7 Natural Ways to Reduce Allergies

It’s that time of year again!

Just as the weather is getting warm and you’re ready to spend more time outside, itchy, watery eyes, a runny, stuffy nose, and sinus congestion have you cursing Mother Nature and heading back inside. Good ol’ allergy season.

I’m no stranger to allergies. I developed them around age 15 and went through the gamut of allergy medications — first Claritin, then Allegra, then Zyrtec and nasal sprays. Somehow, my allergies pretty much disappeared three years ago, and now I really only suffer from some red eyes in the spring.

I can’t pinpoint exactly what cured my allergies, but I’m positive a healthier diet and supplements helped. I also used a neti pot daily (see No. 7).

A couple of you wrote in asking about treatments for allergies, so here are seven natural ways to help get you through this spring.

  1. Vitamin D

Is there anything this crucial hormone isn’t good for? (Yes, it’s actually a hormone!) Vitamin D plays a key role in the immune system, and research has linked low D levels to allergies and asthma.

Now that it’s getting warmer out, be sure to get outside and expose your arms for 15-20 minutes every other day or so. If you can’t get outside much, or live in the north, you will probably need to take a high quality vitamin D supplement to get optimal levels.

  1. Butterbur

Butterbur has been shown in multiple human studies to be effective for reducing allergy symptoms. One study of 125 allergy sufferers found that in as little as two weeks, butterbur was just as effective as Zyrtec, but didn’t cause drowsiness like the drug did.[1] Butterbur also shows promise to help prevent migraines.

  1. Local Honey

Local honey is thought to act as a “natural vaccine” against allergies. By eating honey that was produced by bees in your area, you ingest trace amounts of pollen. The amount of pollen isn’t enough to invoke an allergic response in most people, but helps prime the immune system to not overreact to the pollen in the environment.

The one study I could find that examined whether local honey helped treat allergy symptoms found that it had no effect. However, many people swear by the effectiveness of honey for allergies.

Whether it’s placebo effect, coincidence, or it really does work, it might be worth a shot. Just don’t go crazy — honey is sugar, after all. One tablespoon a day is all you need.

  1. Vitamin C and Quercetin

Though convincing human research is lacking, these nutrients have been shown in test-tube research to stop the production and release of histamine.

Bell peppers, kale, broccoli, and strawberries actually all rival oranges for their vitamin C content.

Quercetin is found in high amounts in apples (with skin), cocoa powder, peppers, cranberries and onions. Add these fruits and vegetables to your springtime diet and see if it helps.

  1. Aller-7

This patented blend of seven herbal extracts was shown to be effective against allergies in a rather large two-part study.

In one part of the study, 171 people we given Aller-7 or a placebo for 12 weeks. In the other part of the study, an additional 374 people were given Aller-7 (there was no placebo in this part of the study). Sneezing, runny nose, and congestion were significantly reduced by Aller-7, and no serious adverse events were reported.[2]

Aller-7 is available in several different products, which you can find here.

  1. Beta Glucan

Beta glucan, a type of polysaccharide (carbohydrate) from brewer’s yeast, has been shown in at least two human studies to reduce ragweed allergy symptoms.

The branded ingredient used in the studies is called Wellmune, and it was shown to reduce the severity of allergy symptoms up to 52% compared with a placebo. It also helped improve the quality of sleep and overall well-being of the study participants.

Wellmune seems to benefit the immune system in other ways as well. In a couple of human studies, it’s been shown to help reduce the duration and severity of colds, flu, and upper respiratory infections.[3]

Full disclosure: Wellmune is not a cheap supplement. But if you have severe allergy symptoms and a or a weak immune system, it might be worth it. You can but it online here.

You can also get beta glucan from eating mushrooms, which makes sense considering there is a boatload of research emerging that shows mushrooms have powerful immune boosting properties.

  1. Neti Pot

Using a neti pot (nasal irrigation) is not for the faint of heart. By gently pouring warm salt water through your nasal passages, you wash out pollen and bacteria that contribute to your allergy symptoms.

I love my neti pot, it’s really effective for clearing a stuffed nose, and I do believe it helped cure my allergies. You MUST use distilled water, though. There have been a few reports of people contracting a deadly brain parasite after using tap water in their neti pot. Neti pots can be found at your local pharmacy.

Have you tried any these remedies and had success? Do you have another recommendation for your fellow Living Well Daily readers?

Let me know! livingwelldaily@lfb.org.

To living well,

Jasmine LeMaster

[1] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC64514/

[2] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15689054

[3] http://www.wellmune.com/research/clinical-research/

Jasmine Lemaster

Written By Jasmine Lemaster

Jasmine LeMaster is head of quality assurance for Laissez Faire’s Living Well brand and is an integral part of their product research and development team. To hear more from Jasmine, sign up to receive Living Well Daily for free, here.

View More Free Articles

Stamped envelopes.

Mailbag! 10 Tips to Conquer Spinal Arthritis

I have arthritis in my spine. What would you suggest to help manage it? –George from Cedar Rapids, IA George, Believe it or not, many people learn that they have spinal arthritis as they age. It’s very common. There’s a lot you can do to help keep it from advancing or even reverse some of...

Read This

Calm Anxiety WITHOUT Drugs (Easy!)

Dear Living Well Daily Reader, There is a plague of anxiety sweeping the nation. And who could blame us? Anyone with half a brain SHOULD feel anxious about the state of the world. But like any other epidemic, just because something is going around doesn’t mean you should accept it. More importantly, having anxiety does...

Read This

“Food Reboot” HALTS Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms

Dear Living Well Daily Reader, If you or someone you love suffers from multiple sclerosis (MS), you already know how the disease can turn your life upside down. The stiffness and mobility problems slowly strip away your independence… and leave you in pain. Talk to your mainstream doc and he’ll just shrug their shoulders –...

Read This

[Men] Do You Have the Breast Cancer Gene?

Dear Living Well Daily Reader, If you’re a woman, chances are you have heard about the BRCA gene (BReast CAncer gene). Scientists have known for a long time that a mutation in one of two breast cancer genes, BRCA1 or BRCA2, increases the risk of getting breast cancer. But, men, listen up – just because...

Read This

Greek Plant Extract SOOTHES Joint Pain

Dear Living Well Daily Reader, Some people might shrug when you tell them you have knee pain… but that’s only if they haven’t experienced firsthand. Chronic pain from osteoarthritis is no joke— it can destroy your life. Joint pain makes moving incredibly difficult and can keep you from doing the things you love. Before you know it,...

Read This

Deadly Disease 8 TIMES More Likely for Crohn’s Patients

Dear Living Well Daily Reader, Inflammation is supposed to be a normal response for your body. It’s one of the key defenses protecting you. Inflammation can sometimes be our friend… when it helps fight off infections and clears away debris, that is. The problems start when inflammation blazes out of control or lasts longer than...

Read This

Stamped envelopes.

Mailbag! 5 Ways to Soothe Your Psoriasis

I have psoriasis, and I was wondering what supplements or natural treatments there are out there. –Bill from Riverside, CA Bill, As you probably know, psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune disease where the body attacks the skin as if it were a foreign invader. Psoriasis affects about two percent of the U.S. population. Normal, healthy...

Read This

Coffee Compound LOWERS Cholesterol

Dear Living Well Daily Reader, I’m on a personal mission to rescue coffee from the hands of the nutritional puritans who think that anything fun is not good for you. Despite what the mainstream would have you believe, the news on coffee has improved in recent years. Researchers have pinpointed many powerful plant nutrients, like...

Read This

“Citric Element” Whips Your Brain into Shape!

Dear Living Well Daily Reader, Some suggest pretty complicated ways to keep your brain healthy as you age. Going back to college… doing complicated puzzles… taking what feels like 30 bottles of pills a day… It can make you feel like giving up before you’ve even started! But what if there was something MUCH easier...

Read This

100-Year-Old Trick STOPS Arthritis Pain

Dear Living Well Daily Reader, If you’re tired constantly refilling pain prescriptions, you’re not alone. And if you’re even MORE tired of the side effects that come with them, who could blame you? For far too long, Big Pharma has held arthritis patients hostage… promising relief while they rob you blind. It’s time for something...

Read This