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5 Natural Remedies for Pesky Seasonal Allergies

June 13, 2013

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The stuffy nose, sneezing, and itchy eyes that creep up on us this time of year can only mean one thing…it’s allergy season.

Affecting millions of people worldwide, seasonal allergies are caused by airborne plant pollen and mold spores that enter the body and trigger a reaction from the immune system, which results in inflamed sinuses and itchy and watery eyes.

While there’s no way to avoid the allergens that cause these dreaded symptoms, there are a number of holistic treatments that can help combat them.

These are some all-natural ways to help ease your allergies:

1. Neti pot: An ancient Ayurvedic remedy, the neti pot cleans out the buildup of allergens and bacteria in the nasal cavity. Simply fill the pot with saline solution, or lukewarm filtered water and 1 teaspoon of salt, tilt your head to the side, place the spout in your upper nostril, and slowly pour in the water.

2. Breathing in steam: Another tried and true method is boiling a pot of water, leaning over the pot with a towel draped over your head, and inhaling deeply through your nose for up to 10 minutes. Add a few drops of eucalyptus oil to the water to help open up your nasal passages and soothe inflamed sinuses.

3. Herbs: Studies show that butterbur root, a plant extract, can reduce inflammation and improve breathing just as well as antihistamines –without the nasty side effects like drowsiness and dizziness. It can be taken in powder form or as a supplement; just make sure the bottle says pyrrolizidine alkaloid (PA)-free. Spirulina and stinging nettle are also known to relieve allergy symptoms.

4. Oil pulling: Swish 1-2 teaspoons of sesame oil or organic coconut oil in your mouth for up to 20 minutes and spit out the byproduct. This pulls bacteria from your gums, tongue, and teeth before it reaches the bloodstream and gut, helping the immune system better fight off allergy-causing toxins.

5. Spicy foods: Adding a dab of horseradish, wasabi, or hot mustard to your food acts as a natural decongestant, quickly and temporarily clearing out the sinuses. Turmeric also has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that are known to fend off allergies.

What’s your go-to remedy for alleviating your allergy symptoms?