Is it just me or are allergies BAD lately? Sinus pressure, headache, post nasal drip, congestion, runny nose, itchy watery swollen eyes. Oh my. I really personally loathe taking any kinds of medication, even for allergies. Most are mere chemical concoctions that mess with the body's natural processes and come with a host of side effects. I reserve them for emergency use only and usually I choose suffering silently (well, ok it's not all that silent between the whining and the nose blowing) over med taking. However, did you know there are NATURAL things that can help the body cope with seasonal allergies? Obviously, I haven't been keeping up with them or I wouldn't be as miserable so as I write it is serving as a good reminder.
First of all, where do allergies come from?
It's our body's disproportionate response to something that is heeded as a danger. It can be defined as an auto-immune response in the sense it involves the body's immune system attempting to rid an invader. Allergies can worsen/develop when the immune system is not supported or is weakened. Things like vaccines, a standard american diet void of fresh fruits and veggies, an overabundance of sugar, lack of sleep, and an overworked adrenal system (or STRESS). You might notice that many more people today suffer allergies than they did back in the 70s and 80s. We see food allergies as if it's a new trend and it seems allergists are giving more shots nowadays than ever. I am sure the air quality, toxins in our environment, the lean towards processed foods and increase in vaccinations in children all comes into play here.
So what can be done?
- Raw apple cider vinegar (ACV)
- Taking 1-2 Tbs a day mixed into water or juice really makes a difference. It seems to provide an immune system boost and I really don't understand why. I have noticed a huge difference in my son since I have had him on it as well. Make sure it's RAW though. Bragg's is a common brand. It's nasty stuff, don't drink it plain! Mixed in apple juice masks the taste the best.
- Local raw honey
- Local unprocessed honey contains small amounts of local allergens naturally and ingesting them does essentially the same thing as an allergy shot. Again 1-2 Tbs a day is ideal. You probably won't find this in your grocery store, call around to the farmers markets and find out where you can get some. It's worth it. Try not to heat it though as heating kills off some of the enzymes and you want all the goodness you can get out of it. Spreading it on toast with some butter, mixing into a glass of water along with the above ACV, or simply taken on a spoon. However you can get it in.
- Eating local fresh vegetables
- Again, same as above. Locally grown veggies will contain small amounts of the allergens. When you can buy fresh carrots grown locally over store bought organic, do so! Lettuce, beets, broccoli, cauliflower, etc. Whatever you can find local, eat it.
- Vitamin C
- Taking a good dose of Vitamin C helps to tone down the immune response to allergies. I could write a whole post on choosing a good Vitamin C supplement but we'll save that for another day. For now, get something you can afford and start taking it. You can safely take high doses of nearly any vitamin you would naturally find in food if you choose a "whole food supplement". Your body will recognize it as food and process it as such, too. Starting with 1000mg is a decent start but you can take more if you aren't noticing changes in a week or so. If you notice diarrhea, back off your dosage. This will be your key on finding what's ideal for your body.
- Get a good home air purifier
- This really does make a difference. Before I buy anything I research. I read comments and ratings. I compare prices and models. Do your homework and keep in mind you will have filters to replace so work that into your budget. We have one unit downstairs that we keep running but last night I turned it up to high and feel much better today. Ideally having another unit upstairs would be best but they are not cheap. We have one called BlueAir.
- Nasal irrigation
- For many this sounds odd and uncomfortable...and ok I'll be honest, it is a little of both. But it helps. Neil Med is a reputable company that makes nasal rinses and you can do this in various ways. The netipot is common and works well. Follow the directions and use it anytime after you've been outdoors or exposed to your allergen and then keep up with it at least once a day. It helps to cleanse the nasal passages and keep allergens from taking up residence in there.
Please note that the allergies I am referring to are NOT food but environmental outdoor allergies. This advice does not replace that of a medical professional and should not be deemed as such. I am not a doctor, do not play one on tv and am merely offering ideas based on my personal experience and research. For more details on treating allergies naturally call a local Homeopath, Naturopathic Doctor, Osteopath or even Chiropractor.
Good luck and if you try any of the above, do let me know how you fared in the comments!