Seasonal allergies can really disrupt your daily life just when the sun begins to start shining after a long cold winter. You’re ready to fill your weekends with outdoor events, but plagued by the thought of more pollen exposure. There are lot’s of over the counter allergy medications, but many come with some pretty uncomfortable side effects.
I’m allergic to certain allergy medications so I try to stay away from most of them for safety purposes. This has pushed me to find a slew of natural remedies to help find relief when seasonal allergies hit. Many of these remedies work great alongside any over the counter medicine you might already be taking. Just think of them as an extra boost to your daily allergy fighting routine.
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Bee Products for Seasonal Allergies
Local Raw Honey
Honey contains many beneficial antioxidants and has been used as medicine for centuries. Raw honey is that which comes straight from the bee hive bringing with it bee pollen and propolis. Honey that isn’t in raw form goes through a pasteurization process that’s believed to strip it of certain health benefits. Taking a tablespoon or two of local raw honey each day can help relieve seasonal allergy symptoms. Local honey is made from the pollen of plants in your area. The theory behind consuming local honey for allergy relief is that it gradually exposes your body to native pollen, creating less sensitivity during allergy season.
It’s recommended to take two tablespoons per day throughout the year. You can ingest the honey straight up or add it to oatmeal, herbal tea, lemon water, or coffee. It’s important not to over heat the honey if you’re adding it to a hot beverage as it can decrease health benefits.
One of the best places to find local raw honey is at the farmers market in your area. Purchasing from a local beekeeper allows you to ask about harvesting specifics while supporting the local community.
Bee propolis is like the glue of the hive. It’s a resin like substance that’s created from the sap of trees to help secure any cracks and keep out outside bacteria. It’s the anti-bacterial and anti-fungal sanitation hero of the bee hive.
Propolis holds a ton of health benefits for human consumption like allergy relief. It’s shown to have anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce allergy symptoms. I take bee propolis in a spray form every day especially during allergy season. My favorite propolis is a throat spray from Beekeeper’s Naturals. It doesn’t have a terrible menthol taste like many others I’ve tried and has been the most effective brand for my family.
Manuka honey is produced in New Zealand by bees that pollinate manuka bushes. It has a thick opaque consistency with a slightly medicinal tastes. Manuka honey is packed with antioxidants and medicinal benefits to help respiratory infections, influenza, and even treat skin ailments. It works as a powerful anti-inflammatory in the body helping to regulate the immune response to allergies.
Some suggest bee pollen as a possible supplement to reduce the symptoms of seasonal allergies. Like ingesting honey, it’s thought to build up the resistance to certain immune responses to pollen. However, in some people serious allergic reactions have been known to occur when ingesting bee pollen as a dietary supplement.
Essential oils have been used as medical treatments for centuries. Because high volumes of plants are used to create one bottle of essential oil, one drop alone contains extremely potent plant medicine. Diffusing oils in your space that contain antihistamine and anti-inflammatory properties can help fight seasonal allergies. If you’re experiencing allergy symptoms like congestion try diffusing oils that help to open up your sinuses.
Antihistamine Essential Oils
- Tea Tree
Anti-inflammatory Essential Oils
- Tea Tree
Essential Oils as Decongestants
Essential oils can be used to help relieve congestion by using using an oil diffuser or applying onto the skin with a carrier oil. Before applying essential oils to your skin mix with a carrier oil and test a small area on your arm to make sure a negative reaction doesn’t occur. To relive coughing a mixture of coconut oil and decongestant oils can be mixed and rubbed into the chest area. The following essential oils work as decongestants:
- Clary Sage
- Tea Tree
Essential Oil Blends for Allergies
I like to diffuse preblended essential oils for immunity and allergy relief in my home throughout allergy season. Choosing oil blends can be a bit more cost effective than buying six or more different single oils to create your own blend. My favorite blend for home diffusing is Guardian by Eden’s Garden. I also use their Breathe Easier blend as a decongestant.
Spirulina is a blue green algae that’s been shown to have antihistamine properties to help combat allergy symptoms. It can be taken as a daily supplement in capsule form or as a powder than can easily added to water or smoothies for consumption.
Read more about the incredible health benefits of spirulina in this previous post.
Cleanse Your Nasal Passage
Keeping your nasal passage clean with a neti pot or nasal irrigation system helps to clear the sinuses and remove excess mucus. Neti pots have been used for centuries in ayurvedic medicine. The practice has been shown to relieve nasal congestion, combat sinus headaches, and reduce sinus infections. While this practice is considered safe, there are some warnings associated with improper use. It’s very important to ensure you’re safely practicing nasal irrigation. Improper practices can cause harm to the body. Read this article from Everyday Health on how to safely use a neti pot before trying at home.
It’s always important to stay hydrated, but when you’re experiencing allergy symptoms like congestion from mucus build up it’s even more important to reach for an extra glass of water throughout the day. Staying hydrated by drinking water helps to thin out mucus in the body making it easier to pass. Adding fresh squeezed lemon juice to your water can also help fight inflammation in the body, reliving certain symptoms.
Keep Your Home Clean
Yes, a clean home benefits your overall health! Pollen may not be the only thing causing your allergies to flare up. Dust buildup, mold, and mildew are the culprit to many allergies. If you have carpet make sure you’re vacuuming regularly, as carpet holds on to allergens more than hard floor surfaces. Try creating a daily cleaning schedule so you’re not overwhelmed with hours of cleaning on your day off.
Foods that Help Relieve Allergies
Your diet can be so medicinal! Adding anti-inflammatory foods to your diet that are high in nutrients can make a huge difference in how the body responds to seasonal allergies. Try adding more whole foods to your diet like fruits, veggies, and whole grains. The following foods are high in Vitiman C or have antimicrobial properties to help alleviate allergy symptoms:
- Ginger: Add to stir fry dishes or create a healing tea with freshly grated ginger root, honey and lemon.
- Turmeric: A perfect boost for smoothies or chicken noodle soup- Try my favorite Spiced Turmeric Tea with raw local honey as a sweetener.
- Citrus Fruits: The perfect snack to throw in your bag or try adding to a spring salad with white wine vinaigrette.
- Onions: A very underrated superfood- they are high in antioxidants and act as antihistamines so chop them up and put them in every dish you cook during allergy season!
- Tomatoes: An excellent source of Vitamin C and contains lycopene, an antioxidant that helps reduce inflammation in the body.
- Red Bell Peppers: One cup of red bell peppers actually contains three times the amount of Vitamin C that an orange contains!
Foods to Avoid
Try avoiding high inflammatory foods like those high in preservatives and refined sugars. A general rule of thumb is to stay away from prepackaged meals or snacks as these have the highest amounts of sodium, sugar, and preservatives.
Reducing dairy consumption can help maintain excess mucus buildup. You don’t have to give up cheese or coffee creamer forever, but try incorporating plant based option while experiencing allergy symptoms. Alcohol tends to create a high inflammatory response in the body so it might be smart to lay off the cocktails until allergy season is over.