Allergy season lasts up to a month longer, and there’s 21 percent more pollen in the air than 20 years ago. No wonder we’re twice as likely to develop seasonal allergies and to find that OTC drugs don’t help. Luckily, these natural remedies for fall allergies offer relief!
Whether you love them in pie or baked with butter, sweet potatoes cut the risk of a sore throat by 56 percent, plus speed healing if you nosh on a cup daily. That’s the word from German scientists, who say this in-season veggie is packed with carotenoids that strengthen the tissues lining your throat and airways so they’re less likely to become irritated by allergens.
Try a “mum march.” A 5-minute jaunt around the block to admire colorful fall flowers boosts your body’s production of adrenaline. A nifty side effect of this hormone? It shrinks swollen mucous membranes and opens sinuses, improving drainage as effectively as Sudafed, says Fred Pescatore, M.D., author of The Allergy & Asthma Cure.
Cleansing your lids and lashes with warm water and baby shampoo twice daily eases redness, itching and watering by up to 90 percent, say researchers at NYU Langone Health. Gentle baby shampoo whisks away pollen before it can work its way into your eyes when you blink or rub, while warm water opens eyelid glands, prompting them to release a protective oil that shields against pollen.
If your biggest seasonal bother is a runny, itchy nose and sneezing, ginger can help! Research in BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies found taking 500 mg. of ginger daily cut symptoms by 55 percent, making it as effective as Claritin, but without side effects like drowsiness. Study co-author Rod Yamprasert, Ph.D., explains ginger compounds reduce sinus inflammation and block the release of symptom-triggering histamine.
Not allergic, but symptomatic?
Even if you don’t have allergies, you’re twice as likely to have allergy-like symptoms if your vitamin D-3 levels drop in the fall (a common problem). Cornell scientists say D-3 calms immune cells so they don’t overreact to dust, car exhaust and more. But just 20 minutes of sun daily (or 2,000 IU of D-3) cuts symptoms by up to 63 percent.
Sipping 24 oz. of milk thistle tea daily tames postnasal drip in a week, say British scientists, by curbing the production of a protein that inflames sinuses.
A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.