As trees and flowers bloom this season, unpleasant allergy symptoms are on the rise. While pollen and spores may actually be completely harmless, our bodies identify these triggers as harmful and send out immune antibodies to protect against these foreign invaders. An allergic reaction is the body’s response to a perceived threat, and those with compromised immunity, imbalanced gut flora, or excessive stress will tend to have an increase in allergies. Everyone experiences allergies differently. Some of the most common symptoms include sneezing, sinus pain, brain fog, congestion, runny nose, itchy and watery eyes, and itchy and irritated skin.
The integration of a few herbs and supplements plus a few diet changes can do wonders for relieving symptoms, strengthening immunity, and regulating our inflammation response. Below is a holistic guide for relief from seasonal allergies.
1. Avoid dairy and sugar
Both dairy and sugar promote inflammation in the body, which can trigger or increase allergic reactions. During allergy season, eliminating dairy and sugar from your diet can dramatically reduce symptoms.
Try natural alternatives such as almond milk, coconut milk, hemp milk, and natural sweeteners like coconut sugar and raw honey.
2. Avoid allergenic foods
When you have a food sensitivity, your body releases histamines and inflammatory antibodies to regulate your allergic response. Avoiding allergenic trigger foods reduces inflammation and eases your response during allergy season.
Try identifying food sensitivities and avoiding them. If you’re unsure, some of the most common food sensitivities are dairy, wheat, gluten, soy, corn, and peanuts. Try cutting these out of your diet and then slowly reintroducing them.
3. Limit High-Histamine Foods
if you are experiencing aggressive allergy symptoms and want fast relief, decreasing the amount of high-histamine and histamine-releasing foods in your diet will really help. For 2-4 weeks, decrease or eliminate coffee, chocolate, alcohol, fermented foods, citrus, dairy, red meat, chamomile tea, dried fruit and nuts, as well as high-histamine/histamine-releasing foods like bananas, avocado, tomatoes, eggplant, strawberries, and spinach.
Try adding in a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, dark leafy greens, gluten-free grains like quinoa and brown rice, milk alternatives, organic pasture-raised poultry, wild-caught fish and lots of fresh herbs like parsley, basil and cilantro.
1. Manage Stress
Stress increases overall inflammation and places an extra burden on the body, eventually depleting the adrenal glands, resulting in lowered immunity, extreme exhaustion, and poor digestive function.
Try stress management techniques such as meditation, yoga, and breathing exercises. If you’ve been in a constant state of stress for a long time, plan a vacation with a complete tech break and plenty of time in nature to reset.
2. Get Plenty of Exercise
Exercise helps to increase circulation, clear the lymphatic system, and strengthen the immune system.
Try exercising daily for at least 30 minutes. If exercising outdoors is too difficult due to allergies, move your workout inside and treat your body kindly. If you’re overly stressed, gravitate towards activities like walking, hiking, and restorative yoga.
3. Sleep Deeply
Sleep is essential for optimal health. By ensuring we get enough sleep every night, we enhance our immunity and support our body in daily repair.
Try sleeping for at least 7-8 hours each night and do your best to get to bed before midnight. Ideal times for restorative rest are between 10pm and 2am, so try for a 10-6 or 11-7 sleep schedule.
4. Try Acupuncture
Acupuncture restores the flow of energy, increases our circulation, and enhances our immune response.
Try 1-2 acupuncture sessions per week if you’re experiencing constant symptoms.
5. Treat Digestive Issues
Leaky gut and dysbiosis can exacerbate allergy symptoms. The immune system begins in the gut. By supporting gut health and healing, we can reduce our bodies’ allergic response to common allergens.
Try reaching out to a holistic practitioner for support.
6. Get An Air Filtration System
Seasonal allergies can affect us indoors when we have windows open or bring pollen in on our clothes and in the fur of our pets.
Try investing in a quality indoor air purifier and closing the windows during peak allergy times.
Herbs & Supplements
*Always consult your doctor before adding any herbs or supplements to your diet.
1. Stinging Nettle Leaf
Nettle is a natural histamine blocker, which slows the allergic response.
Try sipping on some nettle leaf tea a few times daily. You can make a nettle infusion by adding loose leaf dried nettle to a mason jar and covering it with cold water and a lid overnight.
2. Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Eucalyptus is one of the best remedies for seasonal allergies. It helps open the airways, reduce headaches and support the respiratory system.
Try adding some eucalyptus oil to a diffuser in your home or office or add a few drops to your daily shower.
3. Bee Pollen
Allergies are triggered by the increase of histamine in our bodies and bee pollen is an amazing natural anti-histamine.
Try 1-3 tsp daily sprinkled on dishes such as smoothies, oatmeal, and salads.
4. Local Raw Honey
Similar to bee pollen, local honey exposes our bodies to some of the pollens in the area and may help us build up a tolerance to local allergens.
Try 1-2 tbsp of unpasteurized raw local honey daily.
To diminish the frequency and/or severity of the reactions, having good bacteria in the gut is crucial! When looking for probiotics, look for blends that contain Bifidobacteria infantis, Bifidobacteria longum, Lactobacillus plantarum, and Lactobacillus rhamnosus which are some of the most helpful probiotics for allergies.
Try supplementing with a probiotic daily.
Particularly good for hay fever, spirulina can reduce allergy symptoms such as itchy eyes, runny nose, dry nose, and mucus buildup. It also seems to be effective in reducing inflammation and helping to modulate the immune system.
Try adding spirulina powder to smoothies or taking spirulina in capsule form.
7. Omega-3 Fish Oil
Omega-3 is a potent anti-inflammatory fat that can help reduce symptoms of allergies. It’s also helpful to reduce inflammatory fats, such as Omega-6 fatty acids plus saturated and trans fats, during allergy season to reduce inflammation.
Try supplementing with 1200 mg of combined EPA/DHA Omega-3 daily.
Quercetin is a bioflavonoid (plant compound) that acts as a natural antihistamine and antioxidant. It can help to reduce symptoms of allergies and keep inflammation down. It’s like a natural form of Benadryl. Quercetin is also found in many foods, so up your intake of things like apples, greens, broccoli, and grapes.
Try looking for bioavailable options and supplement with higher doses daily during allergy season. (Speak to your holistic practitioner about how to use + combine this supplement.)
CoQ10 is an antioxidant that is naturally found throughout the body and is an essential cofactor in energy production. Supplementing with CoQ10 can significantly reduce the inflammatory chemicals present in allergies.
Try supplementing with 300 mg of CoQ10 daily.
10. NAC (N-Acetyl-Cysteine)
NAC is an antioxidant that is used as a natural allergy remedy. NAC is a precursor to glutathione which helps fight off free-radicals. It also works as an expectorant which thins out mucus, in turn, helping to reduce congestion.
Try taking 300 mg 2-3 times a day.
11. Natural D-Hist
Natural D-Hist is the perfect option that blends many of the above recommendations. This supplement contains flavonoids, antioxidants, proteolytic enzymes, and botanicals designed to support seasonal allergies. It includes bromelain, stinging nettle leaf, quercetin, and N-acetyl cysteine. Together they promote healthy nasal and sinus passages for people with elevated histamine and respiratory irritation.
Try 2 capsules, 3x/day for 7-10 days and then reduce to 2 capsules per day.