Natural Treatments for Seasonal Allergies

It’s coming to that time of year again when the allergies (Hay fever) start acting up!!   Symptoms of allergies include runny nose, burning eyes, red, itchy, watery eyes, sneezing, difficulty breathing, plugged nose and sinuses.   These symptoms are caused pollen from trees, grass, and plants that are in the air during spring time.  Eventually, we breathe in the pollen and for people, who suffer from allergies, begin to show symptoms.

Medical treatments are often sought out during this time of year to help reduce the symptoms.  Anti-Histamines, over the counter allergy medication, and nasal sprays are the most common.  Unfortunately, they can often cause side effects, such as fatigue or drowsiness.  Many nasal sprays have rebound effects.  This means they work in the moment by constricting nasal blood vessels, but over time the blood vessels dilate again, even larger, this time, causing the symptoms to be worse.

Natural treatment therapies are often a good alternative to these medications or as a complementary therapy.  Most natural treatments are preventative, so it is good idea to begin taking them long before allergy season comes around.

Quercetin

Quercetin is an extract from a plant and it is called a flavonoid.  Flavonoids help reduce inflammation in the body.  By reducing inflammation this decreases the symptoms experienced by seasonal allergies, such as red itchy eyes and runny nose.

Bromelain

Bromelain is extracted from the pineapple steam.  Bromelain has two functions for treating seasonal allergies.  First, it is anti-inflammatory and works in the same way quercetin dies by decreasing inflammation in the body.  Secondly, bromelain works by aiding in digestion by breaking down fat (acting as a lipase) and protein (a protease).

Butterbur

Butterbur helps decrease allergic rhinitis (Red and runny nose!).  Butterbur has research that is comparable to many prescription allergy medications.  It must be avoided if allergic to the Asteraceae/Compositae family (e.g. ragweed, marigolds, and daisies).

Probiotics

A multistrain probiotic can ensure that you have the right bacteria in your nasal and sinuses passages.  This will help reduce the occurrence or relapses and need for antibiotic therapy if an infection does occur.

Dietary Restrictions

Certain dietary restrictions can help in reducing symptoms of Hay fever.  For example cutting out dairy during seasonal allergies cuts back on the amount of mucous produced in the sinuses, therefore decreasing the congestion and runny nose.  Unfortunately only decreasing intake of these specific foods won’t show a change in symptoms, they have to be completely eliminated.

Acupuncture

Facial acupuncture has been shown to give temporary relief for treating congestion. Immediately after an acupuncture appointment, the patient is able to take a deep breath through the nose! It is also a great treatment for muscle pain, relaxation, and stress.

The best way to treat allergies is to prepare your body before the season starts!    If you are ready to try natural treatments please consult a Naturopathic Doctor.  N.D.’s can help you with doses and ensure any of your medications won’t interact with the natural treatments.  Some of the herbs mentioned here cannot be taken by just anyone, depending on current health and medications.

Kelly Brown, B.Sc., N.D. is a Naturopathic Doctor practicing at Birch Wellness Center. She is also trained in acupuncture.
Please call 204 505 0325 for more information or visit www.drkellybrown.ca

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