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Have you started blowing your nose yet? Rubbing your eyes? More than 35 million people in the United States are affected by allergic rhinitis, the body’s release of histamines, and the subsequent inflammation in the lining of the nose, in response to pollen, pet dander, mold spores, and dust mites. With the rain, spring flowers, and wind blowing in, so too is hay fever. If you struggle with allergies each year, this post is for you — and the sniffling kids in your life too. Learn 5 natural remedies to beat seasonal allergies!
Homeopathics and Herbs
While Western medicine is based on the principle of contrary curing contrary, as in fighting histamines with antihistamines, naturopathy and homeopathy are based on the principle of like cures like.
Herbs and homeopathy have been looked to increasingly over that last 20 years as patients have become interested in the natural wisdom of the past and disenchanted with the cost and side effects associated with pharmaceuticals.
This post shares with you both homeopathic and herbal remedies.
Here are 5 tried and true remedies that may provide relief when nothing else has.
Yes, it’s a strange Southern dessert, but it’s also a homeopathic: ambrosia. And it’s one with a great track record. Many testify to the effectiveness of this remedy, both for adults and kids. Here’s the one recommended by our doctor. Ambrosia is the homeopathic dose of ragweed. It may also help asthma induced by allergens and throat irritation, as well as stuffy nose and head. Some find this remedy to be more effective in fall. If one of the 50 species of ragweed grows in your area in spring, it’s recommended.
This remedy has helped our daughter in the past and is excellent for those with recurrent spring and fall allergies, especially those that are worse in the morning, and for those who cough up lots of mucous. (Side note — this remedy also works really well for run of the mill headaches [not migraines]. It literally has made every headache on which I’ve used it go away! It can be used like Advil, upon need. I use 4 pellets under my tongue and keep it close at hand for the unexpected times it’s needed.)
Butterbur is a large-leaved shrub that grows in North America, Asia and parts of Europe. Traditionally its large leaves were wrapped around butter to keep it cool in warm weather, thus its name. Butterbur was also used traditionally to treat wounds, coughs, fever, headaches, anxiety, gastrointestinal and urinary tract conditions. The leaves, roots and rhizomes are all used to formulate butterbur supplements.
Used most commonly for common headaches, migraines, and seasonal allergies, the bitter tasting compound found within butterbur, called Petasin, alleviates symptoms for many. Recommended by the British Medical Journal, butterbur can be used up to 4 times daily to keep allergy symptoms at bay. Many find relief with just 75 mg. daily, starting early spring so it can build up in one’s system. Consult your doctor for the dosage right for you. (Allergy note: Butterbur is in the daisy family and related to Ragweed; so you may need to avoid it if you’re allergic to Ragweed. Use of butterbur with children should be done under the care of a practitioner.)
Yep, had to include this one! Nettles, specifically Stinging Nettles, prevent the release of pro-inflammatory mediators; they reduce the amount of histamines the body produces in response to allergens. Nettles may also interfere with the way the body sends messages of pain. Nettles have been tested and studied extensively, used to treat prostate conditions, Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, bronchitis, laryngitis, hives, bladder infections and many more conditions; it’s an herb that’s advocated for by both naturopathic and medical practitioners. We even see it being used for chronic inflammation, conditions such as sciatica, tendinitis, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Nettles is an herb that may work best when used early in the allergy season, so it can build up in the body before allergens are at their worst. Patients on blood thinners or blood pressure medication should consult their practitioner before using nettles.
Nettles are safe and recommended for children. Combined with quercetin, also recommended and next up, you may find the relief many have.
Another great basic! If you haven’t used this in the past, you may want to try Ambrosia homeopathic first and then add the quercetin if needed. Quercetin is an anti-inflammatory flavonol found in many vegetables, fruits and other plant foods. It works by preventing immune cells from releasing histamines. Studied extensively, quercetin has shown itself to have strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It’s been used to treat high blood pressure, interstitial cystitis, prostate inflammation, and to help prevent colon cancer. It has even shown itself to increase oxygen utilization and endurance in athletes, and to help with asthma. Quercetin is considered safe for children.
The capsule links below combine nettles and quercetin. They work well together and prevent the need to buy and try two different remedies. For serious allergies, patients may need to take the remedy throughout the day, 2 capsules up to 4 times daily. 500 mg. of quercetin taken twice daily is a commonly recommended adult dosage. Consult a practitioner for the dosage right for you. I recommend these brands: 1, 2, and 3
What about diet?
It’s true: Giving up certain foods is often the key to relief. For my daughter, giving up dairy meant she could run around outside freely, during allergy season. Previously she had had to stay indoors or go out with a mask while the grasses bloomed — for 6 weeks! She had already given up grains and sugar.
Many find that eliminating foods is the most important step to allergy relief. For some that may mean adopting a Traditional diet: one with fermented foods, predigested grains, bone broth and an absence of processed foods, including refined sugars. For others the Paleo diet might be necessary and helpful: grain-free, refined sugar-free, processed foods-free.
Consider which foods allow your body to flourish and to heal itself. Whole food diets, or diets with allergy foods removed, take into account digestion. This approach offers freedom and a different kind of pleasure than standard American diet foods or foods you may love that are causing an allergic response.
I’d love to hear your experiences with seasonal allergies and natural remedies. Share your comments or questions below. 🙂