Spring is in the air—along with lots of pollen and other irritants that can drive seasonal allergy sufferers mad. Couple the stuffy or runny nose and sneezing with the itchy, watery eyes that go hand-in-hand with seasonal allergies and hay fever and you’re in for a rough season.
Instead of reaching for over-the-counter prescription drugs—which only temporarily mask symptoms—why not give these drug-free allergy treatments a shot?
Drug-Free Allergy Treatment #1: Wash your hands often. This may seem like a no-brainer but many allergens enter the body by hand-to-face contact.
Drug-Free Allergy Treatment #2: Irrigate your nasal passages. This safe and inexpensive procedure gently flushes irritating substances out of the sinuses. The most basic nasal irrigation involves a mixture of salt and lukewarm water (boil water, stir in ¼ teaspoon of salt per eight ounces of water, and cool), held in the cupped palm of your hand and “snorted” up into one nostril while blocking off the other. Tip your head back slightly and allow the solution to flow through the nasal cavity, then out of the other nostril. This may also be done with a bulb syringe, squeeze bottle, or neti pot (a small, teapot-like device). Repeat a few times in both nostrils over the sink or in the shower, as it can get messy.
Drug-Free Allergy Treatment #3: Give facial dips a try. Because the eyes and mucous membranes of the nose are the main entry points for allergens, I recommend using facial dips to flush allergens from these areas. Submerging your face in warm water, blinking a few times, and blowing a little air out your nose helps eliminate irritants from your tear ducts and nostrils.
Drug-Free Allergy Treatment #4: Drink plenty of water. When you don’t drink enough water, the body produces histamine in an attempt to preserve existing water stores. These elevated histamine levels increase allergic symptoms. Everyone should drink eight glasses per day for good health, but people with seasonal allergies should increase this to 12 glasses daily.
Drug-Free Allergy Treatment #5: Take a high-quality multi and additional magnesium and vitamin C. Shoring up your overall health with a good quality multivitamin is a good idea for everyone. However, people with allergies should also consider adding extra magnesium (a total of 500-1,000 mg) and up to 5,000 mg of vitamin C to their daily regimen, taken in divided doses. Both are natural antihistamines that make great drug-free allergy treatments.
Drug-Free Allergy Treatment #6: Consider adding these supplements to your springtime regimen.
Quercetin. This bioflavonoid and potent antioxidant has consistently been shown to help combat allergies and inflammation. Unlike antihistamine drugs that block the binding of histamine to cellular receptors, quercetin actually inhibits the release of histamine and other inflammatory compounds, thereby preventing the allergic response and inflammation from ever occurring. Quercetin is poorly absorbed by the body, but this can be improved by combining it with an equal amount of bromelain, an enzyme from pineapple. Bromelain itself is an excellent anti-inflammatory agent and has been shown to increase the absorption and tissue concentrations of quercetin. For allergy relief, use 400 mg of quercetin and 100-200 mg of bromelain once or twice a day, 30 minutes before meals on an empty stomach.
Stinging nettle. Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) has been used in traditional medicine for many conditions, and it is particularly effective for allergies. In a landmark randomized, double-blind study published in Planta Medica, people with allergic rhinitis were given either a placebo or 300 mg of freeze-dried stinging nettle. After a week, 58 percent of the nettle group rated it as moderately effective, while only 37 percent of the placebo group noted improvement. For people with allergies, the recommended dose for stinging nettle is 400-500 mg per day.
N-acetylcysteine (NAC). NAC is an amino acid that opens air passages by liquefying mucus in airways and increases the body’s production of glutathione, a potent immune enhancer, detoxifier, and antioxidant. For seasonal allergies, try 150-500 mg of NAC a day.
Look for these supplements or combination products containing these ingredients in health food stores, online, or order by calling 800-810-6655.
Drug-Free Allergy Treatment #7: Clean up your indoor air. While you can’t control what’s going on outside, you can take steps to make sure your home and/or office space are allergen-free. Invest in a good air purifier, vacuum and dust often, and purchase several green plants to naturally clean the air for you. Good air purifying plants include bromeliads (especially Guzmania lingulata, commonly called scarlet star), spider plants, and dracaena.
For Even More Drug-Free Allergy Treatments…
So there you have it, seven drug-free allergy treatments that can help you address and possibly avoid seasonal allergies this spring. If you’d like to learn more about the Whitaker Wellness Institute’s approach to naturally treating allergies, asthma, and more, call us at 866-944-8253.