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Natural Allergy Remedies

If you have allergies, you don't have to rely only on pills and nose sprays. Sometimes natural remedies can replace -- or go hand in hand -- with more traditional allergy treatments. Here are some you may want to try the next time your allergies flare.

Nasal irrigation -- Flushing out your sinuses with a neti pot or nasal washes may help break up thick mucus and ease swelling of your sinuses. Follow directions and keep all equipment clean. Add 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda to 8 ounces of boiled, then cooled water.

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Quercetin -- Some experts believe that this natural chemical acts like an antihistamine. It keeps histamine -- a chemical in the body that causes many allergy symptoms -- under control. Quercetin can be found in foods such as teas, onions, red wine, and apples. 

Butterbur -- Some studies have shown butterbur -- specifically a butterbur extract called Ze 399 -- to be at least as effective as antihistamines for relieving allergy symptoms, such as runny nose and congestion. 

Acupuncture -- Some people with severe allergies find that it can help reduce pain, ease swelling, and lessen the amount of mucus they have.

Honey -- A teaspoon can soothe your throat if it gets irritated from coughing all day. Children under 1 year old should never be given honey. 

Spicy foods -- Eating something with a little heat can thin mucus and clear congestion.

Bromelain -- This natural enzyme comes from the pineapple plant. For some people, it helps ease inflammation and swelling in the nose. It also may help thin mucus.

If you have a chronic illness like diabetes or high blood pressure, always check with your doctor before trying any type of supplement.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD on October 31, 2012

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