Airborne agents (known as pathogens or allergens), such as pollen, grass, mold, cedar, ragweed, or even some chemicals, are breathed in. Once they enter our bodies, these allergens start to wreak havoc. The immune system mistakenly sees the pollen as a danger and releases antibodies that attack the allergens and release a chemical called histamine into the nose, eyes, and lungs. Histamine is intended to attack harmful agents and remove them from the body. One of the main things that histamine does is cause inflammation.
The good news is there are many natural remedies you can try to control your allergy symptoms:
The most active ingredient in this yellow spice is a compound called curcumin. Curcumin, some researchers claim, has promising anti-inflammatory abilities. A pilot study conducted in 2016 with 241 patients found that those who took a turmeric supplement over the course of two months saw a reduction in symptoms from allergic rhinitis. They had less nasal congestion and less nasal airway resistance. It’s important to note, though, that there isn’t a lot of research that points towards turmeric as being an effective spice for allergy relief.
2. Limit alcohol
Alcohol is quite irritating to the human gut and plays a major role in what is often referred to as “leaky gut,” but it’s really more of an intestinal permeability issue. Again, this is a bigger topic, but when the lining of your gut becomes more permeable, undigested food particles can slide into your blood stream triggering an immune system response. This often manifests as a variety of imbalances, many of which create auto-immune-like symptoms: skin issues, joint pain, hair loss, etc.
We already know that with seasonal allergies we have a hyper-active immune system, so this will overburden it further. Avoid alcohol during allergy season, but if you really need to have a cocktail, make sure to do so with food in your stomach and avoid high histamine drinks such as wine.
Butterbur is a shrub that grows in wet, marshy ground. Butterbur extract is mostly praised for its ability to reduce the frequency of migraines. And there are a few studies that show that butterbur may be helpful for those suffering from hay fever (allergic rhinitis). A 2002 randomized study, which featured 131 subjects, concluded that butterbur tablets can be just as effective as an oral antihistamine. More research needs to be done to confirm the shrub’s effectiveness, however. So far it has not been proven to help allergic skin reactions or asthma.
Garlic is a natural anti-inflammatory because it contains a compound called diallyl disulfide, which fights the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines. It’s also a well-known immune booster.
When it comes to allergies, some naturopaths tout garlic as one of the best natural allergy remedies because it contains the antioxidant quercitin. Quercitin has the capacity to inhibit the release of histamines. To see if it helps, you can spice up your food with garlic. Many people also take quercitin supplements, but Dr. Mitchell says he’s “seen minimal benefit with those things.”
5. Make sure your gut is in check
The gut (or the microbiome) is the primary driver in modulating the immune response in the human body. With seasonal allergies, your immune system is responding to something that it thinks is harmful and an allergic reaction ensues.
Why do some people have allergies and others don’t? Why did you just develop allergies as an adult? There are numerous factors, but one of them is the status of a person’s microbiome. This is a broad topic and one that needs quite a bit more research, but each person’s gut is extremely unique and can change over time. Prescription antibiotics, anti-microbial supplements, alcohol, gut-irritating foods, and stress can and will change your gut. When your gut changes, your immune system will change and it will often become hyper-active, possibly resulting in an allergic reaction.
6. Avoid high histamine foods
You may have taken an anti-histamine to help with allergies or an allergic reaction. Yes, histamines are released as part of the immune system response and anti-histamines can help quiet that reaction. Histamines are also present in many foods. So if your body is overloaded with histamines from the pollen you have been exposed to, and you go eat a bunch of high histamine food, you can exacerbate the reaction.
I often recommend limiting or avoiding high histamine foods during this time of year. You can research for a more comprehensive list but below are the foods that can be most problematic.
Rosemary not only tastes good on your steak, it contains rosmarinic acid, which has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. Some small studies have found that it may help relieve asthmatic symptoms. One study discovered that rosmarinic acid can also suppress allergic immunoglobulin, however more extensive research needs to be conducted to confirm its efficacy. If you do try taking a rosmarinic acid supplement, experts advise taking it with meals to avoid an upset stomach.
8. Invest in a HEPA air filter
The air in your home is often more contaminated than the air outdoors. Many people don’t have any issues until allergy season arrives, but that doesn’t mean you are breathing clean air the rest of the year. Invest in a high quality HEPA air filter to get rid of those small particles that you are breathing in all night, and to remove any residual pollen from the air that you may have brought into your apartment on clothing, shoes, etc. I can almost guarantee you will sleep better with an air filter in your bedroom and it will probably help with your seasonal allergies.
9. Clean the house
Regular house cleaning can get rid of many allergy triggers and help relieve your symptoms. Clean or change out the air filters in your home often. Also, clean bookshelves, vents, and other places where pollen can collect. Vacuum carpets and change pillowcases a couple times each week. Cleaning air purifiers is an important step not to overlook. Change your pillowcase regularly – allergens can transfer from your hair to your pillow on a nightly basis.
Do you suffer from seasonal allergies? Do you have any homeopathic and natural allergy relief ideas you want to share with the Sedera Health Community? We want to hear from you!