It’s officially allergy season. And rather than resorting to over-the-counter drugs that induce drowsiness, I have the very best tips for natural allergy solutions.
As someone with a predisposition to autoimmune disease, and having healed from Crohn’s naturally over a decade ago, I am extra mindful around this time of year to make sure my immune system is stable and strong. I am taking great care to support my busy schedule, and not fall prey to allergies or any other illnesses like spring colds and flu.
There are many things to consider when we truly want to strengthen our immune systems. Whether we believe we are sensitive to certain things or not, there are key things we want to keep to a minimum in our diet as well as know which supplements to take, and the lifestyle practices that will help with allergies.
Wheat and Other Glutenous Grains
These will stress and strain the digestive system and are associated with leaky gut. If we are sensitive (which most of us are) and consume it, gluten may increase our sensitivity to other things like pollen causing hay fever.
Glucose competes for uptake with Vitamin C, a natural anti-histamine, and so the more sugar we consume, the less Vitamin C we can absorb, weakening our immune function. Additionally, sugar is overall an immune depressant and leads to nutrient depletion. (Want to quit sugar? There are some fantastic tips in this podcast episode, or you can leap into my No-Sugar Challenge).
Genetically, most of us don’t have the lactase enzyme required to properly digest the lactose in milk and other dairy products. Like gluten, dairy products can be very difficult on the digestive tract, potentially triggering the immune system to react. Dairy is also acid-forming in the body, and as such, creates a breeding ground for harmful bacteria. Additionally, dairy can make us really mucousy, adding to the congestion common with seasonal allergies.
Natural allergy solutions For Allergy Season: herbs and supplements
Short of moving to the arctic for the seasonal thaw, there are loads of natural allergy solutions and remedies you can add in at this time of the year. These are recommended by clinical nutritionist (and my husband) Josh Gitalis.
This is one of the best natural antihistamines. It works by stabilizing the membrane of histamine-releasing cells. It also has anti-inflammatory properties. (Up to six 500mg capsules a day may be needed.)
Nettles (Stinging Nettle)
A homeopathic remedy that can be effective for seasonal allergies.
Echinacea and/or Astragalus
These are herbs that help to support the immune system. (Don’t use for more than 3 weeks at a time.)
Helps strengthen adrenal function, which is intimately involved in the immune response.
Lifestyle Practices For Symptomatic Relief
If you’re struggling with seasonal allergies, these lifestyle tips can help.
Using warm salt water in a neti pot allows you to flush your nasal passages, clearing out the sinuses. It also works to prevent sinus infections.
The Salt Pipe
I love this one! You breathe in through the pipe, inhaling the minerals and naturally cleansing the air through a sea salt filter. This helps cleanse the lungs, open the airways, and can also be a great relief for wheezing, asthmatic responses and may even help you avoid steroidal puffers.
Get yourself upside down! Inversion poses like shoulder stand, headstand, plow, or even bending over while standing will help drain the nasal passages and cleanse the lungs. Start for just 1–2 minutes to avoid too much pressure on your head if you’re heavily congested.
Another great way to drain the sinuses and relax the lungs is through steam. Boil some water in a pot and then drop some food-grade essential oils of eucalyptus, peppermint, and/or myrtle. Put your head over the pot (cautiously so you don’t burn yourself), cover with a towel, and breathe in the goodness. I also have great recipes for how to make your own herbal steams in my course Everyday Herbal.
Air Purifier with a HEPA Filter
Using a HEPA filter is an amazing way to remove spores and pollen from the air. Ideally, you would have one for the whole house, but short of that, keep one in your bedroom with the doors closed while you sleep.
I do this all year round because I love it so much. Dry skin brushing helps to improve circulation, stimulates the lymphatic system, and helps to support overall immune system function.
Foods To Eat Lots Of During Allergy Season
Now we get to the fun and delicious part. I love great food all year long, but come this time of year, I pay extra attention to high, high, high doses of some potent anti-inflammatory, antioxidant-rich powerhouses. My favourite way to take all these natural allergy solutions is via the blender, either in a smoothie or an elixir, as they make a delicious, refreshing drink.
A potent anti-inflammatory root containing curcumin. This helps bring down any inflammation in the body, including in the lungs and gut which are vital for preventing allergies and other immune-stimulated sensitivities.
Bring on the Vitamin C/antioxidant power to help the white blood cells zip around and do their thing and also to work as a natural anti-histamine.
Ginger is another anti-inflammatory food that also promotes the production of digestive juices to better help us process what we eat, and increase circulation through our body. Also, ginger stimulates the part of the immune system that produces antibodies, thereby amping up the body’s natural defences against foreign invaders.
Ginger Recipe to Try: Delicious Ginger Tea
Cayenne supports immune system function and increases circulation throughout the body. It can be helpful in reducing pain and addressing intestinal inflammation, common in people who suffer from multiple food sensitives.
Cayenne Recipe to Try: Fire Cider
Raw honey has anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal properties and is a powerful antioxidant, helping to strengthen the immune system. Honey has been shown, through homeopathic applications, to help eliminate pollen allergies by taking small doses (about 1 tsp, 2 times/day) to reduce allergies, similar to how an allergy shot might work. The key is to consume honey from your area, where the pollen you are breathing might affect you.
More About Honey: Guide to Honey: Types and Best Uses
Irish Moss, Chia Seeds, and/or Aloe
These foods all have a potent mucilaginous property, a sliminess that helps clear excess mucous from the lungs, and at the same time, support the health of the lining of the intestinal tract – a key to reducing environmental and food sensitivities.
Aloe Recipe to Try: Cleansing Aloe Shots
Chia Recipe to Try: Chia Pudding for Digestive Health
If you’d like to use most of these delicious foods that reduce allergy symptoms in one go, I’ve got a fantastic chilled elixir for you. Experiment with the amounts of herbs and spices to your taste, then sip up and enjoy.Print
For more spring seasonal recipe inspiration, be sure to check out:
- Wild Leek Pesto
- Rhubarb Butter
- Best Wild Foods: Guide to Harvesting and Preserving
- Spring Quiche
- Blueberry Jam