A Natural Approach to managing Seasonal Allergies
Spring should be a time for enjoying the newly warm weather, but for those of us with seasonal allergies, otherwise known as hayfever it can be a bitter sweet time. Runny nose, itchy eyes, constant sneezing, fatigue, feeling foggy headed – just some of the symptoms hayfever can cause. Now we all know the conventional medical way to go – antihistamines, nasal sprays and medicated eye drops. But these come with side effects of their own like drowsiness, dry mouth, dizziness and nausea. Here are some more natural approaches to preventing and reliving hayfever symptoms.
“Prevention is better than Cure”
We all know that prevention is better than waiting for hayfever to strike. Here are some proactive actions to take. Some involve managing your environment, whilst others we can do to optimise our health and reduce inflammation.
Eat Local Honey
Some people find relief by eating local raw honey in the months running up to hayfever season. The theory is when the bees make the honey the pollen from the plants becomes suspended in the honey. By eating this regularly the body is exposed to a safe level and then becomes desensitised to the pollen – it no longer see the pollen as a threat. There have been some research studies to back this up so at the very least it a sweet way to potential treat hayfever.
These can be great and come in many different shapes and sizes. You want to make sure you get one with a HEPA filter which is advanced enough to catch the pollen within the filter. They can be placed all over the house and will even help with other airborne allergies like dust and chemicals. I like to keep one in my bedroom at all times, and on the silent filter setting you wont even know its there overnight whilst you sleep. Watch out for brands which require you to change the filter every month or so – these can get expensive very quickly! I use Blue Air Pure 411 which filters only needs changing every 6 months and are very affordable in price.
Keep Windows Closed
This one may seem obvious but on a hot summer’s day it can be hard to resist! I suggest looking at local pollen forecasts so that on days the pollen count is high you can keep the windows closed – and for extra brownie points use an air filter as suggested above.
Shower Before Bed
The concept here is simple, by showering before bed you remove any pollen build up in your hair or on your skin. Therefore, less pollen can follow you into your bedroom and be breathed in overnight. This is a nice simple fix, which you would already be doing but perhaps in the morning. Make sure to use non-toxic shower products to reduce your toxic load and reduce any chances of your body reacting to chemical substances. I like to use the app ‘Think Dirty’ to check any products before I purchase them.
Ok so we’ve done our best to avoid a reaction but that pesky pollen has gotten in, what can we do now? Here are some natural approaches to reducing symptoms.
Over the day pollen builds up in the nasal cavities and sinuses resulting in chronic inflammation, rhinitis and a very disturbed nights sleep. Flushing the nasal cavities with saline - a salt water solution - is great to do at the beginning and end of the day to clear out the sinuses and ensure a peaceful night’s sleep. There are two types of nasal flush commonly available. First is a saline nasal spray, its very gentle and a great introduction to nasal flushing. The second is the Neti Pot a more intense experience but boy does it get awesome results! When I use it I can feeling it whoosh around my sinuses and clean them all out. Afterwards I can breathe normally and just relax into bed. For those using antihistamine nasal sprays its best to use them after nasal flushing.
One of nature’s antihistamines! Vitamin C is an antioxidant which helps to break down histamines faster after they’ve been released. So, whilst it doesn’t stop the body from releasing these compounds it does support the body in clearing them up again. Plus, it can be taken in large doses with minimal negative effects. I often use 1-3g a day and can up this to 5g a day when my hayfever is really bad. I take two different vitamin c supplements, one is the standard ascorbic acid power which I add to smoothies or other drinks. The other is Equilibrium Nutrition Full Spectrum Vitamin C. What I love about this formulation is that the vitamin C is sourced from food, which means you get the different types of vitamin C in one tablet – yes there are different types! This leads to better absorption and potentially better results than just ascorbic acid alone.
HistPro - An Allergy & Histamine Response Supplement
Now to step things up a level there are other vitamins, minerals, herbs and adaptogens we can use.
“HistPro is a targeted blend of flavonoids, antioxidants, proteolytic enzymes and botanicals designed to provide comprehensive support for seasonal challenges caused by common environmental allergens.
HistPro includes quercetin, a powerful flavonoid, to support healthy histamine levels. Bromelain enhances the absorption of quercetin and supports mucosal tissue health. Stinging nettles leaf balance hyper-immune response and N-acetyl cysteine clear the airways by promoting normal viscosity of mucus”
This can be used as part of an allergy protocol created by Equilibrium Nutrition, which also includes Alkalising Vitamin C – which is designed to be gentle on the stomach and balance the vitamin C’s acidity with the minerals magnesium, sodium and potassium.
I’m planning to try HistPro this summer to see how it affects my allergy symptoms, I’ll update this blog with my experiences later this summer.
Other things to consider – Deeper Imbalances
Allergies may be a sign that the body is on ‘high alert’ and experiencing chronic inflammation. We can do all the interventions above to avoid triggering allergies but what could work better would be to identify and rectify imbalances within the body. We can do this by using functional medicine lab testing to identify for example, any leaky gut, candida & bacteria overgrowth or food sensitivities.
Following this functional medicine protocols such as the Candida Bacterial Overgrowth Protocol can be used to address imbalances and support the body in rectifying imbalances. If functional medicine lab testing is unaffordable there are many sources of advice such as The Cabral Concept podcast for self-education or alternatively by working with an integrative health practitioner or health coach, we can use symptoms to identify imbalances to work on.
Disclaimer: The above information is provided as health education only. It is not intended to diagnose, cure or treat any disease or health complaint. Any description of supplements taken are based on my own experience and research and is not intended to be replicated for others individual use. Please consult your doctor, functional medical practitioner or integrative health practitioner before making any changes to your supplements or medication protocols.
As an affiliate of Equilibrium Nutrition (EN), I earn a small commission on any EN products purchased through links on this website. This does not affect the price you pay and I only suggest products which I have used myself or plan to use.