Sneezing, watery eyes, and sinus pain and pressure. If you’re like so many of us, you have an antagonistic relationship with seasonal allergies and allergy medications like Benadryl that you use to alleviate the annoying and uncomfortable symptoms. That’s why we want to go over some of the best natural alternatives to Benadryl, so you can feel good about treating your seasonal (and yes, winter has seasonal allergies too) allergies.
The relationship of histamines and allergies.
The key to effectively ending your allergy agony is understanding why your body has an allergic response in the first place. It turns out that histamine is the culprit behind your sneezes, runny nose, and itchy eyes(1).
Histamines are a chemical part of your immune system that takes action to get rid of an intruder. Think of them as if they are a parent who does everything possible to make your potential suitor flee the scene. These histamine parents use everything in their arsenal- sneezing, runny nose, sinus headache, and itchy eyes to tell the allergy-causing intruder to get lost.
The downside of artificial antihistamines.
However, while these drugs can make you feel better temporarily, they come with a host of unwanted side effects. Indeed, if you regularly rely on allergy medication for relief you most likely experience symptoms such as:
- Dry & Painful Sinuses
- Fuzzy Thinking
Even worse, these medications are habit-forming and may not continue to work over time. Imagine the distress of being addicted to potent pharmaceuticals that may not be effective for you anymore.
You can avoid the drug trap by choosing to ease your allergy problems through natural methods.
Natural Alternatives to Benadryl
Quiet your histamines with quercentin.
Quercetin is an antihistamine present in foods like onions, garlic, broccoli, apples, berries, and leafy greens (2). These healthy foods are probably already included in your diet, but you might want to increase your intake when you’re suffering from seasonal allergies. You can also try a concentrated supplement.
A little bit of apple cider vinegar keeps the doctor away.
Many people swear by the power of apple cider vinegar to stave off allergy symptoms while also improving your digestive health (3). Be careful not to overdose with a big mug of apple cider vinegar as a little bit is enough to do the job. Try stirring one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar into a glass of water three times a day.
Introduce your nose to a Neti Pot.
The Neti Pot is one type of allergy relief that both doctors and natural medicine practitioners recommend. Many people are devoted to their Neti Pots and their ability to use sterile water to rinse mucus and other kinds of gook from the nose. It takes a little bit of practice to master tipping the water into your nose, but the sinus relief is well worth your effort.
Honey brings some sweet relief.
Do you remember how your grandmother made the most delicious honey sandwiches? She had perhaps unknowingly tapped into the possibility that honey improves immune function and lessens unpleasant seasonal allergy symptoms.
Research suggests that you’ll get the biggest antihistamine punch if you stick to locally sourced honey (4). The theory is that honey produced in your community can attack the allergens that are specific to your area.
Important: Do not give honey to children under the age of twelve months due to the potential risk of botulism poisoning.
Add some heat to your diet.
Have you ever chowed down on a spicy dinner only to find that your sinus headache feels much better? If so, you know how much adding some spice to your diet can aid your health. Try some of these favorites when you need some natural antihistamine help:
- Chili Peppers
- Breathing in Essential Oils
Not only do essential oils smell wonderful, but they also boast strong antihistamine qualities. Experts suggest that you try adding lavender, peppermint, and lemon oils to an essential oil diffuser in your home. Some people also enjoy adding a drop of peppermint oil to their daily cup of hot tea. You can also smear a drop or two of oil on your chest and forehead to further ease your allergy symptoms.
Pump up your probiotics.
There is much truth to the idea that our diet controls our health. Probiotics work by increasing the number of beneficial bacteria in your digestive system, and they play an essential role in the well-being of your immune system. Terrific probiotic sources include kefir, sauerkraut, pickles, tempeh, miso, and plant-based yogurt.
Sip some stinging nettle-leaf tea.
There is something incredibly soothing about holding a hot cup of tea in your hands. You can soothe your allergies by adding stinging nettle leaves to your drink. Stinging nettle contains histamine and is especially helpful in healing hay fever symptoms.
Cut down allergen contact.
Although it’s unrealistic to think that you can altogether avoid the pollens, dust mites, and molds that make you sneeze and sniffle, it’s a good idea to reduce contact as much as possible.
Also, consider the following:
- Practicing your yoga indoors instead of taking a long bike ride on high pollen alert days
- Keep your windows closed on windy days
- Change your clothes after working in your garden.
- Place an air purifier in your bedroom/home. Our favorite brand is Intellipure.
As you can see, a few simple lifestyle changes can make a world of difference in controlling your allergies.
Lastly, you don’t have to live your life at the mercy of allergies just because you want to avoid the use of Benadryl and similar types of allergy drugs. Fortunately, there are a host of natural ways to soothe your allergy symptoms while also being kind to your body.
Original article was written by Third River Health