How to Treat Allergies Naturally
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I walked outside today and EVERYTHING is yellow. I thought my car was grey but mother nature is having me question my eyesight unless someone snuck down my driveway at night and gave me a new paint job. Yellow would not be my first pick if I was indeed going for a new car color, so it can only mean one thing – pollen has arrived and with it, allergy season.
As much as that coating of yellow makes me want to turn and run right back into my house for the next few weeks, I realize that I would go crazy being housebound. So instead, I arm myself with a tool kit of remedies to get myself and my family through the haze of yellow. Wondering how you can treat allergies naturally? Try one or all of these suggestions to help you combat the sneezing, coughing and congestion of allergy season.
How to Treat Allergies Naturally
Xlear Nasal Spray
If we are breathing as nature intended (hint: through our noses) then hopefully a lot of the pollen and allergens that we breathe in from the environment will get nicely trapped in the small hairs and mucus lining of our nasal passages. These allergens are then pushed into the throat and swallowed before having a chance to wreak havoc. Yet on those red days when the pollen count is high, our noses just can’t keep up leading to sneezing, excessive nasal congestion and postnasal drip. In this case I like to help my nose out by using Xlear nasal spray.
Xlear is an all-natural nasal spray made of water, saline, xylitol and grapefruit seed extract. Using Xlear at least every morning and night can not only help keep your nasal passages moist so that they can do their job of collecting irritants, but it can also help relieve congestion created from exposure to irritants.
NeilMed Sinus Rinse
Another great way to treat allergies naturally and clear irritants in the nose is by using a nasal rinse for nasal irrigation. Using a nasal rinse twice a day can also help clear excessive nasal congestion which will help reduce postnasal drip and any congestion back up in the ear canal.
I love the NeilMed Sinus Rinse Kit because it’s gentle and super easy to use as opposed to a Neti pot. My kids have no problems using the NeilMed Sinus Rinse bottle and often have contests to see how many “boogies” they can catch in the sink (Whatever works to get them to use it!).
There are supplements you can take to treat allergies naturally and quercetin is my top choice. Quercetin is a powerful flavonoid antioxidant found in many fruits and vegetables such as raw red onions, garlic, broccoli, spinach, kale, apples, plums, red grapes, cherries, blueberries and blackberries.
Quercetin has shown to not only be anti-viral, anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory, but it also works as a natural antihistamine. Allergy symptoms occur when immune cells release histamine when we are exposed to allergens, but quercetin stops this release.
When selecting a quercetin supplement, pick one that offers the highest bioavailability and best absorption rate. I take Alpha-glycosyl Isoquercitrin by Integrative Therapeutics which boasts 3 times the bioavailability of isoquercetin and nearly 18 times the bioavailability of quercetin aglycone. Natural D-Hist and D-Hist Jr by Ortho Molecular Products are quercetin supplements that also include bromelain, an enzyme found in pineapples, that is known for its anti-inflammatory properties and can help thin mucus. They also contain stinging nettle, an herb that also acts as an anti-inflammatory in the body and can block histamine production.
[I purchase these three supplements from Fullscript which stocks professional-grade supplements and guarantees products are never past their expiration, counterfeit or stored incorrectly.]
To Strengthen Your Immune System
Reactions to potential allergens are different for everyone because they are dependent on your body’s immune response to a potential allergen. For example, if your body’s immune system identifies pollen as an invader, it will trigger a chemical reaction, releasing histamines to “attack” the invader. This leads to inflammation and dilation of blood vessel causing nasal congestion, sneezing, and irritation. So, one of the best ways to treat allergies naturally is to strengthen the immune system with acupuncture.
I consider this ability, to work preventatively to strengthen the body’s immune system, one of the super powers of acupuncture. With acupuncture, we can strengthen your body’s defense system -called wei qi in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Wei qi is the energy that circulates between the skin and muscles. This energy, when strong, is what can detect foreign allergens and kick them from our bodies before they have a chance to invade and cause symptoms. The best part is that all you have to do is relax for a nap while you lie with the needles and let your body do the work.
To Treat the Root Cause of Allergies
In addition to using acupuncture points that strengthen your immune system, most often acupuncture treatments also focus on the root cause of your allergy symptoms. Typically, I assess the lung, spleen and kidney energy systems of the body because an imbalance in one, or often more than one, of these systems is present in allergy sufferers.
If you are someone that burns the candle at both ends, works a lot, and doesn’t prioritize rest, you may have a kidney imbalance at play, leaving you susceptible to allergies.
Or, perhaps your diet isn’t the best, lacking in sufficient vegetable intake or always eating on the run. In this case your spleen energy system is weak and could be the culprit to your allergy symptoms.
If you get frequent colds or use your voice a lot in your work, your lung system may be compromised and a contributor to your allergy symptoms.
Don’t wait until you’re already sneezing, coughing, itching your eyes and blowing your nose to get treatment. Acupuncture can help you treat your symptoms once they start, but if you start your treatments at least one month before allergy season, you can help prevent these symptoms as well.
Between acupuncture treatments, you can practice acupressure at home to stimulate your immune system and treat your allergy symptoms. Anyone and everyone can practice acupressure. Acupressure is the act of pressing or kneading acupuncture points on the body to stimulate the healing properties of that point.
One of the most frequent points that I use in my acupuncture treatments during allergy season is Large Intestine 20. This point is located on the face, lateral to the sides of the nose at the crease which is called the nasolabial groove. Large Intestine 20 is THE point to clear nasal congestion and can also help with itching of the face.
If you are suffering from nasal congestion due to allergies, use your two index fingers to press down on Large Intestine 20 to the extent that you feel the pressure but not pain when pressing. Hold this pressure for at least 30 seconds and then repeat as often as needed.
Another method for strengthening your immune system and combating an auto immune response to allergens is to receive a massage on your upper back. Nerves that spread out from your spinal cord on the upper thoracic spine innervate organs and glands that make up your immune system including the thymus gland, lungs, lymph glands and your skin. Any muscle tension or knots along this area can block circulation to these important organs and glands.
Have your partner press along both sides of the spinal column with their thumbs and while maintaining pressure sweep the thumbs out to the side. Continue this pressing and sweeping motion along each vertebrae down the thoracic spine. Pressure should be firm but not cause pain or discomfort.
Don’t dread allergy season each year. Instead, feel confident that you can help prevent and treat your allergy symptoms naturally with these remedies and techniques.
How do you treat your allergies? Share in the comments below!