Natural Strategies For Seasonal Allergies
Spring and Summer are such delightful seasons! We get to be out in the garden, the flowers are blooming, the breeze is blowing…..and if you have hay fever you are sneezing uncontrollably. It’s my least favorite part of these beautiful days. If you have allergies you know what I mean. It can totally ruin your day.
Symptoms of allergies:
- Runny nose
- Swollen sinuses
- Itchy and/or swollen eyes
- Scratchy throat
If you’re anything like me, you really dislike taking over-the-counter and prescription medication. If there is a natural way to treat something you’ll do it! And yet, when the sneezing just won’t stop you get to the end of your crunchiness and feel like reaching for the antihistamines. One of my sons has allergies particularly bad. There are a few things we’ve done to make it through this season with our health and patience in one peace.
1. Local raw honey and/or local bee pollen.This is my favorite and easiest remedy. However, you need to understand why and how it works. First of all, it doesn’t work like popping a pill. You cannot just take a spoonful and then expect your symptoms to go away like you would with a pill. It also doesn’t work with the idea that if a little is good for you than a lot is better.
Why? Because honey works very gently and homeopathically to build your body’s natural resistance and immunity to airborne allergens. For those that are unfamiliar with homeopathy, here is a very simplified explanation: When you get sick or the body is not in balance your body produces a symptom. The symptom is a sign that the body is trying to correct something. The symptom itself is not the disease. Your body’s auto-regulatory mechanism called the homeostatic mechanism (think of how a thermostat keeps your house at an ideal temperature, alternating switching on the heat or the air conditioner) keeps the body in a state of homeostasis (or balance). Homeopathic medicine stimulates the body’s natural mechanism so that the body heals itself, thus the symptoms disappear.
Homeopathics work on the principle of using like to treat like. In pharmacology it’s called the “law of similars.” Minute doses of elements and extracts from plants, minerals, and animals are given in small doses–just enough to trigger the body to respond itself. This is why you don’t need to have spoonful upon spoonful of honey to fight your allergies. A bit everyday will do it.
Local honey works for the airborne seasonal allergies because the bees make the honey from the pollen in your area. Therefore, honey produced in Ohio will not necessarily help me in Los Angeles. The more local the honey, the better it will work for you. The small amounts of pollen in the honey along with the healthy bacteria will help your body to create a healthier immune response.
If you find a local honey producer, ask if they have bee pollen. You can take that as a supplement instead of honey. A good place to start looking is at our local farmers market.
Ideally you should start a honey regime 3-6 weeks before allergy season. Although (at least here in So. Cal) we are already in the throes of allergy season, you can still take it daily and begin to build your immunity. We do this by spreading a bit of honey on our oatmeal in the morning or a spoonful in our smoothies. If we aren’t eating something that lends itself to honey, we’ll take a small spoonful directly.
Be very wary of commercial honey you can pick up at the regular grocery store. It may not be what you think it is.
When your throat starts itching and your eyes start running you may not immediately think of seeing a chiropractor. (Aren’t chiropractors only good when your neck or back hurt?) Actually, our family has experienced great results with regular chiropractic care. The whole family sees a chiropractor–including the baby!
How does this work? The chiropractic approach is to remove vertebral sublaxations, which are very common and put stress on the nervous system. By relieving the source of the stress the body can function more efficiently. Studies in psychoneuroimmunology show that when the nervous system functions better, the immune system functions better!
3. Oil Pulling.
Have you ever tried this? Oil pulling is an ancient method of releasing toxins from the body. It strengthens teeth and gums and freshens breath. It is said to also cleanses your lymph-nodes and sinuses. Since we’ve been regularly oil pulling I’ve noticed that my son’s hay fever has dramatically improved. I notice that after about 10 minutes of pulling that my sinuses start draining and my head becomes very clear. While you can use any kind of oil, by far the most palatable is coconut oil. This should be done on an empty stomach first thing in the morning. Usually I’m pulling while making coffee and getting breakfast ready.
It’s super easy.
Here’s what you do:
1. Place a spoonful of oil in your mouth.
2. Swish it gently around, making sure it covers all your teeth and gums. Sort of suck it through your teeth. DO NOT SWALLOW IT! It will quickly become full of toxins and you don’t want to put these back in your body!
3. Continue for 5-20 minutes.
4. Spit in the trash can! (Coconut oil can clog up the sink!)
4. Supplement with herbs.
Herbs that are helpful in managing seasonal allergies are nettle leaf (not the root), mints, eye bright (especially if your symptoms manifest with itchy, runny or irritable eyes), clover, lavender, and calendula. Mountain Rose Herbs has a tea blend of helpful herbs for allergies: called Allergy Season Tea.
5. Fermented and cultured foods.
An important–vitally important–part of a healthy immune response is a healthy digestive track. A healthy gut is key to optimal health. This is why we include a lot of cultured foods in our daily diet. Every day we have kombucha, kefir, yogurt, sourdough, lacto-fermented vegetables, etc. You can get started making fermented foods in your own kitchen with starters and cultures from Cultures For Health.
As always, this is our step number 1! If we feel ourselves starting to not feel well, for whatever reason, we pray. We believe we have grace and authority from the Lord over sickness.
May this Spring and Summer be delightful for you without the interference of allergies!
Disclaimer – The herbal information on this web site is intended for educational purposes only. It is not the intention of the writers to advise on health care. Please see a medical professional about any health concerns you have. Disclaimer – These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. The information on this web site is not intended to prevent, diagnose, treat, or cure any disease.