Spring is just around the corner, and for many people, springtime = allergy time. I've learned quite a bit about allergies over the years, and, being an allergy-prone person myself, I had a very personal interest in learning how to manage allergies naturally.
I've discovered quite a few dietary hacks and herbal remedies that can really help reduce allergy symptoms in the moment, and also promote an overall healthier immune system that's not so hyper-reactive.
Nettles is a weedy plant with stinging hairs that can irritate the heck out of your skin if you touch it, but is a natural antihistamine when ingested in its freeze dried encapsulated form. I carry a small bottle of freeze dried nettle capsules in my purse, and take 2 capsules whenever I feel an itchy throat that signals the start of an allergic reaction. Freeze dried nettle capsules are my go-to remedy for pollen allergies. I start feeling better within 30 minutes of taking them.
Raw local honey is a tasty way to build up your resistance to local pollens. Local honey is important, because the bees made that particular honey by gathering pollen from the same plants that cause allergic reactions. Eat one or two teaspoons of local honey daily to build resistance and help reduce the frequency and severity of allergic reactions, when used over time.
Support your liver with herbs like milk thistle and reishi mushroom. Your liver breaks down the proteins that can cause allergies in the digestive tract. Reishi mushroom also helps normalize the immune system, which can then help calm down allergic reactions.
Eat fennel seeds after your meals to improve digestion, and relieve inflammation in the digestive tract. I used to eat fennel seeds after every meal, and noticed a marked decrease in my allergy symptoms.
Ginger helps break down the proteins in the gut that can trigger allergic reactions, especially when used regularly. Ginger is a tasty addition to foods, smoothies, and teas. Lady Ginger is a green tea blend that can help not only with digestion, but also with respiratory issues.
Eliminate mucus-producing foods, namely dairy products. Many people are affected by dairy; this is one of the things I had to cut out of my own diet. Like so many other people, I was so used to not feeling well that I didn't even notice how dairy foods were affecting me, until I started cutting them out of my diet. If you experience frequent runny nose, with itchy eyes, and a bloated feeling in your abdomen, dairy might be a problem. I didn't stop eating milk products all at once. It was a gradual process that involved eliminating ice cream, then hard cheeses. After that, I switched to using only cheeses and yogurts produced from sheep and goats milk, but even those created inflammation. I eventually cut it all.
Try cutting out all glutenous grain products for 3 months. Gluten sensitivity is not the same thing as celiac disease. Many people find that when they stop eating wheat and gluten products, their health improves, often exponentially. I was definitely in this group. For most of my life, I had severe cat allergies. They say that children usually outgrow allergies to animals, but it wasn't until I gave up eating all glutenous grains that I could finally be around cats and not have a severe asthma attack. A side note: gluten-free oats can still cause digestive and skin problems in individuals who are sensitive to gluten. The only way to know for sure if grains are a problem for you is to cut them out completely for a period of 3 months; take note of what symptoms diminish or disappear when you avoid grains, and if your symptoms return or worsen when you reintroduce it to your diet.
The modern American diet is extremely low in Omega 3 fatty acids. These specialized nutrients help manage the body’s response to inflammation, and a deficiency can contribute to allergies. Omega 3 fatty acids are found in grass-fed meat and dairy, organic eggs, and cold water fish like salmon, mackerel, herring, and sardines. If you’re vegan, flax seeds, chia seeds, and walnuts are the richest plant-based sources.
Use herbal remedies to help manage inflammation. Many herbs can help your body deal with inflammation. Turmeric, ginger, chamomile, calendula, and many more, provide support without the negative side effects associated with conventional over-the-counter or prescription medications. Teas like Rooibos, Inflammation Relief and Happy Place can provide lots of support when dealing with allergy symptoms.
Do you suffer with allergies? Let us know what works for you!