We sometimes call it "hay fever", but it's not just hay that can trigger spring allergies. Pollen from a variety of trees, grasses and weeds are the culprits for many seasonal allergy sufferers. Some of the worst offenders?
- Trees - including ash, aspen, beech, box elder, cedar, cottonwood, cypress, elm, hickory, juniper, maple, mulberry, oak, pine, poplar, sycamore and willow, among others.
- Grasses and weeds - including Bermuda, fescue, Johnson, rye, saltgrass, and timothy, among others.
For serious allergy symptoms, you may need an over-the-counter or prescription antihistamine, as well as a visit to the allergist. But for many of us, natural approaches may be able to keep symptoms in check.
Here are some natural ways to ward off those spring sneezes.
There are a number of lifestyle approaches and changes that can help to deal with spring and seasonal allergies.
- Showering and shampooing at night before bed - to wash off pollen
- Keeping windows closed
- Saline nasal washes — you can get a NeilMed saline bottle, or use the traditional neti pot — or saline nasal sprays
- Regular steaming, with a vaporizer, hot steam, in a steam room, or steam shower
- Eating an antioxidant-rich diet
- Managing stress
- Getting enough sleep
- Keeping air conditioning and furnace filters cleaned
- Remove shoes when you enter your house
- Careful cleaning
- Using a vacuum with a HEPA filter
- Use portable HEPA filters in your bedroom
- Drinking peppermint tea (but avoid chamomile)
There is evidence that acupuncture may be able to help modulate the immune system, and help with allergy symptoms.
Research has shown that some natural supplements can be helpful for allergies. They include:
- Probiotics — A good probiotic supplement can help modulate the immune system, and make you less sensitive to seasonal allergens
- Quercetin — This antioxidant can help calm inflammatory responses to allergens
- Butturbur — a Swiss study showed that one tablet of butterbur four times a day worked as well as may antihistamines, without drowsiness
- Vitamin C — 2,000 mg daily can help support the immune system
- Fish Oils — 2,000 - 6,000 mg daily with meals can help lower your inflammatory response.
Note: Holtraceuticals has a specially-formulated allergy supplement, X-Hist. X-Hist contains N-Acetyl Cysteine, which helps break down the thickness of mucus in the lungs, and quercetin to help inhibit the release of histamine. It also includes Vitamin C, Stinging Nettles Leaf, and Bromelain.