Spring is in the air! It’s the season for growth, color, vibrancy, and renewal. But it’s not all baby birds chirping in nests and perennial buds breaking through the ground after a long winter’s nap. All those seeds and sprouts and pollen also usher in a season of sneezing, wheezing, and eyes watering. For some of us, spring brings seasonal allergies.
I suffer every year but I hate taking over-the-counter meds. This year I’m more interested in finding natural, homeopathic yet effective remedies. I’ve gathered a set of natural therapies that can help you enjoy this blissful time outdoors with less discomfort.
Neti Pot for the Nose
Nasal irrigation is a popular treatment year round, but is especially useful to reduce the impact of seasonal allergies. There are a couple of reasons it works, both based on the fact that the process flushes the allergens from the entire nasal cavity.
Our noses are lined with cilia, which are tiny hairlike structures, and of course, our noses have mucus. When allergens get caught in the cilia they literally stick around and our bodies do their best to eject them. We produce more and more mucus in an attempt to get those irritating allergens out of the airways. Before you know it, we have a very runny or stuffy nose and are sneezing all the time.
Rinsing your nose out with a solution of purified water and salt gets that stuff out of there before it has a chance to activate the immune response. Also, it prevents the allergens from entering the body further into the throat or lungs, which can lead to additional unpleasant symptoms like cough and sore throat.
Neti Pots are the traditional, reusable tool for irrigation. I like this one Fair warning: this process takes a bit of practice and it’s not pretty, especially if you’re really congested. But the relief is immediate and can be preventive with regular use.
Apple Cider Vinegar for the Eyes
Allergy eyes are a very irritating situation. As a contact lens wearer, redness, watering and itchiness drive me nuts. A simple saline solution can work well to wash out the eyes and remove irritants but there are other things you can try, too.
Apple cider vinegar is one of those highly trusted, completely natural, and cost-effective solutions that can be applied to a host of problems. Allergy eyes are among them! Wet a cotton ball with a mixture of apple cider vinegar and water and gently rub it around your eyes and on the lids. Be mindful not to drop the liquid into your eyes as that will sting.
Chamomile tea bags are also a highly effective treatment for allergy eyes. Tea bags that have already been brewed and had a chance to cool will work perfectly. Lay the tea bags over your closed eyes and give it some time to deliver its powerful anti-inflammation and soothing properties.
Essential Oils for the Lungs
Essential oils are used in innumerable ways with a vast array of types and applications. Peppermint oil and eucalyptus oil are my go-tos that help me breathe easier when I’m suffering from seasonal allergies.
They can deliver potent allergy relief through inhalation. There are a few ways you can inhale essential oils safely:
- Mix the recommended amount of oil and water in an essential oil diffuser and let it infuse the room
- Mix the recommended amount of oil and water into hot water, soak a rag in the solution, place it over your face, and breathe deeply
- Open the bottle of essential oil, place it under the nose, and take a few slow, deep breaths through the nose
Always be sure to follow the recommended balance of oil to water no matter which method you use to inhale essential oils. They are intentionally potent and need to be diluted in many cases.
An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure
There are some useful steps you can take during the spring to reduce your exposure to allergens and prevent symptoms before they ever begin. The following tips may help you avoid an allergy flare up altogether or at least mitigate the impact.
- Filter the air you breathe. Make sure your HVAC system has clean filters and consider upgrading to an allergy-capturing filter.
- Wear a mask and sunglasses when you’re working in the yard kicking up pollen. This will reduce the number of allergens that enter the body.
- Keep windows closed. Yes, bringing that spring breeze indoors is fabulous. But if you get severe symptoms, know that a deep clean will be required to get them out of your home once they are inside.
- Rinse hands and face after being outdoors. A few splashes of water on the face and a vigorous rubbing of the hands under running water will help clear allergens off the skin.
- Local honey is believed to help for long term mitigation. The idea is that by ingesting the pollen from the flowers in your local area that the bees visited to make honey, you will get your body used to them and over time, not experience an allergic reaction.
Don’t let seasonal allergies slow you down! Make the most of this special time of year with natural remedies that really work. Let me know what works for you!