Many of us love the spring season, myself included. Although autumn is my favorite New England season, spring is my favorite season in my yard, as my gardens come to life and it seems like every day something new is blooming. Bliss.
What’s not so blissful is some combination of runny nose, congestion, inflammation, watery eyes, headaches, sneezing, and fatigue that can accompany the influx of certain pollens. Some people even experience symptoms like irregular heart rate, anxiety or dizziness. For folks like myself, high counts of certain pollens can actually make us feel exhausted.
The month of May in New England ushers in the release of pine pollen, and lots of people are uncomfortable. So what’s a human to do? The good news is that we have choices, which fall into three main categories:
- Feel miserable until the offending pollen counts drop.
- Take medications like Claritin, Allegra or XYZAL.
- Create symptom relief via natural methods.
Option one of feeling miserable is..well…miserable, so that’s not a great take. Medications typically have a list of side effects and are best saved for health challenges that truly warrant pharmaceutical intervention, hopefully for a short period of time while underlying imbalances are remedied.
Today, let’s explore option 3: How can we create some allergy relief to our days, without bringing in unnecessary chemicals?
Natural Approaches to Navigating Seasonal Allergies
The discomfort of allergy symptoms is due to our body’s histamine response. Histamine is a part of our immune function and is an important and helpful response from our genius body. However, when our body comes to recognize pollen as a substance that warrants immune mobilization, we end up feeling yucky even though there’s no real “invader” entering our body.
As is so often the case, nature does have answers. Some excellent natural remedies for seasonal allergies are available.
The Top 5 Natural Compounds for Allergy Symptom Relief
- Stinging nettle, an herb (100 mg, 3x/day)
- Quercetin, an antioxidant found in onions, apples, grapefruit and other produce
(500 mg, 2x/day or eat plenty of quercetin-containing foods)
- Butterbur, an herb (50 mg, 3x/day)
- Bromelain, a compound found in large quantities in pineapple (400-500 mg, 3x/day)
- Vitamin C (1,000 mg, 2x/day)
Years back, I found a quality supplement that contained four of those five ingredients, and it has remained my go-to as part of my personal pollen-navigating mojo, as well as the mojo of many of my clinical clients. The supplement is called Natural D-Hist and is made by Ortho-Molecular Products. Using this product for best effectivity during allergy season looks like this:
For 3-4 days, take 2 capsules, 3 times per day, to build it up in your system. Then back off to 2 capsules in the morning and 2 in the evening. Continue that 2/2 dosing until the offending pollen has dropped in numbers.
With that idea explored, here are….
The Top 5 Key Tactics for Allergy Symptom Relief
- Take a natural anti-histamine complex like D-Hist, or one or several of the individual compounds, as outlined above.
- Use a Neti Pot for nasal irrigation, morning and night.
- Use a damp rag to regularly wipe pollen from home surfaces and wear a mask while cleaning. (Goodness knows we have plenty of masks around these days.)
- When driving, have the air on recirculation mode.
- For those with persistent and/or exacerbated allergy symptoms, a HEPA filter in home and/or office can make a big difference.
Sounds good. BTW, what on earth is a Neti Pot?
What Is a Neti Pot, and How Do I Use It?
A neti pot is a small ceramic container with a handle and a spout. We can use it to run saline water through our nasal cavity to clean out pollen that has collected on our mucous membranes and nostril hairs. It may sound weird and a little creepy, but it really helps and actually feels good, once you get the hang of it.
An added bonus is that the neti pot is also fabulous for clearing excess mucous that gathers from a cold or flu. It can bring some serious relief from nasal congestion and pressure, while also helping the cold to clear more quickly.
How To Use a Neti Pot
Use distilled water or boiled (and cooled) tap water. If using tap water, boil water and pour one cup into a non-plastic measuring cup. Add ¼ tsp. salt and stir. Allow to cool to body temperature—too hot will burn your tender and important mucous membranes, too cool feels yucky. Distilled water you can simply heat to body temperature (98.6 F) and stir in the salt.
Pour ½ cup of the warm, salted water into the neti pot.
Over a sink, turn your head so that one ear is directly facing the sink bottom. Allow the “spout” of the neti pot to meet securely with the nostril closest to the ceiling, forming a seal, and tip the neti pot up so that the water channels through the top nostril and exits your nose through the bottom nostril. When the pot is drained of water, gently blow your nose, flip sides, and repeat with the other ½ cup of saline water.
It might sound like a big, hairy deal, but—like a lot of things—once you have it down, it’s easy-peasy. The actual nasal irrigation part takes less than 30 seconds. And for scores of my clients, it’s a game-changer during allergy season.
Don’t let pollen allergies get in the way of you enjoying glorious SPRING.
Create Vibrant Health: BodyMindSpirit®
With love and nasal joy,