Natural Allergy Relief Remedies

Woman suffering from allergy

Runny nose. Watery eyes. Red, itchy skin. We all know what that means: allergies. It’s time to take your antihistamine pills again. Only to regret it when the side effects start to kick in.

What if I tell you there are natural ways to relieve allergies without the dreaded after effects? That’s right. Some of them can even be found in your pantry. But how do you know which natural allergy remedy works for you? First, you need to find out what is causing those allergic reactions.

So, why do we have allergies?

Our body has a natural defense structure which we call “the immune system”. It’s our body’s first line of resistance against harmful foreign bodies or allergens.

The first time you come in contact with a particular allergen, your body releases an antibody specific for it. These antibodies then attach to the cells in your surface tissues (such as the skin and your nose’s mucous membranes). So the next time you encounter that specific allergen, the cells go on auto-immune response mode. It releases chemicals such as histamine and leukotrienes which triggers the allergic responses you experience.

Histamine can cause inflammation in various parts of your body like the air track. When your airways swell, breathing will be difficult. This causes asthma and when left untreated may lead to hypoxia. Meanwhile, leukotrienes trigger an over secretion of mucus. This manifests in a runny nose and increased phlegm.

Some of the most common allergens are pollen, dust and airborne contaminants. Mold spores, cockroaches, pet fur, mites, and industrial chemicals can also trigger various allergic reactions. Some people are allergic to certain foods too like peanuts and several kinds of seafood.

So how do you combat allergies the natural way? Check out these 18 home remedies for allergies.

Probiotics

Probiotic supplement gel capsules

One of the most important health benefits of probiotics is its anti-inflammatory properties. It helps maintain a healthy balance of good and bad bacteria in your guts. This, in turn, aids in regulating your body’s immune responses.

There are plenty of excellent probiotic supplements in the market. Eating probiotic-rich foods like dairy, kimchi, and sauerkraut helps too. Most probiotic supplements have probiotic strains specially formulated for a specific purpose. Bionaze, for example, is formulated with Bl-04 and BLIS K12. These are two cutting-edge strains targeted for nose, ear, throat and mouth infections. The most common strains you can find in the market are lactobacillus and bifidobacterium which are great for stomach issues. To maximize a probiotic supplement’s effect, make sure you’re getting the one with the strains targeted for your specific allergy.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Organic apple cider vinegar in bottles

Aside from helping you lose weight, apple cider vinegar is also great for preventing allergies. Several studies have concluded that it helps reduce mucus production. It also cleanses your lymphatic system for more efficient detoxification.

If you can, swallow a tablespoon of pure undiluted apple cider vinegar every morning. Adding water and honey for a more palatable concoction works too.

Local Raw Honey

Organic locally-sourced raw honey in a glass jar

Spring might be an exciting time for most people but not for those who are allergic to pollen. In these trying times, that bottle of raw honey sitting in your kitchen might just be your lifesaver. Birch pollen honey is especially effective for people with birch pollen allergies. In a 2011 randomized controlled study, 60% of patients have shown decreased symptoms of pollen allergy. They also used 50% less antihistamine than from before they started consuming honey.

A tablespoon of raw local honey taken daily can help you build a better tolerance against those pesky pollens irritating your sinus.

Quercetin

Pink quercetin capsules

Quercetin is a compound abundant in citrus fruits and green leafy vegetables. It stabilizes the release of histamine thus controlling allergy symptoms. Recent studies have also found quercetin to be effective in preventing inflammation in your airways. This makes it a great antidote for peanut allergies.

Unlike other allergy remedies, quercetin takes a while to work. Medical professionals recommend for it to be taken as a long-term remedy. People with seasonal allergies are advised to take it months before the plant-blooming season.

Anti-inflammatory Foods

Lemon slices and garlic cloves which are considered anti-inflammatory foods

It’s a well-known fact that the foods you eat affect your body’s immune functions. Anti-inflammatory foods, in particular, helps calm down a hyperactive immune system. It also improves your body’s ability to heal itself and fight off common allergens. Eating garlic, lemons, and leafy greens boost your immune system. Studies have also found that breastfeeding helps reduce the risk of childhood asthma and atopic dermatitis in infants.

Stinging Nettle

Stinging nettle leaves for allergy

Since medieval times, stinging nettles have been used to treat joint pains and edema. Modern medical research also found that stinging nettle leaves are a natural antihistamine. In fact, many doctors are using it to treat hay fever and allergic rhinitis. It’s usually freeze-dried or applied in tincture form. Some people also put it in their teas.

Physical Exercise

A woman stretching and doing regular physical exercise

Researchers in Thailand discovered that physical exercise helps reduce allergy symptoms. About 30 minutes of moderate to intense activity per day is enough. Though the why behind this is still subject to further studies, they theorize that sweating helps your body get rid of toxins. Indoor exercise is highly recommended as the dust and pollens outside might make your allergies worse.

Neti Pot

A neti pot with a bowl of salt

For people with consistent nasal congestion during allergy season, a neti pot is a handy natural remedy. It clears our nasal passages of allergens and irritants. This helps clear the inflammation thus reducing congestion.

A similar method of “sinus irrigation” can be traced back to the ancient Ayurvedic medical practice. This means that for hundreds of years, people of India had used neti pots to treat nasal allergies. Its efficacy and lack of adverse side effects catapulted this traditional method into mainstream medical practice.

Just make sure that the water in your neti pot is distilled and sterilized. Plain tap water usually contains chlorine and other chemicals that may aggravate your nasal passages.

Acupuncture

A man's back with needles during an acupuncture session

For thousands of years, oriental medicine has relied on acupuncture in treating various illnesses. That includes asthma and many other sorts of allergy. The American Academy of Medical Acupuncture revealed that using acupuncture for allergies often elicit a quick response. Some patients who didn’t respond well to western medication gets relief from acupuncture.

Immunotherapy

A person going through immunotherapy

Like quercetin, the allergic relief from immunotherapy is not immediate. In fact, it can take around three to five years before any real difference can be felt. But once the therapy sessions are completed, the patient is usually allergy-free for the rest of their life.

Essential Oils

Essential oil for allergy relief in a small bottle

Small bugs and house mites can sometimes cause serious damage to your skin. Fortunately, a recent study revealed that certain essential oils can repel them.

Eucalyptus oil is found to be the most potent among them. You can put it in your neti pot, your laundry load or in a diffuser. Several studies have also discovered that frankincense oil has strong immune boosting properties. You can rub it in behind your ears and chest or put it in a diffuser while you were sleeping.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C supplements and oranges

Alternative medicine practitioners believe that common allergic disorders can be treated with Vitamin C. It is found to prevent histamine secretion and increases the detoxification of white blood cells.

A recent study had 48 people given ascorbic acid nasal spray solution three times daily. After two weeks, 74% of them displayed reduced nasal secretions, blockage and edema. They recommend at least 2 grams of Vitamin C per day for the treatment of allergic rhinitis.

HEPA Filter

A used HEPA filter with accumulated dusts

High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters use densely matted fibers to trap airborne irritants. Common allergens such as pollen, dust and pet dander won’t be a problem anymore. The US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health recommends using a HEPA filter that can trap particles at least 0.3 microns in diameter. As a perspective, a typical human hair is about 50-150 microns in diameter.