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Beating Allergies the Natural Way

March 25, 2014

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After this long winter, many of us are welcoming the end of March with open arms. We’re eager for the sun, warmer temperatures, and all of the new growth signaling that spring has finally arrived. Unfortunately, for many, this time of year also signals the arrival of seasonal allergies.

Seasonal allergies can make life miserable for those who suffer from them, causing itchy eyes, runny noses, and constant sneezing fits. These reactions are often caused by the explosion of pollen produced by budding trees and flowers, causing our bodies to produce histamines that “attack” the pollen and clear it out of our systems.

The conventional treatment for spring allergies consist of anti-histamines to calm our overworked immune systems, as well as steroid nose sprays to help clear the nasal passages of inflammation and any offending particles. However, these can cause side effects, including marked drowsiness, which won’t make you feel any better.

Thankfully, there are a number of natural remedies you can turn to when the pollen count gets too high to handle:

Use a neti pot: This all-natural solution allows allergy sufferers to wash allergens out of nasal passages with a saline solution made from lukewarm distilled water. Because the active ingredients are simply gravity and salt water, there is no risk of dependency or overdose, so the process can be repeated as many times as necessary.

Take stinging nettle: Stinging nettle, a common weed in a large part of the United States, acts as a natural anti-histamine without the harsh side effects of many prescription or OTC allergy medication. You can take it as a capsule or drink it as a tea. If you’re handling the plant itself, just make sure to wear gloves—it isn’t called “stinging” for nothing!

Include probiotics in your diet: Allergies are a result of your immune system attacking pollen as if it is a virus or bacteria, and becoming quickly overloaded. By strengthening your immune system with probiotics, you are helping to prevent it from becoming overwhelmed when the pollen count explodes.

Eat local honey: While this may not have scientific backing, I know many people that have had success with this method. The idea is to ingest the types of pollen that make you have an allergic reaction when inhaled, allowing your body to slowly develop immunity. Remember that the more local the honey is, the better, as it’s more likely to match the allergens you experience.

How do you naturally treat your allergies? Tell us in the comments!