Springtime brings us chirping birds, blue skies, warm rains, and brightly-hued flowers. But for over 40 million Americans each year, springtime also brings the sniffling, sneezing, puffy eyes, scratchy throat, and general misery of tree, grass, pollen, and weed allergies. There are countless prescription and over-the-counter allergy medicines that are readily available at the corner pharmacy, but what are we to do if we’d rather take a more natural and chemical-free approach to allergy relief?
Thankfully, there are some tried-and-true natural remedies that can bring you some much-needed relief as you sneeze your way through April and May. Please consult a doctor before using any of these remedies if you have any preexisting medical issues or are pregnant.
Photo credit: harmon
Neti pots - When my husband first used a neti pot to treat his seasonal allergies, I was completely grossed out. He was pouring water into one nostril and it was flowing out the other! But, when I saw the impact it made on his allergy symptoms, I changed my tune. Neti pots help to rinse the nasal cavity, flushing out allergens and loosening mucus.
Photo credit: miheco
Eucalyptus oil - This powerful essential oil has proven anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Diluted eucalyptus oil* can relieve swelling in the respiratory tract membranes and can be added to a vaporizer to ease breathing. You can even make eucalyptus shower tablets which makes for a very therapeutic steamy shower. Speaking of …
Photo credit: followtheseinstructions
Steam - A heavy steam can help moisten your dry nasal passages and break down and flush out extra mucus. The best way to enjoy a powerful anti-allergy steam is in the shower which also serves a second purpose …
Photo credit: PhotoAtelier
Shower - After spending time outdoors, make sure you shower to rinse off all of the pollen and allergens that you’ve accumulated. This will prevent you from transplanting those particles onto the fabrics and furniture in your home, re-exposing yourself. Make sure you scrub down with our DIY body wash while you’re in there!
Photo credit: sara marlowe
Spicy foods - The natural chemicals in the primary components of most spicy foods have powerful decongestant properties. While the decongestant effects may only be temporary, any amount of clear, easy breathing is better than the misery of a snuffy nose. Garlic has allyl thiosulfinate as a decongestant agent while wasabi contains isothiocyanate.
Photo credit: McKay Savage
Tea - Drink tea, specifically green tea. The methylated epigallocatechin gallate in green tea has proven antioxidant properties which help your body fight off all those pollen intruders. Plus, the calm, relaxing act of drinking tea will help soothe your spirit while you battle those puffy eyes and itchy throat!
Photo credit: Peter Shanks
Local honey - This one may be a bit of a myth, but I say that anything that encourages me to eat delicious local honey can’t be bad! The theory is that by consuming small doses of local honey every day, you are exposed to the allergens in your environment and will build up a natural immunity to them.
HVAC filters - While not a natural remedy, it is an essential step for keeping the air in your home clear and breathable, especially as the seasons change and new allergens are introduced into the air. A new filter will block out many of the harsh irritants that cause you so much sneezing and sniffling!
Regardless of whether you take the natural or pharmaceutical route in treating your seasonal allergies, springtime will eventually end and those allergies will go away, leaving you with a few months of peace before your autumn allergies kick in.
*Always use eucalyptus oil in a diluted form. Concentrated levels can be toxic.