With winter over, and the grasses starting to get green, the smiles are getting brighter, the clothing is getting lighter and the sneezes are getting mightier. Yuppp, allergy season is upon us, filled with sneezes, itchy eyes and runny noses. And if you’ve ever had the pleasure of suffering through it before, you know it isn’t fun.
Allergies happen when your immune system overreacts to an otherwise harmless substance, (in spring we’re talking about pollen) and mounts a defence, releasing compounds like histamine which cause all of the unpleasant symptoms.
So let’s have this Allergy Season pass us by unscathed shall we? Below are some natural ways to support your body this allergy season to avoid those not-so-fun symptoms.
When the body is in a dehydrated state, it’s more likely to produce additional histamine, which is the compound in your body that is responsible for all of those allergy symptoms. So foundationally, and one way that doesn’t cost a thing, is to stay hydrated come allergy season. Aim for 2 to 3L per day, or more if you’re physically active.
Nettle is a wonderful herb. Nettle (or stinging nettle as you may know it) is a natural antihistamine. It can help reduce inflammation in the body that can trigger allergic symptoms, and actually block histamine receptors. (1)
Nettle tea is my staple come allergy season. I keep either pre-bagged or bulk nettle tea on hand and have 2 to 3 cups of this during the day. I’ll normally make one big pot in the morning, let it steep and then put it in the fridge to sip on all day.
BONUS - nettle is amazing for skin health, especially if you’re prone to conditions like eczema. It’s not caffeinated so you’re good to drink it all day.
Vitamin C is a standard supplement, but especially during allergy season because it’s a natural antihistamine. And a lot of us actually don’t get enough Vitamin C in general, partly because we’re all under so much stress, and when our bodies are stressed, either physically or emotionally, we use up more Vitamin C. Add to that the irritation of allergy season, and you’re more likely to have symptoms.
Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin and subsequently used up in the body in about 4 hours, so take one a couple times a day. The great thing about Vitamin C is that it’s one of the most affordable supplements out there and does so much good for you. It’s also amazing for youthful skin.
Quercetin is a flavonoid (plant pigment) that has incredible antioxidant qualities, and has been shown to have antihistamine qualities. You can buy this as a stand-alone supplement if you really want to ramp it up, but many foods are rich in Quercetin:
Increase your consumption of these foods during allergy season to up your Q-Intake!
St. Francis - Deep Immune Allergy
Increased allergies can be the result of a compromised immune system that's poorly regulating itself. So if you have been sick a lot this winter, you might want to strengthen your immune system to prepare for allergy season. Deep Immune Allergies by St. Francis is a wonderful product. It’s an herbal remedy that contains things like astragalus and reishi mushroom that help strengthen the immune system, while combining antihistamine herbs like nettle and prickly ash. Ideally, you want to start this before allergy season to strengthen your system.
This is an age old technique that a lot of people swear by come allergy season. Basically it flushes out a fair amount of the airborne allergens and dried mucous that collect in your nasal passages. The pot itself costs about $15-20 dollars, and can be found at any health food store.
How to: Combine 1 cup distilled or boiled water (easiest way to do this is to boil water and let it cool to room temp - you don’t want to use just tap water as you want to avoid contaminants) and with ¼ tsp. non-iodized salt (you can also buy saline packets if you want). Add solution to the neti-pot, lean over the sink and, breathing through your mouth, tilt your head about 45 degrees, place the spout in your nostril and let the solution flow through and out the other side. Use about half of the solution and then switch sides. Finish by blowing your nose.
How often: Depends how badly you are experiencing symptoms. Daily use is okay during allergy season, but if symptoms diminish you can back off to a few times a week. Afterwards, take a break. You don’t want to be flushing out daily long term!
Get moving for 30 seconds a few times a day. Running on the spot, jumping jacks, taking the stairs - this increases blood flow in the body, promoting the removal of the allergens so they don’t stagnate as much. The adrenaline boost also helps clear things out.
Bonus: you’ll feel more energized doing this too!
Here’s to a clear Allergy Season ahead!