This year’s unseasonably warm temperatures have gotten many people excited to break out the flip-flops and sunscreen, but if you suffer from allergies, this might be a mixed blessing. Experts predict that this allergy season may be one of the worst in ten years because of the mild weather. You may be searching for relief from symptoms like sneezing, runny nose, and itchy eyes. There are many natural remedies that may help you get through allergy season instead of or in addition to over-the-counter antihistamines. Here are five treatments that Natural Standard research shows may be worth a try.
1. Whey protein
Whey protein is a popular dietary supplement that has been studied extensively in strengthening the immune system, improving muscle strength, and reducing the risk of heart disease and osteoporosis. There is strong scientific evidence supporting the use of whey protein in preventing seasonal allergies. Avoid it if you are allergic to milk or milk products. Use it cautiously if you are diabetic or are using medications that lower blood sugar or cholesterol.
You can find whey protein in ice cream and bread, and also as a dietary supplement you can add to water or a sports drink. Consult a qualified healthcare provider to find out what form and dose of whey protein may work best for you.
Bromelain is an enzyme found in the pineapple plant. Good scientific evidence suggests bromelain may be used to reduce inflammation and swelling of the nose, which may ease breathing and relieve the discomfort of seasonal allergies. Avoid it if you are allergic to pineapple, honeybees, latex, carrots, grass pollen, flour (rye or wheat), or birch pollen. Use it cautiously if you have a bleeding disorder, stomach ulcers, heart disease, liver, or kidney disease.
Many manufacturers sell bromelain products in 500-milligram tablets, although lower doses may be effective. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist to find a dose that works for you.
Butterbur, a perennial shrub, is another natural treatment supported by good scientific evidence for the relief of seasonal allergy symptoms. It has been shown to be nearly as effective as fexofenadine (Allegra) and cetirizine (Zyrtec). It is best to start taking this herb before your allergy symptoms usually begin. Avoid it if you are allergic to ragweed, marigold, daisies, or chrysanthemums.
Butterbur can be found in 50-milligram tablets that are usually taken twice daily, but check with your healthcare provider to find a safe, effective dose for your allergies.
4. Nasal Irrigation
Nasal irrigation (also known as “nasal lavage” or “nasal washing”) involves using a saltwater rinse to help clean the nasal passages and remove mucus, pollens, dust, and other allergens. The method has been used for centuries and there is good evidence that it may help treat common allergy symptoms, such as runny nose and nasal congestion. Use nasal irrigation cautiously if you experience regular nosebleeds.
Sometimes, your doctor may recommend that you take antibiotics to fight infection if you have allergic sinusitis. However, the need for antibiotics may be reduced by using probiotics, tiny living organisms similar to the “good” bacteria naturally found in our bodies.
You can find probiotics in yogurt, capsules, powders, and dairy products such as milk. Various doses have been studied to help relieve allergy symptoms. Check with a healthcare professional to learn if they may be a good option in your case. Use cautiously if you are lactose intolerant.
Always remember to check with your doctor or pharmacist before trying any new therapies. The best options differ depending on underlying medical conditions or prescription or OTC drugs you may take. It’s best to work together to develop a personalized integrative healthcare plan.
Have you had luck with a natural allergy treatment? Let us know in the comments box below.
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