Mounting evidence indicates that probiotics may play a crucial role in both the prevention and treatment of Hay Fever. Of 23 studies examined by researchers from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, 17 of the studies showed that individuals with seasonal allergies who took probiotics had some improvement compared to individuals given a placebo (fake treatment). Improvements included milder symptoms or better quality of life. Because the studies involved various probiotic strains and study groups, an exact correlation is hard to make. However, easing Hay Fever may just be another benefit of adding Probiotics to your daily routine! Overall, evidence is mounting that strong, balanced digestion and a healthy biome are correlated with improvement in seasonal allergies.
Reishi pops up once again! Reishi has been shown to have immune-modulating and immune-potentiating. Basically, it has been shown to help your immune system function optimally. The symptoms of allergies are a result of an over-active immune response to substances that could otherwise be harmless. Overall, the superfood mushroom demonstrates anti-inflammatory and antiallergic action as well. Reishi is a tonic herb that keeps surprising with its many health benefits and applications. To help combat allergies, try herbs that uplift your immune system. Fungi Perfecti has a product called Breathe for Healthy Respiratory Support which features Reishi, Chaga and Cordyceps.
Nettle’s use as a remedy for seasonal allergies has been disputed, but many stand by Nettle’s use for allergies. WebMD reads “Early research suggests that using stinging nettle above ground parts at the first signs of hay fever symptoms may help provide relief.” One in vitro study – a study done in glass and not in normal biological, human context - found that nettle extract demonstrates the ability to inhibit several key inflammatory events that cause the symptoms of seasonal allergies. Nettle seems to show the most promise when used at the first sign of allergy symptoms, maybe even as a preventative during hay fever season.
In the least, Nettle is mineral rich and overall nutritious. Stinging nettle contains vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, iron, sodium, and fatty acids. Mother Earth Living published and article titled A Wealth of Nettle Benefits.
Left: Bulk Nettle by Frontier Co-op, which we carry in our bulk section. Right: Nettle can be bought in capsules.
Local Bee Products
Quercetin… or Red Onion Water!
Quercetin has anti-inflammatory properties and has shown promise in its ability to reduce the amount of histamine the body produces. Quercetin can be found as a supplement or incorporate foods high in Quercetin into the diet such as berries, capers, lovage, red onions and kale. Everydayroots blog has a fun blog post on 5 home remedies for Seasonal Allergies in which they included Red onion water. Red onion contains water soluble quercetin. By creating your own red onion water you can make your own anti-inflammatory and anti-histamine. Go to Everyday Roots’ recipe.
ACV – Body PH
Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) may be the ambrosia, the cure-all for our time. It is a remedy suggested for a litany of health concerns. ACV helps to balance the body’s PH. Alkalization has a cleansing effect and helps to keep the lymph nodes clear. Lymph nodes can become swollen and painful when one gets sick or allergies flare up. The lymphatic system helps to rid the body of toxins, waste and unwanted materials. When the lymphatic system is functioning well it transports lymph, which contains infection-fighting white blood cells, throughout the body.
During an allergic reaction, the immune system is trying to get rid of perceived toxins. By keeping the body PH balanced and the lymphatic system clear of toxins, one can possibly help to ease allergies. ACV is a folk remedy to reduce mucus production, sinus congestion and sore throats. With all the health benefits, it's worth a try!
If you’d like to try ACV to balance PH, look for organic, unfiltered, unprocessed apple cider vinegar like Bragg’s.
Clear the Sinuses: Neti
For relief from symptoms, try clearing the sinuses of whatever is bothering your body. One effective method is the Neti Pot. Neti is passive and utilizes gravity rather than force to wash the sinuses with a saline solution. Neti can be done daily as part of one’s routine. Here’s how to properly use a neti pot.
Get Clean Water: Tap water is not recommended. Distilled or RO water can be used. Boiling water first can also sterilize it.
Make a Saline Solution: You can purchase premade saline solution mixes that have the correct amount or you can use a sea salt. Table salt is not recommended. The salt-water mix should be salty like chicken soup but not too salty.
Get the Temperature Right: After adding salt to boiling water and getting the amount of salt to your liking, let it cool down to body temperature. If it feels just a little warm when you put a finger into it, it is ready to go.
- Put the saline solution into the Neti Pot.
- Put the tip of the pot into one nostril, lean forward, move your chin slightly upwards and tilt your whole head to allow the water to flow through your nose. You can keep your mouth open and still breath through your mouth as the water flows. When done just right, the solution flowing through the nose with be completely painless.
- Let half the water flow through one side, come back to neutral and switch sides.
- Once you are done, you can clear the nostrils by leaning over the sink, plugging one nostril and doing 10 light, rapid out breaths through the nose. Do both sides. Finish with 10 light, clearing breathes with both nostrils open. Do not forcefully blow through the nose as it can cause more irritation.
For those who don’t want to put water through their sinuses, there are some nice nasal spray products out there.
Certain essential oils can be soothing for those suffering with seasonal allergy symptoms. Here are the top seven essential oils for seasonal allergies from Essential Oil Haven. Luckily, many of them are oils commonly found in essential oil collections! Put a few drops into your diffuser or dilute with a carrier oil.
- Tea Tree
- Roman chamomile
Zajac, A., Adams A., Turner, J. Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Probiotics for the Treatment of Allergic Rhinitis. Int Forum Allergy Rhinol. 2015 Jun; 5(6): 524–532.
Rutto L.K., Xu Y., Ramirez E., Brandt M. Mineral properties and dietary value of raw and processed stinging nettle (Urtica dioica L.) Int. J. Food Sci. 2013;2013:857120. doi: 10.1155/2013/857120.
Roschek B Jr, Fink RC, McMichael M, Alberte RS. Nettle extract (Urtica dioica) affects key receptors and enzymes associated with allergic rhinitis. Phytother Res. 2009 Jul;23(7):920-6. doi: 10.1002/ptr.2763.
Bhardwaj N, Katyal P, Sharma AK. Suppression of inflammatory and allergic responses by pharmacologically potent fungus Ganoderma lucidum. Recent Pat Inflamm Allergy Drug Discov. 2014;8(2):104-17.
"Apple Cider Vinegar and Allergies". www.coraltree.co.nz, accessed April 20,2020 from https://www.coraltree.co.nz/acv-health-benefits/