7 DIY Remedies for Seasonal Allergies

IMG_3375.JPGBelow are some home remedies you can try to help get you through this years allergy season.  Acupuncture in conjunction with these home remedies will help dramatically with your allergies this season. Read more about acupuncture and allergies here.

Peppermint tea1. Nettle-Peppermint Tea

For centuries Nettle has been used to treat allergy symptoms. It is particularly used for hay fever, which is the most common allergy problem. Nettle contains an active compounds that reduces inflammation in the body.  Nettle also reduces the amount of histamine that is produced by the body’s response to an allergen. An allergen is defined as substance which provokes a heighten immune response in individuals who are sensitive to that stimuli.

Nettle has other healing properties which aid in arthritis, asthma, bladder infections, hives, bronchitis, gingivitis, bursitis, gout, laryngitis, kidney stones, multiple sclerosis, tendonitis, PMS, and sciatica.

Peppermint has many medical qualities that make it a useful and easy herb to use. Peppermint however is a bit of a contradiction as it is both a stimulant and a relaxant. This means Peppermint is stimulating to the circulation yet soothing to the nerves, thus having both qualities at once. Generally Peppermint oil is more stimulating and peppermint tea is more soothing.

Peppermint contains the substance called rosmarinic acid.  Rosmarinic acid has several actions that are beneficial in asthma. Rosmarinic acid has antioxidant abilities to neutralize free radicals.  It also has been shown to block the production of pro-inflammatory chemicals, such as leukotrienes. Rosemarinic acid encourages cells to make substances called prostacyclin.  Prostacyclin helps inhibit the activity and secretion of anti-inflammatory enzymes.  These anti-inflammatory enzymes help keep the airways open for easy breathing. Extracts of peppermint can help relieve the nasal symptoms of allergic rhinitis.

You will need…

  • 1 teaspoon of dried peppermint OR ¼ cup chopped fresh peppermint
  • 1 teaspoon of dried nettle leaf OR ¼ cup chopped fresh nettle leaf
  • Raw Honey and lemon to taste (optional)
  • 8 ounces of fresh water

Directions

Place the nettle and peppermint in a pot or mug and cover with boiling water. Steep for 10-15 minutes, strain; add honey to taste, and drink 2 times daily as needed for allergy relief.

Bee2. Bee Pollen

Warning Bee pollen can cause a serious allergic reaction— including hives, shortness of breath, swelling, and anaphylaxis.

Bee pollen is not safe for pregnant women. Any woman breastfeeding should also avoid using bee pollen.

Bee pollen may cause increased bleeding if taken with certain blood thinners like warfarin. Check with your MD before taking bee pollen if you take any medications, over-the-counter medicines, or herbs.

All the essential components of life are contained in bee pollen. Bee pollen contains rejuvenating elements and remarkably exceeds those present in brewer’s yeast and wheat germ. Bee pollen can correct the deficient or unbalanced nutrition in the body.  Bee pollen is rich in amino acids, proteins, vitamins such as B-complex, and frolic acid.

Bee pollen is considered an energy and nutritive tonic in Chinese medicine. Throughout the world cultures use bee pollen in a number of applications:

  •  improving endurance and vitality
  • extending longevity
  • aiding recovery from chronic illness
  • adding weight during convalescence
  • reducing cravings and addictions
  • regulating the intestines
  • building new blood
  • preventing infectious diseases such as the cold and flu
  • developmental problems in children

Bee pollen can be used as a remedy for hay-fever and allergies. Bee pollen must be taken at least six weeks before the allergy season begins.   You must continue to take bee pollen throughout the season for it to work.

FlowerHow does bee pollen work?

Bee pollen has been effectively used down through the ages to rid allergy sufferers of their afflictions. Bee pollen works by desensitization.  A technique that was developed at St. Mary’s Hospital Medical School in London after the turn of the century. By administering a small amounts of the allergen to stage patient, it would stimulate their immune system to produce antibodies that will eliminate the allergic reaction.  Desensitization is based on the premise that by exposing the person to the allergen it will cause the body to produce antibodies.  These antibodies then are ready to fight the allergens and cancel out the effects of the stimuli causing a reaction.

There are two vital components to this remedy

1. make sure you are not anaphylactic or severely allergic to bees, or extremely allergic to pollen that you experience anaphylaxis.

2. You must get local pollen!  This will not work unless the pollen is local, as you need to build up a tolerance to the local plants pollen in your area. Make sure that your pollen is coming from a good source, and free from insecticides. There are 3 forms (granules, capsules, and powder). Bee pollen is crunchy, musty, and very floral-enjoy it plain or sprinkle some over yogurt or oatmeal in the morning.

You will need…

  • Local bee pollen granules

Directions

Start taking pollen 5-6 months before your allergies flare. Start with 1 or 2 granules under the tongue and let them dissolve or chew them. The next day increase the dosage by 1 granule. Continue this until you feel confident that you will not have a reaction (2-3 weeks). If you experience no adverse reaction, you can take up to 1 tablespoon daily throughout allergy season.

Onion3. Red Onion Water

For centuries ancient Ayurveda and Chinese medicine have been using onions to ward off disease.  In Chinese medicine onions are used for their congestion relieving properties.  Onions were used by Ancient Greeks for sore muscles by rubbing the onion juice on the sore painful muscles.  The Native Americans also used onions for warding off common colds and flus.  The World Health Organization has even recognized onions for its ability to help alleviate symptoms from the flu, coughs, respiratory infections, congestion, and bronchitis.

Onions contain a water-soluble chemical called quercetin (also found in garlic and apples).  Quercetin has been shown in studies to reduce the amount of histamine produced by the body.  Quercetin itself has also been shown to discourage inflammation production.   Quercetin also acts as a bronchio-dilator, opening up airways and helping you breathe easier.  Garlic and onions effects on the body act much like an anti-histamine.  This make onions very effective when incorporated to an anti-allergy diet.

You will need…

  • 1 red onion
  • 4 cups of water
  • organic raw honey to taste

Directions

Thinly slice the onion and add it to the water. Allow it to infuse for 8-12 hours before drinking 1-2 times daily. Keep it in the fridge for up to 4 days. Stir some honey in just before you drink it.

Walnut4. Apple – Walnut Trail Mix

Walnuts are a daily snack that you can enjoy to help ease allergy symptoms. Walnuts are high in magnesium and vitamin E. Magnesium is our natural muscle relaxant and can work against wheezing that often comes with asthma. Vitamin E can helps to improve our immune system.  Vitamin E also works to help to protect the body against free radicals, which in turn reduces inflammation and damages on the bodies tissues.

ApplesApples, like onions and garlic, contain quercetin.  Quercetin naturally reduces the production of histamine in the body. The peel of apple is rich in antioxidants, specifically polyphenols that protect the cells from damage.

You will need…

  • 1/2-1 cup of walnuts
  • 1 apple

Directions

Chop the walnuts and cut the apple into medium chunks. Place both in a bag and toss.

Broccoli 5. Broccoli

Broccoli’s nutritional profile is impressive. Broccoli contains high levels of fiber (both soluble and insoluble) and has a rich source of vitamin C. In as little as a 100 gram servings of broccoli you will get more than 150% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin C. Broccoli is also rich in vitamin A, vitamin k, vitamin B-complex , iron, zinc, phosphorus and phyto-nutrient.

Broccoli has a rich source of kaempferol and isothiocyanates, both anti-inflammatory nutrients. Kaempferol has been shown to have the ability to lessen the impact of allergy-related substances on our body.  Broccoli also has large amount of omega 3 fatty acids, which are well-known to have anti-inflammatory effects on the body.

Yogurt6. Probiotics

Probiotics are essential to basic human nutrition. Probiotic are live microorganisms (good bacteria) that are similar to the beneficial microorganisms naturally found in our “gut”.  These “good bacteria” are used to prevent and alleviate many different condition.  Probiotics particularly affect the gastrointestinal tract. 80 % of your immune system is located in your digestive tract.  To achieve optimal health a major focus needs to be on your gut health.  Fermented foods provide an abundance of probiotics.  Fermented foods are one of the most powerful ways to restore your gut flora.   Add Probiotic rich food such:

  • as fermented raw milk such as yogurt or kefir (Watch commercial versions, which typically do not have live cultures and are loaded with sugars that feed the bad bacteria)
  • Lassi (an Indian yogurt drink, traditionally enjoyed before dinner)
  • Various pickled fermentations of cabbage, turnip, sauerkraut, eggplant, squash, cucumbers, onions, and carrots
  •  Natto (fermented soy)
  • Kimchee
  •  Kombucha (fermented tea)

Rain dropsShowering

The steam of a hot shower can help to soothe the sinuses and clear the nasal passages. A cold or hot rinse in the shower after spending time outdoors can help remove allergens and pollen from your skin and hair. Changing your clothes in addition to showering can also help prevent the spreading of pollen to furniture, pillowcases, and other surfaces in our house where they can continue to affect you. This is especially true if you’ve been gardening. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology recommends taking off your shoes and clothes and showering immediately if you’ve been weeding, pruning, or planting. Be aware that line drying your clothes can contribute to allergies as all of the pollen sailing around sticks to it. If you simply must open your window, don’t open it all the way. This will reduce the allergens that will fly into the house.

About Katherine Smyth

Katherine Smyth, is a registered Acupuncturist with the CTCMA, personal trainer, yoga teacher, and counselor and owner of Squamish Mountain Medicine. Squamish Mountain Medicine is an alternative medicine clinic helping people live pain free without the use of prescription drugs. Squamish Mountain Medicine provides natural health options to people of all ages, with a specialty in pain, injuries, stress, depression & anxiety, headaches, digestive issues, women’s health, fertility and pregnancy care. Kat is a proud part of the integrative team of practitioners at Reach Physiotherapy Clinic in Squamish, British Columbia. To book an appointment or for more info go to www.squamishmountainmedicine.com

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