Four Natural Allergy Relief Remedies
When spring arrives so, unfortunately, do allergy symptoms for approximately 35 million people in the United States and millions more around the world. If you want to avoid conventional over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription antihistamines and decongestants because of their side effects and/or you are not getting the relief you want, then natural allergy relief remedies may be the answer.
Allergy relief can come from natural sources
Sneezing, itchy roof of the mouth, runny nose, headache, watery red eyes, wheezing, itchy eyes—these and other symptoms of allergies (also referred to as hay fever, allergic rhinitis, and pollenosis) can significantly disrupt your life or that of a loved one. The following natural allergy remedies have been shown to provide relief from these symptoms.
- Butterbur: Butterbur (Petasties hybridus) is an herb that has demonstrated abilities to reduce symptoms of hay fever. This herb appears to have anti-inflammatory properties that reduce the levels of histamine and leukotrienes, chemicals that are involved in allergic reactions. Studies that have compared the effectiveness of butterbur with fexofenadine (Allerga® and cetirizine (Zyrtec®) in people with hay fever have shown butterbur to be as effective as these medications. A study from the University of Dundee, for example, found that butterbur and fexofenadine were equally effective in reducing nasal symptoms. Patients in at least a half dozen other studies have reported that butterbur relieved their symptoms. Dosing depends on the supplement, so follow the directions on the product.
- Quercetin: This antioxidant is found naturally in berries, grapes, red onions, apples, and black tea, but you can also get it in supplement form. Numerous studies have indicated that quercetin has anti-allergy and anti-inflammatory properties, including a review from Boston University School of Medicine, in which the reviewers noted the flavonoid can block histamine and other substances involved in allergies. A more recent study reported that quercetin was effective in relieving eye symptoms associated with Japanese cedar hay fever. A suggested dose of quercetin is 200 to 400 milligrams three times daily.
- Salt water and goldenseal: Use of a salt water and goldenseal solution can clear out your nasal and sinus passages and wash away allergens and mucus. You can use a Neti Pot or a squeeze bottle to hold the solution, which you can purchase in a premixed packet of saline solution or make your own. To make your own, combine 16 ounces of distilled or boiled (then cooled) water, 1 teaspoon noniodized salt, ½ teaspoon baking soda, and 1½ teaspoons goldenseal extract, which has astringent qualities. If you buy the mix, add the extract. Hold your head over a sink as you gently squeeze the solution into one nostril and allow it to drain out the other.
- Stinging nettle: Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) has demonstrated an ability to inhibit the activity of histamine, mast cell tryptase, and pro-inflammatory substances that cause symptoms of hay fever. In a study published in Planta Medica, 600 mg of freeze dried nettle leaf daily provided relief from most symptoms for 58 percent of the 69 treated individuals, and 48 percent said stinging nettle was more effective than OTC medications. Ask your healthcare provider about the best dose for you, or follow direction on the supplement.
Natural remedies are an alternative to conventional medications for allergy relief. Before taking any natural allergy relief remedies, you should consult a knowledgeable healthcare professional. A healthcare professional can also help you learn how to use a neti pot or other vessel to flush your nasal cavity.
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