Ah, spring. That glorious season of blossoming flowers, shaded trees and soft green grass. Don't you just love it? Oh, wait, that's right. That's not what you remember this season for. To you this is the season of runny noses, coughs, sneezes and terrible terrible aches and pains. Who needs the hassle of spring? You'll do just the opposite of the bears - you'll stay inside and won't come out til winter. Now that sounds like a plan, doesn't it?
But why miss fun in the sun and all the other great stuff spring has to offer when you can arm yourself with home remedies? Right? Right.
Foods Can Ease Allergy Suffering
If you suffer from mild seasonal allergies, natural remedies may provide some relief. You might be surprised to know that many plant based foods contain naturally occuring chemicals that can ease allergy symptoms. Naturopathic physicians and specially herbalists have known about these effectiveness of these chemicals for many years.
Back in 2002 the BMJ published the results of a remarkable Swedish study which found that the butterbur plant was an effective allergy treatment. The Swedish scientists recommended butterbur as an alternative to ceterizine, an ingredient found in pharmaceutical anti-histamines, which tends to cause drowsiness in some patients.
Butterbur contains high concentrations of alkaloids, a type of basic compound, which decreases histamines and leukotrienes which are susbtances secreted during an allergic reaction. It's important to note that the high concentrations of alkaloids within the butterbur plant are toxic to the human liver, so you should consult your doctor before taking it.
Oranges and other citrus fruits are rich in vitamin C. Vitamin C popularly known for its anti-oxidant and tissue repair properties, is a natural anti-histamine. People who suffer from the flue tend to notice their symptoms gradually subside after drinking a hot cup of lemon water.
This is in part due to the vitamin C inhibiting histamine release. So if you suffer from seasonal allergies, you might want to keep fresh citrus fruits on hand. Freshly squeezed lemon juice or snack of fresh oranges may ease your runny nose and watery eyes.
Green tea is also effective against seasonal allergies. Tea contains quercetin a special class of flavonoid anti-oxidant compounds. Quercetin interferes with the inflammatory response by preventing histamine synthesis and release. As a matter of fact, quercetin is found in a large variety of foods e.g. tomatoes, turnips, rhubarb, etc. Since this compound is effective against seasonal allergies, this is yet another reason to include fruits and vegetables in your daily meals.
Quercetin does have some negative side effects, though. The compound can amplify the effects of anticoagulants thereby increasing risk of bleeding in patients who have been prescribed blood thinners. So if you are on any heart disease medications you should check with your doctor before taking quercetin.
Other Ways You Can Protect Yourself From Allergies
Even though its impossible to completely shield yourself from allergies, there are steps you can take to minimize your risk of becoming sick. For example, to prevent pollen from getting into your home, close your windows on particularly windy days. Stay indoors until winds die down, wind can carry that pollen right up to your nose and make you sick. Pollen also clings to clothes, skin and hair so make sure to clean yourself daily. It would also be a good idea to pay attention to the weather forecast for pollen count updates in your area.
As you can see, there should be absolutely no reason to let seasonal allergies hold you back from enjoying yourself. If you take the right precautions, you can cut down on your chances of becoming sick with allergy. Have fun and be safe this season.
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USDA Database of Flavonoid Content of Selected Foods. http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/Data/Flav/flav.pdf
Schapowal, A. Randomised controlled trial of butterbur and ceterizine for treating seasonal allergic rhinitis. BMJ. Jan 2002. 324:144.
"Don't Let Allergies Ruin Your Spring Time Fun" copyright © 2011 Living Fit, Healthy and Happy(SM). All Rights Reserved.