Ah spring. Finally a break from the cold monotony of winter. The sun is shining, green shoots and colorful blooms are bursting forth from plants all around, and the grass has never felt so lush and soothing under your feet.
Spring brings with it the reawakening of the body and soul, causing people to rush outside and renew their appreciation of the natural world. Sadly, it also brings with it pollens and airborne particulates that irritate sensitive sinuses and reawaken latent allergies. These allergies can put a real damper on our enjoyment of the great outdoors. Even closing all the doors and windows may not bring respite from allergens and their attack on your eyes, nose, throat and lungs.
The logical step is to visit the local pharmacy, supermarket or drug store and stock up on antihistamines. While these are often effective in alleviating the symptoms of spring allergies, they can also have unwanted side effects. These include sedation, loss of motor function, dry throat and mouth, impaired vision, urinary issues and constipation. In severe instances, antihistamines can even do significant damage to your liver.
Luckily, there are other natural ways to alleviate the symptoms of springtime allergies. Read on to find out which natural remedies can quickly bring your allergies to heel.
They may look like ancient relics (actually, that’s exactly what they are!), but neti pots are fast becoming a popular remedy for allergies and congested sinuses. Their operation is very basic: first fill the pot with a mixture of salt and warm distilled or filtered water, then tip your head to the side and pour the solution in one nostril until it flows out the other. Repeat the process with the other nostril, and that’s it!
Rinsing your nasal cavities with this saline solution is a proven natural treatment for allergies, working to flush out allergens such as pollen and loosened mucus.
The action of saline spray is similar to a neti pot, but many people find them a lot easier to use and the risk of making a salty mess is a lot slimmer. Plus you can easily take a saline spray along with you to work or a social outing where it’s not always easy to use a neti pot.
While neti pots have been studied more extensively and may be slightly more effective in dissipating allergies, saline sprays have proven to be effective against alleviating the symptoms of allergies and other sinus problems.
Local raw honey
While there’s a definite lack of peer-reviewed, scientific evidence to support this theory, using local honey to fight spring allergies has been shown through significant anecdotal evidence to be effective.
The idea behind this is that local bees turn the pollen from flowers in your area into honey. This honey is therefore composed of the allergens that are probably causing your eyes to puff up and your nose to run. Eating this honey, preferably raw rather than pasteurized, theoretically improves your immunity or tolerance to these allergens. So, if you eat raw local honey every day, it can help reduce the symptoms of your allergies.
If you’re interested, a growing body of evidence is also suggesting that bee pollen may be an effective treatment for seasonal allergies.
Among the extensive collection of allergy-fighting herbs available on the market, none pack a punch as strong as butterbur. Also known as a headache remedy, butterbur has a long track record of alleviating pollen allergy symptoms, with studies suggesting it is an effective nasal decongester and natural antihistamine — all this without the unwanted side effects found in pharmaceutical antihistamines.
The simple act of hopping into a steaming hot shower can provide an effective and enjoyable way to find relief from blocked nasal passages and inflamed sinuses. In addition, a hot shower can offer effective relief for springtime allergy sufferers, helping to remove allergens from your skin and hair and preventing the spread of pollens to other parts of your house or onto your clothes.
Showering immediately after gardening is a proactive way to alleviate allergy symptoms, where the act of weeding, pruning or planting exposes you to a wide range of potential allergens.
If you’re not in the mood to get saturated and towel off, there’s a simpler method to clear your sinuses and expunge those nasty allergens. Try pouring boiling water into a bowl or mug, draping a tea towel over your head to create a kind of steam tent and inhaling deeply through your nose for five to 10 minutes. To spice things up a little, add some peppermint or eucalyptus essential oil to the boiling water — these will really help clear your nasal passages and even soothe your throat and lungs.
Tried these natural remedies and still beset with allergies? These foods may help in your fight against seasonal allergies.
Liivi is an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and is training to become a doula. She inspires women to find peace and personal power by taking control of health and fertility naturally. Liivi‘s passion is ancestral nutrition and primal lifestyle design. She and her partner Will live between Toronto, Canada and Queenstown, New Zealand.