March 21st was the official first day of spring, but generally it takes a few weeks until you can see and feel enough of the changing season to say that spring has ‘sprung.’ The longer hours of daylight, warmer temperatures, and the emergence of flowers are the 3 most identifiable signs that spring has genuinely arrived, and most people will be absolutely thrilled with each of them. A few of us (myself included), however, aren’t entirely thrilled with flowers, freshly-cut grass, and – the worst transgressor of them all if you live in this neck of the woods – that infernal scotch broom!
So what’s not to like about flowers that are beautifully in bloom, or that summery scent of cut grass, you ask?
Well, it’s the fact that some of us were born with a seasonal allergy to pollen, which is of course the fine airborne powder that plants of all sorts generate to ‘pollenate’ others of their species to reproduce (which of course is done with the help of one of our favorite life forms on the planets, bees, and we really need to be looking out for bees these days).
So while a fragrant flower in full bloom or the smell of a freshly cut lawn will have a classic charm for you, for us it can be a harbinger of a lot of sneezing, wheezing, and the itchiest watering eyes you can ever imagine. Rather than say count your blessings, we’re going to focus on us less fortunate folks and discuss the best natural antihistamines to reduce allergy symptoms and for relief of hayfever.
Immune System: The Best of Intentions
It’s not easy, but when you’re in the midst of an allergy attack you can take some solace in the fact that the health of your immune system is on display. That’s something to be thankful for, as it’s working 24/7 365 to keep you safe from invaders. The problem is of course that the pollen particles you’re inhaling are being invaders, despite the fact they’d really do you no actual harm.
Your immune system’s not taking any chances though, so in response it dispatches a battalion of histamines into the bloodstream. Long story short, the end result is sneezing, sneezing, and sneezing – followed by more sneezing, a nose that generates more mucous in half an hour than it has in the previous 2 months, and eyes so itchy that you want to rub them incessantly.
Which of course you can’t, unless you want the itching and redness to get worse. Believe me, it’s a struggle.
Add To Your Antihistamine
Claritin, Reactine, Aerius, Chlor-Tripolon. There are numerous brands of UTC antihistamines out there, and – just as their name suggests – they combat the function of the histamines and for the most part they stop sneezing from allergies and make your eyes less itchy and red. Taking one proactively right when you wake up in the AM before you step out into pollen-filled spring air is best.
There are different ways to deal with allergies too, and you might be surprised at some of the different choices for natural allergy relief. So here is our list of the best natural antihistamine choices;
1) Herbal Allergy Relief Formulations
The primary ingredient in the types of antihistamines listed above is loratadine, and while it’s proven effective in dealing with the conflagration stage of an allergy attack, it can be very helpful to establish a level of first-defense resistance to the severity with which those attacks begin.
Bell Master Herbalist Allergy Relief is an effective herbal allergy relief product that is formulated from natural, beneficial plant-derived flavonols. Most notable of these is the rosmarinic acid found in the rosemary, which modulates the body’s immune response and promotes a more normal reaction to external stimuli (in this case, the gosh darn pollen) rather than triggering the over reactive response that we all know so well.
A quality homeopathic seasonal allergy relief product for kids like A.Vogel Allergy Relief Junior is a good fit here too, with no sugar and 100% gluten-free.
2) Additional Quercetin / Bromelain Supplementation
Another effective approach to dealing with seasonal allergies is to up your natural levels of quercetin and bromelain via a supplement along the lines of Douglas Laboratories has formulated with their Quercetin Bromelain Complex.
These types of supplements have the same preventative / regulating effect that the herbal relief formulas do. Quercetin is a naturally occurring bioflavonoid and phytochemical with strong natural antihistamine properties, and it’s also very effective for skin reactions to allergies as well. It moderates the release of histamines from certain immune cells. So rather than having masses of them jumping into action when the immune system detects pollen in the body, fewer are dispatched and it lowers the severity of your allergy symptoms.
Bromelain is from the same bioflavonoid family, and – when paired with optimal vitamin C levels in the body – is very effective in reduce the immune system response to any type of allergen. It’s specifically suited for reducing nasal swelling and thinning mucous.
3) Probiotic supplementation
It’s a fact that your intestines and immune system are in frequent communication with each other, and that includes regarding immune system response that call for the release of histamines. Regular probiotic diet supplementation with a product like FloraMend Prime from Thorne Research promotes an optimum quantity and quality of beneficial bacteria (microflora) in your gut.
The connection between a healthy gut and lessened allergy symptoms is one that’s only been made fairly recently. What has been determined by research is that an enhanced presence of probiotic bacteria in the intestinal microbiota is found to correlate with protection against atopy (being ‘hyperallergenic’ – the prefix ‘hyper’ there being the key there and suggesting that over reactiveness we discussed earlier. There is also very promising evidence to recommend the addition of probiotics to foods for the prevention and treatment of allergic autoimmune responses.
4) Reishi and Maitake Mushroom Powders
You can take advantage of specific mushroom powders for seasonal allergy relief, and Red Reishi and Maitake mushroom powder formulations in particular. Their effectiveness is related to your liver, the primary detoxification and elimination organ in the body. Allergy symptoms are heightened in many people due to the fact their liver is overly congested with fatty tissue.
Just so happens that reishi and maitake mushrooms are among the best liver tonics around. Healthy lean liver = lessened allergy symptoms. As well, reishi mushroom powder in particular is a potent anti-inflammatory that inhibits histamine production. Both reishi and maitake mushrooms are adaptogens that help the body adapt to stresses effectively, and allergic reactions are self-perpetuating in the way they stress the body.
You can take mushroom powders to reduce the severity of allergy systems!
5) Alleviate Congestion with a Neti Pot
This one is more related to the treatment of allergy symptoms, rather than limiting the severity of them. Intense nasal congestion is one of the most bothersome allergy symptoms, and being able to open up your sinuses and breathe normally again is such a relief.
Add a Xlear Sinus Care Neti Pot Kit to your medicine cabinet and you’ll be equipped to do just that. The pot uses a gentle, gravity-propelled flow to run saline through sinus passageways, clearing out any bacteria, allergens, or other harmful contaminants. This one in particular is very effective with the fact it uses a Xylitol solution that rinses and cleans the nose and sinuses much more effectively.
There’s nothing you can do to stop Mother Nature orchestrating her bloom every spring, and in truth you wouldn’t want to. Spring and summer are great times of the year to be outside, so make sure you’re prepared to stand strong against all that pollen that can wreak havoc on your body if unchecked but is the source of all those beautiful flowers and lush green grass that you enjoy.