I am a lifelong sufferer of allergies. I’m pretty much allergic to everything, year round – all grasses, trees, weeds, dust, and pets. Although my symptoms have improved drastically over the course of the last 10 years as my body has healed, without fail I get the itchy eyes and runny nose this time of year. I really try to take the least amount of over the counter or prescription medicines and focus on eating and living as clean as possible instead. However, I am also thankful for those same medicines when all my natural remedy “go-tos” are just not enough.
Over the last several years, as I’ve tried to reduce my use of Zyrtec, I’ve experimented with every known holistic remedy I could find. I’ve tried chiropractic work and acupunture as well as countless body detoxes and eating programs designed to heal my gut and tame my overactive immune system. I’ve also tried many “at home” practices, some of which I continue to do regularly because I’ve found great relief in them.
So as we go full speed ahead into the worst time of year for you seasonal allergy sufferers, I thought I’d share my favorite natural ways to ease my allergy symptoms.
First, I eat clean with a focus on lots of fresh, raw foods. Diet has done more for me to help my allergies than anything else I’ve tried. Eating clean for me means this: minimizing processed foods, sugar, obviously no gluten, no dairy, and pretty much no grains either and maximizing vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, farm fresh eggs, and wild fish. Once I cut out all grains (not just the gluten), I experienced a big bump in relief from my allergies. Grains promote inflammation in my body, and allergies are an inflammatory condition. Any way I can eat to help reduce the overall inflammation going on inside me, I jump all over. An anti-inflammatory diet means I choose those clean foods that do not spike my blood sugar nor trigger my intolerances while also feeding my body all the needed nutrients to cool the fire within. Since grains and dairy are off the table, you may be thinking, what’s left to eat. A lot! All the foods I mentioned above are naturally gluten and dairy free – vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, seeds, eggs, meats, and fish.
Second, I rinse my sinuses often. Like pretty much every day or twice a day or three times a day during allergy season. Most allergy sufferers have heard of the netipot. For those of you that haven’t, it’s a little ceramic pot that you fill with water and a little bit of salt. You then lean over a sink with your head turned to the side, one ear up. Pour the water from the spout into the nostril on top. The water travels in one nostril and out the other and takes with it all of the allergens that are causing uncomfortable symptoms. I have a netipot, and I like it, but I love the NediMed, which is a bottle with a nozzle on top, so you can squeeze and add a little pressure to the salt water as it moves through and cleanses all the irritants out of your nasal passages. I highly, highly recommend one of these if you have allergies.
Third, I drink apple cider vinegar every morning. Apple cider vinegar has long been known as a cure-all for all kinds of conditions like diabetes, obesity, and other inflammatory conditions. Even though it is acidic, it has an alkaline effect on the body. And, it also has a powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-histamine effect, which makes it a friend to all of those with allergies. To drink apple cider vinegar, it must be diluted. Add one spoonful to about ½ a cup of warm water and drink it – just try to get it past your teeth to avoid damage to your enamel.
Fourth, I love nettles. I take it in capsule form daily. Like apple cider vinegar, it also has an anti-inflammatory and anti-histamine effect. Nature’s Way has a good nettles supplement.
Fifth, I have found relief for my symptoms in homeopathic products. When I was in the throws of my sick years, I saw a homeopath every month. She introduced me to the “quacky” practice of homeopathy. At first, I though it was a bunch of baloney, but I decided to try her “remedies” because I was sick and feeling miserable all of the time and figured I had nothing to lose. I have no explanation as to how homeopathic remedies work, but they really do work if you find the right one. That’s the trick – finding the right one, and it can take a few experimentations. Typically homeopathic remedies come in these little blue cylinders, and they look like tiny little white balls. You put the recommended dose under you tongue. Another way to take these remedies is to make a magic potion by dissolving them in water and then sip on the water throughout the day. The remedy I found to give me the most relief years ago is Kali Bichromium. I could almost feel my sinuses open up as soon as I put the remedy under my tongue. A combination remedy that I still really like and use regularly is Sinusalia.
Sixth, a couple more homeopathic allergy symptom easers: eye drops and nose spray. When I’m about to go nuts scratching my eyes or when the helicopter is taking off (Rob’s term for the way it sounds when I itch my nose), I go to these two products: Similasan Allergy Eye Relief and Sinus Relief.
Seventh, I take supplements: vitamin C, quercitin, and bromelain complex. Vitamin C is an anti-oxidant famous for reducing inflammation, protecting our cells from damage, and strengthening the membrane of our cells. Quercitin is a flavonoid and bromelain is an enzyme (from pineapple), which both also help to reduce inflammation in the body. Allergies are an inflammatory condition, so boosting anti-inflammatory promoting nutrients in a supplement form helps.
These are just a few of the ways I naturally combat my seasonal allergies. I am not a doctor, so ask you doctor first before trying any natural remedy. Even though these solutions are not a prescription or over the counter medicine, they can have side effects. Your doctor will know if they are right for you to try.