Allergy Relief Guide
Allergies are one of the most frustrating parts of being human. We’ve suffered from allergies for thousands of years – but still don’t know how to cure them.
How do you get relief from allergies?
Which methods work better than others?
Find out everything you need to know about relieving allergies today in our allergy relief guide.
How to Treat Allergies
There are hundreds of allergy treatment methods. Some of these treatment methods are based on concrete science. They’re developed in state-of-the-art labs using advanced technology.
Other treatment methods are natural herbs which have been passed down through generations. The effectiveness of treatment methods varies from person to person. The treatment method that relieves your cat allergy might not alleviate someone’s hay fever allergy.
Side effects also vary: many over-the-counter allergy medications make people drowsy, while natural supplements might not be powerful enough to overcome severe allergies.
Keep all that in mind as you read through the following cures, treatments, and remedies for allergies.
Natural Allergy Remedies
Butterbur is an herbal supplement which inhibits leukotriene production. Leukotriene is a chemical compound which triggers allergic reactions. By inhibiting its production, butterbur can reduce swelling in your nasal passages. More and more studies are being performed on butterbur every year, with some recent studies indicating that it provides the same power as medications like Zyrtec and Allegra – with none of the side effects.
You can buy butterbur in the form of ZE 339 and Zeller AG. Take 3-4 tablets throughout the day. Petaforce is another popular butterbur supplement. If you’re taking Petaforce, take a dose of 50mg twice per day to alleviate allergy symptoms.
You may recognize the name quercetin. It’s a key compound found in wine, fruits, and vegetables. It works as a natural mast cell stabilizer and blocks the release of histamines. Histamines are triggered by allergies and cause inflammation throughout the body.
WebMD calls quercetin “the herbal equivalent to cromolyn sodium”, which comes in the form of the allergy-fighting over-the-counter-spray called NasalCrom. There’s an entire category of allergy-fighting medications called mast cell stabilizers, and quercetin is thought to provide the same effects as these drugs without relying on synthetic chemicals.
Stinging nettle leaf extract (not root extract) is often recommended as an herbal remedy for allergies. It’s one of those herbs which has been used for thousands of years, passed down through generations.
Despite lots of anecdotal evidence, there is little scientific evidence in support of using stinging nettle to fight allergies. Many current studies have involved stinging nettle root, which is often used to treat prostate problems. This means stinging nettle is an unproven allergy remedy.
Bromelain can help reduce nasal swelling while also thinning mucus. This doesn’t alleviate your allergy symptoms at the source, but it does help you manage your allergies a little better. Some doctors recommend using bromelain in conjunction with prescribed sinus infection medications.
Looking for an allergy relief treatment few people have ever heard of? Tinospora cordifolia is an herbal tablet from India. It can reduce allergy symptoms like sneezing and itching. The compound was largely unstudied until recently. Studies haven’t definitively proven the allergy-fighting benefits of Tinospora cordifolia. However, the herbal tablet has been well-tolerated in all studies performed so far and appears to be safe to use.
Other Natural Supplements with Minimal Scientific Evidence
If you asked ten people around the world to recommend their best natural allergy relief supplements, you might get ten different answers. It seems like everyone has a different opinion on which supplements work and which don’t.
Here are a few of the natural supplements which are often suggested as allergy relievers, but are actually backed by limited scientific evidence: Echinacea, grape seed extract, baical skullcap, cat’s claw, albizzia, vitamin C, EPA, honey, and pine bark extract.
Tips for Using Natural Allergy Relief Medications
Doctors only recommend natural allergy relief supplements to certain people. You shouldn’t use natural supplements if you:
— Have Any Medication Conditions
— Use Another Daily Medication
— Are Pregnant Or Breastfeeding
— Are Under 18 Years Of Age
Another important tip for using natural allergy remedies is to consider allergic reactions. Some people are allergic to the compounds within Echinacea and butterbur, for example, because these herbs are distinct cousins to ragweed.
In that case, the natural allergy remedies could actually make your allergies worse. Start with a small dose to make sure it’s safe to take.
Histamines are compounds in the body which irritate your cells. Many of our allergy symptoms are caused by histamines. Taking an antihistamine will fight back against histamines in your system and relieve allergy symptoms.
Antihistamines can be purchased at any drug store or pharmacy and typically come in the form of pills, liquids, nasal sprays, or eye drops.
You’ve probably heard of some of the most popular antihistamines for allergy relief: they include over-the-counter solutions like Allegra, Claritin, and Benadryl.
If you suffer from more serious allergy symptoms, then your doctor may prescribe stronger antihistamines, including Clarinex and Xyzal.
If you simply want relief from allergy symptoms without targeting the root cause, then decongestants can help.
Many people use decongestants while taking an antihistamine for maximum allergy relief. Decongestants are specially formulated to clear nasal passageways. They come in the form of nasal sprays, eye drops, capsules, or liquids.
Popular over-the-counter decongestants include Sudafed, which is available as both a tablet and liquid, and Neo-Synephrine, which is a nasal spray.
Combination Allergy Drugs
Up above, I mentioned that some people take decongestants and antihistamines at the same time to maximize allergy-fighting efficiency.
The allergy pharmaceutical industry figured this out and now sells “combination” allergy drugs which work as both antihistamines and decongestants.
Popular over-the-counter combination product include Allegra-D, Claritin-D, Zyrtec-D, and Benadryl Allergy and Sinus.
Steroids – specifically, corticosteroids – can reduce inflammation associated with allergies. They’ve been shown to alleviate stuffed nasal passageways for example, and often work more effectively than traditional allergy medications.
Steroids come in the form of pills, liquids, sprays, and eye drops. Popular steroid-based allergy medications include Beconase, Flonase, Nasonex, and Veramyst.
Steroids are only recommended for severe allergy symptoms. They have many potential side effects – especially when taken in large amounts for a long period of time. They can lead to weight gain, fluid retention, and high blood pressure, for example.
When we’re allergic to something, the throat closes up, making it difficult to breathe. Bronchodilators are typically used by asthma sufferers, although some people use them to treat less severe allergies.
Popular bronchodilators include Xopenex, Maxair, and Ventolin. You spray 1 to 4 puffs in your mouth to relax the muscles. This can clear mucus from the lungs and open the breathing passageways.
Mast Cell Stabilizers
There are cells in the body called mast cells, and these mast cells produce and store histamine. Mast cell stabilizers neutralize these cells and prevent them from releasing histamines into the blood.
You can buy mast cell stabilizers as inhalers for asthma suffers, or as eye drops for those with allergic conjunctivitis. Popular drugs include Tilade, Intal, Alocril, and Nasalcrom.
Allergy Shots and Immunotherapy
This method sounds weird, but it works: allergy shots – also known as immunotherapy – offer a permanent way to alleviate allergies. Most of the other treatment methods listed here simply target the symptoms of allergies, but allergy shots target the root causes.
Allergy shots do that by injecting small amounts of the allergen beneath your skin. Your immune system gradually gets used to fighting back against the allergen and builds the antibodies it needs.
The bad news about allergy shots is that patients typically require months of injections. Making matters worse is that the treatment isn’t always successful.
Non-Medication Treatments for Allergies
You don’t necessarily have to use medications to treat your allergy symptoms. Some people have had better success by targeting the root causes of allergies around their house, for example. You can reduce the amount of allergens in your home by vacuuming regularly and replacing air filters. Choose a HEPA air filter, which could trap allergens circling around your home.
Another popular non-medication treatment for allergies is nasal irrigation. You can use a neti pot to cleanse your nasal passages using salt water. Many people find this works just as effectively as medication for clearing up your pathways and relieving allergy symptoms. Allergies often occur when compounds get trapped in your nasal passageways, irritating the cell membranes along the walls. Nasal irrigation floods these toxins out of the body.
Also consider protecting yourself when entering an allergen-rich environment. If you’re having a picnic outside during pollen season, then consider wearing a mask over your mouth and goggles over your eyes. Yes, you might look funny. But if you suffer from serious environmental allergies, this can help. Many allergens enter the body through the eyes, which is why goggles are important.
Finally, acupuncture has long been suggested as a treatment for allergies. Evidence is mixed. One 2008 study from Germany claimed that acupuncture was able to relieve allergy symptoms in 5,000 healthy adults and was more effective than standard allergy treatments.
Which Allergy Relief Method is Best for You?
Allergies vary widely from person to person. For that reason, the treatment that works for you may not work for everybody.
Start by targeting environmental problems in your home: use a HEPA air filter, for example, to see if that clears up your symptoms.
Pharmaceuticals often provide the best and most immediate relief from allergy symptoms – although they can also lead to unwanted side effects like drowsiness. That’s why some people decide to use natural allergy remedies. They may not have the same scientific backing, but they’re often backed by thousands of years of anecdotal evidence.
Whether suffering from mild or severe allergies, you will likely need to try multiple allergy relief treatments before finding one that works best for you.