If you find yourself stocking up on an excessive amount of facial tissue and antihistamines during certain times of the year, you may be a sufferer of seasonal allergies. Seasonal allergy triggers vary, but telltale symptoms typically may include sneezing, coughing, runny nose and itching. There are a number of ways to ease your symptoms using natural remedies and supplements, from flushing your nasal passages with saline to adding a mushroom powder to your diet. Learn how to relieve allergies naturally and get back to feeling like your best self no matter what time of year it is.
Saline Nasal Irrigation
If allergy season triggers nasal obstruction, endless sneezing and an itchy nose, irrigating your nasal passages might help. Nasal irrigation with a saline solution (a mixture of salt and water), is a process of washing out your nasal passages with the help of a spray, pump or neti pot. Squirt saline into one nostril and allow it to drain out of the other. Studies indicate that saline irrigation may reduce the severity of allergic rhinitis (inflammation and swelling of the mucous membrane of the nose) in adults and children, with no reported adverse effects.
Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine practice in which thin needles are inserted at specific points in the body — “acupuncture points” — to eliminate pain and ease other discomfort, including allergy symptoms. In a 2015 review of 13 studies across 2,365 patients, researchers found that because acupuncture may modulate the immune system, it has led to improved quality of life for sufferers of both seasonal and perennial allergic rhinitis.
Mushroom Powder Supplements
Another natural way to curb allergy symptoms is to use a functional mushroom supplement, especially those that include organic whole-food reishi and maitake mushrooms. Reishi mushrooms have purported anti-allergic properties and may support the reduction of inflammation as well as support a healthy immune system. Maitake mushrooms, which have a beautiful bird-like appearance, are similar to reishi in their ability to support the immune system and potentially help reduce sensitivity to allergens. Maitake mushrooms help to provide natural balance and a healthy stress response in the body — much needed qualities for a person suffering from seasonal allergies.
High-efficiency particulate air filters are designed to filter out dust, mold, chemicals and other allergens. HEPA purifiers can help relieve allergy symptoms if you change filters as often as the manufacturer suggests, usually every six months to two years. A 2018 study found that when a HEPA purifier was placed in a bedroom, symptoms of allergic rhinitis improved due to the reduction of the concentration of particulate matter and house dust mites in the air.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Lauded for its ability to boost the immune system, thin mucus and reduce inflammation, apple cider vinegar may lessen allergy symptoms. A 2017 study found that when apple cider vinegar and probiotics were added to the diets of test subjects, more protective enzymes and antibodies were identified in their mucus. That may contribute to effective allergy relief.
Probiotics don’t always have to be taken with apple cider vinegar to ease allergy symptoms. In a study of 173 healthy adults who said they suffered seasonal allergies, researchers found that those who took probiotics as opposed to placebo reported improvements in quality of life, including fewer allergy-related nose symptoms.
Erica Garza is an author and essayist from Los Angeles. Her writing has appeared in TIME, Health, Glamour, Good Housekeeping, Women's Health, and VICE.