With lovely spring air comes the not-so-lovely inconvenience, or sometimes full-on attack, of seasonal allergies. It’s hard to enjoy the outdoors when all those pretty tree buds and flowers are causing you to cough and sneeze (and making your eyes and throat itch).
But there’s no need to rely on over-the-counter allergy meds—which can make you feel simultaneously drowsy and insane—to get through it. Here are 11 natural ways to combat seasonal allergies and get outside already!
11 Natural Remedies for Seasonal Allergies
1. Drink tea
We love tea for beauty, energy, detoxing, insomnia, and a host of other ailments. You can add allergies to that list, too. Peppermint, rooibos, and ginger (among others) infusions are great for treating allergy-related sneezing, congestion, and itchy eyes.
Read up on tea’s allergy-relief benefits and get recipes for allergy-fighting herbal teas here.
2. Salt inhaler
Relaxing in salt caves has been an age-old treatment for certain lung and allergic conditions. It’s called speleotherapy, and it’s similar to using a salt gargle or neti pot. The thinking is that the salty environment makes the delicate tissues of the respiratory tract less vulnerable to infections, probably because bacteria and viruses just don’t like the salt.
The salt also serves to calm the inflammation and lessen swelling of the tissues [source]. A few studies have shown improvement in asthma and pulmonary symptoms with this type of therapy [source], and one looked at its use in children with allergic conditions showing some very good results [source].
If you don’t have a salt cave nearby (but try to find out if you do, because they are amazing!), a Himalayan crystal salt inhaler is an easy way to get the allergy-soothing benefits of dry salt inhalation therapy (a.k.a. halotherapy) at home.
3. Take a bath
Not only will a bath relax you, but it’s a great way to detox and decompress. Try one of these healing baths.
But if you don’t have time for a bath at night, take a quick shower, to rinse off any pollen caught up in your hair or on your skin before bed. It’s especially helpful if you can wash your hair at night. That way, your bedding will stay pollen-free as well.
While you’re in the bath, it’s a good time to use one of these puffy-eye treatment methods.
4. Apple cider vinegar
Take a spoonful of organic, raw (that part is very important!) apple cider vinegar a couple of times a day to decrease mucus production and get the lymphatic system moving again.
5. Air filter
An air filter is a must for pretty much everyone—not just those who suffer from allergies. The New York Times tested a variety of HEPA, UV-C, and ionic models. It makes sense to get as many allergens out of the air as possible during times of year that you have the most symptoms.
6. Honey or bee pollen
Take a teaspoonful of raw, locally produced honey to combat seasonal allergies, hay fever, or colds. It’s important to find local honey, as it is supposed to help your body get used to the allergens that are already in the environment around you—almost like an allergy shot, which works by giving you a minuscule amount of the substance you are allergic to so your body can learn to adapt.
7. Refresh your bedding
You know, that place where you sleep eight hours a night? Change your pillowcase and wash your pillow often to reduce allergens near your face; clean your sheets, blankets, and mattress cover regularly; and don’t forget to deep-clean your mattress.
8. Clean the house thoroughly
Keeping all of the surfaces in your home free from the dust, pet dander, and pollen that flies around outside can help allergy-sufferers tremendously. Clean all floors, and especially carpets, often with a vacuum cleaner that has a HEPA filter.
Make sure you’re dusting the ceiling fans and shutters; cleaning window screens; washing curtains; and cleaning out the vacuum, heater, and AC filters often. Try to create an allergy-free environment, at least in your bedroom, where you spend the greatest amount of hours in one place while you sleep.
Clean it from top to bottom, then keep the doors and windows closed. Take your outer clothes, like sweaters or jackets, off before going in and don’t walk into the room with shoes on. Shower before getting into your bed, and try to keep all allergy-creating pets, plants, and breezes out during allergy season.
9. Neti pot/nasal rinse
Neti pots are recommended by doctors as a natural, safe way to clear out nasal passages and relieve sinus pressure. Imagine this. Every night you go to bed, and the little allergic particles are stuck in your nose, causing allergy symptoms all night!
It is very helpful for symptom control to get them out of there ASAP! Learn how to properly do one here—including how to clean your pot after use, which is very important to prevent infections!
10. Change your diet
Hot, spicy foods like cayenne, chili peppers, or horseradish can thin mucus, which will clear your nasal passages. As allergic conditions are based on inflammation, take time to research an anti-inflammatory diet, and begin to implement some of the recommendations.
The greatest thing you can do for your health is to add more fresh fruits and vegetables, avoiding inflammatory foods such as fatty, sugary, processed items that live on the shelves of your supermarket for a very long time.
Adding probiotics from fermented foods is also known to fight off allergies. There have been quite a few studies showing that probiotics help to reduce the allergic response [source].
Basically, they have a balancing effect on many of the different types of immune cells, reducing the ones that seem to cause most of the uncomfortable symptoms. You can increase your intake of probiotic foods, like kimchi or kombucha, or take a probiotic supplement daily, or both.
This article was medically reviewed by Dr. Gina Jansheski, a licensed, board-certified pediatrician who has been practicing for more than 20 years. Learn more about Hello Glow’s medical reviewers here. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.88