Think that the coldest winter in years means fewer allergies this year? Think again!
Allergies might not come as early this spring because the cold weather has kept some plants from releasing their pollen. However, when they do come, allergists warn that they will come with a vengeance.
“We’re going to get a bumper crop of pollen,” Dr. Paul Ehrlich, an allergy/allergist/immunology specialist at Mount Sinai Beth Israel, told the New York Daily News.
Since the outlook for allergies seems pretty bleak, now is the time to get prepared. But maybe you’re like me and don’t like taking allergy medicine because it makes you feel … well, strange. Or, maybe you are living off-the-grid and don’t want to bother with going to see a doctor. What should you do? Consider these off-the-grid alternatives to finding allergy relief:
1. Local, Raw Honey
More and more people are eating raw honey not just because it’s a delicious alternative to refined sugar, but because it may help alleviate their allergy symptoms. When bees collect pollen from local flowers, some of that pollen will end up in raw honey. By eating raw honey that comes from local beekeepers, your body may develop immunity to the pollen in your area.
There are only a few studies that have been done showing the benefits of eating honey, so not everyone believes that it can benefit allergies. However, the most important study was done in 2011 and showed that birch pollen honey does help reduce symptoms of allergies.
The results of the study showed:
- 60 percent reduction in allergy symptoms.
- 70 percent fewer days with severe allergy symptoms.
- 50 percent reduction in antihistamine usage.
It is important to note that honey may trigger severe allergic reactions, including anaphylactic shock. So do not ingest honey if you have ever experienced an allergic reaction to it.
2. Stinging Nettle Tea
Stinging nettles are an effective way to relieve hay fever. In a study done by the National College of Naturopathic Medicine in Portland, Oregon, 58 percent of hay-fever sufferers reported it to be effective. And 48 percent of the allergy sufferers said 300mg of the freeze-dried stinging nettle was as effective as other allergy medications. To receive these and other benefits of stinging nettle tea, purchase the tea at a health food store or drugstore and follow the directions.
If you’re in the wilderness and are living off-the-grid, you can easily make your own tea. But as their name suggests, stinging nettles can hurt you! So you will want to wear gloves and a long-sleeved shirt to protect yourself before trying to look for a plant.
Thankfully, if you do get stung, don’t worry. It’s not deadly, or even dangerous. To help with the pain, break open the stem of a stinging nettle plant and squeeze the liquid out. Next, apply the liquid directly on the irritated skin.
To make stinging nettle tea:
- Find a small, young nettle.
- Take the leaves off of the top.
- Put a couple of leaves in a cup and pour boiling water over it.
- Steep the tea for 10-15 minutes. Be careful and make sure that you allow the tea to infuse for at least 10 minutes, or it will still sting—and hurt! Take the leaves out and enjoy with your favorite sweetener.
Stinging nettle tea can be very cleansing, so only have one cup a day until you become accustomed to it. And never have more than three cups a day.
3. Saline Solution
The effectiveness of saline solution has been proven by numerous studies. In one study done by the University of Wisconsin, they followed 52 patients who used a saline solution and a group of 24 patients who didn’t. The patients who used the saline solution daily experienced an improvement in their allergy symptoms, decreased their medication, and saw their overall health improve.
To experience the benefits of saline solutions, you can purchase a rinsing device such as a neti pot, bulb syringe, or an irrigation bottle. Then follow this recipe to create a daily solution: mix ¼ teaspoon of baking soda and ½ teaspoon of non-ionized salt in 8 ounces of warm water. For a child, use half of this recipe.
Here’s how to use a saline solution:
- Put mixture into rinsing device.
- Lean over sink and insert device into right nostril.
- Squeeze the device so that the solution flows through your nostril and exits through the other nostril. Some of the solution may come down your throat.
- Remove the device and blow out the excess mixture into the sink or on a tissue. Do not sniff the mixture in.
- Repeat steps 4 and 5. When the rinsing device is half empty, switch to the left nostril and repeat.
You can use a saline solution up to twice daily. As a precaution from the potentially dangerous organisms in tap water, you should use distilled or boiled water. And you should check with your doctor if you have asthma.
Studies show that quercetin may work as an antihistamine to reduce allergies. One study that was done in a test tube showed that quercetin stopped cells from releasing histamine.
The University of Maryland Medical Center explains this further on their website:
In test tubes, quercetin prevents immune cells from releasing histamines, chemicals that cause allergic reactions. On that basis, researchers think that quercetin may help reduce symptoms of allergies, including runny nose, watery eyes, hives, and swelling of the face and lips. However, there is no evidence yet that it works in humans.
To help reduce allergy symptoms, there are several foods that contain quercetin. Quercetin is a flavonoid found in several fruits and vegetables. And according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, it may also help prevent cancer. Here are some of the foods that contain quercetin:
- Red Onions
- Sweet Potatoes
- Olive Oil
- Dark Cherries
In addition to adding these healthy foods to your diet, you can also take the capsule form of quercetin. It is generally considered to be safe, but women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not take it. And it is not safe for children or those who have kidney disease. If you do take it, don’t take anymore than 1g a day because of the risk of damage to the kidneys.
Whether you’re tired of allergy medication and want to find a healthier alternative, or are living off-the-grid, try these natural remedies. These methods can help to alleviate your allergy struggles and save you money, so stock up now to prepare for the difficult allergy season ahead.