For those who suffer from allergic rhinitis, the year can be filled with itchy eyes, a runny nose, an unshakable cough and an overall sense of blah. Here, we look at what is triggering discomfort in each season, and ways to naturally combat the symptoms that dampen one’s ability to enjoy a lovely spring morning, a laid-back summer afternoon, a brisk fall adventure or a cozy, snowy Sunday on the couch.
The month of March marks the beginning of spring. Still, some days grace us with the warm promises of the impending summer while others remind us of the blistering chill of winter. This can result in agony for some of your customers as they are now hit with dust, dander and other allergens indoors as well as the beginning of spring allergies outdoors. As the season progresses, the warming weather and increasing precipitation lead to higher levels of pollen along with the blossoms and grasses that drag a multi-hued paint brush across our days. Though beautiful, the effects of spring can lead to rather bothersome symptoms.
Grass pollen is at its highest in many parts of the country during June. July, the warmest month in many states, has high weed pollen counts and fungus spores and seeds are up in the air. Weeds such as pigweed, ragweed and nettle are at their peak later in the summer, and in addition, the heat and humidity that are characteristic of August bring on high levels of mold spores. This can cause discomfort for your customers that can vary in intensity from day-to-day as the weather fluctuates.
As the winds of fall begin to blow in, the height of weed pollen season has begun. This can be a particularly troubling time for those who suffer from ragweed allergies. Considering that in the United States allergy to ragweed pollen accounts for approximately 75% of hay fever cases, you’ll likely have many of your customers coming to you looking for relief from a runny nose, sneezing, itchy eyes and asthma flares.
For millions of people, the chill of winter offers no reprieve as dust mites, pet allergens, and indoor molds trigger bothersome symptoms. Fortunately, there are many options available to those who cannot escape the allergens that attack from indoors during the cold days of winter.
12 Allergy Fighters
As with all lifestyle changes, customers should consult with a medical professional before taking dietary supplements. That said, there’s an abundance of natural strategies that may bring relief. Twelve your customers can consider:
Quercetin: Jillian Levy, CHHC, in an article on www.draxe.com, recommends quercetin as it “can help stabilize the release of histamines from certain immune cells, which results in decreased symptoms like coughs, watery eyes, runny noses, hives, swollen lips or tongue, and indigestion”(1). Some experts specificaly recommend a form called isoquercetin (EMIQ), which research has shown can be most useful in helping to ease symptoms that affect the eyes, such as itching and tearing (2).
Homeopathic remedies: Sabadilla officinalis is effective in alleviating allergies that come with frequent, spasmodic sneezing, according to Dana Ullman, MPH (3). If a customer comes to you complaining of tearing from the eyes and runny nose, Allium cepa may provide some relief. Commonly known as onion, this homeopathic remedy creates the same sensation one gets when cutting onions, but it can provide relief when the user spends some time in a cool room or in the open air (3).
Essential oil: For those who find themselves battling a runny nose and cough, this lemon essential oil is useful in clearing sinuses and reducing congestion while boosting energy (instead of drowsiness that OTC allergy medications sometimes induce) (4). Another option: eucalyptus oil. An analgesic, anti-inflammatory and expectorant, it may provide relief to those who battle respiratory symptoms (4). The way to experience the benefit is to either put a few drops into a diffuser and inhale the healing properties, or inhale deeply from the bottle for a few minutes for fast relief.
Vitamin C: The experts from the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center at Penn State Hershey point to research on vitamin C’s antihistamine properties, as well as preliminary research suggesting the nutrient might ease allergy symptoms (5). It is a key ingredient in Aller-Ease from Buried Tresure.
Vitamin D: This nutrient is important year-round, but can be especially so in the fall and winter to ward off deficiency. Researchers reporting in the journal Clinical & Experimental Allergy note that vitamin D can have “effects on both adaptive and innate immune functions involved in the development and course of allergic diseases” (6). Experts note that vitamin D has protective effects for those who suffer from allergies and also can be useful in the prevention of developing allergic rhinitis in children.
Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM): As outlined in a statement from Tim Hammond, VP of sales and marketing at Bergstrom Nutrition, clinical observations and case studies found that MSM supplementation reduces allergic rhinitis symptoms, and may be therapeutic in improving some of the symptoms associated with seasonal allergic rhinitis.
Local raw honey: During the warmer months, consumers may want to consider local raw honey. Since it’s in season, it should be available in an abundance and can contribute to the local economy as well. In one study, subjects who pre-seasonally consumed birch pollen honey had more control over their symptoms than those who consumed conventional allergy medication (7). Adding 1 to 2 teaspoons to a smoothie, or tea daily may deliver relief.
Probiotics: Dr. Josh Axe, DC, DMN, CNS, points out that a strong immune system starts with a healthy gut, and points to research linking probiotics to reduced risk of allergies. He has recommended getting soil-based organisms through probiotics in supplement form or increasing intake through consumption of probiotic-rich foods (8).
Enzymes: Many allergy options work to suppress the body’s reaction to an allergen. Enzymes work differently. According to information from Pure Essence, enzymes work to flush allergens and chemicals through the digestive system. The company says protein enzymes digest foreign proteins before the immune system is able to react to them (9).
Butterbur: For those feeling tired and battling congestion, runny noses, sore throats and headaches, the extract from this flowering plant can be useful in combating headaches and nasal allergies as it blocks the swelling in the nasal passages. Perhaps the greatest benefit of this extract is that it can have a similar effects to an antihistamine minus the drowsiness that is often associated with over-the-counter remedies (10). It’s widely available, but it’s common for people to consume via tablets and tea.
Polyphenols: In research published in the The Journal of Investigational Allergology and Clinical Immunology, subjects who took apple polyphenols in both high and low doses showed improvements in both sneezing attacks and nasal discharge (11).
Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV): This kitchen staple can do double duty. On www.draxe.com, Dr. Axe suggests using it in a neti pot at the first sign of an allergy attack. His advice: Add one teaspoon of ACV in a neti pot solution to create a natural “sinus flush” (8). And it can also be used as a natural cleaning agent to help rid allergens from indoor spaces, which can be especially useful in the winter. WF
1) Jillian Levy, CHHC, “Quercetin: 8 Proven Benefits of This Antioxidant (#1 is Incredible)” www.draxe.com/quercetin/, accessed February 6, 2019.
2) M. Murray N.D. & J. Pizzorno N.D., “Hay Fever,”The Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine Third Edition 635-638 (2012)
3) Dana Ullman, M.P.H., “Allergies (respiratory),” Homeopathy A-Z 31-32 (1999)
4) “Essential Oils for Allergies” www.healthline.com/health/essential-oils-for-allergies, accessed February 6, 2019.
5)“Allergic rhinitis” www.pennstatehershey.adam.com/content.aspx?productId=112&pid=33&gid=000003, accessed February 6, 2019.
6) “Vitamin D and its role in allergic disease.” www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22192170
7) “Birch pollen honey for birch pollen allergy–a randomized controlled pilot study.” www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21196761.
8) “8 Natural Allergy Relief Remedies” www.draxe.com/8-natural-allergy-relief-remedies/, accessed February 6, 2019.
10) “Randomised controlled trial of butterbur and cetirizine for treating seasonal allergic rhinitis.” www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11799030
11) “Clinical effects of apple polyphenols on persistent allergic rhinitis: A randomized double-blind placebo-controlled parallel arm study.” www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17039666