3 Tried-and-True Natural Allergy Remedies
It’s that time of the year when allergies can make us feel (and look) miserable. For some, it’s the incessant itchy eyes; for others, it’s the runny nose and sneezing. For the very unfortunate, it’s all three. Here are three remedies that can offer allergy relief without the side effects that often accompany conventional medications.
Raw honey: Honey in its raw, natural state contains bits of pollen from flowers that the bees have been busy pollinating. The theory goes that if you have a spoonful of honey every day, it will work somewhat like an allergy vaccination—your body will encounter tiny doses of the stuff that causes the allergy symptoms, and your immune system will then recognize it when subsequent pollen is introduced in the air and won’t go into the overdrive that causes allergy symptoms. The key is that the honey must be raw, meaning that it’s unpasteurized (never boiled), so that it contains the living pollen. Also, it needs to be from nearby bees so that the pollen in the honey is from the same plants triggering your allergies. Farmers’ markets usually have at least one stand selling raw, local honey. This is a great one for kids suffering from allergies. Who doesn’t love a spoonful of honey? But never give any honey to children under one year of age.
Neti pot: Literally irrigating the nasal passages with warm salt water flowing from a small ceramic teapot-like vessel is becoming so popular it’s been turned into a verb, neti potting. The ancient old Ayurvedic (Indian healing) practice thoroughly but gently cleanses the nasal passages of any pollen, dust or other allergens. Although it’s an odd sensation the first time around, many people neti-pot every day to keep allergies in check. You might even want to purchase a plastic neti pot for traveling. Neti pots are now available at most pharmacies and natural products stores and come with detailed instructions.
Butterbur: A member of the daisy family, this botanical has been shown in multiple studies to be at least as effective at treating allergies as drugs like Zyrtec and Allegra. Butterbur appears to work by inhibiting the production of leukotriene, an immune compound that can promote symptoms of red, itchy eyes and runny nose. You can buy standardized preparations of butterbur at natural products stores.