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 treatments. Here are some you may want to try the next time you have a flare.

Nasal irrigation -- Flushing out your sinuses with a neti pot or nasal washes may help break up thick mucus and ease swelling. Follow directions and keep your equipment clean. Mix 3 teaspoons of iodide-free salt with 1 teaspoon of baking soda. You can store this in a clean, airtight container. Add 1 teaspoon of the mixture to 8 ounces (1 cup) of lukewarm distilled or boiled water that has been cooled. Some people choose to use bottled water instead.

Quercetin -- Some experts believe that this natural chemical acts like an antihistamine and anti-inflammatory. It keeps histamine -- a chemical in the body that causes many allergy symptoms -- under control. Quercetin can be found in teas, onions, red wine, and apples. It’s also available in supplement form..

Butterbur -- Some studies have shown butterbur -- specifically an extract called Ze 339 -- to be at least as effective as antihistamines for relieving things like runny nose and congestion. Never use butterbur that hasn’t been processed into an extract. It has compounds that are dangerous for the liver.

Acupuncture -- Some people with severe allergies say acupuncture can help reduce pain, ease swelling, and lessen mucus.

Honey -- A teaspoon can soothe your throat if it gets irritated from coughing all day. Children under a 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 pineapple. For some, 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 or take medication, check with your doctor before trying any type of supplement.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, DO, MS on March 26, 2019

Sources

SOURCES:

American Cancer Society: "Quercetin."

Brinkhaus, B. Allergy, September 2004.

Helms, S. Alternative Medicine Review, 2006.

Derek K. Johnson, MD, allergist in Fairfax, Va.; medical advisor, Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

Evangeline Lausier, MD, assistant clinical professor of medicine and director of clinical services, Duke University's department of integrative medicine.

National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine: "Butterbur."

Thornhill, S. Alternative Medicine Review, 2000.

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