As March unfolds, there's a lot to be happy about! Spring brings us longer hours of daylight, warmer weather, fresh green grass, and vibrant flowers to marvel at. But this lively, beautiful change of season also brings something we all would rather avoid: Seasonal allergies.
Itchy, watery eyes, and throats irritated by mucus are the last thing we want to deal with when we're looking to enjoy the springtime weather. Runny noses and clouded heads don't make for a fun day spent outdoors, either. So what are we to do?
Over-the-counter allergy medicines can provide quick relief, but so can many natural solutions! Before heading to the pharmacy, considering trying a few of these holistic alternatives for battling those dreaded allergic reactions!
Why Do We Get Allergies In The Spring?
The first step to tackling seasonal allergies the all-natural way is understanding what causes them. Allergic responses in the body are triggered by different allergens - bits of harmless organic matter, such as plant pollen, animal dander, and dust.
Since spring is a time when flowers are blooming and bees are buzzing about collecting pollen from them, it is very easy for this allergen to make its way into the air. To make it even worse, trees, grasses, and weeds also directly release pollen into the air so that other nearby plants can be fertilized.
When allergens like pollen become airborne, they can easily make their way into our bodies as we breathe. Upon inhaling them, our bodies' immune systems automatically go into defense mode and release a chemical called histamine. Histamine plays a major role in immune function, as it alerts the rest of your body that a potential "attacker" has made its way into your system. It does so by causing inflammation within the body and dilating the blood vessels so that white blood cells can easily target the "attacker", catch up to it, and fight it off. (This is why anti-inflammatory drugs are known as ANTI-histamines!) The release of histamine comes along with side effects, which are what we know as allergies - watery eyes, runny noses, and swollen throats.
So, now that you hopefully better understand the reason behind your allergies, we've got a few holistic solutions for combating them!
Foods And Herbs As Medicine
Certain foods and herbs can help to bring down the inflammation caused by histamine, while others can help to break up any annoying mucus in the respiratory tract, or boost the immune system so that you feel better, quicker! The following are just a few of the many all-natural alternatives for treating your allergy symptoms:
- Local Honey
- Did you know that honey can help you build your body's tolerance to pollen allergens? If you buy honey that is local to your area, it will likely contain the same local pollen that is causing your allergies. Taking a spoonful of it each day will boost your body's tolerance of it - not to mention, honey is a great anti-inflammatory as well as a natural anti-bacterial!
- Spicy Foods
- Have you ever noticed that eating spicy foods can cause your nose to run? This is because the kick of spicy foods has the ability to break down mucus and clear out the sinuses!
- Pineapple Juice
- Pineapple contains an enzyme called Bromelain, which is a strong, all-natural anti-inflammatory. Drinking pineapple juice can help to reduce painful inflammation in the throat and sinuses, while its itamin B and C content can help to support immune function.
- Stinging Nettle
- Stinging nettle is an herb that naturally contains antihistamines and anti-inflammatories. Taking a stinging nettle supplement twice a day during allergy season can help to lessen your symptoms.
- Butterbur is an herb that can reduce mucus, and studies have shown that taking it as a supplement may treat allergic reactions from hay fever as effectively as over-the-counter medicines like Zyrtec and Allegra.
- Taking 1 teaspoon of spirulina a day during allergy season can help to reduce your body's release of histamines, therefore reducing allergic reactions.
- Colorful Vegetables
- Veggies that are rich in vibrant color often contain quercetin - a natural antihistamine. Load your plate up with veggies like Swiss chard, apples, peppers, tomatoes, yams, beets, cabbage, and carrots to bring down your annoying symptoms!
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Apple cider vinegar can help to promote alkalinity in the body, as well as help to balance your body's natural pH levels, which can in-turn boost the immune system and reduce the severity of allergic reactions.
- Allergies don't always occur due to allergens like pollen, but rather sometimes arise when there is an imbalance in our immune system. This is because an imbalance can cause our immune system to over-react to threats in the body, leading to unnecessarily strong allergic reactions. An imbalance can be fixed by adding more beneficial bacteria into your body. Try doing this by eating hearty probiotic yogurts like kefir, or taking probiotic supplements.
- Drinking Tea With Lemon And Honey
- Drinking your favorite tea with added honey and lemon can help to break up mucus, soothe an itchy throat, and bring down inflammation in the respiratory tract.
- Pure rosewater is great for reducing red, itchy eyes, as it is soothing and cooling. You can use pure rosewater as eye drops, or as an eyewash for instant relief.
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