increase your overall energy.
Personally, I love making what I call “super-yogurt” (it cooks for 24 hours & you can learn how to make it right HERE!) in lieu of grocery store yogurts and probiotics, but for convenience sake today, lets start with getting a probiotic that has actual live bacteria, and a good deal of it, present. Make sure you get yours from a specialty store or shipped to you in ice, and that there is a good spectrum of probiotics (there are many strains) for your overall balance. Don’t buy probiotics sitting on a shelf without refrigeration; most are not “live” enough to have an impact. If all else fails get yogurt and eat it daily… but be sure its free of fillers and chemicals and that it has actual live cultures in it (it should say so)… !
4. Local Raw Honey (as in raw honey farmed near you, not honey from a local grocery store!)… this, of course, is the best cure ever if you can get yourself a honey made relatively nearby you from a local farmer’s market. I understand not everyone has a farmer’s market nearby, so if it can’t be absolutely local, try some raw honey on your yogurt (#2) and, or, a spoonful “on the side” of a cup of tea (raw honey will no longer be raw and will lose its enzymes if you add it to boiling hot beverages!).
5. Quercetin with Bromelain. This mix of fruit-derived compounds can be found in capsules. While they have little side effects, they have been studied and proven effective in keeping histamine levels regulated (kinda like Claritin does… but without the panic-attack of adrenaline!)…
And, of course, all of the natural cold remedies I’ve posted about (they are super-easy to keep on hand) help to strengthen the immune system, which makes a huge difference when the pollen count goes up!
And, as always, if you have more tips or tricks for conventional-drug-free allergy cures, please leave them below…! I am always on the look-out for fresh ideas, and I’m sure we can all benefit from your wisdom! xoxo Dana