Springtime Allergy Relief

By Khara Hindi 

Sneeze, sneeze…sniffle, sniffle…itch, itch.  Is this what the beginning of spring usually means to you?  Seasonal rhinitis, or hay fever, is most commonly caused by pollen, a fine powdery substance released into the air by trees, weeds, and grasses. When we breathe in pollen, our immune system overreacts by treating it as a foreign invader and releasing chemicals such as histamine that cause inflammation and other allergic responses. Itchy, red, and watery eyes, sneezing, and congestion in the nose and throat are common symptoms of seasonal allergies, but post-nasal drip, sore throat, dry cough, headache, fatigue and dark circles under the eyes can also occur.

Treatment Options

Common prescription and over-the-counter allergy medications can help ease symptoms, but they often cause unpleasant side effects, such as drowsiness, headaches, dry mouth and nose bleeds. If you’re looking for a more natural approach to treat your allergies this season, the following supplements help to strengthen and support the body’s own healing processes to relieve allergy symptoms naturally.

NETTLE LEAF inhibits the production of histamine by stabilizing the immune cells that line the mucous membranes of the nose and throat. Nettle leaves can be used to help prevent the onset of allergies, and also to reduce symptoms caused by all allergic responses, such as hay fever, asthma, and sinusitis.

EYEBRIGHT helps decrease the overreaction of the mucous membranes in the nose, throat, eyes and ears. It is both astringent and anti-inflammatory, making it a useful treatment for hay fever, respiratory congestion, sinus infections, and allergy induced conjunctivitis and ear infections.

YERBA SANTA slows down the production of mucous and eases congestion by facilitating the release of mucous from the lungs and respiratory tract. It is indicated for asthma, coughs, and bronchitis when an excess of mucous exists.

CURCUMIN, the active component in turmeric, helps lower levels of enzymes in the body that cause inflammation. Some studies also suggest the compound has anti-allergenic properties and may inhibit histamine release.

QUERCETIN is a natural plant-derived compound known as a bioflavonoid. Research suggests that it blocks the release of histamine and other chemicals that cause inflammation. Quercetin is found in many common foods such as citrus fruits, apples, onions, and tomatoes, but taking it in supplement form is often needed to help with allergies.

BROMELAIN can help relieve the swelling and inflammation caused by hay fever. It can also help reduce nasal congestion and cough.

Be Proactive

Since natural supplements work in different ways than prescription and over-the-counter medications, it may take a day or 2 to before you actually notice any effect. If you commonly suffer from seasonal allergies, it may be helpful to begin taking natural supplements at the very beginning of allergy season.

Look for the above herbs and supplements as singles and in combination formulas in La Montanita Co-op’s own private label, made locally by Vitality Works in Albuquerque, NM.