Natural Remedies for Fall Allergy Relief

by heather

30899855I spent all day on the couch yesterday, surrounded by a snowy, puffy pile of Kleenex and endless cups of tea. Why? Because I was big time sick with allergies.

I have them every fall (thank you, leaf mold), and they’re a nightmare. I usually take a quarter of a Clariton D, but anything stronger than that makes me feel worse than the allergies themselves. And half the time, the Clariton doesn’t work anyway.

So, I usually spend most of the fall in slightly varying stages of misery.

Yesterday, though, A had a EUREKA! moment. Why not see if we could find some natural remedies for my allergies? So, he put on his research cap and headed to Google.

And, he found some great stuff. In fact, I’m astounded that, all the years I’ve suffered through these allergies, I’ve never thought to look for a natural remedy.

Anyway, I decided that not only was I going to do more research for myself today, but that it might make a great blog post. After all, if I have allergies then I’m sure that plenty of other people do too. So, let’s dive in to see how we can get rid of the sniffling, sneezing, runny eyes, sore throats, and sinus congestion so we can get on with our life.

Important Side Note: I’m not a doctor, so please consult with a medical professional before starting any new herbs or supplements. Some of these herbs may react with medication you’re already taking, or be dangerous if you have a pre-existing condition, if you’re pregnant, or if you’re nursing.

Natural Remedies for Allergies

  • Butterbur- According to WebMD, the English herb butterbur has had some very impressive clinical trial results. According to the British Medical Journal, one tablet of butterbur, taken four times per day, is just as effective as over the counter antihistamines like Zyrtec or Allegra, but without any of the negative side effects.
  • Quercetin- Quercetin is a natural, plant derived compound that helps stabilize cells and prevent them from releasing histamine. Histamine is what your cells release to get rid of the allergens (think watery eyes, sneezing, coughing, etc.). According to Mother Earth News, most allergy sufferers will need to take quercetin supplements to build up enough in their body to help prevent attacks.
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids- A German study which was published in the journal Allergy states that people who eat foods that are higher in Omega 3 fatty acids are better able to resist allergy symptoms. Omega 3 fatty acids can be found in walnuts, cold water fish, flax seed, tofu, and soybeans.
  • Spicy Food- This is a remedy I used yesterday, and I’m here to tell you it works. I fixed a big bowl of beans and rice and smothered it in Tabasco sauce. By my third bite, my sinus pressure (which had been so intense I was having difficulty swallowing) was completely gone. And, it’s not just me here. WebMD also says that spicy foods help thin mucas, which helps clear your nasal passages. And, the spicier the better.
  • Avoid Some Foods- According to New York University allergist Clifford Bassett, M.D., quoted on WebMD, what you don’t eat is just as important as what you do eat. Foods like chamomile, melon, banana, cucumber, sunflower seeds, and anything with echinacea should be avoided, as they can make allergy symptoms much worse. Fitness Magazine also suggests avoiding sugar, dairy and highly processed foods, which are known to produce extra mucas in our systems.
  • Stinging Nettle- WebMD states that stinging nettle is often used at the first sign of allergy symptoms. Stinging nettle contains carotene, vitamin K, and quercetin. But, WebMD cautions that you should buy the stinging nettle leaf, not the root, which is used to treat prostate trouble.
  • Vitamin C and E- Eating more vitamin C during allergy season will help boost your immune system, giving it strength to fight off allergens as well as the potential infections that sometimes result from too much drainage. Vitamin C and E are both anti-inflammatory, which helps your airways.
  • Drink Water- Think about it: every time you sneeze or blow your nose, that’s liquid leaving your body. It’s incredibly easy to get dehydrated when you’re sick with allergies, so make sure you’re constantly drinking water to replace what’s being lost. I must have drank two gallons of water yesterday when I was so sick, but in spite of all that I can still tell I’m dehydrated. So I’ll be drinking a lot more today as well.
  • Fresh Ginger Tea- Fresh ginger is known to be an anti-inflammatory. So, shave some off and put it into a tea ball, and soak it in hot water for at least five minutes. You’ll have a hot ginger tea that’s great for easing pressure in your sinus cavities. I used this yesterday as well, and I’m definitely making more today. This is also a great remedy for an upset stomach.

Last Word…

I’m definitely not as debilitated as I was yesterday with allergies, but I’m not out of the woods. I’m planning on picking up some butterbur supplements at my local health food store if I can find them, and eating another spicy lunch with plenty of Tabasco sauce.

Do you have any natural allergy remedies you could share with me and other readers? If so, I’d love to hear them, so please send them in!

{ 1 trackback }

Simple Living News Update: Week of Sept 28th
October 5, 2009 at 8:41 am

{ 13 comments }

[email protected] September 28, 2009 at 11:21 am

I haven’t tried it yet, but another recommended remedy is neti pots: http://www.webmd.com/allergies/sinus-pain-pressure-9/neti-pots.

Erin aka Conscious Shopper September 28, 2009 at 1:19 pm

Have you tried a neti pot? I’ve gotten my seasonal allergies completely under control by using a neti pot. It’s a gross and sort of uncomfortable process, but it really works.

Ashley September 28, 2009 at 4:13 pm

Apparently, and this is totally no substantiated by testing, you can help acclimate your body to the local pollens by using local, UNHEATED/UNTREATED honey. Has to be local so you expose yourself to the pollens in your area and cannot be heated or treated in any way, as it takes away from the benefits. May be old wive’s tale 🙂

I grew up on a farm in NC and have never, ever had allergies (some postulate that growing up on a farm prevents allergies, so there’s another one for ya), but I see how miserable it is to have them and I hope you find a remedy soon! The neti pot works amazingly well for sinus infections, but it is totally weird.

Christy September 29, 2009 at 7:09 am

Chicken soup really does relieve sinus pressure and all the veggies give your immune system a boost. I don’t know if it is the chicken as much as the onions and celery and garlic and all the veggies. Fresh pineapple has an effect on the sore throat and boosts your vitamin c level. My doctor as a kid said I would out grow seasonal allergies, never have. Lived in the same spot 40 years and still get them every July to Oct. Spicy foods really do help, try jalapeno peppers as a topping to your food, your sinuses will open pretty quickly.

Evelyn Simeon September 29, 2009 at 6:34 pm

Dear Heather,

Two years ago my son gave me a new version of the neti pot — NeilMed Sinus Rinse. I prefer the design — a plastic bottle with a nozzle. It’s easy to use and easy to pack for trips.

Just noticed fresh ginger tea among your herbal remedies and am wondering whether this is the reason I have fared so well w/ my allergies this year — normally I am miserable and suffer many bouts of sinus infections. This spring I caught a cold/flu w/ a terrible cough so I started to brew ginger tea which soothed my throat and suppressed coughs better than any cough syrup. I’ve made a habit of having a cup each night before retiring. I purchase fresh ginger at Asian grocery stores where they’re a lot cheaper, scrub well, and store in the freezer. I slice about an inch of ginger thinly, cover with about 2 cups water, bring it to boil and simmer for a few minutes. Sweeten w/ honey and it’s yummy. Add some oomph w/ a squeeze of lemon. A strong cup suppresses coughs magically. It may be the ginger tea that has helped me ward off allergies; I thought it was old age!

Thank you, Heather, for sharing your research on allergy remedies. Appreciate it very much … as well as all your other hints and information!

RenaissanceRonin October 4, 2009 at 9:46 pm

I think Christy’s right! Chicken soup cures everything but a gunshot wound! A million Jewish Mothers can’t be wrong!

But spicy food? Is that like when someone stomps on your foot to make your sore arm stop hurting? Oy… Pass the antacids! And Jalapenos taste lousy as a topping on Strawberry Ice Cream, let me tell you! Bleeeech!

Kindly excuse me now, I gotta go blow my nose. Since I drank that Jalapeno Juice Slushy… my nose is running like Niagara Falls! 🙂

Ronin

Katie October 4, 2009 at 9:50 pm

I find wearing a face mask helps. I have one on right now. I usually take half a Benadryl and when that doesn’t work I take the other half. Then I usually end up falling asleep. And the cycle repeats.

heather October 5, 2009 at 8:14 am

Thanks to all of you for all your great suggestions! I have never heard of a Neti Pot but I’m definitely going to look it up.

@Ashley, that tip on the honey is priceless. I’m having another “sick” day-blerg-and am going to start eating some local honey everyday to see if that will help get my body acclimated. I’ve lived here in MI for years but, every fall, my allergies start up again.

@Evelyn- Thanks so much for reading! I love ginger tea too and really believe that it helps slightly relieve my allergies. I can definitely tell a difference when I have an upset stomach too.

@Ronin- Chicken soup will definitely cure a gunshot wound. All you have to do is pour the soup directly into the wound and seal with duct tape. It’s an old Cajun remedy. 🙂

@Katie- Your cycle sounds just like mine! Benadryl makes me feel as if my head is a balloon only attached to my body by a very thin string. Not. Good. Even half a one wacks me out! 🙂

RenaissanceRonin October 5, 2009 at 12:06 pm

Heather:

It’s much easier to just stuff a Matzoh Ball in there. Like a German dumpling, if you make ’em sticky enough, you don’t even need duct tape!

But don’t stuff Lavendar in there… She gets real testy… Oy.

When it’s time to change the “dressing” your Mom just smacks you on the back of the head, and the “Matzoh Ball band-aid” pops right out!

At least, that’s how it works, in MY house… 🙂

Ronin

Lisa October 10, 2009 at 11:21 pm

Heather,

Great article, and timely for me! Here I am, slogging through another damp WA State fall, sneezing away….I grew up on a farm but somehow stumbled into allergies (during the fall yet) as an adult. I’ve tried stinging nettle and ginger, and both work. Ginger works because it’s an anti-inflammatory (soothes swollen nasal passages) and bromelain (made from pineapple) works well too for the same reason. I’ve tried an herb called eyebright with some success also. It works really well if you have pinkeye and also seems to calm my watery, itchy eyes. I’ve had no ill effects from taking these together, by the way.

I’ve been told that butterbur is awesome by a former college instructor who is a naturopath. He says try to find some that’s standardized to contain 8 mg of petasin per tablet, and take 2-3 times a day for two weeks. Like you, I’m going to hunt some down and try it. Taking allergy meds (Benadryl or Loratidine) makes me feel weird, tired and fuzzy.

One more thing, if you do yard work or housework and stir up dust or are exposed to allergens, shower afterward. Also, protective covers on your pillow and mattress can help with dust mites which are known to cause all kinds of allergy problems. Guess that was two things, but I wanted to share with you what’s helped me. Good luck to you!

Caren October 27, 2009 at 11:01 pm

damnit…and I have been taking echinacea not sure if I was gettin swine flu! But it can’t be not with my throat, ears and lip itchin like this. I get the worst allergies but only in the fall….this year it has been particularly bad! I feel like crap, I might as well be sick with a virus! Thanks for the info….I was on a search tonight thinkin just as you did as I stocked up on my favorite website for all my supplements and homeopathic stuff to help me survive this cold/flu season and thought there has to be something for allergies too!

heather October 28, 2009 at 1:45 pm

Caren,

Yeah, this fall has been particularly bad for me too. Yuck. I hope these tips help you feel better!

Caren October 28, 2009 at 2:10 pm

thanks, well I did stop with the echinacea that’s for sure. Actually in my online research I was reading that it is best to take it perhaps not long term but more when you feel something coming on as 1. it could lose it’s effect if you use it all the time and 2. they believe over time it is possible that it might cause virus cell mutation which could make it resistant. Interesting……but good to know that it is not good for allergies. However at the moment I am not so much concerned with my miserable allergies as I am with my 3 year old not getting swine flu. I stocked up on the cod liver oil vitamin E, Vitamin C, homeopathic remedies etc….can’t wait for this winter to be over!

Stay well
Caren

Comments on this entry are closed.