Seasonal allergies are very common in our desert. These allergies are caused by grass cutting and reseeding in the fall, pollen in the spring, and our occasional dust storm. It is very easy to reach for an over the counter anti-histamine to control seasonal allergy symptoms; however, many antihistamines have side effects. Natural remedies not only improve symptoms, but may also improve the body’s immune response to seasonal allergies. Following are common remedies to use for seasonal allergies:
Vitamin C is an anti-inflammatory that reduces swelling in the nasal passages and helps lower levels and break down histamine in the body. It helps improve the way the immune system functions, and reduces the allergic response. Vitamin C also helps prevent sinus infections caused by chronic seasonal allergies.
Bromelain is what’s called a proteolytic enzyme. It breaks up proteins in the body that create an allergic response and inflammation. It can also break up excess mucus in the body. Bromelain controls allergy symptoms by reducing inflammation and mucus.
Quercetin is one of nature’s naturally occurring antihistamines. It helps control the release of histamine and is also an anti-inflammatory. It can work just as effectively as pharmaceutical antihistamine, but without any of the negative side effects. It is one of the most powerful natural remedies in treating allergy symptoms.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids, the fats found in cold-water fish, nuts, and seeds, are natural anti-inflammatories. Using a daily omega-3 supplement will also reduce inflammation in the nasal passages, lungs, and throat associated with seasonal allergies.
Stinging Nettles, or Urtica dioica, is a natural antihistamine and anti-inflammatory herb. It can be used in place of a pharmaceutical antihistamine, and in combination with other natural antihistamines. It comes in pill, liquid, or tea form.
Nasal Cleansing. An additional therapy to use for allergy relief and prevention is daily nasal cleansing, also called nasal lavage. A solution of sea salt and warm water is used in a small tea pot like ceramic piece called a neti pot, a syringe, or a dropper bottle. The water is poured in the nasal passages through the nose to break down mucus and clean out the sinuses. This can be used for immediate relief or for prevention of sinus congestion.
Each of these remedies can be used individually, or even better, in combination with one another. For best results, also consider dietary changes, adequate hydration, sleep, exercise, and stress management.
Dr. Shannon Sinsheimer is a licensed Naturopathic Doctor at Optimal Health Center in Palm Desert and can be reached at (760) 568-2598.