8 Natural Ways To Relieve Allergies
Spring! More sunlight, more flowers, more green things and more allergies. Great but not great… Why is it that you get such annoying symptoms in spring? And what can you do about it. From plants to supplements and simple changes to your daily routine, these are some of the best natural ways to relieve allergies.
Why Do Allergies Flare Up In Spring?
Some of us are more prone to allergies than others, so spring can be a difficult time. Spring seasonally brings more warmer weather, this means many plants release their pollen in response to the warmth and the extra daylight. Here in Aotearoa, we also get quite windy days in spring which means it spreads the pollen around making it difficult for some people to avoid. This time of year also means your pets are starting to shed some of their hair, dust is stirred up - all things that can trigger a response if you are sensitive to allergies.
Allergy symptoms include:
- Rhinitis (runny) or blocked nose
- Red, itchy and watery eyes
- Even itchy skin for some people
What Is An Allergy?
What is an ‘allergy’? We know that some people have life threatening allergies (like to fish and nuts) that can result in anaphylaxis. People require adrenaline to counter the allergic reaction which is why they carry Epi pens. But what is going on in the body?
With an allergy - the body encounters a ‘foreign body’ like pollen and surmounts an immune response. Our immune system thinks the pollen will harm us so reacts by releasing histamine - this release increases inflammation and results in those annoying symptoms. For those that have life threatening allergies this reaction can be severe causing the throat to close up and heart to race as the body is allergic to the substance it has been exposed to.
Seasonal allergies or hay fever symptoms are caused by the immune system’s over reaction to the environment, and are annoying but very unlikely to be life threatening. The good news, however, is that there are some natural ways to help relieve these types of seasonal allergies.
Natural Ways To Relieve Allergies
Seasonal allergies can be a funny thing to work around, some years are worse than others and some people can go a few years with no real symptoms and then be hit with terrible symptoms that can feel quite debilitating.
Conventionally you can take anti-histamines that stop the histamine effect within your body. You can also take antihistamine nasal sprays but they have a short timeframe that you are allowed to use them for. This is not helpful when seasonal allergies can last for months.
Naturally people have opted to use plants that support an anti histamine reaction. Some plants that we love that naturally help relieve the symptoms of allergies are:
Elderflower has been traditionally used to reduce runny noses or catarrhal deafness (that awful blocked hearing you can get from too much mucus). You could find and pick some of your own in early summer as that is when these bright white flower heads are out. We use elderflower in our Defense Elixir.
- Apples and berries
- Black tea (which is astringent which means drying - helpful when you have runny noses etc)
- Green tea
3 More Ways To Naturally Relieve Allergies
- Saline nasal sprays can also help as it flushes out the pollen and dust and ideally stops the reaction setting in. You can make your own or buy them from pharmacies or health stores.
- If you have pets - vacuum a bit more. I know - that seems cruel too but it can really help reduce the environmental triggers.
- If you have really bad seasonal allergies - consider avoiding going outside in the early morning as this is when pollen is often released - same goes for really windy weather. If you can’t avoid it - you can place some balm inside the lining of your nose to stop anything from travelling up.
Seasonal allergies can be very annoying but spring is a wonderful time to get out and enjoy the sun, the colours of the plants and did we mention the SUN? So hopefully this has helped you arm yourself with some natural ways to combat seasonal allergies and allows you to venture outside a bit more. I say this as a fellow seasonal allergy sufferer.
Skye MacFarlane - Naturopath/Medical Herbalist for Wild Dispensary
Advice: Use as directed. Discontinue if any irritation arises. If symptoms persist see your health care professional.