Organic Spa Blog

Herbal Remedies to Combat Allergy Symptoms

Image courtesy of Aureliy Movila

I don’t know about you, but my allergies have been driving me crazy: congestion, sneezing, eye irritation, even difficulty sleeping. And it’s only going to get worse.

Thanks to the polar vortex, this spring and summer allergy season has been dubbed a “pollen vortex.” Since the winter weather was so prolonged, it also caused a delay in tree pollination, causing one pollen outbreak—tree, grass, ragweed and mold—after another. And due to the extreme cold temperatures, our immune systems have taken a beating, making allergy symptoms harder to handle.

Fortunately, we may be able to find some respite from the itchy eyes and constant congestion, and be able to enjoy summer for all it’s worth, especially being outdoors.

Dr. Wendy Warner, MD, ABIHM and medical director of the Medicine In Balance health center spoke with Organic Spa Magazine and offered some helpful hints to combating this vicious allergy season:

1. Avoid the outdoors in the morning. “The highest pollen counts are in the morning,” says Dr. Warner. “Plan to do outdoor activities in the late afternoon.”

2. Use a neti pot daily. “Daily use of a neti pot to rinse allergies from the nose and sinuses is really important. I much prefer an actual neti pot to some of the new spray bottles—forcing fluid into the nose and hoping to sneeze it all back out simply isn’t at effective as letting gravity gently rinse the nasal passages.”

3. Incorporate an extra dose of vitamin C into your diet. “An orange is always part of my morning smoothie.”

4. Try Gaia Herbs’ Turmeric Supreme: Allergy. “Many of the herbs contained in Turmeric Supreme: Allergy have been traditionally used for ages for control of allergy symptoms. Several of the herbs act as natural antihistamines (quercetin, turmeric, nettles). Others are anti-inflammatory to help calm down the immune response (turmeric, ginger, feverfew).

5. Daily use of bee pollen and food loaded with herbal remedies. “Many foods contain flavonoids, specifically quercetin, a chemical that helps relieve allergy symptoms. The most common of these are onions, garlic, mint and turmeric. Cooking with these foods help keep your immune system ready to work against allergies. Turmeric makes a great tea as well!”

6. Keep windows at home and in your car closed. “You want to keep the allergens out, but keep the indoor air clean! Making sure air ducts are clean is obvious, plus many people find it helpful to have air purifiers and filters right near their workspace and in their bedroom.”

7. Start now. “If you know the time of the year that your own “bad pollen” is due, start up this regimen at least a week ahead of time.”

According to Dr. Warner, seeking prescription medications should be a last resort. Unlike herbal remedies, they have too many significant side effects and may impair your immune system in the long run. If you have to be outside for an extended period of time, once you get home, leave your shoes outside and be sure to change your clothes and shower immediately.

Experiment with these tips. After all, everyone and every immune system is different. I’ll be eating an orange every day, in addition to incorporating foods packed with herbal remedies into my meals and using a neti pot every night before bed. Here’s to combating the “pollen vortex” and, if anything, alleviating allergy symptoms!

Connect with Geena @GeenaMarieVolpe.

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