Seasonal allergies can affect as much as 8% of the population in the United States. Although most people consider allergies to primarily occur during the spring, some allergens (including cedar and ragweed) tend to strike in the fall and winter seasons.
If you are suffering from allergies, some common symptoms you might experience include itching on your face (especially your eyes), sniffles, and congestion. More severe symptoms of allergies can involve fatigue, headaches, facial discomfort, a sore throat, a partial loss of smell, and the sensation that your ears are “plugged up” or congested.
On top of the usual symptoms, allergies can make you feel dizzy, hazy, tired, and imbalanced. Luckily, there may soon be some relief: scientists now have a better understanding of how allergies can cloud our brains.
The body views allergens as an assault on its immune system and reacts by producing histamines. These compounds cause muscle contractions and blood vessel dilation, which causes the body to release proteins called cytokines. These signal the surrounding tissue to brace against the offenders.
Can Supplements Help?
Luckily, some well-known supplements may help provide relief for seasonal allergies.
Buzzing bees might have the perfect remedy for your allergy woes! Raw honey that is sourced from local beekeepers naturally contains small bits of local pollen. During the time of your region’s allergy season, adding some of this raw, local-sourced honey into your daily routine can help your body build up a tolerance to pollen in your area, which in many cases helps to reduce the symptoms of allergies. Use honey to sweeten any dish, smoothie, or tea. See if it helps to keep those sneezes at bay!
Quercetin is also well known for its ability to decrease the effects of seasonal allergy symptoms. Because quercetin is a powerful antioxidant, it has properties that are anti-inflammatory, antihistamine, and antiviral. According to research, it can also help reduce oxidative stress and blood clots in arteries.
Nature actually offers a number of naturally occurring compounds that might help alleviate some of the symptoms of seasonal allergies. Remedies like quercetin, bromelain, NAC (N-acetyl-L-cysteine), vitamin C, and green tea might help strengthen your immune system against these seasonal irritants.
Since probiotics help the body maintain a healthy balance of its internal gut bacteria, some researchers believe that taking probiotics may boost the immune system, which can then help the body fight allergies.
Adding these compounds into your diet with nutritional supplements or dietary changes might help you battle through allergy seasons with ease.
What Else Can Bring Relief?
Did you know that stress hormones can make your seasonal allergies even worse? When you become stressed, your body naturally begins to release additional amounts of hormones that include histamine, a powerful chemical that can lead to allergy symptoms. While histamine itself doesn’t normally cause allergic reactions, it can make allergy symptoms much worse by increasing the amount of histamine in your bloodstream. To decrease your feelings of stress, take intentional time for a bit of pampering self-care by enjoying some reflective meditation or use a natural remedy like hemp oil extract which is known to smooth your mood and emotions.
Allergens can adhere to your mucus membranes, which includes your nasal passages. A neti pot or sinus irrigator can be used to flush your nose with purified water, which might help keep the sniffles at bay. To experience the best benefits, research the proper use of these natural treatments first before you use them.
The Bottom Line
If you often spend a few months each year in a perpetual state of the sniffles, try some of these natural remedies. You may wish you’d used them long ago!
Jenny Perez is an herbal educator, researcher, and writer who has been immersed in the field of nutrition and botanical medicine for more than 20 years. Jenny has created curriculum, content, and educational materials for Quantum Nutrition Labs, Premier Research Labs, the American Botanical Council, and Bastyr University’s Botanical Medicine Department where she was Adjunct Faculty, Herb Garden Manager, and Director of the Holistic Landscape Design certificate program.