Pollen is on high during the spring, and suddenly, behind a sneeze-laden nose, all those blooming flowers don’t seem so beautiful. Millions of people suffer from seasonal allergies, particularly in the spring. Essentially, our bodies begin to produce histamines and react to substances—in this case, substances that aren’t actually harmful—in order to protect us.
Knowing this, and that a lot of us are out there looking for relief, the pharmaceutical industry has built a huge industry with over-the-counter allergy medication. But, as with other relatively non-threatening afflictions, there are plenty of natural remedies we can try before turning to chemical solutions.
Beyond the idea of simply being natural, home remedies are a good choice because they often provide our bodies with additional benefits rather than unwanted side effects. They also tend to build up our immune systems rather than propping them up, which makes for long-term health benefits as opposed to more reliance on medication.
Here are some simple home remedies for spring allergies!
Source: Kim Ahlström/Flickr
Certain foods are aces at clearing out sinuses and opening up nasal passages to breathing again. Hot and spicy foods like cayenne pepper, mustard and horseradish are great for naturally relieving inflammation. In the same breath, other spices that aren’t necessarily hot, such as turmeric and cinnamon, are good anti-inflammatory additions to our diet as well. For those with gardens, mustard and horseradish greens are growing in early spring, and they can be a milder version of this spices to include on sandwiches and in salads.
Vitamin C & Flavonoids
Flavonoids tend to be found in plants, and they are the compounds that often give plants their bright colors. Berries are a fantastic source of flavonoids. Quercetin, especially, is helpful. Flavonoids improve the body’s ability to utilize vitamin C. Vitamin C is an antihistamine. While we tend to think of citrus fruit as the ultimate source of vitamin C, many fruits and vegetables supply it in abundance, strawberries being one of them. Luckily, many strawberries like to start popping out in late spring and early summer.
Fermented foods are all the rage nowadays. It’s been a comeback of epic proportions, and that’s for good reason: Live culture foods have a tangy flavor all their own and, more importantly, they deliver serious health benefits. They provide our bellies with digestive enzymes that help us absorb nutrients and boost our immune system. A spicy fermented food, like kimchi, could be a doubly effective help in battling spring allergies.
Apple Cider Vinegar
In the DIY household, apple cider vinegar (and baking soda) is more or less the answer to every ill imaginable. It can disinfect the counter, maintain sink drains, remedy dandruff and, yes, help with allergies. A tablespoon of ACV (with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice) a day is just an overall health tonic that keeps our bodies at tip-top shape, and this includes dealing with allergies.
Moving out of the realm of edibles, neti pots are a good, natural means of soothing the symptoms of allergies. They get rid of congestion and clean sinuses, which will take out the irritants causing allergic reactions. Neti pots can be filled with warm distilled water (avoid chlorine and fluoride, which might worsen the problem) and a bit of salt. Another option, for those who are more accustomed to using them, would be to try apple cider vinegar to flush out the sinus cavities.
Essential Oil Aroma Therapy
Most of us are familiar with the wonderful relief that eucalyptus supplies when we have a stopped up nose. Suddenly, we aren’t stuck breathing through our mouths, and the world feels right again. Well, there are other aromatic essential oils that can help with these types of symptoms. Frankincense is another great essential oil to help with the natural fight against allergies. Peppermint, lavender and bergamot are all worthy oils (and smells) to try.
Special Tea/Soup Blends
There are many foods and spices that have medicinal qualities that can help with allergy issues and overall health. Some we’ve already named. Others include garlic, reishi mushrooms and water. Regularly using combinations of these ingredients to make broth-like drinks or teas can be a huge aid in combating allergies. A personal favorite is reishi mushroom, garlic, green onions, cayenne and turmeric boiled into a delicious afternoon snack/drink.
With this collection of concoctions and homespun cures, allergies will definitely be backpedaling out of your system. To aid the remedies on their mission, it’s also a good idea to avoid foods that inspire mucus production, such as fried stuff, starchy stuff, and gluten-rich grains. Now, breathe easy because relief is on its way.
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