Natural Remedies for Spring Allergies

Spring has wreaked havoc on my sinuses. One minute I'm fine, the next my nose is running like a faucet. An hour later, I can't breathe at all. Not to mention the headaches from sinus pressure! Since I only use medication as a last result, natural remedies get me through most of my pollen/mold/dust-filled days.

1. Neti Pot - Also known as nasal saline irrigation, the neti pot is a ceramic, glass or plastic pot that uses gravity to guide the flow of saline through the nasal cavity. An ayurvedic technique, jala neti (literally, "cleanse the nose with water") was developed in ancient India. Modern surgeons recommend use of the neti pot after sinus surgery. It can be difficult to get used to, but after the third or fourth try, you will get the hang of it and will feel much better for it. Here is a video demonstration on how it works.They are readily available online or at your local Whole Foods for around $16.

2. Raw Local Honey - Hollistic practitioners believe that if you consume honey that was produced within 20 miles of your home, you can build up an immunity to local pollens through gradual exposure. Eat one teaspoon of honey each day. Please keep in mind that honey should not be given to children under 12 months of age. You can consult this database for your local honey producers.

3. Stinging Nettle Leaf - According the the University of Maryland Medical Center, "Researchers think that stinging nettle's ability to reduce itching and sneezing due to hay fever may be due to nettle's ability to reduce the amount of histamine the body produces in response to an allergen. More studies are needed to confirm nettle's antihistamine properties, however. Some doctors recommend taking a freeze-dried preparation of stinging nettle well before hay fever season starts."

4. Tea - Green and chamomile teas both contain natural antihistamines. Histamines are proteins that, when released, send a surge of blood to the affected area causing inflammation.

5. Steam Therapy - Inhaling steam infused with essential oils can provide quick relief for congested sinuses. Tea tree, eucalyptus and peppermint. You can also use Olbas Oil, which contains a combination of oils and has been used in Europe for decades. You simply have to boil water, pour it into a bowl, add the recommended number of drops of essential oil and inhale the steam.

(Images: WebMD; TinnitusDX; Live Wire Farm; Sensible Weight Loss; Drugstore.com)

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