By Chrystle Fiedler
Author of Death Drops: A Natural Remedies Mystery
Ahhh-choo! If you have allergies, your immune system is in overdrive. It reacts to substances by secreting a chemical called histamine, which causes symptoms including sneezing, nasal congestion, runny nose, itchy, watery eyes, and even asthma as your body tries to rid itself of the allergens.
These eight natural remedies can help you breathe easier:
Quercetin, a bioflavanoid found in many fruits and vegetables, helps to blocks the release of histamine. It is found in the skin of red apples, red grapes, red onions, and green tea
Stinging nettles are a natural antihistamine and one of the best natural remedies for allergic rhinitis. Bromelain, which comes from the enzymes in pineapple stems, can also be helpful. It’s an anti-inflammatory, which cuts down on the amount of mucus. It also helps your body absorb quercetin better. Both support the immune system. All of these nutrients are available as supplements.
Fish oil contains Omega-3 essential fatty acids, specifically EPA and DHA, which help to reduce inflammation and can help protect you from the misery of hay fever, sinus infections, and asthma. A good brand is Nordic Natural Arctic Cod Liver Oil.
Zinc is another good immunity booster. It stabilizes the cell wall. If you’re able to stabilize your immune system, you’re less likely to react to allergens. You can find zinc in lozenges and supplements.
Acupuncture is a popular form of alternative allergy treatment. It moves chi, which helps balance the body’s energy. Just be sure you use a licensed practitioner.
Homeopathy stimulates the body’s natural reaction to cure itself. The Boiron Allergy Care Kit is a good place to start. One of the ingredients, Histaminum, will block most of the histamines that are circulating. Another, Apis, prevents the swelling of the mucus membranes of the nose, and Gallphimia works well for hay fever. There are no side effects and it doesn’t interfere with other medications. It’s safe for kids, too.
Use a neti pot to clear your head. Nasal washing removes allergens from your nose. A side effect of antihistamines is that they thicken up your mucus. Nasal washing can help with this and relieve pressure, headache, dark circles under the eyes, post-nasal drip, cough, and bad breath. A nasal wash thins the mucus and keeps everything flowing so it doesn’t stagnate and cause a sinus infection on top of your allergies. You can buy a ready-mixed solution that contains salt (sodium chloride), sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) without preservatives are best. Or make your own by adding a 1/4 teaspoon of non-iodized salt or sea salt, and a 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda to a cup of warm water. Make sure you use distilled water and a sanitized pot. Use it once or twice a day.
Fill the air with the wonderful smells of essential oils such as pine, cedar, and eucalyptus by using an aromatic diffuser. This will help open up sinus passages. Diffusers can even be set on timers. You can also try a steam inhalation of essential oil of Lemon Balm. Just boil some water, put 5 to 10 drops of the essential oil into the water, carefully lean over a hot bowl of it with a towel over your head, and inhale.
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