Ahhh (or achoo!)…Spring! This highly anticipated change of seasons has many parts of the country feeling hopeful about warmer temperatures and sunnier skies. Flowers are blooming, trees are budding, and the beauty of this time of year almost has us forgetting about the dreaded allergy symptoms many of us will soon face.
Seasonal allergies show up in many ways and no two people seem to react in the same way. Aggravating symptoms like itchy eyes, congestion, stuffiness, tender sinuses, headache, fatigue, and a scratchy throat are telltale signs of seasonal allergies, also known as hay fever. These symptoms are a sign that your immune system is overreacting to something in the environment that it perceives as a threat. These symptoms can leave sufferers feeling downright miserable—sometimes for days or even weeks on end.
People often turn to over-the-counter medicines to treat their allergy symptoms, but many are discouraged by the lack of relief or the unwanted side effects these meds can cause. The good news is, if you’re one of the 35 million Americans that suffer from seasonal allergies, you may be able to find effective relief with these proven solutions from nature.
Maybe you’ve heard of quercetin. It’s quickly becoming a favorite in the fight against viruses. But it also shines as a natural antihistamine. Because of quercetin’s ability to reduce bronchial and sinus congestion, it can also reduce the body’s reactivity to allergens and make asthma symptoms less severe. Quercetin stops mast cell activation (the cells responsible for overreacting and triggering allergic reactions), relaxes the trachea, and reduces inflammatory compounds in cells that line the inside of the lungs. Quercetin’s ability to balance inflammatory and immune cytokine activity means it can be a valuable ally in treating autoimmune conditions, too.
Unfortunately, quercetin on its own isn’t easy for the body to absorb. It needs a boost from something called gamma cyclodextrin, which gives the fat-soluble nutrient the absorption qualities of a water-soluble one. Make sure you look for this important ingredient in a quercetin supplement!
A potent essential oil, eucalyptus has a powerful scent. In fact, just one whiff can instantly clear nasal passages, making it exceptional for treating symptoms like sinus congestion and a stuffy nose. Used in capsule form, this natural oil has the unique ability to thin mucus so it can drain more easily. It also stimulates cilia activity in the lungs and sinuses. Cilia are the tiny finger-like projections that constantly sweep debris out of the lungs and sinus passageways to aid in elimination. The most effective variety of eucalyptus is Eucalyptus radiata, which contains 65 to 70 percent 1,8-cineole. Just be sure your supplement contains eucalyptus specifically designed for internal use.
Another natural remedy for seasonal allergies is boswellia. Many natural health experts promote boswellia as one of the world’s most effective natural medicines based on its powerful ability to fight specific inflammation in the body—including the inflammation that triggers hay fever symptoms. For those dealing with allergy-related respiratory issues, boswellia offers relief by opening airways and reducing swelling in the bronchial and nasal passages. This was proven in a clinical trial involving 40 patients with bronchial asthma. Patients took either 300 mg of boswellia three times a day or a placebo for six weeks. At the end of the study, 70 percent of the participants who had taken boswellia showed significant improvement of symptoms, compared to just 27 percent in the placebo group. Make sure the boswellia you seek out is standardized to contain 10 percent AKBA, an important compound in this powerful nutrient.
If you find yourself reaching for the tissue box more than your gardening gloves this spring, try some of these natural solutions for safe and effective allergy relief you can count on.