The beginning of spring is a time for fresh starts, new growth, and seasonal allergies. For the 40 to 60 million people who meet the switch to warmer weather with the sniffles, seasonal allergies are, well, nothing to sneeze at.
Turning into a zombie from taking powerful decongestants often isn’t much of a solution. Most conventional antihistamine medication can trigger undesirable side effects like dizziness, exhaustion, and difficulty driving.
If you’re sick of your respiratory system stopping you from enjoying the beauty of spring, then it’s time to seek out some home remedies for seasonal allergies and hay fever.
What Causes Seasonal Allergies?
Pollen might be a nuisance for your immune system, but it’s vital for plant reproduction. Trees and flowers produce pollen to enhance their odds of successfully mating each spring. For reasons that aren’t well understood, some people’s respiratory systems have heightened sensitivities to certain types of pollen that trigger allergic reactions.
Exposure to pollen often triggers the release of histamines in the immune system. These naturally-occurring compounds are beneficial for keeping your body protected from foreign substances, but in the case of allergies, they cause your system to overreact to otherwise harmless pollen.
Conditions like these can compromise your immune system, causing it to overreact to pollen by releasing too much histamine. This leads to itchy eyes, a runny nose, sore throat and even difficulty breathing. The discomfort is enough to make allergy sufferers wish their bodies would wisen up to the fact that the threat is nonexistent.
When not treated, seasonal allergies are enough to leave you miserable. Hay fever symptoms especially trigger asthma symptoms like wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and even hospitalization in extreme cases.
26 Best Natural Treatments & Home Remedies For Allergies
When it comes to finding seasonal allergy relief, you don’t have to subject yourself to the kind of medication that leaves you feeling like a zombie. There are plenty of natural alternatives that will help you keep your hay fever in check, ensuring that you can move on with your life faster than before.
Below are some natural seasonal allergy solutions to put an end to springtime misery once and for all.
Best Anti-Allergy Foods
Better health begins with fueling up on the right foods, so fill your diet with these natural immune system boosters that can combat the threat of pollen allergies.
This celebrated flavor enhancer is filled with natural antibiotics that can help your body fight off infections and allergies. While you might prefer it sautéed in your pasta sauce, your body gets the biggest benefit from eating garlic raw. If you feel allergies coming on, consider eating or juicing a few cloves of garlic to rev up your immunities.
Not interested in smelling like garlic all day? Opt for a supplement instead.
2. Leafy Vegetables
Kale, collards, spinach, and plenty of other greens are stellar sources of essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and enzymes that work to reduce inflammation and keep your respiratory system in optimal shape.
3. Probiotic-rich Foods
A well-functioning digestive system is a keystone for good health, as it gives your body the best support base for pulling the maximum nutrient content from your food. Probiotic-rich foods like kefir, unpasteurized yogurt, sauerkraut, fermented pickles, and even probiotic supplements all can give your system a boost of beneficial bacteria, keeping you healthy so that hay fever isn’t such a threat.
4. Breast Milk
Want to give your baby a solid start in life? Then breast is best. Studies show that feeding your child only breastmilk for at least the first four months helps them avoid developing asthma, eczema, and food allergies, leading to an overall more robust immune system.
Sorry adults, there’s little evidence that breastmilk will provide similar benefits for you.
5. Citrus Fruits
Limes, lemons, and other forms of citrus all boost your immunity because of their sky-high vitamin C levels. Sipping on lemon water (not sugar-filled lemonade) will help your body flush out impurities, and juicing one overtop your salad can improve your ability to fight off allergy symptoms.
For an even bigger benefit, mix some citrus juice with local honey for an instant boost to your immune system for allergy relief.
6. Reishi Mushrooms
Mushrooms are having a moment these days, as impressive health benefits just keep getting discovered for them. Studies show that eating reishi mushrooms, in particular, might help you fight off seasonal allergic reactions. This is because they contain ganoderic acids that inhibit histamine release and improve liver functioning, leading to profound anti-allergic properties for your body.
7. Local, Raw Honey
With local, raw honey, your allergy medication is truly as sweet as sugar. Taking a daily tablespoon of honey made in your region may help your immune system build up a tolerance to your local pollen varieties, preventing you from suffering the sniffles every spring.
Sound too good to be true? A 2011 study revealed that taking birch pollen honey before the start of allergy season reduced the symptoms for birch allergies sufferers by 60 percent. So, stir some honey into your tea or take it with oatmeal for some immune-boosting benefits.
This favorite Indian spice is bursting with health benefits, thanks to the ample amounts of curcumin it contains. Dietary turmeric acts as a decongestant, wards off colds, and can even reduce seasonal allergy symptoms.
Try these: Easy Two Minute Turmeric Bombs
As one of nature’s wonder foods, ginger is bursting with anti-inflammatory agents that will reduce your hay fever symptoms by combating nasal swelling. This stops your nose from feeling plugged so that you can breathe free again. Mix some into your meals or sip on fresh ginger tea for the best health benefits.
Best Anti-Allergy Supplements
Giving your body an extra nutrient boost is often one of the best ways to stay healthy throughout allergy season. These supplements are a good place to start.
As an antioxidant commonly found in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and kale, quercetin is a bioflavonoid that controls the release of histamines in your body, in the process naturally managing allergy symptoms.
Studies show taking quercetin can reduce your allergies by calming down your airways, and the effect is so profound it can even help with peanut allergies. Because it takes several months for quercetin to build up to beneficial levels in your body, it’s recommended that you increase your levels at least six weeks before the start of allergy season.
For best results, take a supplemental dose to ensure your levels stay high.
11. Vitamin C
As a natural antihistamine and antioxidant, taking a vitamin C supplement will ensure your immune system has what it needs to fight off pollen allergies.
When you feel a flare-up coming on, consider taking up to 1,000 milligrams of vitamin C five times a day for half a week. From there, you can reduce your use to 1,000 milligrams three times a day for three weeks, and finally 1,000 milligrams a day for the following two months.
Not a fan of supplements? You can also source vitamin C through your diet by consuming lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, especially berries and citrus.
12. Fish Oil
The rich omega-3 fatty acids within the oil certainly won’t go amiss, but fish oil is also an effective way to fight off allergies.
A study of allergy sufferers who took daily fish oil supplements found that their bodies contained fewer of the chemicals that trigger allergic reactions. Further research shows that the benefits might be even stronger for children if their mothers took fish oil supplements while pregnant. Viva Naturals Omega 3 Ultra Strength Fish Oil is our recommended fish oil supplement.
Essential Oils & Herbs For Seasonal Allergy Relief
The natural world is flush with plants that can prevent allergy flare-ups, so give these herbs and essential oil a try!
All forms of this potent plant (peppermint essential oil, mint tea, and even mint-infused steam) seem capable of reducing allergy symptoms by relaxing your airways to make breathing easier. To try it for yourself, mix several drops of peppermint essential oil with a carrier oil, and carefully dab it just below your sinuses. Your breathing should clear up quickly.
14. Eucalyptus Oil
Thanks to its powerful scent and anti-inflammatory properties, eucalyptus oil is an effective remedy for hay fever and seasonal allergies. To quell your symptoms before they become overpowering, blend a few drops of pure eucalyptus oil with coconut oil and rub it onto your chest and below your sinuses for an all-natural vapor rub that will clear your airways as you sleep.
15. Frankincense Oil
Frankincense’s cancer-fighting properties are well studied, but that’s not all this fragrant oil can do for your health. Research shows that mice given boswellia serrata (Indian frankincense) oil show stronger immune system responses, and you can get similar benefits by diffusing frankincense oil (make sure you choose boswellia serrata frankincense oil) through your home or dabbing some onto your chest throughout the day.
16. Stinging Nettle
Well-used in medicine since the time of Medieval Europe, stinging nettle is useful for combating a wide range of health concerns, including urinary tract infections, joint pain, fluid retention, and hay fever. Evidence shows that the plant also naturally controls histamine levels to reduce inflammatory responses to allergens.
With one of the best track records for natural allergy relief, butterbur has been observed to be as useful for reducing nasal discomfort as an antihistamine, without the adverse side effects. Human studies show that taking butterbur tablets for just five days can result in fewer histamines in the bloodstream, leading to fewer allergy symptoms.
Read More: 8 Best Essential Oils To Beat Allergies
Best Anti-Allergy Drinks
Sore throats are best soothed with healthy drinks, and these options are designed to clear up your allergy symptoms before they begin.
18. Apple Cider Vinegar
Adding just a teaspoon of raw apple cider vinegar to a glass of water will work wonders for your allergy symptoms. This age-old remedy will reduce your sinus mucous production and cleanse out the lymphatic system. For further relief, consider adding a teaspoon of the vinegar to a neti pot for an extra-effective sinus flush.
19. Bone Broth
Rich in amino acids and many crucial minerals, bone broth is typically made from beef and chicken stock and is taken as a wellness tonic to boost your immunities when you feel like you’re about to become sick. You can make your own with this recipe, or buy ready-made organic bone broth.
20. Red Onion Water
As they are naturally rich in quercetin, boosting your onion intake will work to inhibit inflammation and open up your sinuses to improve breathing when you have allergies. For an easy wellness tonic, thinly slice a red onion and infuse it in water for up to twelve hours. Sip on this onion water throughout the day to naturally boost your immunity.
21. Green Tea
High levels of antioxidants in green tea make it effective for bolstering your immune system, and lab tests show the compound methylated epigallocatechin gallate works to inhibit allergic reactions by restricting histamine release. Add a cup (or more) to your daily routine to begin experiencing the benefits for yourself!
22. Licorice Tea
With a subtly-sweet taste that soothes your throat, licorice tea can reduce irritation in your respiratory system caused by allergies. Though it might not make your allergies go away, you’ll certainly feel better for sipping on it.
Lifestyle Changes for Allergy Relief
Sometimes the best solution for allergy relief is to switch up your environment so that pollen isn’t made to penetrate your immune system quite as effectively.
23. Neti Pots
This innovative natural allergy solution provides unprecedented relief to millions of people each year. Research shows that neti pots can reduce the symptoms of respiratory illnesses and allergies with few (if any) side effects, making it a proven way for almost everyone to clear their nasal passages.
Neti pots are a wellness remedy in Ayurvedic medication, and they work letting you pour a saline rinse from one nostril to the other. You can buy a neti pot with pre-made rinses.
The benefits of acupuncture might be more profound than previously thought. Research shows that this traditional Chinese remedy might help relieve hay fever. While scientists aren’t sure why this is, it seems likely that the treatment triggers immune responses and reduces inflammation that can heighten allergic reactions.
25. Warm-Mist Humidifier
If indoor air pollutants are causing you the most problems, a warm mist humidifier can provide relief. These devices are designed to remove allergens from the air by binding them to water droplets and causing them to drop to the floor, preventing you from inhaling them.
Another option? Consider installing a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter in your home to trap airborne allergens and reduce your exposure to them.
26. A Steamy Shower
Few things feel better if you’re stuffed up than taking a hot shower, and for a good reason. The warm, wet air works to soothe your sinuses and clear your nasal passages, and they also work to remove pollen and other allergens from your skin and hair – preventing you from increasing your exposure by spreading them around your home.
Foods That Make Allergy Symptoms Worse
Is your diet triggering your seasonal allergy symptoms? While every body works differently, the following foods are known to occasionally trigger excess mucus production, which can worsen hay fever allergy symptoms.
- All dairy products (cow, sheep, and goats)
- Refined grains
- Simple sugars
- Starchy root vegetables like potatoes
- Processed foods
- Deep fried foods
Limiting these foods in your diet will likely make your seasonal allergies more manageable and combined with the above home remedies, you can start to significantly reduce your seasonal allergy and hay fever symptoms.