Millions of people suffer from some kind of allergy. In fact, it is one of the most common, but overlooked, diseases.
Allergies are a major cause of illness in the United States. According to the Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America, an estimated 50 million Americans, suffer from nasal allergies (1). It also states that allergies are the sixth leading cause of chronic illness in the U.S.
When you have an allergy, your immune system reacts to a foreign substance, called an allergen. It could be something you eat, touch, inhale into your lungs, or inject into your body.
Your body responds by producing a chemical called histamine to help counteract the allergen. This leads to symptoms like coughing, sneezing, itchy eyes, a runny nose, and a scratchy throat.
Other symptoms include rashes, hives, low blood pressure, breathing trouble and asthma attacks, to name a few.
There is no cure for allergies, but you can manage allergies with lifestyle changes and certain home remedies.
Here are the top 10 ways to get relief from mild allergies.
Note: In case of a severe allergic reaction involving swelling of the airways, difficulty breathing, and a sudden drop in blood pressure, make sure to get immediate medical help.
1. Saline Rinse
Clearing the nasal passages of allergens and irritants is very important to get rid of allergy symptoms. You can do this using a saline nasal rinse.
A nasal rinse cleans mucus from your nose and can ease allergy symptoms there. It also can wash away bacteria and thin mucus, and cut down on the postnasal drip.
A 2008 study published in the World Mycotoxin Journal offers strong evidence that saline nasal irrigation is an effective adjunctive treatment for symptoms of chronic rhinosinusitis (2).
Another study published in the American Journal of Rhinology & Allergy in 2012 reports that saline nasal irrigation using an isotonic solution can be recommended as a complementary therapy in allergic rhinitis (3).
- Mix 1 teaspoon of salt into 2 cups of warm distilled water.
- Using a nasal bulb, pour a small amount of this solution into one nostril.
- Allow the solution to drain back out through the other nostril or through the mouth.
- Gently blow your nose to remove excess mucus and solution.
- Follow this same process with the other nostril.
- Repeat a couple of times daily until your condition improves.
Note: Make sure to use distilled water for nasal irrigation, and wash the irrigation device after each use.
2. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is an age-old remedy that is often recommended for the treatment of different types of allergies.
Its antihistamine properties help relieve inflammation quickly and regulate the body’s immune system response. It also reduces mucus production and cleanses the lymphatic system, which in turn reduces allergy-related symptoms.
Plus, it helps restore an alkaline pH in the body.
- Add 2 teaspoons of organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar to a glass of warm water.
- Mix in 1 teaspoon each of raw honey and fresh lemon juice.
- Drink this twice daily during the allergy season.
Turmeric contains a compound called curcumin that has powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions that greatly help relieve allergy symptoms.
It acts as a decongestant, helps eradicate allergens from the body, reduces allergy symptoms, builds your immunity, and helps ward off colds. Plus, it aids faster recovery.
A 2008 study published in Molecular Nutrition & Food Research reports curcumin to have anti-allergic properties with an inhibitory effect on histamine release from mast cells. However, more research is still needed (4).
- Mix 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder in a glass of warm milk. Drink it twice daily.
- You can also use turmeric in your cooking, or take turmeric supplements but only after consulting your doctor.
Caution: If you are taking prescription blood thinners, consult your doctor before taking turmeric as a medicine as it also as blood-thinning properties.
Ginger is another effective remedy that you should try. It can help get rid of allergy-related symptoms like nasal congestion, a runny nose, a cough, and a headache.
It works as a natural antihistamine and has antiviral, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and immune-boosting properties.
A study published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry found ginger to be effective in prevention or alleviation of allergic rhinitis symptoms (5).
- Add 1 tablespoon of grated ginger, along with a few cloves and a small piece of cinnamon, to 1 cup of water. Bring the water to boil, then let it steep for 5 minutes. Strain it and add a little raw honey and lemon juice. Drink this herbal tea 2 or 3 times daily during the allergy season.
- Also, chew small pieces of fresh ginger several times a day as well as including ginger in your cooking.
5. Local Raw Honey
Having some local honey every day can help control allergy-related symptoms.
Local honey is effective due to the presence of bee pollen. It also desensitizes your body’s immune system to other pollens.
A 2011 study published in the International Archives of Allergy and Immunology reports that patients who pre-seasonally used birch pollen honey had significantly better control of their symptoms than those on conventional medication only, and they had marginally better control compared to those on regular honey.
The results should be regarded as preliminary, but they indicate that birch pollen honey could serve as a complementary therapy for birch pollen allergy (6).
Honey also contains many enzymes that support overall immune function.
You can start taking 1 tablespoon of local honey daily before the onset of allergy season. You can eat it as is or stir some into tea, add some to oatmeal along with cinnamon, or put some in your smoothies.
6. Stinging Nettle
Stinging nettle is highly effective for treating different types of allergies, be it hay fever, allergic rhinitis, or seasonal allergies.
Being a natural antihistamine, it can be very effective as it blocks the body’s ability to produce histamine. It also reduces inflammation of the upper respiratory tract and provides comfort from symptoms like nasal congestion, coughing, sneezing, and itching.
Plus, the vitamin C and butyric acid in it help maintain a healthy immune system and metabolism.
A 2009 study published in Phytotherapy Research found that the bioactive compounds in nettle extract contribute to the inhibition of pro-inflammatory pathways related to allergic rhinitis (7).
Nettle is a powerful but gentle remedy. It was used as a “spring tonic” generations ago.
- Add 1 tablespoon of dried stinging nettle leaf to a cup of hot water. Cover and steep for 5 minutes. Strain it and add a little raw honey. Drink it 2 or 3 times daily until your symptoms disappear.
- Alternatively, you can take a stinging nettle supplement (600 mg daily for 1 week). Consult your doctor first before taking this supplement.
Caution: Nettle is not recommended for pregnant women and young children.