It’s that time of year again….
The sun peeks over the horizon a little earlier. The birds sing a little louder. The temperature is a bit warmer to the point that you dare to cast off pants in favor of your favorite shorts. The coffee in your mug even just seems to taste better.
That’s right — it’s Spring!
This morning starts like every other morning, however, something is different, a little off. You can’t place your finger on it, but you just know it’s there. Peering out the window, you catch a glimpse, and then you realize why. There is a yellowish-green haze that blankets everything as far as the eye can see. And then it happens…“ACHOO!”
Allergy season has descended upon you just like the pollen on the hood of your car!
A trip to the pharmacy or your doctor’s office seems to be just around the corner,
But first you want to try something natural to ward off the sneezing, running nose, and watery eyes.
You begin to wonder if there’s something that fits the bill. I have great news for you. The answer is, “yes!” Here is a list of a few oils, herbs, and supplements that have been shown through many years of use, and even clinical studies, to be helpful with seasonal allergies.
Using peppermint essential oil in a diffuser is very helpful to open the airways, thins secretions, and numb sore throats. If you don’t have a home diffuser, you could simply place a few drops of the oil onto a cotton ball and breathe in a few whiffs. Another option is to mix a drop or two of the oil with a carrier oil, such as almond, coconut, or rosehip, and rub it directly onto your chest. Peppermint oil has been clinically shown to have airway opening properties in animal model studies.
Our family has found this oil to be very beneficial!
Eucalyptus essential oil has similar benefits to that of peppermint essential oil, although, there are different compounds found in each. It has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and relaxes the airway. It can be mixed and applied in the same way as peppermint oil.
Boswellia is known to be a natural anti-inflammatory that can inhibit congestion. It has been found to inhibit leukotriene formation and works similarly to the popular asthma and allergy medication montelukast. It has numerous other reported health benefits as well.
Our family has used Boswellia with great success for inflammation and pain. It is important to remember that Boswellia can thin your blood like aspirin, so you need to consult with your PCP if you are on blood thinners. Boswellia is also available as a powdered herb in capsule form. For capsule dosing recommendations, see the directions on the packaging.
Stinging nettle may sound familiar if you ever spend any time in the woods, since it packs quite an annoying sting when you brush up against it! Stinging Nettle blocks histamine and other inflammatory causing enzymes as well. It is available as a loose powder, in capsule form , or as a tea.
Mullein is an herb native to Europe from which a tea can be made. It is shown to have strong anti-inflammatory activity which can ease symptoms associated with seasonal allergies. Mullein also helps to thin mucus.
This is a mineral that is necessary in your body for over 300 biochemical reactions. It plays an important role in normal nerve and muscle cell function, helps you to maintain strong bones, and assists in the regulation of your blood sugar. Increasing your magnesium intake may help to reduce airway overreaction to allergens. If your body is low in magnesium, this can actually worsen the release of histamines by your mast cells, which are part of the white blood cells that deal with your allergic responses. A large portion of the population in general has low magnesium to some degree. You can purchase it as a supplement from your preferred vitamin supplier. Generally, 400mg of magnesium per day is recommended per current guidelines.
This is a flavonoid found in many different natural foods such as fruits, vegetables, leafy greens, berries, and grains. Typically, it can be purchased in capsule form from your vitamin supplier. Clinical studies on animal models showed significant decrease in the level of histamines in the blood stream when taking Quercetin.
Local Raw Honey
The principle behind this remedy is similar to that of receiving allergy injections. By eating local honey body is exposed to local pollens. As a result, your body then becomes desensitized to those pollens. One short-term study showed no effect, but studies with higher dose exposures over a course of eight weeks showed that eating local honey significantly reduced allergy symptoms. Honey has also been shown to contain quercetin, which may add to the therapeutic effect.
Now, anything that works to support your immune system can also help with your allergies since allergies are an overactive response to things in your environment that are otherwise harmless.
So there you have it! We have only scratched the surface of potential ways to naturally treat your seasonal allergies, but these are some of our favorites.
The next time Spring hits and you start to feel that familiar twinge in your nose, like a sneeze about to sneak attack you, reach for your favorite remedy. Never fear the pollen again!
If you are wondering about our favorite brands of essential oils, supplements, and other products, you can find out more here: http://www.thecrunchycouple.com/resources
*As always, consult with your primary healthcare provider before starting these or any other natural remedies, especially if you take medications or have a history of any medical conditions. Remember that herbs can potentially cross react with medications. Never stop a medication or take a medication in any manner other than prescribed without consulting your doctor, PA, or NP. If you have a serious or life-threatening allergic reaction, seek immediate medical attention J Ethnopharmacol. 2011 Oct 11;137(3):1528-32.  J Nat Prod. 2002 Dec;65(12):1939-41.  Adv Exp Med Biol. 2016;928:291-327.  Phytother Res. 2009 Jul;23(7):920-6.  Phytother Res. 2012 Nov;26(11):1681-7.  Lancet. 1994 Aug 6;344(8919):357-6  J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2005 Jan;115(1):171-8.