Natural Seasonal Allergy Solutions
Spring and summer is a time for growth, beautiful plants and sunshine...but for some this can be dreaded as the season of allergies!
Seasonal allergies are the immune system's response to pollen. Pollen is basically plant sperm. Yup, that’s right. Plants like grass, trees and weeds shoot their sperm cells into the air hoping they will be carried by the wind, then land on other plants to fertilize and reproduce a seed. Often this pollen gets caught in people's noses when they’re still drifting in the air. Unfortunately, for certain individuals their immune systems react to pollen as foreign invaders and produces an uncomfortable inflammatory response. These symptoms can manifest as irritated eyes, hives, sniffles and cold like symptoms!
Why does this happen to some, but not all people? Well a part of it comes down to genetics but a lot of it has to do with our immune system. Our bodies are constantly reacting to what they’re put in contact with, ex: food, water, air. We find balance between the good and the bad. But overtime when we bombard our bodies through overexposure to chemicals, stress, refined food products..etc. It can leave our immune systems overstimulated. From there our body starts to respond to regularly harmless substances as threatening invaders. Hence a reaction to pollen.
The common solution to this is taking an antihistamine medication or an avoidance of high pollinated areas. Antihistamines often have unwanted side effects, such as drowsiness. Luckily, there are multiple alternatives and natural approaches to managing symptoms without restrictions or negative side effects.
Anti inflammatory foods:
Use anti-inflammatory foods to reduce inflammation your body experiences in response to pollen. This way you can lessen the severity of your symptoms and support your immune system to prevent them in the future.
Contains substances such as gingerol and shogaol, which have both powerful anti inflammatory and anti-allergenic effects. Gingerol for example has been shown to inhibit production of proinflammatory cytokines, which are present in almost all stages of an immune response to allergens.
Benefits of ginger
Gingerol & shogaol
Ginger & allergies
The active ingredient in turmeric is a polyphenol known as a curcumin. It’s popularly known for its anti-inflammatory properties. In regards to allergies curcumin can reduce inflammation in the nasal airway, alleviating sneezing and nasal congestion. It has also been shown to inhibit the release of histamine from mast cells (the immune system's first line of defense found in our skin and mucosa), making it antiallergenic.
Curcumin & allergies
Curcumin, nasal airflow & allergies
Gut health & probiotics
Your gut is home to 70% of your immune system. This is because there is lymphatic tissue, which contains immune cells, that line your gastrointestinal tract. This means that the health of your gut will influence your immune systems reaction or overreaction to common allergens like pollen.
Studies now point that those who have seasonal allergies have a less diverse and compromised microflora. Studies also point to specific strains of probiotics like Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus casei Shirota and Bifidobacterium lactis, can be of benefit to those with seasonal allergies.
Probiotic rich food:
kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, yogurt
Probiotics with above stated strains option 1 & option 2
Gut health & allergies
Probiotics: Lactobacillus casei Shirota & allergies
Probiotics: Lactobacillus acidophilus + bifidobacterium lactis & allergies
A polyphenol that’s known to inhibit histamines, proinflammatory cytokines and antigen-specific IgE antibody productions. This means quercetin can reduce inflammation and modulate your immune system's reaction to common allergens.
Quercetin rich food:
Onion, broccoli, apples, grapes, capers, black tea, green tea
If you really suffer from seasonal allergies you would need to consume a pretty decent amount of quercetin rich food to notice any effects. That’s why I suggest supplementing with a high dose quercetin supplement that your body can easily absorb. My top pick.
Quercetin & Allergies
Bromelain is a protein digesting enzyme that’s commonly found in the steam and fruit of pineapple. In terms of allergies, it’s known for its anti-inflammatory effects and ability to reduce mucus in the respiratory tract/airway. This makes bromelain great for reducing the severity of one's nasal pain associated with seasonal allergies.
Bromelain rich food:
Bromelain increases the absorption of quercetin, enhancing it’s antihistamine effects. Therefore it's best to take these together just like the quercetin option suggested above.
Bromelain & nasal inflammation
Bromelain & mucus
Vitamin C acts as natural antihistamine and a detoxifier of histamine from the body. It’s also a powerful antioxidant, which means it can help fight oxidative stress. Oxidative stress occurs not only as a result of inflammation but also from environmental exposure to air pollutants. It’s been known to worsen the symptoms associated with allergies.
Vitamin C rich food:
Citrus fruit, apples, berries, papaya, sweet potato, broccoli, bell pepper
If solely looking to rely on vitamin C for allergy relief then I would suggest using a concentrated form through supplements as well as diet to notice any effect.
Here is my top pick
High dose vitamin C & allergies
Vitamin C as an antihistamine
Oxidative stress & allergies
Unfiltered raw honey contains small amounts of pollen. Some people believe that over time eating this type of honey can desensitize your body to pollen in the same way an immunization would. This would work best with local honey, where the pollen would be from your area of residence. You can find Unfiltered Raw Honey on our website here
Honey & Allergies
Is a shrub that has been known to reduce inflammation and symptoms associated with seasonal allergies. It’s effects have also been studied to be comparable to cetirizine, a common antihistamine medication. Though it’s important to note that butterbur should only be taken as a processed supplement, never raw or as a tea.
Butterbur vs Cetirizine
Butterbur facts sheet
Butterbur & seasonal allergies
N-acetylcysteine is an amino acid that also acts as a mucolytic, meaning it can help break down mucus in the body. It’s been commonly used for treating pneumonia and bronchitis. Though it may also be helpful in reducing congestion and clogged nasal passages associated with seasonal allergies.
You can find NAC in supplement form here
Effects of NAC
As you can see, there’s an abundance of natural therapies to help you manage seasonal allergies. My favourite product would have to be Pure Encapsulations AI as it contains most of what's mentioned above in one product. Everyone is different so it’s best to do your own experimentation and see which one of these options works best for you. Let us know in the comments your favourite ways to cope with seasonal allergies!