If you suffer from allergies, we feel your pain. It can be so frustrating to be sneezing, coughing, or feeling generally unwell when everyone around you is fine!
Allergies are caused by the immune system identifying a foreign substance as harmful even when it isn't. It produces antibodies which cause inflammation of the skin, airways, sinuses, or digestive system.
Reactions can range from mild irritation to potentially life-threatening, like anaphylaxis.
Keep reading to learn common allergy causes and symptoms, how allergies can be treated medically, and some home remedies that may be able to help alleviate symptoms naturally!
Causes and Symptoms of Allergies
Common allergy culprits are pollen and mold, dust mites, dander from pets like cats and dogs, insect stings, and certain foods and medications.
Hay fever, also known as allergic rhinitis, comes from an allergy to indoor or outdoor allergens like pollen, dust mites, and pet dander. Its symptoms include runny, red eyes, stuffy or runny nose, sneezing, and itchy nose and/or mouth.
Allergies to food can cause hives, tingling or swelling of the mouth, lips, tongue or throat, or even anaphylaxis.
Allergies to insect stings can cause swelling, itching or hives covering the body, coughing, shortness of breath, or anaphylaxis.
Allergies to medication can cause hives, itchy skin or rashes, a swollen face, wheezing, or anaphylaxis.
Eczema (also known as atopic dermatitis) can cause the skin to itch, peel, or turn red.
Natural Allergy Remedies
Doctors will typically prescribe over-the-counter or prescription allergy medications to alleviate the symptoms above. There are also allergy shots that can provide longer-term relief.
Of course, if it's possible to avoid your allergens (like refusing to eat certain foods or alerting your doctor if you're allergic to a medication), that's an ideal approach.
However, many people cannot avoid their allergens altogether, like seasonal allergy sufferers. Good news: there are actions you can take at home that can help alleviate your symptoms!
Saline Nasal Irrigation
Cleansing allergens out of your nasal passageways using a saline rinse (for example, using a "Neti pot") is a proven method to reduce hay fever. A review of 10 studies found it to be an effective, well-tolerated way to reduce allergy symptoms. (1)
Combine this method with rinsing the body whenever you come in from outdoors to remove as much pollen or outdoor allergens as possible!
Peppermint Essential Oil
Peppermint oil has strong anti-inflammatory effects and has been shown to reduce the symptoms of bronchial asthma and hay fever. Diffusing it in your home is a great idea, but you can take it directly by mouth! (2)
The Why Not Natural vitamin D3-K2 liquid has a hefty dose of peppermint oil so you get the double whammy of peppermint + vitamin D (see next point)!
It is hypothesized that the rise in every kind of allergy over the last few decades is connected to the increased prevalence of vitamin D deficiencies. (3) This is supported by the fact that the highest concentration of allergies is in the areas with the lowest sun exposure (high latitudes). (4)
It's also been proven that allergy symptoms are more common in those with low vitamin D (5) and that pregnant women given vitamin D supplements reduce the occurrence of asthma and wheezing in young children. (6)
Vitamin D activates certain immune cells that prevent release of chemicals that cause or worsen allergic reactions. (7) It's important to incorporate enough vitamin D to manage allergy symptoms, through lifestyle or a vitamin D supplement like Why Not Natural vitamin D3-K2.
While there's not a lot of research to support it, many people report alleviation of seasonal allergies by eating local honey. The theory is that since bees use local pollen to produce their honey, eating it can help you react less to the same pollen. Make sure to buy raw, unfiltered honey.
If you're suffering from allergies indoor, it could be the air quality in your home. Improve your allergies to dust, dander and pollen by investing in a high-quality HEPA filter.
This plant pigment, or flavonoid, is anti-inflammatory and is said to stabilize the release of histamines thereby lowering the allergic response. You can find it in many plant foods like broccoli or green tea, or you can find it in the Why Not Natural B Complex.
Elderberries are highly effective against allergy symptoms because they boost the production of cytokines. These are natural immune response regulators. This is the same reason elderberry is so effective against the common cold, flu, and other viruses.(8)
If you take the Why Not Natural liquid elderberry + zinc, you get the added bonus of vitamin C- also known to protect against allergic response!
A clinical trial from 2015 showed that consuming the blue-green algae spirulina had protective effects against allergic rhinitis (hay fever). (9) If you want to combine the preventative effects of vitamin D and the protective effects of spirulina, Why Not Natural's vitamin D3-K2 capsules have no fillers, only organic US-grown spirulina!
Allergies can make some of the most beautiful parts of life- pets, springtime, and delicious food- miserable. There are pharmaceutical options available to lessen their symptoms, but by trying some of the remedies above we hope you'll be able to naturally enjoy life more fully without worrying about an allergic reaction!
(1) Nasal irrigation as an adjunctive treatment in allergic rhinitis: a systematic review and meta-analysis
(2) The anti-inflammatory activity of L-menthol compared to mint oil in human monocytes in vitro: a novel perspective for its therapeutic use in inflammatory diseases
(4) Latitude, Sunlight, Vitamin D, and Childhood Food Allergy/Anaphylaxis
Raymond James Mullins & Carlos A. Camargo Jr
(5) Vitamin D in Atopic Dermatitis, Asthma and Allergic Diseases
(6) Prenatal vitamin D supplementation reduces risk of asthma/recurrent wheeze in early childhood: A combined analysis of two randomized controlled trials
(7) Vitamin D and the Immune System
(9) Effects of a Spirulina-based dietary supplement on cytokine production from allergic rhinitis patients