Home Remedies: Seasonal Allergies + Hay Fever

Until I moved to the West Coast, I never experienced seasonal allergies. But now, every spring I experience some mild allergies for about a week or so. Lots of sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes, etc. Fortunately, I am able to keep my symptoms 100% under control with a homeopathic prescription, and in severe circumstances where I need backup I use a few herbal supplements. Two years ago, while pregnant, I suffered from pretty bad allergies at the onset of spring. I was familiar with the fact that many herbal supplements are not safe to take while pregnant or nursing, so I complied a list of safe alternatives and saved it to share with my patients in the future. Hay fever is a relatively mild, although very uncomfortable form of allergic reaction. Unfortunately, pregnant women tend to experience sensitivity during allergy season, so I always make sure to supply my patients with safe and effective therapies. Treatment of hay fever should really begin at least 3-6 months before the onset of allergy season, but many times we need something in a pinch. Supportive therapies may include dietary changes, nutritional supplements, herbal preparations, homeopathic remedies, and stress reduction so that the body’s immune system is in optimal condition when hay-fever season arrives.

WHEN TO CONSULT A PHYSICIAN: Mild to moderate allergies may manifest in a variety of ways, from sneezing, minor headaches, or digestive disturbances, to itchy, blotchy skin rashes. Severe allergic reactions, called “anaphylactic shock,” cause swelling of the airways. Sufferers often gasp and wheeze, trying to get air through the swollen passage ways. In very severe cases, the airway can become completely blocked, causing respiratory arrest. Any severe allergic reaction should be handled by an experience physician, and in most cases an ER visit.

The following suggestions are for those experiencing mild to moderate allergies or hay fever:

1. Eliminate food and inhalant sensitivities, if known: In most cases, any foods that encourage mucus production should be eliminated, such as dairy products, sugar, and alcohol. However, it is a good idea to work with your doctor to identify other foods that may be creating inflammation in your body. For inhalant allergies, try to keep windows closed if pollen levels are high, and consider an air filter if allergies are persistent. 

2. Stinging Nettles: Otherwise known as Urtica dioica, this lovely herb has been shown to benefit 50% of patients suffering from hay fever and other allergic symptoms. Nettles are completely safe for women who are trying to conceive, are currently pregnant, and who are nursing. Taking this herb in freeze dried form is best, and the brand I recommend is Planetary Herbals

3. Quercitin: This powerhouse has the ability to stabilize mast cells, which release histamine and other inflammatory signals. It became a popular and widely used remedy for sinus congestion, sneezing, the pollen season, and other issues where the immune system seemed to behave in an excessive direction. Although quercitin is found naturally in our food, a suggested dose has not been established for pregnant and nursing mothers, therefore I avoid using it with my patients who are pregnant or nursing. Otherwise the brand I recommend is Pure Encapsulations.  

3. Homeopathic Remedies: This is my number one go-to for allergies in my patients who are pregnant/nursing or not. The improvement my patients experience with a correctly prescribed homeopathic remedy is remarkable. A 30C potency, to be taken every 30-60 minutes during an acute attack, or twice per day during ongoing allergy season can benefit someone suffering from allergies magnificently. As always, homeopathic remedies are highly individualized and the entire presentation of the patient needs to be taken into consideration. Homeopathic remedies are 100% safe and effective in pregnant and nursing mothers. It is advised that homeopathic prescriptions be made and managed by your naturopathic doctor. 

For more information on how you can treat your allergies naturally, I invite you to send me a message here