April showers bring more than May flowers: Every year, three million people suffer from seasonal allergies – and that’s just in the United States. And while it’s impossible to avoid common offenders like ragweed and pollen, we’ve learned a few ways for relieving allergy symptoms – naturally, of course.
Here are our favorite natural methods for allergy relief:
Sip on something ginger. A natural antihistamine, ginger relieves sinus-related problems. Bonus: It also contains anti-inflammatory properties that can provide relief to aches and pains. All oolong teas are also naturally rich in antioxidants and contain vitamins and minerals such as manganese, copper, and Vitamins A, B, C, and K. Try our Ginger Lily Oolong.
Itchy skin? Tea may help. Try applying tea bags to itchy skin for relief. Chamomile is recommended for its anti-inflammatory properties. Tea tree oil, applied topically, is also purported to help sooth dry, itchy skin (avoid it if you’re allergic to ragweed, though).
Use herbs to fight allergies. WebMD reports that green tea, a natural antihistamine, is powerful enough to help congestion. Sip twice daily, preferably before allergy season starts. Herbs butterbur and licorice root may also fight allergies by raising your body’s level of naturally produced steroids, and may even help loosen mucous.
Take the heat up a notch. Spicy foods can help clear nasal passages (and it’s yummy, too!) Go Thai or Indian with flavorful spices like cayenne and fenugreek; garlic and onion can also help do the trick.
Keep a food diary. Allergies flaring up one day and calm the next? Keeping a food diary to discuss with your doctor may help pinpoint causes.
Embrace the Neti pot. If you’ve never tried it, now’s the time: Neti pots, which look like little tea pots (warning: don’t use an actual tea pot) are a great, non-medicinal way to clear your sinuses. Neti pots are available at your local drug store and can be used twice a day for relief.
Do a little spring cleaning. It may not be as fun as cooking with fenugreek or sipping a cooler of Ginger Lily Oolong, but doing regular vacuuming (don’t forget the curtains), taking off your shoes when you come inside, and dust-proofing your home will help you during the height of allergy season.
Try a dollop of local honey. The science may be unproven, but it’s promising. And many people swear by the benefits of crystallized, local honey in helping ward off allergies. It can’t hurt (and it’ll taste awesome in your cup of LiShan Oolong, too).
What’s your best defense against springtime sniffles? Tell us in the comments below!