Springtime Allergies

They're nothing to sneeze at!

Spring’s a beautiful time of year. But for those suffering from seasonal allergies, it means a battle with symptoms that range from runny nose, sneezing, congestion, and sinus pressure to coughing, watery eyes, sore throat, and fatigue.

While many rely on antihistamines for relief, this type of treatment has side effects, including drowsiness.

Fortunately there are supplements, herbs, and lifestyle strategies that can help.

Helpful Herbs

  1. Astragalus works to stimulate the immune system. It also helps reduce symptoms such as sneezing and itching. Research suggests that astragalus may be even more effective when taken before the start of allergy season.
  2. Butterbur is a natural antihistamine, but it won’t make you drowsy.
  3. Garlic has more than 70 active ingredients, including high concentrations of quercetin, which helps slow inflammation.
  4. Ginkgo contains seven antihistamines as well as anti-inflammatory plant chemicals that work against allergies
  5. Stinging nettle can provide great relief from allergies. With natural antihistamines and anti-inflammatories (such as quercetin), it helps alleviate a stuffy nose and boosts the body’s resistance to allergens such as molds and pollens. 

Allergy-fighting Supplements

  1. Bromelain taken on an empty stomach, helps break down allergy-related compounds like histamine. Bromelain thins the blood, so if you have a bleeding disorder or take blood-thinning medications, use caution with this supplement.
  2. Pycnogenol, or French maritime pine, has been show to be effective in treating hay fever and can help reduce allergic reactions to birch pollen. Researchers emphasize starting treatment early, anywhere from 5 to 7 weeks before allergy season begins
  3. Quercetin blocks histamine release, which triggers symptoms. It works more slowly than prescription antihistamines, so start taking this supplement at the very beginning of allergy season.
  4. Vitamins & minerals such as a B-vitamin complex, antioxidant vitamins A and C, and zinc help support the immune system.

More Relief 

Avoid allergens before they can affect you. Mow the lawn regularly before the grass flowers. When you come in from the outdoors, remove your clothing and take a shower. If possible, wear a dust mask when working outside.

Stay inside when it’s dry and windy, as well as between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m., when pollen counts are highest. 

To combat mold and airborne allergens that find their way indoors, run a high-quality air purifier. Some individuals find relief through a neti pot. This simple and effective treatment clears mucus out of the nasal passages with saltwater, so you can breathe more easily. Portable nasal sprays with xylitol are another option. 

Allergy-fighting tips

  1. Try eating yogurt daily during allergy season. Research at UC Davis finds this practice can help reduce grass pollen symptoms.
  2. At day's end, consider adding eucalyptus oil to your bath or steam inhaler to alleviate congestion.