I sneeze a lot! It is something I have always done and if you spend any time around me you start to know that anytime I sneeze it will be at least 5 sneezes before I stop. The other day I was walking to the gym and the wind was throwing pollen all over the place and I think I hit my record of at least 20 sneezes in a row!
Being in the height of allergy season I have seen and heard so many people complain about allergies. I even heard on the news that this is the worst allergy season yet, even though I think they say that ever year.
I decided to put together some information for you on some natural remedies to allergies to help everyone who is suffering.
Diet is one of the therapies to beat allergies. Eating foods high in vitamin C, quercetin, and inflammation-busting omega-3s are my first line therapy for allergies. But what you eat can be just as important as what you DON'T eat.
I found that avoiding dairy completely was the best way to completely shut down any tendency towards inflamed sinuses and congested nasal passages during allergy season. Sorry to say for muffin, bread and croissant lovers, wheat doesn't help either. Sugar is also inflammatory, so it should be avoided as much as possible during allergy season. It's no good for your immune system, and no good for allergy sufferers.
Foods to Avoid:
- Eggs (arachidonic acid in eggs is pro-inflammatory)
Food to Eat:
Foods high in Vitamin C:
- Dark leafy greens
- Organic strawberries
- Yellow bell peppers
- Papaya (also rich in inflammation-fighting enzymes)
Foods high in Quercetin:
- Green tea
- Capers (highest concentration of all these foods)
Foods high in Omega-3s:
- Wild, cold-water fish (like salmon, sardines)
- Flax, chia
- Almonds, walnuts
Mast Cells -- Allergy Symptom Promoters
Mast cells are those cells lining your nasal passages, sinuses, and airways that secrete histaminein response to airborne allergens. I am sure you have heard of an anti-histamine. They are the most common OTC allergy medications, but they come with unwanted side-effects. They can cause dry mouth, drowsiness, fatigue, restlessness, mental fog, blurred vision and at worst, confusion.
Take a Mast Cell Stabilizer
The best way to prevent allergy symptoms is to take a mast cell stabilizer when you feel allergy symptoms coming on, or better yet, even before they start. These are some of the natural remedies I have found to be most useful during allergy season.
At the first signs of sneezing, take Buffered Vitamin C 1000mg, and repeatevery 4 - 6 hours. To this, you can add Quercetin 500mg 2 - 3 times per day. This combination works great for quieting unruly mast cells.
If you have a runny nose with lots of sneezing, I find that nettle leaf can provide immediate relief with its anti-histamine properties, but without the unpleasant side-effects of the OTC remedies.
You can drink it as a tea from the dried leaves of the stinging nettle plant. When dried the leaves transform and offer healing properties. As a supplement, takeNettle Leaf 500mg 2 - 3 times per day.
Other natural symptom relievers that stabilize mast cells and have an anti-inflammatory effect to reduce the pressure of inflamed sinuses include:
- Xlear - a natural, steroid-free nasal spray that is proven to reduce inflammation in the nasal passages. Use as directed.
- Bromelain - an enzyme derived mainly from the pineapple core. Take1000mg between meals on an empty stomach, at least two hours after a meal or one hour before the next meal.
- Butterbur - this anti-inflammatory is also used to help asthma symptoms. Take 150mg 3x/day.
- Boswellia - another potent anti-inflammatory phytonutrient. Take 300mg 3x/day.
And for a quick pick-me-up nasal passage refresher and opener, try a small dab ofpeppermint oil at the base of your nostrils. You can also open up the nasal passages with a steam inhalation infused with a few drops of essential oil of eucalyptus. Place 4 cups of water in a pot, add 20 drops of eucalyptus oil, and bring to a boil. Place a towel over your head and lean over the pot, inhaling the steam while using the towel to trap it around your face.
Also, don't forget the utility of a neti pot or saline wash to simply wash out all the airborne allergens sticking to the insides of your nasal passages that are causing the symptoms in the first place. Same goes for the eyes. Isotonic sterile saline eye drops provide immediate relief for red, itchy eyes when the pollen count is high. Optique1A by Boiron is a safe blend of homeopathic ingredients that work naturally to relieve minor eye irritations caused by airborne irritants, such as pollen, dust or ragweed. It can be used throughout the day without any risk of overdosing. Finally, there's relief for dry, itchy, burning, red eyes without the rebound effect of all those OTC vasoconstrictors or astringents that only provide temporary relief. Sabadil is also another one of Boiron's homeopathic products to help relieve allergy symptoms.
All of these products can be found at my dispensary.
I wish you an asymptomatic allergy season. But, if you do tend to have symptoms, these natural remedies offer great alternatives to the usual OTC remedies. If you need further guidance, don't hesitate to reach out to me or schedule a consultation.