- Allergy symptoms can impact people any time of year. Pollen, mold spores, food, and dust mites are some of the biggest offenders.
- Natural remedies like milk thistle and butterbur can provide some much-needed relief from allergy symptoms. They’re available in supplement form.
- A sinus rinse flushes out mucus and allergen triggers like pollen and dander.
- For long-term relief, try an anti-inflammatory diet to strengthen your body from the inside-out.
There’s a whisper in the air and a tickle in your throat. Allergy symptoms can impact people any time of year, but seasonal changes are especially annoying. Pollen, mold spores, food, and dust mites are some of the biggest offenders.
Why do your sinuses always seem to wreck shop when the seasons change? There are a few different reasons.
Pollen counts fluctuate throughout the year. Rainy weather can also cause an increase in mold spores, which can contribute to allergy symptoms like blocked ears, stuffy nose, and watery eyes. Food allergies can develop at any time, but certain seasonal events — like heading back to school or enjoying holiday feasts — can expose you to common triggering ingredients like peanuts and shellfish.
To get rid of the problem, consider the root cause. Your liver is responsible for neutralizing toxic substances and making sure they’re released from your body. Allergens cause your body to produce histamines, special cells that trigger inflammation, itching, and mucus production.
When your liver is overloaded with toxic substances, it can’t effectively break down histamines to alleviate your allergy symptoms. That’s why detoxing is the best way to get rid of allergies for good.
Related: Why You’ve Got Seasonal Allergies – and Natural Ways to Beat Symptoms
In the meantime, natural remedies can provide some much-needed relief. Here are the top five natural remedies for allergy symptoms and the science behind what makes them so effective. Have you tried any of these?
5 natural remedies for allergy symptoms
What it is: Here’s another reason to load your plate up with tasty plants. Green leafy veggies contain quercetin, a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory molecule.
What does that have to do with allergies? Left unchecked, inflammation and histamines can lead to annoying symptoms like coughing and runny nose. Quercetin stimulates the immune system, inhibits histamine release, and reduces airway inflammation. It can reduce allergy symptoms like sneezing, coughing, itchy eyes, and a chronically runny nose.
How to use it: Eat foods rich in quercetin like red leaf lettuce and asparagus, and drink high-quality green tea. (Green tea has loads of other anti-inflammatory and cardiovascular perks. Learn more about the benefits of green tea.)
You can also take a quercetin supplement. There aren’t a ton of human studies on quercetin (yet), so you’ll have to experiment to find the dosage that works for you. For active allergy symptoms, try 400 mg two times a day without food. To prepare for seasonal allergies, take 100 mg a day without food.
2. Milk thistle
Still sneezing your brains out? Try milk thistle seed, which has anti-inflammatory properties that can block the release of histamine. A 2011 study found that milk thistle extract reduced hay fever symptoms when combined with antihistamines.
Bonus perk: Milk thistle is a powerful antioxidant. So, it can support your liver’s detoxing abilities by scavenging free radicals and helping your body get rid of those lingering histamines.
How to use it: Milk thistle is available in powder, capsule, and extract form. Like quercetin, recommended dosages haven’t yet been established, so you’ll have to try a few different dosages to see what works for you. Start with 200 mg per day when you experience allergy symptoms.
If you’re taking any diabetes medication, talk to your doctor before you try milk thistle for allergy relief — it might lower blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes.
If your allergies are turning you into a mouth-breather, try butterbur. This herb can open up your sinuses, reduce nasal inflammation, and help your body finally drain away all of that gross gunk clogging up your schnoz. (Ew.)
In one randomized, double-blind study, butterbur showed similar effects to those of a commercial antihistamine — and it didn’t cause the drowsiness associated with allergy medication. Look for butterbur root or leaf extracts to manage symptoms like sneezing and runny nose.
Butterbur extract made from underground parts of the plant, like the root or rhizome, is also an alternative migraine medicine. Migraines are more common in people with hay fever and asthma, and the American Migraine Foundation notes that nasal congestion caused by hay fever can trigger migraines. Butterbur reduces nasal congestion, reducing your chances of dealing with a migraine on top of your allergy symptoms. That’s one powerful plant.
How to use it: Butterbur root or leaf extract is available in tablet form. Take 1 tablet of 8 mg petasin extract (the active compound in butterbur) two to three times a day when you experience allergy symptoms.
Don’t eat butterbur raw — unprocessed butterbur contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs), which can cause liver damage. Look for supplements that are labeled PA-free.
4. Nasal irrigation
It’s not the prettiest remedy, but it works. Also known as a sinus rinse, nasal irrigation involves pouring a saline solution through one nostril and draining it out the other. The process manually flushes out mucus and allergen triggers like pollen and dander.
A 2012 review found that nasal irrigation is safe and effective for people who suffer from hay fever symptoms — namely, sneezing and runny nose. According to the review, nasal irrigation helped people clear their congestion faster by flushing out the mucus, and it reduced their medicine consumption. It’s also a great party trick! (Kidding.)
How to use it: You can use a neti pot, bulb syringe, or squeeze bottle to rinse your sinuses with a saline solution. You can also try the Bulletproof Sinus Rinse to tackle chronic sinus problems any time of year (no special equipment required).
5. Try an anti-inflammatory diet
If you have a food allergy, you already know to avoid certain triggers. But if you’ve never taken a closer look at your diet, you should know that inflammatory foods can also contribute to symptoms like swelling, hives, and coughing.
If you have chronic allergy symptoms without a clear cause, try eliminating inflammatory foods like sugar and processed foods.
How to do it: The Bulletproof Diet Roadmap lays out a clear and illustrated list of foods that fuel your body with powerful antioxidants and clean energy. High-quality proteins, organic veggies, and fats strengthen immune function and fuel up your body from the inside-out. Try it and see how you feel.