Saturday, May 5, 2012

Natural Remedy of the Week: Treating Spring Allergies

My sinuses have been a big problem this week. That's because allergies this year are worse than usual in the Northeast where I live. If you have allergies, your immune system, the body’s defense against bacteria and viruses is on overdrive. It reacts to substances by secreting a chemical called histamine, which causes symptoms including sneezing, nasal congestion, runny nose, itchy, watery eyes, and even, asthma as your body tries to get rid of the allergens. I've been relying on my Neti pot this week and rinsing my sinuses a couple of times a day. I'm also taking Mucinex which is gentle and helps to clear things up. If you are affected by Spring allergies these natural remedies can help you breathe easy:
1. Quercetin, a bioflavanoid, found in many fruits and vegetables, especially in the skin of red apples, red grapes and red onions, and green tea helps to blocks the release of histamine.
2. Stinging Nettles is a natural antihistamine and one of the best natural remedies for allergic rhinitis. Bromelain, which comes from the enzymes in pineapple stems can also be helpful. It’s an anti-inflammatory, which cuts down on the amount of mucous. It also helps your body absorb quercetin better. Both support the immune system. All of these nutrients are available as supplements.
3. Fish Oil contains omega-3 essential fatty acids, specifically EPA and DHA which helps to reduce inflammation and can help protect you from the misery of hay fever, sinus infections and asthma. A good brand is Nordic Natural Arctic Cod Liver Oil.
4. Zinc is another good immune booster. It stabilizes the cell wall. If you’re able to stabilize your immune system, you’re less likely to react to allergens. You can find zinc in lozenges and supplements.
5. Acupuncture is a popular form of alternative allergy treatment. It moves chi which helps balance the body’s energy. Just make sure you use a licensed practitioner.
6. Homeopathy stimulates the body’s natural reaction to cure itself. The Boiron Allergy Care Kit is a good place to start. One of the ingredients, Histaminum will block most of the histamines that are circulating. Another, Apis prevents the swelling of the mucous membranes of the nose and Gallphimia works well for hay fever. There are no side effects and it won't interfere with other medications. It’s safe for kids too.
7. Use a Neti Lota Pot from the practice of yoga to clear your head. Nasal washing removes allergens from your nose. A side effect of antihistamines is that they thicken up your mucous. Nasal washing can help with this too and relieve pressure, headache, dark circles under the eyes, post nasal drip, cough and bad breath. A nasal wash thins the mucous and keeps everything flowing so it doesn’t stagnate and cause a sinus infection on top of your allergies. You can buy a ready mixed solution that contain salt (sodium chloride), sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) without preservatives are best. Or make your own by adding a 1/4 teaspoon of non-iodized salt or sea salt, and a 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda to a cup of warm water. Make sure you use distilled water and a sanitized pot. Use it once or twice a day.
8. Fill the air with the wonderful smells of essential oils such as pine, cedar and eucalyptus by using an aromatic diffuser. This will help open up sinus passages. Diffusers can even be set on timers. You can also try a steam inhalation of essential oil of Lemon Balm. Just boil some water, put 5 to 10 drops of the essential oil into the water, carefully lean over a hot bowl of it with a towel over your head and inhale.
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Linda O. Johnston said...

I'll have to try some of those, Chrystle. My allergies were worse when I was in the east at Malice Domestic and the Mystery Lovers Festival, but they're still around now that I'm back in L.A.

Nancy curteman said...

Thanks for the remedies. Out here in California the allergy season is in full bloom.

Chrystle Fiedler said...

Hope it helps! I used to live in LA and allergies weren't a problem. I don't know why. I lived in the valley so maybe the smog covered it up?!