If you’re a longtime allergy sufferer, you may be wondering, “Is there a natural remedy that works?” You bet there is — in fact, there are several. Though allergies can strike any time of year, there are certain times when the suffering seems to get worse. Many of us think of allergy season as starting in the spring, when you can sense the high amounts of pollen filling the air with every budding leaf and unfurling flower you pass. But did you know that summer has its own allergy season — where grass can be a main culprit — and so does the fall, when ragweed is a top allergy offender? If you live in a part of the country that’s on the warmer side, you might experience painful allergy symptoms year-round, especially if you spend a lot of time outside.
But allergies are not just a problem outdoors: Millions of Americans experience year-round allergy symptoms, regardless of when pollen or ragweed season starts and ends. These symptoms are mainly caused by indoor allergens like dust mites, pet dander, and mold. Before you ask about natural remedies for allergies, it’s important to know what’s causing your specific allergy symptoms. Consider consulting an allergist who can administer tests and determine the exact allergens affecting you. From there, it will be easier to discuss a treatment plan — and start looking into which home remedies for allergies can work for you.
What are some natural remedies for allergies?
Allergy sufferers: Help is on the way. The following are some natural remedies for allergies that can save you from sneezing, congestion, coughing, and runny, itchy eyes — the list goes on. It's enough to make you want to hide indoors, isn’t it?
No matter how long you've had allergies — or how bad your symptoms usually are — today's newest natural cures for allergies can help. Don't sit inside during a beautiful season; stop your allergies before they start with these easy home remedies and smart tips for allergy sufferers.
Natural Remedies for Allergies to Pollen
Most allergy sufferers know all too well: You can't hide from seasonal pollen. More than 50 million Americans are allergic to pollen, experiencing symptoms like sneezing, wheezing, coughing, and itching thanks to the microscopic powdery granules of flowering plants that help fertilize trees, grasses, and weeds. The tiny, dry pollens from grasses, trees, and weeds are the main allergy culprits. And even though your yard may have no true pollen offenders like grass or trees, pollen particulates blow uncontrollably in the wind and can travel far distances. For the most severe allergy sufferers, there’s no escape.
Millions of people find allergy relief in prescription medications, many of which can leave you feeling drowsy and sluggish, unable to focus on your day. And while natural remedies for pollen allergies may not erase the need for medication, they can certainly help — possibly even working together in conjunction with your meds to have you feeling better quickly. (Important: Always talk to your doctor or an allergist before taking any new medication and to determine which home remedies for allergies are right for you.
Does ginger for allergies help?
Including 1/2 tsp. of ground ginger in your daily diet could cut your congestion, itching, and sneezing as much as 65 percent, reports The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry. Ginger's active ingredient (6-gingerol) calms immune cells, so that pollen is less likely to trigger their production of symptom-triggering histamine, says study co-author Yuki Ueno, PhD.
Ginger is a known remedy for allergies. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Is yogurt good for allergies?
According to University of Kansas researchers, yogurt’s healthy bacteria produce proteins that calm your immune cells, making them less likely to react badly when pollen sticks to them. Work at least 1/2 cup of yogurt into your daily diet, and try to shop for the kind that contains good-for-you live bacteria. Doing so can cut the severity and length of your allergy flare-ups by up to 20 percent.
Are berries good for allergies?
Yes, berries are a treat and a treatment. That's because the plant pigments that give them their cheery hues (anthocyanins) are also powerful natural antihistamines. In fact, Columbia University studies suggest that the more berries you eat each week, the lower your risk of developing any spring allergy symptoms. And if you're already feeling under the weather? Eating three cups weekly could reduce your symptoms by 35 percent — which makes berries one of the best natural remedies for allergies around.
Are oranges good for allergies?
Certainly. Citrus is nature's top source of bioflavonoids and vitamin C — a nutrient duo that can cut your spring allergy symptoms 40 percent if you consume three cups weekly year-round, say Arizona State researchers. These nutrients increase your production of glutathione, a compound that blocks airway inflammations, helping you breathe deeply without symptoms like tickling, coughing, or wheezing.
Is milk thistle tea helpful for allergies?
Sipping three cups of this mild herbal brew daily helps reduce allergy symptoms 25 percent in as little as two weeks, suggests research in the journal Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. Milk thistle lowers your production of an immune system protein that triggers unpleasant symptoms whenever pollen is in the air, the study authors say. Try this one from Alvita ($6.39, Amazon).
Tea from milk thistle can help battle pollen allergy symptoms. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Is MSM good for allergies?
A daily 2,000 mg. to 3,000 mg. dose of this natural sulfur compound helps soothe even severe spring allergy symptoms for 90 percent of people in two weeks, say Oregon Health and Science University researchers. When your immune system encounters pollen, it produces a flood of symptom-triggering inflammation; MSM helps to quickly reduce it before it can make you miserable. Try Life Extension's MSM ($10.50, Amazon). As always, check with your doctor before starting a new supplement.
Bonus: MSM is also a powerful, natural painkiller, and it can ease even chronic muscle and joint aches 62 percent in three months, Indian researchers report.
Natural Remedies for Food Allergies
Food allergies are sneaky. Undetected allergies can cause a variety of symptoms, including stomach pain, nausea, digestive issues, itchiness, rashes, and even weight gain. If you think you may be suffering from a food allergy, your first step is to talk to your doctor right away; he or she may recommend an allergy test to rule out potential other factors and to confirm if your suspicions are true.
Ever get itchy eating watermelon? (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
For instance, does your mouth feels tingly or itchy when you eat fruit? You could be allergic to watermelon. Watermelon, honeydew, and cantaloupe all contain a common allergy-provoking protein that's similar to the pollens in ragweed or grass. So if you react to ragweed, grass or birch, your immune system may mistake these melons for pollen, causing an allergic reaction.
Is oral allergy syndrome dangerous?
“Oral allergy syndrome occurs in people who have seasonal hay fever and the pollens that are outdoors can actually cross-react with pollens in a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables," explains Sandra Hong, MD, an allergist and immunologist at The Cleveland Clinic. Other potential troublemakers in the produce aisle include: pitted fruits, carrots, celery, tomatoes, oranges, bananas, cucumbers, and zucchini. Find a complete list at AAAAI.ORG.
More Home Remedies for Allergies
Maximize your meds with a timing trick. Symptom-triggering inflammation in your throat and sinuses generally peaks between 4 am and 5 am each morning, UCLA research shows. That means that if you take your allergy-taming supplements or meds at bedtime, they can work overnight to prevent early-morning inflammation, making it easy to control all day. University of Texas doctors say this one simple step could make your allergy symptoms far more manageable in as little as 48 hours.
Tip: Starting your allergy medication two weeks before your symptoms usually begin makes spring allergies easier to control for nine in 10 patients, Harvard research shows.