6 Natural Remedies That Beat Fall Allergies

Thursday, 03 Oct 2013 06:00 PM

By Sylvia Booth Hubbard

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Do the clean, crisp days of fall find you sniffling and sneezing? You may be one of the 30 million Americans suffering from allergic rhinitis or hay fever. The most common culprit for fall allergies is ragweed pollen, not hay. Seventeen varieties grow in America, and winds carry it to every corner of the country, even to places it doesn't grow. Ragweed season begins in August, and usually doesn't ease until the first frost, typically in October.
Over-the-counter antihistamines can give temporary relief, as well as nasal steroids and decongestants, but if you'd rather bypass the side effects, try these natural aids for seasonal allergies:
 
• Butterbur. "Butterbur is very effective in controlling the symptoms of hay fever," Dr. Russell Blaylock tells Newsmax Health. A Swiss study published in the British Medical Journal found that one tablet four times a day (32 mg total) of this European herb relieved hay fever symptoms as effectively as a the drug cetirizine, the active component of Zyrtec, with none of the drowsiness. (Caution: Don't combine a drug for allergy relief with butterbur — you may overdose.)
 
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• Quercetin. This is an antioxidant found in many fruits and vegetables, including apples and onions, and it acts as an anti-inflammatory that helps quell allergic symptoms. A Japanese study found that quercetin supplements reduced itching and irritation of the eyes in people with pollen allergies. Other studies have found that quercetin reduces the amount of histamine released from cells. Some experts recommend 1,000 mg daily.
 
• Stinging nettle. In a double-blind trial, 57 percent of patients found the herb was better at reducing the sneezes and sniffles of allergy than a placebo. Experts recommend 600 to 1,200 mg of dried extract daily.
 
• Vitamin D. Research from Harvard University shows a link between low levels of vitamin D and allergies and asthma. Moms who take vitamin D lower their risk of their children developing asthma by up to 40 percent. New guidelines from the Institute of Medicine recommend 600 IU daily of vitamin D for people up to age 70. Adults over 70 should get 800 IU each day.
 
• Acupuncture. A study published in the American Journal of Chinese Medicine found that acupuncture reduced the hay fever symptoms of all 26 study participants. Another study found that acupuncture eliminated allergy symptoms in more than half of participants after only two treatments.
 
• Honey. Honey made from flowers and plants in your area may help "immunize" your body against pollen allergens. Consider adding one to three teaspoons of locally produced raw honey to your daily diet. A study published in the International Archives of Allergy and Immunology found that patients with diagnosed birch pollen allergy who ate honey that included birch pollen reduced their symptoms by 60 percent and used 50 percent fewer antihistamines.
In addition to pollen, mold is also a factor in fall allergies. Often when the rains come and knock the pollen from the air, allergy sufferers breathe a sigh of relief, at least until the rain combines with damp fallen leaves and creates mold.
If you're plagued by fall allergies:
 
Make your home as allergen-free as possible. Keep doors and windows shut, use HEPA air filters, and use door mats so you don't track in allergens. 
 
If you work in the garden, wear a mask to reduce breathing pollen and mold, and wash your face and hands when you come inside.
 
• At night, shower and wash your hair to remove the day's collection of pollen.

• Keep the car windows closed.

• Watch your diet. Certain foods can make your seasonal allergies worse. Those allergic to ragweed could have problems with bananas, melons, zucchini, cucumber, and chamomile tea.
 
If you continue to be miserable, see your doctor says John E. Lewis, associate professor at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. "He can order tests, such as an IgG reactivity test that pinpoints food sensitivities that make your allergies to ragweed worse, that can tell you what to avoid," he told Newsmax Health.
 
Urgent: ObamaCare Is About to Strike — Are You Prepared?


© 2014 NewsmaxHealth. All rights reserved.

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