If you’ve been sniffling and sneezing lately, blame ragweed, the troublesome pollen that peaks in September and October and amps up fall allergy symptoms. Thankfully, experts say relief is easy.
Coughing? Sweeten with honey.
For a dry cough that won’t quit, sip 6 oz. of water mixed with 1⁄2 tsp. of instant coffee and 2 tsp. of raw honey. Women who downed this sweet java three times a day for a week curbed their fall allergy cough by 93 percent, according to a study in the Primary Care Respiratory Journal. That makes it five times more effective than prescription cough suppressants! Both coffee and honey contain compounds that speed the healing of irritated throats.
Congested? Admire blooms.
Take a brisk 5-minute walk to appreciate the mums, and you’ll open up your sinuses and improve sinus drainage as effectively as if you’d taken a dose of Sudafed. Quick jaunts increase your body’s production of adrenaline, a hormone that shrinks swollen mucous membranes to relieve congestion.
Sore throat? Savor a sweet potato.
The orange spud is nature’s top source of carotenoids, plant pigments that cut your risk of allergy symptoms by 50 percent if you eat 3⁄4 cup daily, German researchers report. Carotenoids are absorbed by the tissues lining your sinuses and airways, blocking irritants that make your throat sore.
Itchy eyes? Pop pine bark.
Your body pulls out all the stops trying to eject pollen from your system, which leads to watery, itchy eyes. But taking 100 mg. of pine bark extract (Pycnogenol) daily coats immune cells so they’re less likely to respond to pollen, which Canadian researchers say reduces eye irritation by 35 percent. Note: Check with a doctor before supplementing.
Cut ALL your symptoms in half:
…just by reaching for an all-cotton, linen, or wool top before heading outside. According to researchers at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, wearing natural fibers reduces the amount of fall allergy symptom-triggering pollen that sticks to your clothes by 50 percent. Bye-bye, polyester!
Bonus Tip: Ragweed pollen peaks between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., so going out earlier or later in the day helps you avoid the brunt of allergens