Allergies are very common for most people. Here at Colorado Primary Health Care, we try our best to give our patients tips on how to relieve their allergies so they are not stuffed up or stuck inside for the warmer weather. By following these tips and looking into these remedies, you might be able to take care of those pesky allergies.
1. Eat an Anti-Inflammatory, Alkaline Diet
First and foremost, start eating an anti-inflammatory diet to reduce your risk for allergies and many other health problems. Caring for your body with nutrient-dense foods gives your immune system the ability to repair itself, bringing it back into balance so it can fight off common allergies in your environment. Here are some of the best foods and ingredients to incorporate into your diet to help you beat allergies:
- Garlic — What’s so fantastic about garlic? Garlic is a natural antibiotic that helps ward off infections, viruses and even allergies. Eating or juicing two raw cloves of this powerful antioxidant may literally keep the doctor away! Some people choose to take garlic supplements because they don’t want to smell like garlic, but the supplements do not work as well as the real herb does, so don’t be deceived by this. Raw garlic eaten every day will fight off all types of allergies because it boosts your immune system immensely.
- Lemons — As most of us know an alkaline body means better balance and immune function. Lemons and limes are excellent immune boosting little fruits and are used for various afflictions, including allergies. Both of these little fruits are loaded with vitamin C and immune-boosting antioxidants. Drinking lemon water throughout the day detoxifies the body and rids it of impurities. Mix the juice of one or two lemons or limes with olive oil to make a wonderful tasting dressing for salads and veggie sandwiches.
- Green leafy vegetables — Leafy greens (including spinach, kale, collard greens, romaine, arugula and watercress) are a great source of essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and enzymes that aid detoxification and help reduce inflammation.
- Probiotic-rich foods — Probiotic foods support immune health and can help to repair a damaged intestinal lining. Examples include kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, natto, yogurt, raw cheese, miso and kombucha.
- Bone broth — Bone broth, made from beef and chicken stock, is rich in many minerals and amino acids that support the healing of leaky, thereby helping to strengthen the immune system.
- Coconut milk — The best alternative for cow’s milk is coconut milk, which is free of dairy, lactose, soy, nuts and grains.
- Almond butter & seeds — For people allergic to peanuts and peanut butter, almond butter is a safe and healthy alternative that provides healthy unsaturated fatty acids, fiber, minerals like riboflavin and magnesium, and even some antioxidants. Flaxseeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds are also great sources of healthy fats and fiber.
- Gluten-free flours/grains — Instead of using wheat flour when you cook or bake, try coconut flour, almond flour, spelt flour, oat flour and rice flour, which are all gluten-free.
Breast milk — Studies shows that exclusive breastfeeding seems to have a preventive effect on the early development of asthma and atopic dermatitis.
2. Local Raw Honey (Bee Pollen)
Considering how good it tastes, having some raw honey every day to help control seasonal allergies may sound too easy to actually work well, but don’t discount this ancient remedy. Taking a tablespoon of local, raw honey every day will help your body build a tolerance to the local pollen that is running amuck on your sinuses.
The International Archives of Allergy and Immunology published an article in 2011 that tested how pre-seasonal use of birch pollen honey affected people with birch pollen allergies. They discovered that patients taking honey “reported a 60 percent lower total symptom score, twice as many asymptomatic days, and 70 percent fewer days with severe symptoms.” And they used 50 percent less antihistamines compared to the control group that took conventional meds. (7) I recommend taking one tablespoon of RAW local honey daily, such as by stirring some into tea, adding some to oatmeal along with cinnamon, or putting some in your smoothies.
What makes raw honey so powerful at reducing allergies? One reason is because it contains bee pollen, which is known to ward off infections, allergies,and boost immunity. The bees living in your area go from flower to flower collecting pollen that you are suffering from. It would make sense then that eating local raw honey will help build up your immunity to local pollen. Honey also contains many enzymes that support overall immune function.
3. Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)
For many years I have recommend apple cider vinegar, and now you can find it almost everywhere. Drinking a glass of water with a teaspoon of ACV and some fresh lemon juice is one of the best ways to wake up every morning. At the first sign of an allergy attack, put one teaspoon of ACV in your neti pot solution for a natural “sinus flush.”
Quercetin is naturally found in plant foods such as cruciferous vegetables (like broccoli or cauliflower), onions/shallots, green tea and citrus fruits. Quercetin is a bioflavonoid that stabilizes the release of histamines and helps to naturally control allergy symptoms.
A recent study found evidence that quercetin is effective at reducing allergies because it helps calm down hyperactivity of the airways. It is so powerful that Iranian researchers have proven that quercetin can help control peanut allergies, the leading cause of life-threatening/fatal allergy attacks. (8) Various sources suggest that it is best to use quercetin as a long-term remedy, since it can take several months of use to start working. People prone to seasonal allergies should start to take them a few weeks before spring arrives when trees and plants start to bloom.
5. Neti Pot
Neti pots are a natural remedy for allergies and many respiratory conditions because they help to clear the sinuses and remove congestion. Use of neti pits has been shown to help improve quality of life in sufferers of respiratory illnesses and cause little to no side effects. (9, 10) Clearing the nasal passages of allergens and irritants, this form of “sinus irrigation” originated in the Ayurvedic medical tradition hundreds of years ago. People living in India have been receiving astounding results from using neti pots for centuries, and now you can, too.
Thankfully, this “alternative” approach to preventing congestion and allergies has now become more mainstream. David Rabago, MD, has conducted several studies on the subject and has proven clinically that using a neti pot is beneficial for preventing and treating several upper respiratory conditions, including chronic and acute sinusitis, the common cold and seasonal allergies. (11)
When you use a neti pot, make sure that the water is distilled and as sterile as possible. Tap water is full of chlorine and fluoride and can actually aggravate your sinuses, so it shouldn’t be used. If you don’t want to use a neti pot, you can also try a salt water sinus rinse by mixing sea salt with warm water and sucking it up one nostril.
6. Stinging Nettle
Stinging nettle has a rich history of medicinal use dating back to medieval Europe, where it was used as a diuretic to relieve people of joint pain and fluid retention (edema). According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, studies suggest that stinging nettle can effectively treat a wide range of health concerns including: (12)
- Urinary problems like urinary tract infections
- Benign prostatic hyperplasia
- Hay fever (allergic rhinitis)
- Joint pain, sprain and strains
- Insect bites
- Research has specifically shown that stinging nettle leaf naturally controls histamines, which is why a growing number of doctors recommend taking a freeze-dried preparation before hay fever season begins. It can also be used as a tea or in tincture form.
7. Eucalyptus Oil & Frankincense Oil
One interesting study evaluated the effect that various essential oils had in killing the highly allergic house mites and found that eucalyptus oil ranked amongst some of the most potent. (13) Essential oils for allergies work by reducing inflammation and improving detoxification of harmful bacteria, parasites, microorganisms and toxins that can trigger an attack. You can use eucalyptus oil for seasonal allergy relief in a variety of ways:
- You can put several drops of eucalyptus oil into your neti pot, inhale it via a diffuser, or use it in your laundry detergent as an antimicrobial agent.
- For an eco-friendly, biodegradable addition to your natural detergents, add 25 drops of eucalyptus oil to each load of wash during allergy season, especially if you or the kids are running around outside.
- If your allergy symptoms are going strong, mix eucalyptus oil with coconut oil and rub it on your chest and behind your ears and diffuse it in the air during the day and while sleeping.
Another powerful essential oil for managing allergies is frankincense oil. The almost unbelievable cancer-killing capacity of Indian frankincense has been well established in scientific literature for several years, but its life-giving power doesn’t end there.
- In a study published by Phytotherapy Research, when mice took 1–10 milligrams of frankincense orally, it was discovered that multiple levels of their immune systems were stimulated including IgG, IgM and interferon. (14) This means that frankincense has seriously powerful effects when it comes to supporting the immune system.
- To implement it into your natural health regimen, simply rub frankincense behind your ears and on your chest several times per day, or diffuse frankincense essential oil in your home and office for about three hours daily.
8. SBO Probiotics
It’s now becoming common knowledge that a strong immune system starts with a healthy gut. More than 80 percent of your immune function is stored in your gastrointestinal (GI) tract! It should be no wonder that research keeps surfacing that links probiotic supplement use to reduced risk of allergies. (15)
Probiotics are beneficial “good bacteria” that live inside your GI tract and help defend you against infections, viruses, allergies and more. They are so effective that a study published in the journal Pediatrics discovered that women who regularly take probiotics during pregnancy significantly reduce their child’s risk of developing allergies. (16) I highly recommend getting your soil-based organisms through probiotics in supplement form or from probiotic foods, which are sold at farmer’s markets and can even be made from foods growing in your own local garden.