Woman sneezing under tree. Thinkstock img.

Seasonal allergies affect 35 million Americans every spring.

Spring has sprung! The sun is shining; flowers, trees, and grass are all coming back to life — and allergy sufferers are certainly feeling the change of season. Common seasonal allergy symptoms, caused by pollen from the budding trees and other plants, include sneezing; wheezing; runny nose; and itchy, watery, red eyes.

Seasonal allergies affect more than 35 million Americans. While some choose to use over-the-counter (OTC) medications to alleviate their allergy symptoms, it is becoming more and more common for people to choose a more holistic approach.

1. Butterbur – This European herb has been gaining steady buzz, following the publication of its clinical trials in the British Medical Journal. Mary Hardy, MD, director of integrative medicine at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, Calif. says butterbur “has had some very impressive clinical trial results.” When taken four times daily, butterbur offers the same relief an OTC antihistamine provides, without the nasty side effect of drowsiness.


2. Grape seed extract / Quercetin – Put down the tissues, and pick up the vino! Both of these nutrients may be found in red wine and are known to reduce the symptoms of allergies. In fact, quercetin controls the release of histamine and other chemicals that trigger allergic reactions.


3. Saline nasal spray – A simple salt water solution can do wonders to clear out your nasal passages and ease sinus pressure. You can find a natural OTC spray that is pre-mixed, or you can go au natural and pick up a neti pot to use your own.


4. Spicy foods – If your runny nose is getting to you, try spicing things up in the kitchen. Adding cayenne pepper, hot ginger, onion, and garlic to your dishes will clean out your sinuses in no time!


5. Removing problematic foods – New York University Allergist Clifford Bassett, MD, warns allergy sufferers with ragweed pollen allergies to stay away from melon, banana, cucumber, sunflower seeds, chamomile, and herbal supplements containing Echinacea, as these can all aggravate allergies further.


Beautiful young woman with eyes closed receiving acupuncture therapy. Thinkstock.

The Chinese medical practice of acupuncture can be scary, but it is highly effective in treating allergy symptoms.

6. Acupuncture – This ancient Chinese medical treatment can be intimidating, especially to those afraid of needles. A small study published in the American Journal of Chinese Medicine showed that 100 percent of hay fever patients treated with acupuncture had reduced symptoms with no side effects. WebMD references a second study of 72 people, which found that more than half of the patients had totally eliminated symptoms with just two treatments.




How do you fight your allergy symptoms in the spring? Share your natural treatments here, or you can find me on Twitter @TiffaniJPurdy. Remember, join us next week at MUIPR for more “Living Healthy!”