Spring has sprung with enthusiasm this year. It's March, the snow is gone and the windows are already open at Wellness Minneapolis. Soon the trees will bud, daffodils will break earth and shake their pollen in the wind. All the beautiful things that make spring so special also wreck havoc on sinus and pulmonary health of so many people.
Itchy, watery eyes, sinus congestion, labored breathing, and post-nasal drip are but a few of the charming symptoms experienced by more the 26 million Americans who suffer from seasonal allergies. Many of us rely on nasal sprays and pharmaceutical drugs that may or may not work, and often accompany side effects like drowsiness or nasal irritation. All too often we are choosing between feeling like crap because we have allergies and feeling like crap because we took allergy medication. Would you like another option?
Let's review the facts:
Allergies are a symptom that points to a taxed and overactive immune system. Pollen, mold, grass, dust, cat dander, etc. are not innately harmful but for some reason your body has deemed them dangerous and mounts a defense (excess mucus, inflammation, increased temperature). While alleviating the symptoms and discomfort so you can get back to your life is important, these treatments are just band-aids for the underlying cause.
What causes seasonal allergies? Excess stress and adrenal insufficiency, digestive disorders, low beneficial flora, and a sluggish liver are just a few of the underlying causes of seasonal allergies. Below are some suggestions to help alleviate your symptoms now. If you're ready to tackle healing and prevention, get in touch to learn how nutrition, naturopathy and/or acupuncture may help you get ahead of these symptoms by alleviating the cause.
In the meantime, here are a few home remedies for allergy relief:
- First and foremost, avoid foods and beverages that will make your allergies worse. Especially eliminate all dairy products, which are mucus producing. Others to avoid include caffeine, alcohol, wheat, sugar and any others that you are sensitive or allergic to.
- Flush allergens out of your sinuses. Use a saline solution in a neti pot or squeeze bottle. If your sinuses are very inflamed and you are unable to get the solution through, don't force it. Instead try a decongestant essential oil blend, such as Veriditas Botanical's Sinus Congestion. Simply wet a Q-tip with the oil and apply it to your nostrils, as high into your sinuses as you can comfortably reach.
- Drink nettle tea. Stinging nettles are a natural antihistamine and delicious in a tea with chamomile and other herbs. If you have suffered from seasonal allergies in the past, start loading nettle tea daily for 1-2 months before you expect your symptoms to begin. Our Relaxing Evening Tea combines nettles with chamomile, lemon balm and raspberry leaf for a delicious and nutritious infusion that also nourishes the adrenals. You can find both these herbs in bulk at your local co-op. Cover a tablespoon of each with 32 oz. of boiling water and let steep for 30 minutes. Drink throughout the day.
- Get your vitamin C. Vitamin C is a natural antihistamine, which you can supplement up to 3 grams per day for allergy relief. Eating vitamin C-rich foods like bell peppers and citrus is another option. To avoid gastrointestinal symptoms, choose a buffered vitamin C supplement like Vital Mixed Ascorbates by Pharmax.
- D-Hist is my go-to for allergy symptoms. This Ortho Molecular product contains nettles, vitamin C, quercetin, bromelain and NAC to support a healthy immune response to allergens and reduce symptoms.
Jesse Haas is a co-founder of Wellness Minneapolis and a Board Certified Holistic Health Coach. She is also pursuing a MS in Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine. Click here to learn more about Jesse.