Between the grass, tree pollen, flower pollen, molds and fungi, I say – “Bless you!” and hand you a tissue. Honestly, are you wheezing, sneezing, coughing and rubbing your eyes this year? Here in Virginia, pollen counts are so many times higher than normal that we’ve been forced to keep the windows closed. When we do open the windows, a thick green silt settles on the floors, walls and carpets. It’s like an ash cloud but from Mother Nature’s bountiful garden.
Back when I believed that a pill could cure ever ill, I almost died from an allergy medication. Yes, I’m one of the untold many whose body reacts to the newer classes of antihistamines not by blocking the histamine reaction but by going into histamine overdrive. After nearly dying from taking a popular pharmaceutical for allergies, I quickly swore of all antihistamines and conventional drugs to manage allergy symptoms. I had to find a natural solution – or simply suffer the uncomfortable symptoms. My body gave me no choice.
Fortunately, through simple management of my environment, raw and living foods, and a few other tips and tricks, I’ve managed to reduce my allergy symptoms so that I can breathe comfortably.
Natural Remedy 1: Manage Your Environment
It would be nice to simply say “Don’t plant oak trees if you’re allergic to oak pollen,” but it doesn’t quite work that way. Pollen can travel hundreds of miles from its origin, so simply keeping plants you’re allergic to out of your immediate environment only works up to a point. Managing your environment means managing the airflow to keep pollen out of the house and car. It also means taking care of yourself so that any pollen that gets onto your hair, skin and clothes is washed away quickly.
To manage your environment and keep pollen from triggering seasonal allergies, try the following:
1. Keep windows closed. I’m a huge fan of fresh air and like to keep my windows open at all times, but when pollen season rolls around, it’s the best method to keep pollen out of the house. Use air conditioners or air filters until the pollen counts dissipate. The same goes for your car – use the air conditioner to keep pollen out of the enclosed space as much as possible.
2. Vacuum and clean frequently: This scoops up any pollen that’s been tracked into the house. Vacuums with HEPA filters or central vacuum systems that blow the air immediately outdoors instead of spinning the pollen, dust and mites back into the immediate environment are best.
3. Take off your shoes when you come home. Many cultures follow this practice, and it’s a good one to adopt. The soles of your shoes can pick up pollen, dirt and other particles that trigger allergies. Slip them off at the door onto a mat that you can clean outside. Keep a pair of “indoor only” shoes at the door to change into or your favorite slippers.
4. Wash yourself and your clothes to get rid of pollen. Shower morning and night if you have to – hair can capture pollen easily.
5. Be careful with your pets. Indoor/outdoor cats and dogs can also track pollen into the house. You may want to keep a towel near the door and wipe off their paws and backs to remove some pollen too.
Natural Remedies: Herbs and Foods
Raw, living foods are a wonderful defense against allergies. Many people who suffered for years from hay fever and seasonal allergies report that a raw, living food diet greatly diminishes their allergies or that their allergies even disappear. Raw food diets omit dairy and wheat, two major hidden allergens in the standard American diet. Anecdotal research suggests that increasing your intake of carotenoids, pigments found in certain plant foods, can decrease seasonal allergies. Foods rich in cortenoids include apricots, carrots, squash, spinach and kale.
A German study found that people whose diets include multiple sources of omega-3 fatty acids had a lower incidence of allergies. For raw food diet followers, raw sources of omega-3 fatty acids include flax seeds, flax seed oil and walnuts.
Raw honey is also recommended in the battle against seasonal allergies. Dr. William Peterson, an allergies practicing medicine back in the 1950’s, promoted the power of raw, locally collected honey in the treatment of allergies. Dr Peterson believed that raw honey is an effective treatment for 90% of all allergies. You may or may not believe that honey belongs on a vegan diet, depending on how the bees are treated. In my own local area, the farmers treat their bees like treasured members of the family and strive to remove the honey humanely (yes, I’ve asked the owners of the shop that sells raw, local honey – do ask!). It’s up to you whether you wish to try this treatment. Local honey is made by bees collecting pollen from the local environment and is thought to offer some sort of protection against seasonal allergies, particularly those triggered by local plants.
Stinging nettle is an herb recommended for seasonal allergies. Nettles actually produce a compound that inhibits histamines, so it actually acts like a natural allergy blocker. Try nettle tea as a daily tonic with a bit of raw, local honey during allergy season.
I find that increasing my intake of raw fruits and vegetables (with an eye towards more orange and greens, those that contain carotenoids), drinking a daily tonic of nettle tea, and rinsing my face, hair and eyes with clear water several times a day has cut down on my allergy symptoms. If I do that and keep the pollen out of the house, I can breathe more easily. Here’s to natural allergy treatments!
These statements have not been evaluated by the food and drug administration. The preceding information and/or products are for educational purposes only and are not meant to diagnose, prescribe, or treat illness. Please consult your doctor before making any changes or before starting ANY exercise or nutritional supplement program or before using this information or any product during pregnancy or if you have a serious medical condition.