From The Desk of Josh Gitalis

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Allergy season is here! To many, this is a time when strangers everywhere offer their generous blessings. It is a time when the tissue box becomes a daily accessory, and great deliberation is carried out as to which cheesy tissue box design to choose. Our noses become red, raw, and tearing-up for no reason is a regular occurrence. If this sounds familiar you’re going to want to read on.

What are seasonal allergies?

Hay fever, also called allergic rhinitis, is characterized by sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes, and post nasal drip. Normally, the body’s immune system acts like the border police and only allows residents (our own cells) to live freely. When there is an invader, the immune system responds by making antibodies, or in the case of hay fever, histamines. Normally this is a good thing because we don’t want infectious organisms, dusts, molds, and other harmful intruders entering our body. But, when we become hypersensitive to these substances, our immune system overreacts and causes an inflammatory reaction.

Are there any natural remedies for hay fever?

Luckily there are some great natural remedies that help with the symptoms and can actually prevent seasonal allergies from happening in the first place.

  1. Quercetin – I have found this one to be one of the best natural antihistamines. It works by stabilizing the membrane of histamine-releasing cells. It also has anti-inflammatory properties. (Up to six, 500mg capsules a day, may be needed) 1
  2. Vitamin C – a natural antihistamine and immune booster. 2
  3. Nettles (Stinging Nettle) – an herb that has been shown to alleviate allergic rhinitis.3
  4. Vitamin B5 – it helps strengthen adrenal function, which is intimately involved in the immune response.
  5. Try a Neti Pot … to help you breath again! Nasal irrigation using a Neti pot has been practiced for centuries in India as a natural way of clearing the sinus cavity of mucous and debris. Watch this video for a demo.

Try one, or try ‘em all! Sometimes it takes a little trial and error, but its well worth the effort.

  1. Chirumbolo S, Marzotto M, Conforti A, et al.Bimodal action of the flavonoid quercetin on basophil function: an investigation of the putative biochemical targets. Clin Mol Allergy. 2010 Sep 17;8:13.
  2. Johnston CS, Solomon RE, Corte C. Vitamin C depletion is associated with alterations in blood histamine and plasma free carnitine in adults. J Am Coll Nutr . 1996 Dec;15(6):586–91.
  3. Roschek B Jr, Fink RC, McMichael M, Alberte RS. Nettle extract (Urtica dioica) affects key receptors and enzymes associated with allergic rhinitis. Phytother Res. 2009 Jul;23(7):920-6.