Managing Your Allergies Naturally
Contributor: Saffron & Sage
Photographer: Ashley Neese
Spring is a season of rejuvenation and rebirth for the earth and our bodies, but for many people a resurgence of allergies also coincides with this time. While it’s sometimes necessary to reach for the prescription antihistamines, there are a number of ways to naturally complement your daily allergy routine so your body is equipped to get the best out of this season without feeling bogged down.
Some of the most unpleasant allergy symptoms reside within the sinuses, so the sinus system is the most crucial area to focus on when treating your allergies. If you experience frequent nasal symptoms like a runny nose or congestion, regularly irrigating your sinuses can alleviate your symptoms considerably. Medical studies confirm that the use of nasal irrigation for the treatment of various nasal conditions was found to produce substantial improvement.
One popular method of nasal irrigation is the neti-pot, which has been in use for centuries. A neti-pot is typically a small, ceramic pot with a spout, which is used to flush out the sinuses with a saline solution. To ensure safety and best results, it is important to regularly clean your neti-pot and only use a specially prepared saline solution, as tap water is insufficient for nasal irrigation. If your busy schedule doesn’t allow for neti-pot upkeep and preparation, there are ready-to-use saline sprays that can produce similar therapeutic effects. For best results, irrigate after your morning shower, letting the warm steam aid in clearing your sinuses, and likewise right before bed, so that your sinus symptoms don’t keep you from sleeping.
Without regular sinus irrigation, mucus can get trapped in your sinuses or drip down your throat, leading to a host of other issues, including phlegm, sore throat, tonsil stones, and foul-smelling breath. With the use of a saline solution, you can flush this mucus away, along with any irritants that might be aggravating your allergies.
Soothe and Nourish
Many allergy sufferers experience a flare-up of eczema and other skin irritations when their allergies resurface. While cortisone creams are commonly used for these symptoms, alternative treatments can provide alleviating effects as well. For example, German chamomile has been used since ancient times for a variety of medicinal purposes, and recent medical studies have proven that the topical application of chamomile has shown to be effective in the treatment of eczema. Studies likewise showed that chamomile flavonoids and essential oils have the ability to penetrate the skin’s surface into the deeper skin layers, allowing for better anti-inflammatory results.
For the treatment of irritated skin, apply a mixture of German chamomile essential oil with a soothing carrier oil (like jojoba oil) directly onto the skin. If you’d prefer not to mix the oils yourself, there are pre-mixed chamomile oils that allow you to soothe your skin efficiently and effectively whether you’re at home or on the go. Witch hazel cream can also help soothe skin problems, and it is especially helpful when treating eczema patches that ooze or “weep.”
In addition to topical solutions, it’s important to remember that your body is made up of intricately connected systems, so what you eat can have a surprising amount of influence on your seasonal allergies. For healthy skin, don’t be afraid of incorporating “good fats” into your diet, like avocado and salmon. While it’s best to get your essential fats directly from food, fish oil supplements have also been found to improve the condition of skin in those suffering from eczema.
With proper hydration, a well-balanced diet, and alternative treatments, you can protect your body from the inside out when faced with seasonal or year-long allergies.