With the changing weather, fall allergies are never fun. If you are wanting to try and stay away from allergy medication this year, here are some natural alternatives to try. When you’re working with natural remedies, different people seem to benefit from different remedies depending on certain genetic factors and which allergens they are reacting to, so it is best to try more than one before turning to over the counter medication (1).
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar has benefits for so many health conditions. The theory is that its ability to reduce mucous production and cleanse the lymphatic system makes it useful for allergies (1). When your allergies begin to flare up, try mixing a teaspoon of unfiltered apple cider vinegar with “The Mother” into a glass of water and drink three times a day. If you’ve never consumed apple cider vinegar before, prepare yourself…it has a kick!
Neti Pot or Saline Spray
Keeping your nostrils cleaned during allergy season can help reduce the itchiness and stuffiness. You can use a neti pot or sinus rinse to flush out allergens and irritants with a sterile saline solution. If pouring something through your nose freaks you out, you can also opt to try a saline spray to help sooth inflammation and open the airway.
Nettle leaf is a natural antihistamine that can be very effective as it naturally blocks the body’s ability to produce histamine. You can take it as a tea or purchase it in capsule form.
Probiotics are something that should be taken throughout the year, not just during allergy season. Make sure you consult with your general physician on the amount and kind you may need. But since allergies are the result of an imbalance in the immune system that causes the body to react to a stimuli, many studies link beneficial gut bacteria with reduced allergies (1). Probiotics help introduce good bacteria into your gut. By consuming probiotics and fermented foods throughout the year, you can potentially reduce your allergies when the time comes.
There are many essential oils that can be used aromatically, internally, and topically to sooth the bothersome symptoms of allergies.
- Peppermint Oil – Inhaling diffused peppermint oil can sometimes immediately unclog the sinuses. Peppermint acts as an expectorant and provides relief for allergies, as well as colds, coughs, sinusitis, asthma and bronchitis. It has the power to discharge phlegm and reduce inflammation — a leading cause of allergic reactions (2). What I like to do is diffuse 5 drops in my diffusers throughout the home. If my allergies are really bad I will put a drop or two on my palms, rub together, and inhale. If I a having an itchy throat, I will often times put a drop into my tea or hot water.
- Eucalyptus Oil – Eucalyptus helps open up the lungs and sinuses, therefore improving circulation and reducing allergy symptoms. What I typically do is diffuse 5 drops in my home diffuser, or apply it topically to my chest and temples (if you are new to essential oils, I would recommend diluting any oil your first time to see how you react). If I am needing to clear my nasal passages and relieve congestion I will pour a cup of boiling water into a bowl, add 1-2 drops, place a towel over my head, and inhale deeply for 5-10 minutes.