Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Green and Frugal -- Natural Remedies for Fall Allergies

Another fabulous post from our friends at The Greenest Dollar:

Fall Allergies? Try These Natural Remedies…


I spent all day on the couch yesterday, surrounded by a snowy, puffy pile of Kleenex and endless cups of tea. Why? Because I was big time sick with allergies.

I have them every fall (thank you, leaf mold), and they’re a nightmare. I usually take a quarter of a Clariton D, but anything stronger than that makes me feel worse than the allergies themselves. And half the time, the Clariton doesn’t work anyway.

So, I usually spend most of the fall in slightly varying stages of misery.

Yesterday, though, A had a EUREKA! moment. Why not see if we could find some natural remedies for my allergies? So, he put on his research cap and headed to Google.

And, he found some great stuff. In fact, I’m astounded that, all the years I’ve suffered through these allergies, I’ve never thought to look for a natural remedy.

Anyway, I decided that not only was I going to do more research for myself today, but that it might make a great blog post. After all, if I have allergies then I’m sure that plenty of other people do too. So, let’s dive in to see how we can get rid of the sniffling, sneezing, runny eyes, sore throats, and sinus congestion so we can get on with our life.

Important Side Note: I’m not a doctor, so please consult with a medical professional before starting any new herbs or supplements. Some of these herbs may react with medication you’re already taking, or be dangerous if you have a pre-existing condition, if you’re pregnant, or if you’re nursing.

Natural Remedies for Allergies

  • Butterbur- According to WebMD, the English herb butterbur has had some very impressive clinical trial results. According to the British Medical Journal, one tablet of butterbur, taken four times per day, is just as effective as over the counter antihistamines like Zyrtec or Allegra, but without any of the negative side effects.
  • Quercetin- Quercetin is a natural, plant derived compound that helps stabilize cells and prevent them from releasing histamine. Histamine is what your cells release to get rid of the allergens (think watery eyes, sneezing, coughing, etc.). According to Mother Earth News, most allergy sufferers will need to take quercetin supplements to build up enough in their body to help prevent attacks.
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids- A German study which was published in the journal Allergy states that people who eat foods that are higher in Omega 3 fatty acids are better able to resist allergy symptoms. Omega 3 fatty acids can be found in walnuts, cold water fish, flax seed, tofu, and soybeans.
  • Spicy Food- This is a remedy I used yesterday, and I’m here to tell you it works. I fixed a big bowl of beans and rice and smothered it in Tabasco sauce. By my third bite, my sinus pressure (which had been so intense I was having difficulty swallowing) was completely gone. And, it’s not just me here. WebMD also says that spicy foods help thin mucas, which helps clear your nasal passages. And, the spicier the better.
  • Avoid Some Foods- According to New York University allergist Clifford Bassett, M.D., quoted on WebMD, what you don’t eat is just as important as what you do eat. Foods like chamomile, melon, banana, cucumber, sunflower seeds, and anything with echinacea should be avoided, as they can make allergy symptoms much worse. Fitness Magazine also suggests avoiding sugar, dairy and highly processed foods, which are known to produce extra mucas in our systems.
  • Stinging Nettle- WebMD states that stinging nettle is often used at the first sign of allergy symptoms. Stinging nettle contains carotene, vitamin K, and quercetin. But, WebMD cautions that you should buy the stinging nettle leaf, not the root, which is used to treat prostate trouble.
  • Vitamin C and E- Eating more vitamin C during allergy season will help boost your immune system, giving it strength to fight off allergens as well as the potential infections that sometimes result from too much drainage. Vitamin C and E are both anti-inflammatory, which helps your airways.
  • Drink Water- Think about it: every time you sneeze or blow your nose, that’s liquid leaving your body. It’s incredibly easy to get dehydrated when you’re sick with allergies, so make sure you’re constantly drinking water to replace what’s being lost. I must have drank two gallons of water yesterday when I was so sick, but in spite of all that I can still tell I’m dehydrated. So I’ll be drinking a lot more today as well.
  • Fresh Ginger Tea- Fresh ginger is known to be an anti-inflammatory. So, shave some off and put it into a tea ball, and soak it in hot water for at least five minutes. You’ll have a hot ginger tea that’s great for easing pressure in your sinus cavities. I used this yesterday as well, and I’m definitely making more today. This is also a great remedy for an upset stomach.

Last Word…

I’m definitely not as debilitated as I was yesterday with allergies, but I’m not out of the woods. I’m planning on picking up some butterbur supplements at my local health food store if I can find them, and eating another spicy lunch with plenty of Tabasco sauce.

Do you have any natural allergy remedies you could share with me and other readers? If so, I’d love to hear them, so please send them in!

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