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  • Dr. Sarah Penney, ND

Natural warfare against seasonal allergies!

The warm weather is here to stay - but does this mean you are armed and ready to have a runny nose? This is my most recent article for Natural Landscape Magazine, talking about just a few natural solutions I use in my practice to help patients combat allergies.

Spring has finally sprung and paved the way for sunny days, budding plants and blossoming flowers – but does the simple thought of this beautiful scene make your nose itch? Allergies affect millions of us ever year, but don’t despair! Your time in the yard does not have to be hijacked by sniffles, sneezes and congestion. Before you start popping anti-histamines again this year consider testing out some of these tricks in preparation for nature’s impending pollen ambush.

  • Pick up a netti pot – Although netti pots have experienced a surge of popularity in the last few years, they are one of the oldest tricks in the book for allergies. A netti pot is just one way to perform a nasal saline rinse to help clear allergens out of your nose and decrease allergy symptoms. Rinse with a saline solution 1-2 times per day – visit your local health food or drug store to find a netti pot.

  • Control your exposure –You can’t completely avoid the great outdoors but decreasing your level of pollen exposure at night can help relieve seasonal sniffles during the day. Shower before bed to get pollens off your hair and skin and keep your windows closed. Consider purchasing a HEPA-filter unit for your room or furnace to prevent exposure while you sleep.

  • Herbal medicine – There are two herbs that have evidence supporting their use in the prevention and treatment of allergy symptoms: butterbur and nettle. Both are thought to have an anti-inflammatory action that may decrease swelling in the nasal passages and reactivity.

  • Nutrient therapy – Quercetin is a bioflavonoid found in foods like apples, onions and citrus fruits that is often used as a natural anti-histamine during allergy season. It is available in supplement form, and may be most effective if dosing is initiated before symptoms arise. Vitamin C is another therapy often used in conjunction with quercetin and is though to have a similar action.

  • Acupuncture – Recent evidence has suggested acupuncture treatment may provide symptomatic relief for those with allergy symptoms. Several treatments may be needed to evaluate the magnitude of response, and it is important you seek out a qualified acupuncturist or naturopath to perform this therapy safely.

Be sure to talk to your healthcare provider or pharmacist if you are on any medications before starting any natural remedies to avoid potential interactions. Have a happy and healthy spring!

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