Runny nose, sore sinuses, itchy skin and watery eyes. Spring is finally here, but with all the beauty it brings there’s an unfortunate side effect for many of us – seasonal allergies.
For anyone who suffers with hayfever, eczema or allergic asthma, spring and summer can become miserable months spent suffering with a variety of distressing symptoms. Seasonal allergies can be frustratingly difficult to treat, too – and most over the counter remedies tend to focus on the symptoms rather than addressing the underlying root of an allergic response.
Thankfully there’s a host of highly effective holistic remedies that can help to soothe and alleviate the symptoms of seasonal allergies in a gentle, non-invasive way.
How do holistic allergy remedies work?
An allergic response is actually the result of an overactive immune system – which is triggered when exposed to common allergens such as pollen and dust. This causes the body to over-react, in turn resulting in some of the most inconvenient and challenging symptoms we associate with allergies such as a runny or blocked nose, headaches, itchy, water eyes and dry, irritated skin.
Although anti-histamines are a highly effective way to treat the symptoms of allergies short-term, they only work to temporarily subdue the immune response rather than addressing why it’s happening. Over time, prolonged use of anti-histamines and decongestants may produce other side effects or impair the body’s natural ability to deal with allergies, making them worse in the long-run.
By contrast, complementary therapies work to support the body to cope better with allergen exposure, helping to reduce symptoms and ensuring you can enjoy the beautiful weather and quality time outdoors the spring and summer seasons bring.
Manual lymphatic drainage massage (MLD for short) for the face has been shown in several studies to offer lasting relief from the effects of seasonal allergies. During a facial massage the lymphatic system is stimulated, as lymph is gently moved towards the lymph nodes where it can be cleansed and recirculated. The lymphatic system is closely linked to our immune response, so cleansing and detoxifying these channels in the area allergens commonly enter the body can help to significantly reduce allergic flare ups as well as treating symptoms such as stuffy sinuses, headaches, sore eyes and irritated skin at source.
A healthy, balanced diet rich in nutrients supports our health in many different ways – including our susceptibility to allergies. 80% of our immune system lies in the gut, and as an allergy response involves an immune response, addressing and improving gut health can help to reduce symptoms significantly.
The first step is to identify and eliminate food sensitivities – such as gluten and dairy. For faster relief you might like to test for food allergies and sensitivities first to determine what to avoid rather than guessing and eliminating foods one by one over a period of time.
On top of removing any potentially inflammatory foods there are a few helpful ingredients you can add to your diet such as apples, grapefruits, black tea and leafy greens. These all contain quercetin, a bioflavonoid with potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties which inhibit histamine production.
Remedies and supplements
There are plenty of natural remedies and supplements which have been used for thousands of years to tackle seasonal allergies – and in recent times, scientific studies have proven their abilities to soothe and treat symptoms. Green tea, citrus fruits, nettle and turmeric have all been shown to help reduce histamines, with additional anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. Meanwhile vitamin D deficiency can affect your response to allergens – so it’s advisable to get this tested and supplement your diet if you’re lacking in this essential nutrient.
As always, it’s important to consult your doctor before beginning to take any new nutritional supplements or herbal medications.
Essential oils offer a variety of wonderful benefits – including relief from allergy symptoms. Specific essential oils including peppermint, basil, lemon, eucalyptus and tea tree can be used as and when needed for on-the-go support. Try adding a few drops to a bowl of steaming water as a natural decongestant, or added to carrier oil for a soothing effect on sore skin.
Holistic remedies for spring allergies
Prevention is better than cure – so it’s best to start to implement these remedies as early as possible as peak allergy season approaches. Find more holistic health guides on supporting immune health and fighting allergies here on the blog.