Seasonal allergies affect up to 30% of the world’s population, according to an article from The Conversation, an independent, worldwide publisher committed to sharing academic research for the common good. Fueled by warmer temperatures and increased carbon dioxide levels, pollen seasons are now longer, and pollen counts are higher, the article explains. Continued climate change, experts believe, will make matters even worse.
For those of us who suffer with sneezing, itchy eyes, and congestion in Spring or Autumn, conventional methods for managing symptoms are not ideal. Anti-histamines can result in dehydration of the entire body leading to drowsiness, and the process of taking allergy shots can last up to 5 years.
There are gentler, natural ways to address seasonal allergies, and I’d like to share the best ones I know.
- Improve hydration. Fereydoon Batmanghelidj, M.D. & water researcher, writes that the overproduction of histamine is a result of mucous membranes drying out. For example, many of us become dehydrated as we sleep and wake up with a stuffy nose, making us feel our allergies are worse in the mornings. Hydrating better by adding the natural electrolytes of fresh lemon juice to drinking water can help control histamine production.
- Eat more quercetin. A study published in the journal Allergy, Asthma & Clinical Immunology explains that quercetin has anti-allergic functions that are known for inhibiting histamine production and pro-inflammatory mediators. Quercetin foods include apples, blueberries, citrus fruits, cauliflower, broccoli, kale, onions, and green tea. Tossing several of these in a daily smoothie makes it easy to get plenty of this plant pigment. (But save the onions for something else!)
- Eat locally according to the season. Food grown in the area you live offers a much better boost to your immune system than that grown & shipped across the country (or across the world.) Also, eating with the seasons and including local raw honey in your diet can act in a similar manner as an inoculation.
- Use essential oils. Diffusing or putting a few drops of an essential oil like eucalyptus, lavender, tea tree, or peppermint in your bath water gives the water an electrical charge, according to a write-up from the Hydration Foundation. This charge acts as a liaison for hydration by helping water move across the cell membrane and get inside each cell. Essential oils also help calm the inflammation of your mucous membranes.
- Try a nasal spray or rinse. Using a simple saline spray or neti pot hydrates your sinus passages and helps get the gunk out. If you’re unfamiliar with neti pots, Cleveland Clinic has posted a great article describing them and explaining how to use them.
Regardless of what side of the world you’re on, seasonal allergies may be making you crazy right now. Trying one or more of the above tips may ease your symptoms. As the planet gets warmer and pollen production increases, having an array of reliable remedies at your disposal might not be a bad idea.
The content of this article is for educational and informational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice. Please consult with a qualified health care professional before acting on any information presented herein. Any statements about the possible health benefits of any subject discussed have not been evaluated by medical professionals or the Food & Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or illness.