Did you know up to half of all approved drugs have natural sources?
That’s because nature provides nearly everything we need to treat illnesses and nurture optimal health. Over time, countless natural remedies have been discovered to soothe everything from headaches to infectious diseases.
As we enter into fall, many of you are dealing with an old foe – seasonal allergies. While most individuals go to their local pharmacy for relief, you can often just as easily soothe allergy symptoms at home thanks to natural antihistamines.
Allergies Throughout History
Allergies are nothing new. More than 5,000 years ago, a wasp sting killed King Menses of Egypt.
Brittanicus, the son of Roman Emperor Claudius, was seriously allergic to horses.
And medieval England's King Richard III probably had a latent strawberry allergy. About 90 minutes after eating strawberries, King Richard's behavior and appearance changed dramatically in what seems to have been a severe allergic reaction.
How did the king react to this mysterious and distressing event? He accused a popular nobleman of cursing him and had him immediately beheaded. Ultimately, a strawberry allergy could have been responsible for King Richard's growing distrust of everyone and his eventual downfall.
The Allergy Epidemic
Today, more people have allergies than ever before in what has been described as a worldwide allergy epidemic.
More than 50 million Americans suffer from one or more allergies, and if you have them, you know it’s not just a springtime nuisance. Surprising to some, you're just as likely to suffer from sneezing, watery eyes, clogged sinuses, general itchiness and all-around misery in the fall as in the spring.
Research points to both environmental and genetic factors, but why one person develops allergies while others do not isn't clearly understood. Whatever the root cause may be, sometimes the immune system overreacts to something that shouldn't be considered dangerous (like pet dander). The immune system produces histamines to attack the perceived threat, causing all those symptoms you love to hate.
Antihistamines, whether natural or over the counter, treat allergy symptoms by blocking the effects of the histamines.
Natural Antihistamines for Allergy Relief
It's common to just grab over-the-counter allergy medicines to treat allergy symptoms. It’s just what we’re told to do, either by our family physician or Dr. Mom.
Unfortunately, these medications often come with nasty side effects. Check out those warnings in the small print. Side effects can include drowsiness, dizziness, vomiting, dry mouth, moodiness, blurred vision, trouble peeing, headaches and confusion.
Is it worth taking the risk when natural antihistamines can provide the same relief without all the nasty side effects?
Natural antihistamines have been trusted and used for centuries as home remedies for allergies. If you’re looking for a way to treat allergies naturally, here are some of the most popular natural antihistamines:
In addition to being a powerful antioxidant, vitamin C is also a natural antihistamine. Although many foods are rich in vitamin C, some foods (like citrus) can be histamine triggers. Instead, supplementing with a dose of 2,000 mg daily is often suggested.
Flavonoids are plant chemicals that help create the bright colors in veggies, fruits and flowers. Quercetin is one such flavonoid that fights allergy symptoms. It's available in supplements and found in many foods.
The National Institute of Health reported, "...it is anticipated that an appropriate intake of flavonoids may play a role in the prevention and eventually in the management of allergic diseases."
Research in ongoing.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
In addition to other well known benefits, omega-3 fatty acids are believed to reduce allergic reactions. Good sources include salmon, walnuts, grass-fed meat and flaxseed oil.
It's hard to imagine how someone long ago figured out stinging nettle was actually a very useful plant. Fortunately, it's not necessary to handle stinging nettle to reap its benefits. A University of Maryland study reported:
- 57% of participants found nettle capsules relieved sneezing and other allergy symptoms
- 48% found nettle was even more effective than allergy medications
The researchers used a 300mg daily dose of freeze-dried nettle. Other studies have corroborated benefits of using nettle as a highly effective natural antihistamine.
Bromelain is an enzyme found in pineapples. It's commonly used for swelling reduction in the nose and sinuses. For treating allergies, one study suggests taking 400-500mg three times a day.
A saline nasal rinse using a spray or neti pot helps minimize symptoms by clearing allergens from nasal membranes. A salt water gargle 1-2 times a day can also help soothe a scratchy throat.
Most known for its energy-boosting abilities, ginkgo is a powerful antihistamine as well. It’s great for things like seasonal allergies, bronchitis, asthma and more.
Next time your allergies flare up, try these natural allergy remedies for effective relief without the side effects associated with over-the-counter meds.