After waiting out the months of cold weather, it’s a pleasure to be able to go outside in just short sleeves. Finally – it’s warm! Once spring approaches, many of us look forward to enjoying our favorite outdoor activities like gardening, hiking, or just hanging out in nature. However, with warmer weather also comes seasonal allergies, and makes being outdoors for some people downright miserable. Sneezing, runny nose, a hacking cough, red itchy eyes and itchy mouth or throat are just some of the symptoms a person may experience when suffering from allergies. Seasonal allergy, or hay fever, is the body’s reaction to outdoor allergens, which your body treats like a foreign invader. The most common cause of hay fever is airborne pollen.
In the last few decades, experts estimate that the occurrence of allergies has doubled or even tripled. While there is no consensus yet as to why, some believe that as our homes have become more germ-free, our immune systems don’t get ‘tested’, and our bodies can’t tell the difference between real threats and harmless pollen. Additionally, there are now a number of studies linking changes in climate with longer allergy seasons. A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences confirms that the duration of the ragweed pollen season has been increasing in recent decades, translating into a longer hay fever season for many.
Some Natural Solutions
Though we can’t yet cure allergies, to the right are some natural alternatives that can help control symptoms, without producing the unwanted side effects like sleepiness and dry mouth that can occur with conventional products.
Avoid Certain Foods
- If you are allergic to ragweed, you may have a cross-sensitivity to melons, cucumbers, bananas, tomatoes, zucchini, sunflower seeds, chamomile and echinacea.
- That’s because these foods have proteins that are similar to the pollen in ragweed, and your immune system may get triggered by them.
- Spirulina, a nutrient-rich, blue-green algae, supports allergy sufferers by acting to stop the release of histamines.
- Spirulina also helps support immune health and is known as an energy booster.
- Probiotics may help allergy symptoms by lowering antibodies that trigger allergy symptoms.
- Some researchers have also found evidence that giving probiotics to newborns may help prevent childhood allergies.
Diffuse Essential Oils
- There are a number of essential oils that can help support you during allergy season.
- Diffuse a blend of lavender, peppermint, and eucalyptus oils in your home. Or try our Simplers Sinus Oil for a ready-to-use blend.
- Eucalyptus oil especially helps open the lungs and sinuses.
- Insufficient vitamin D levels are associated with allergies and more severe asthma in children.
- Carlson brand vitamin D drops are available in potencies for both children and adults.
- Many allergy sufferers use a neti pot filled with a saline solution to irrigate the nasal passages, washing out any irritants and excess mucus.
- Be sure to use distilled or sterile water in your neti pot.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
- A German study found that people who have diets high in omega-3’s have fewer allergy symptoms.
- Omega-3 fatty acids are found in fish, krill or algae (vegan) oil supplements, and in foods like flax, chia and hemp seeds and oils.
- Stinging nettle may act as a natural antihistamine and has a long history of use for season allergies.
- Begin using 1-2 months before the season starts for best results.
- Nettle can be found in the bulk herbs, in capsule form or as a tea at the Co-op.
- Butterbur has been used traditionally for asthma symptoms and to reduce mucus.
- Several studies suggest it can help with allergic rhinitis.
- The raw herb should not be used, as it contains potentially toxic alkaloids. Commercial butterbur capsules have had these alkaloids removed.
- A NOTE OF CAUTION – Butterbur is a member of the ragweed family, do NOT use if you are allergic to ragweed.
Allergy Tropical Blend
- 1-2 drops peppermint essential oil
- 1-2 drops eucalyptus essential oil
- 1-2 drops lavender essential oil
- 1 tsp coconut oil
Massage blend behind ears, and/or at the base of the nose and on the soles of the feet.
- 2 c boiling water
- 1-2 drops eucalyptus essential oil
Mix in medium bowl. Lean over bowl with your head covered with a towel, and inhale deeply for several minutes.