It’s spring and things are blooming! In Charlotte this week, we had record high levels of tree pollen. The cars left outside were dusted yellow with the stuff and even people who don’t normally suffer much with allergies were sneezing, blowing their nose and wondering if they’d ever feel normal.
Seasonal allergies are usually an allergy to pollen that is a result of an exposure during childhood that overwhelmed the immune system. Pollen contains proteins that, in small doses, the body doesn’t pay much attention. At some point, however, a massive dose caused alarm bells in the immune system to generate antibodies and trigger an immune response. It only takes that happening once for you to have an immune response to the same protein for life–hence the runny nose, sneezing, itchy throat, etc. when pollen counts start to climb.
Raw local honey
Honey made in your area by local bees is naturally made from the pollen that will no doubt wreak havoc on your immune system. If you eat about a tablespoon of the raw, unprocessed local honey made using the pollen in your area, you will ultimately build up a resistance to that pollen while boosting your overall immune system function with the therapeutic qualities of honey.
This has even been confirmed by one rather interesting scientific study. A 2011 study published in the International Archives of Allergy and Immunology Journal found that those taking a dose of raw local honey containing birch tree pollen “reported a 60 percent lower total symptom score, twice as many asymptomatic days, and 70 percent fewer days with severe symptoms.”
It works, and it’s also delicious.
Apple Cider Vinegar
This old remedy is a great symptom reliever. It is long known to reduce mucous and drain the lymph system. Simply put about a tablespoon of organic ACV into a glass of lukewarm water and drink it three times a day and you’ll notice you don’t feel the effects of your seasonal allergies nearly as powerfully.
Oh you never heard of this? It’s a pigment that gives plants their color, but it’s also a very powerful antioxidant. As far as allergies go, it’s a very useful compound for regulating histamine, which are released in droves during an allergic reaction. Quercetin slows down the production of histamine, which calms the allergic reaction. It’s so powerful that it has even been found to be effective in calming the effects of a peanut allergy–and no doubt you’ve heard how powerful those reactions can be.
A study published in a 2010 issue of The Iranian Journal of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology found that it quelled peanut allergy reactions in rats, which is quite promising for humans as well.
Similar to quercetin, stinging nettle regulates histamine production, effectively calming down that allergic response. It can be consumed in a tea or tincture, and some doctors have been recommending a freeze-dried version before allergy season to get ahead of the allergic reaction.
A recent meta-analysis of more than 20 studies has concluded that taking probiotics and having a healthy microbiome lessens the effects of seasonal allergies. The logic is that considering allergies are an immune response and 80% of the cells responsible for immunity are in the gut with the microbiome, a healthy gut bacteria is going to help with allergies.
A probiotic supplement can certainly help, but these generally only contain a few of the thousands of strains of bacteria that compose a healthy microbiome. It’s recommended to eat fermented food, including kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha, etc.
While many of us just grit our teeth and get through allergy season, it’s not something you really need to do. Use one or all of these simple, easy and affordable options to at least improve your quality of life.