In Bloom

If you’re someone who spends much of the spring season looking at the world through a misty-eyed fog, it’s likely you’re an allergy sufferer. And you’re not alone. Each spring, millions of Americans experience seasonal allergies (usually allergic rhinitis, or hay fever) thanks to the trees blooming and pollen being released into the atmosphere.

Being in a constant state of sneezing and sniffling can really put a damper on enjoying the beauty of spring, and though staying indoors can help alleviate suffering, who wants to spend spring inside after being cooped up all winter?

Of course, if you visit your local drug store you’ll find a shelf full of meds you can take to reduce your symptoms, but some people are more sensitive to these medicines than others and are left feeling foggy-brained and drowsy after taking them.

Thankfully, several natural allergy remedies exist, and can be ways to relieve seasonal suffering this time of year without the unwelcome side effects. It might be worth giving one or more of these options a try before loading up on the meds. (However, it’s always best to talk with your doctor before starting one of these natural remedies to be sure they wouldn’t have a reaction with other medications you might be taking.)

1. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is suggested as a way to offer relief for a variety of health conditions, including seasonal allergies. It’s said to work for allergies because the vinegar has the ability to reduce mucous production and cleanse the lymphatic system. To take, mix a teaspoon of organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar that contains “mother” (the strands of proteins, enzymes, and friendly bacteria that give the product a foggy appearance) into a glass of water and drink, then repeat three times a day.

2. Butterbur

This plant – a member of the daisy family – has the best reputation when it comes to herbs treating pollen allergies. Some studies even suggest it can be as effective for nasal allergy symptoms as an antihistamine without the sleepiness that often accompanies those pills. Butterbur extract is available in tablet format.

3. Acupuncture

Recent research has shown acupuncture may help relieve hay fever. Experts aren’t totally sure why it’s helpful, but they hypothesize that it keeps inflammatory immune-system substances at bay.

4. Probiotics

If you’re suffering from allergies, your cytokines might be unbalanced – and probiotics can help balance them. At least, that’s what researchers who have seen positive results in using probiotics to treat allergy symptoms say. So time to load up on the kombucha, kimchi, and kefir!

5. Nasal Saline Solution

Not only is this option safe and natural, it could also decrease your need for additional allergy treatment. Researchers found that, when performed regularly over the course of seven weeks, using saline nasal irrigation (such as using neti pots or nasal sprays) both improved allergy symptoms and decreased need for further treatment. The researchers think this method works since it flushes out mucus, debris, allergens, and pollutants.