Allergy season has struck. It may have slapped you in the face, hit you in the nose or punched your eyes. However it attacked, there’s no doubt you’re motivated to fight back. Months of congestion, runny noses, itchy eyes and headaches are endured because our bodies are tricking themselves. Allergic reactions are triggered by the body misinterpreting foreign invaders like pollen, fungal spores or dust mites as damaging threats. This interpretation causes the release of histamine, a naturally produced immune response chemical. Histamine is what causes inflammation and irritation.
We know the best way to avoid symptoms is to lessen exposure to the threats posed by the outdoors; but staying inside whenever the wind blows is not an option for most. Over-the-counter antihistamines are prescribed as the mundane treatment for allergy systems, but tend to dehydrate mucus membranes and damage tissue, which causes irritation. There are readily available naturopathic remedies that you can use at home, and some are described below.
Use a nasal saline solution designed for sinus decongestion.
Perilla oil has been shown to counteract allergic reactions while soothing itchy eyes, decreasing sinus symptoms and erasing wheezy, asthma-like respiratory effects in as few as seven days. Local honey and bee pollen ingestion may help the body through immunotherapy in a way similar to vaccinations. The honey must be local to have this effect because plant populations and their pollen and spores vary from region to region.
Spicy foods, such as real wasabi and spicy peppers make sinuses and tear ducts spring into action. Peppermint tea acts as a decongestant and contains anti-inflammatory and mild antibacterial constituents. Steep loose leaf organic tea and cover for at least three minutes to maximize the antioxidant count in each cup.
Avoid synthetic clothing during allergy season. Try cotton and other natural fabric, particularly organic ones that aren’t farmed with synthetic pesticides.
Walnuts, flax seeds, salmon and other foods rich in alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid, will help lessen allergy symptoms. The healthy fat in walnuts helps strengthen your immune system to keep it functioning and organized so it attacks against unwanted invaders such as viruses and cancer cell, but doesn’t overreact to spring’s plain old pollen.
Avoid harboring these common household plants at least during allergy season: orchids, ivy, fichus, yucca and palm. They are likely to increase sinus symptoms by 20 percent.
Do, however, keep these non-allergenic plants around: German Violet, Lithops, Snake, White Flag, Creeping Charlie, Donkey Tail, Hens-and-Chickens fern and Blood Leaf. Also avoid over-watering your plants, which can catalyze the growth of sinus-irritating mold.
Make sure to wash your furry pets relatively often during allergy season as well. Their fur is a great place for pollen to latch onto, and their own dandruff, sweat and spring-time shedding might multiply your symptoms.
This opinion does not represent the opinion of the Watchdog staff