Spring and fall are traditionally the worst time for allergy sufferers, and that is when people begin searching for relief. While allergy relief medications abound, many people look for ways to relieve their symptoms with natural remedies that do no cause the unwanted side-effects of drowsiness, nervousness or dizziness. Here are five natural ways to relieve your seasonal allergies.
Butterbur (Petasites hybridus) has been used for nearly 1,000 years to treat allergies, asthma, cough, headaches and fevers. Its active constituents include sesquiterpene compounds known as petasin and isopetasin. Butterbur has anti-inflammatory effects which work to inhibit the inflammatory compounds histamine and leukotrienes. Butterbur is commonly used in Europe and has been found in two studies to be as effective as the leading over-the-counter medications containing fexofexanidine or cetirizine in relieving allergy symptoms. When purchasing butterbur, look for labels that state the product is free of pyrrolizidine alkaloids. Follow directions on the bottle for use.
Nettle (Urtica dioica), also known as stinging nettle, has long been used for allergy relief of hay fever. You will want to use nettle leaf because that is the part of the plant that is effective for allergies. Recommended dose is two 600 milligram capsules, 2-3 times a day. Nettle leaf can also work as a diuretic, so don’t use nettle leaf if you are taking a prescription diuretic medicine, blood-pressure medicine or diet pills. Nettle is well-tolerated but can cause digestive upset if not taken along with food.
If you suffer from excessive mucous congestion due to allergies or want to prevent sinus infections, you may want to try goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis). Goldenseal works in two phases; first it stimulates the mucous glands to help flush away any bacteria that can lead to infection and then it dries up the mucous so you are no longer congested. Goldenseal should only be used until your condition has improved, no longer than a few weeks. If used indefinitely, goldenseal can disturb the natural course of mucous in the body and may cause irritation and digestive upset. Recommended dose is one 500 milligram capsule, 3-4 times a day.
Grape Seed Extract
Grape seed extract does not treat seasonal allergies as much as it helps prevent them by building up your body’s immune system with its nutrients. Grape seed extract is made from actual grape seeds and are rich in flavonoids, vitamin E, linoleic acid and the antioxidant resveratrol. These nutrients have been found in numerous studies to help prevent many diseases as well as cancers. Grape seed extract also relieves swelling, a common occurrence in the nasal passages due to allergies. Follow instructions on the bottle for the recommended dose.
Milk thistle (Silybum marianum) is so good for your body that you should be taking it whether or not you have allergies. Milk thistle’s main use is to clean out the toxins in your liver. It prevents damage to the liver while giving the body much-needed antioxidants. So why take it for allergies? People with chronic allergies may be responding negatively to the toxins their body is absorbing from medications, foods and the environment. Taking milk thistle will help remove those toxins and enable the liver to process those toxins more efficiently, thus helping to relieve your allergies. Take as directed on the bottle.
The Natural Physician’s Healing Therapies; Mark Stengler, ND
Prentice Hall Press 2001 & 2010