The saying goes “April showers bring May flowers.” But here in the Carolinas, flowers — and the allergies they bring — can start appearing as early as March!
If you are one of the millions of Americans who suffer from seasonal allergies, you may think that over-the-counter or prescription medications are your only options.
However, nature has provided us with ways to manage allergies without resorting to harsh chemicals that can cause undesired side effects.
Here are four ways to naturally manage allergies.
Local honey has been used as a remedy for allergies for thousands of years. One teaspoon a day is all it takes for many allergy sufferers.
Honey may have been the world’s first natural remedy: it’s processed by the bees, easy to acquire (if you can avoid the stings), and has a multitude of benefits. The ancient Egyptian pharaohs were even buried with honey, which was still edible when archeologists uncovered it thousands of years later.
The one catch to this sweet remedy is that it must be local honey. A bear off the shelf at the local supermarket probably won’t do the trick.
The best way to find your local honey is to take a trip to the local farmer’s market. While you’re there, you can start making some healthy food swaps.
Although the science is still catching up to generations of anecdotal evidence (some studies find no benefits, others do), trust your own experience. Try some local honey and see if you realize the benefits. After all, there’s no tastier remedy to test!
Fish Oil Supplements
Fish oil (found naturally in oily fish such as salmon and freshwater trout) is high in Omega-3 fatty acids. These acids have an incredible number of health benefits, including reducing the body’s reaction to allergens.
The primary source of this benefit is the fatty acid known as Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).
You can get the benefits of EPA (and the other Omega-3 fatty acids) by eating oil-rich fish, but it’s imperative that you carefully monitor your intake, as all fish have varying levels of mercury (which is toxic and is never expelled from your body).
An alternative is to take safe, mercury-free fish oil supplements. They provide a wide range of health benefits, with none of the mercury accumulation.
Yes, acupuncture! The ancient Chinese practice is quickly being recognized by “mainstream” medicine as delivering on its many benefits.
As reported on NPR, many studies have shown that acupuncture helps people with seasonal allergies, and is especially helpful for those suffering from nasal allergies (perennial allergic rhinitis).
Most patients reported the best success when they combined regular acupuncture with as-needed help in alleviating symptoms (those in the study who received acupuncture used less antihistamines than those who didn’t). Since acupuncture doesn’t carry the side effects of medicines, it’s also a safer long-term solution for many allergy sufferers.
If you’re looking for a natural antihistamine for symptom relief, look no further than the Carolina’s own Stinging Nettle.
You can take nettle leaf in capsules for relief from acute symptoms. Or combine the leaves with peppermint or raspberry leaf for a delicious and soothing tea!
Stinging Nettle grows almost everywhere, and can be cultivated for many uses (you can even eat it as a green). Be sure to bring your gloves and a bag if you aim to collect some, though. As the name suggests, the plant causes quite a bit of discomfort with the stingers still on!
People react differently to treatments (even natural ones) so experiment a bit to find the combination that is right for you. After all, these are healthy solutions which provide many other benefits, so you have nothing to lose — and a beautiful, outdoor springtime to gain!
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