Every year at this time, I, like many others, suffer from allergies. I wake up feeling like my head is stuffed with cotton, my nose and eyes swollen, and it takes about half an hour to finish the “wake-up sneezes.” During the day, it isn’t so bad – just a lot of nose-blowing – but by nightfall, I usually have a headache, and my eyes itch terribly.
I have never found traditional allergy medicines to be particularly effective, and thus, I avoid them. Over the years, I have tried a number of natural remedies. Not all are effective for everyone, so give them a try and see what works for you!
1. Bach Flower Rescue Remedy: I use this often for various stress-induced problems, and have read that it is a good remedy for allergies. I haven’t been consistent with using it for allergies, but I love this stuff, in general.
2. Peppermint Essential Oil: Many claim that using this on your throat, temples, and neck helps headaches and sometimes, allergy symptoms.
3. Pine Essential Oil: According to Suite101.com, pine essential oil applied on the throat or over the thymus gland “boosts the immune system and helps create balance in the body’s energy field and makes a big difference in allergy attacks and reactions.” Just be sure to dilute essential oils in a carrier oil (jojoba, olive, grapeseed, etc.).
4. Eucalyptus Essential Oil: According to many herbalists, and exitallergy.com, eucalyptus oil “effectively calms coughs and relieves nasal congestion… It is both an antiseptic and a stimulant with expectorant and antibiotic properties.” You can make your own eucalyptus salve (look for recipes that do NOT use petroleum jelly!), or place a few drops of the oil into your humidifier.
5. Apple Cider Vinegar: Many people use this multi-purpose product for allergy relief. Lindsay Edmonds at Passionate Homemaking uses it as an immune-boosting morning tonic (click here for the recipe). The folks at Earth Clinic claim drinking this tonic will help cure your allergies, and boost your immune system. Exitallergy.com says, “Apple cider vinegar contains many healing properties and is often used to ease the symptoms of sinus infection as well as to treat allergies developed from exposure to pets, foods, and various environmental agents. In addition to being rich in vitamins E, A, B1, B2 and B6, apple cider vinegar contains potassium, calcium, and magnesium. It reduces the amount of mucus in the sinus cavities, soothes sore throats, and will shorten the duration of colds when used with a chest compress.” I personally am in love with ACV and drink ACV tonic often.
6. Herbal Teas: I am an herbal tea maniac, and use them for nearly every health problem I have! Simple green tea helps combat allergies, thanks to its major immune boosting properties, according to Sciencedaily.com. Other sources support the use of nettle, red clover, alfalfa, licorice root, and chamomile to use in teas or tinctures. Please be aware that the use of these herbs may cause allergic reactions – just what you are trying to avoid! So you need to do your own research on this, and make sure these are healthy options for you. (FYI: For swollen, irritated eyes, dampen two chamomile tea bags and place them over your eyes for about ten minutes.)
7. Neti Pot: These have been used by yogis for centuries with great success. I have used them before for colds, and love mine! If you don’t know what a neti pot is, it is basically a device used to rinse your nasal passages with a saline solution. Watch a demo here.
8. Local honey: This is a great remedy for allergies, as local raw honey contains pollens from your own neighborhood, which help desensitize your system. It’s a natural version of allergy shots. Just be sure to start slowly – 1/2 tsp. at a time. Otherwise, you may throw your body into “allergen overload.”
Remember, allergies are like anything else that attacks our bodies – our immune systems must fire up to fight them. This means we need to keep our immune systems as strong as possible. Click here for some immune-strengthening tips.
Don’t forget to do yoga – many believe it to be a great remedy for combating allergies. Remember to go slowly, as allergies deplete our energy resources. Don’t let your yoga practice become part of the problem. Shoulder stands and Plow Pose are recommended to help nasal drainage, but avoid remaining too long in Downward Dog, as that can irritate your allergy-burdened sinuses. Click here to go to Yoga Journal’s article on using yoga to combat allergies.
Here’s hoping for less sneezes this allergy season!