Seasonal allergies cause a lot of suffering.
A lot of misery.
Lost time from work. Actually, a lot of lost time from work.
Out of all the reasons for calling in sick, seasonal allergies are number two on the list.
Not included in this figure are the many people working at less than peak, because they’re dragged down by a stuffy nose and watery eyes.
As many as 50 million people in the United States alone suffer from some type of seasonal allergy, according to the mainstream medical site WebMD.
There’s some concern that seasonal allergies are on the upswing, possibly due to climate change. Pollen counts seem to be increasing, according to information published on the American College of Asthma, Allergy and Immunology website.
“The prevalence of allergies is surging upward, with as many as 30 percent of adults and up to 40 percent of children having at least one allergy,” the ACAAI wrote on a post explaining why seasonal allergies seem to be increasing.
Along with this increase in allergies and what appears to be large interest in natural solutions. (At least judging by the number of natural allergy remedies on the market.
I have a mild seasonal allergies. My condition responds really well to essential oils.
So I don’t have to use allergy medication, thankfully. Because these drugs can cause side effects, as can all pharmaceuticals.
Natural allergy remedies work for me. But remember that I have a mild case of hay fever and no asthma. So I’m writing this with hay fever sufferers in mind. Asthma is a more serious condition that requires professional medical care.
Also, I’m not a doctor, so I can’t give medical advice. Always check with your doctor before taking an herbal remedy.
This article is for informational purposes only. I will attempt to explain which remedies are backed by science and which ones are not.
Stinging Nettle for Allergies
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I’ve been intrigued with this herbal remedy ever since I saw another natural living blogger post before and after pictures of her young son. In the first picture, he was clearly suffering. His face and his eyes were puffy and red.
She gave him stinging nettle, to relieve these symptoms. In the second picture he looked normal.
Stinging nettle is a popular allergy remedy. There’s also scientific evidence that it may, in fact, be effective at reducing the inflammation that leads to the uncomfortable symptoms associated with hay fever.
One study that ran in the journal Phytotherapy Research found that stinging nettle extract counteracted the release of histamines, compounds associated with the allergic reaction.
The authors noted, “These results provide for the first time, a mechanistic understanding of the role of nettle extracts in reducing allergic and other inflammatory responses in vitro.”
The study cited above involved stinging nettle extract. I generally drink organic nettle leaf tea instead, which has a pleasant taste when sweetened a little with raw honey or stevia.
Even though I can’t claim or promise that nettle extract or nettle leaf tea will solve your allergy problem, this herb is often used as a home remedy for allergies.
Does Local Honey Help Allergies?
Local honey is often touted as a cure all for seasonal allergies. However, I don’t think the studies I’ve seen support this idea.
However, local honey from a farm you trust is far preferable to buying honey in the supermarket.
That’s because it’s been found that many popular brands contain foreign substances. This “honey” is often sourced from China, and it may have been stored in toxic vats.
You can read more about this in an earlier post on fake honey.
Can Homeopathy Help Allergies?
Homeopathy is difficult to study. It doesn’t lend itself to conventional clinical trials.
That’s partly because there are thousands of individual remedies. Finding the right one takes skill.
Randomly choosing one or two remedies as part of a clinical trial may not yield accurate results.
Still, the little bit of research we have is encouraging. One paper published in the Alternative Medicine Review noted that various clinical trials conducted to date “describe significant effects of homeopathic treatment in allergic patients.”
Just so you know, there are specific remedies often indicated for congested nasal passages.
Homeopathy works on the theory of like cures like. This means the infinitesimal amount of toxin used to make the remedy will cure the same symptoms it would cause if taken full strength.
I’ve very successfully used homeopathy to treat colds. In theory, the right remedy would help a stuffy nose, no matter the cause.
Can Acupuncture Help Allergies?
It appears that acupuncture can help allergic rhinitis, the medical name for hay fever.
Research is ongoing but more is needed to conclusively prove that acupuncture is an effective treatment for seasonal allergies, according to a study published in the Allergo Journal International.
However, the authors noted that, “The effects of acupuncture have already been demonstrated in several clinical studies.”
Still needed though are large clinical trials.
However, if I was suffering greatly and thought this could help I wouldn’t wait for proof. I’d try it to see if it helped me.
Acupuncture has been safely used in the Far East for thousands of years.
Can Essential Oils Help Allergy Sufferers
Essential oils help me a great deal. When allergy season hits I simply put a drop of peppermint essential oil and a drop of eucalyptus essential oil on a cloth.
Then I leave this nearby, as I’m working. If I can’t smell these aromatic oils I move the cloth closer. If the scent is too strong I move it away.
It brings immediate relief, and it also seems to relieve symptoms even going into the next day or two.
This means that if I use essential oils on a Monday, I may not suffer symptoms on Tuesday. Or Wednesday.
Although I can’t claim or promise anyone else will enjoy the same results, there is a little bit of evidence that essential oils might make allergy season more bearable.
One study published in the journal of Life Sciences found that lavender essential oil helped to decrease respiratory inflammation in animals.
Online health expert Dr. Josh Axe, DC has also published information on essential oils and allergies. He also believes that essential oils can help fight inflammation.
His recommendations include:
- Peppermint essential oil
- Basil essential oil
- Eucalyptus essential oil
- Lemon Essential oil
- Tea tree essential oil
The essential oil blend I’m using this allergy season is a versatile one. I use it for my chronic nerve inflammation when pain breaks through. But it also contains peppermint and lavender essential oils, often used for allergies. This is the blend I’ll reach for this summer to ease my stuffy nose and watery eyes.
For More Information
Acupuncture in Allergic Rhinitis
Homeopathic Research in the Treatment of Seasonal Allergies
Top 5 Essential Oils for Allergies
Lavender Essential Oil Inflammation And Allergies
Nettle Extract and Seasonal Allergy Study
Seasonal Allergy Information from the ACAAI