An estimated 50 million Americans suffer from some form of allergy. Half of these individuals have seasonal allergies which may strike with an increased pollen count or the first signs of a freezing winter.
Pharmaceutical drugs such as pills and sprays are used but have little positive effect. These treatments either remove congestion but not the sneezing and itching or vice versa.
Such medications can be extremely expensive and also come with an array of unwelcome side effects.
Allergy sufferers are said to be 14 times more likely to suffer from migraine headaches and are also more susceptible to fatigue. Other symptoms of allergies include:
- Facial pain or pressure
- Postnasal drip
- Runny nose
- Watery eyes
Studies have shown that herbal remedies are far more effective than their synthetic counterpart. Below are some natural remedies which are medically proven to help alleviate the symptoms of allergies and keep them under control.
Also known as a bioflavonoid, quercetin is a natural plant-derived compound which can prevent histamine being released. Histamine is an inflammatory chemical and is believed to be involved in allergy symptoms such as itching and sneezing.
You can find quercetin in foods such as apples, red grapes, black tea and red onions. As getting enough quercetin in your diet is difficult, it is also available in the form of a supplement.
If you have hay fever or similar allergies, around 1,000 milligrams of quercetin should be taken a day, preferably in two or different doses of 250-400mg each. You should start taking it six weeks before allergy season begins but individuals with liver disease should not consume it.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
A German study of almost 600 people which was featured in the publication Allergy, found that people who ate a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids had a decreased risk of suffering from hay fever.
It seems as if these fatty acids have the ability to reduce the creation of inflammatory chemicals such as cytokines. There are a number of excellent omega-3 fatty acid sources including fish oil capsules, walnuts and flaxseed oil.
These nettles act as a natural antihistamine and are devoid of the side effects associated with regular allergy medicine. Nettles actually prevent the body from creating histamine. It is one of the most common weeds in many countries worldwide though freeze-dried extract in capsule form is among the most effective incarnations of stinging nettles.
Doses of approximately 300 milligrams should be taken daily though your relief may only last a few hours. It is also possible to make your own tea with stinging nettles.
This is a plant that grows in Europe, northern Asia and some parts of North America. Natural remedies made from butterbur have already been created to deal with migraine headaches, asthma and stomach cramps but it is now seen as a form of alternative medicine to combat allergies.
A study in the British Journal of Medicine conducted by Swiss scientists found that butterbur was every bit as effective as the drug Zyrtec because it contained cetirizine, the main ingredient of Zyrtec. Approximately 30 milligrams of butterbur were taken by patients in the study.
Unlike the pharmaceutical offering, butterbur did not cause drowsiness in patients. As this plant is part of the ragweed family, those who are allergic to daisies, marigolds and chrysanthemum should steer clear. It is also important not to use the raw herb of the plant because it contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids which are potentially toxic to the liver.
Essentially, pharmaceutical remedies for allergies are relatively ineffective and any relief they do provide is short-lived and carries a price in the form of side effects. Herbal remedies provide longer lasting, safer and more effective relief and they are also far less expensive with no side effects because they are all-natural.
Author Bio: HealthPost is a New Zealand based online supplier of health supplements and natural beauty products.