For many, the first thing that comes to their mind during spring isn’t pedicures and bare feet, picking fresh strawberries and blueberries, gardening and sunshine… its allergies: puffy eyes, sneezing attacks, runny noses and difficulty breathing.
Well that stinks. But I’ve got your back!
This season I am not letting allergies bring you down, because spring is such an exciting time of renewal and awakening and I want you outside enjoying this spring time every single day, not hiding from it.
So instead, here are 8 things you can do RIGHT NOW to decrease allergy symptoms this spring, naturally:
8 Ways To Holistically Treat Seasonal Allergies:
1. Wash your hands like it’s going out of style.
Every single time you touch a door knob, your car door, your shoes, a hand railing… well, in the spring time, you can be sure you just loaded your hands up with pollen.
Innocently scratch your nose or rub your eyes and you just inoculated yourself with it. Without meaning to, you have just made sure that the rest of your day is going to be spent dealing with your seasonal allergy symptoms. Wash your hand every single time you can, and especially when you come in from being outside, even if it was only to walk from your car to your front door.
And while you are at it, be sure to shower at night to rinse every speck of pollen off of you as well, even if you prefer morning showers. Crawling into bed without showering (even if you change your clothes and have fresh sheets on the bed) means you are in contact with pollen for hours on end, all night long, because there is just no way to get all of the pollen from the outside air and surfaces off of you without washing it off with soap and shampoo.
If you don’t wash your hair nightly, during allergy season you might consider it if allergies are bothering you. Start by putting fresh sheets so your bed so your bed is pollen free and switch to showering at night all spring long.
Combined with frequent hand washing, I promise from this one switch alone you will notice a huge difference. You may even want to consider sleeping with a hepa-filter air purifier running by your bed for additional benefits.
2. Eat local honey.
Consuming local honey is the holistic equivalent of getting allergy shots — micro exposure to local pollen producing flowering plants but without going to the doctor, without the expense, and without sticking metal into your skin. By taking some locally produced honey each day, you are giving yourself a very small exposure to the local flowering plants that grow in your area and give you your seasonal allergies.
It’s the same principle that allergy shots use, but you are letting the honey bees do the work of gathering pollen from around your area and creating delicious honey out of it for you to enjoy. The key is it has to be local honey, so head over to your nearest small grocer or farmers market and stock up.
I’ve got a great way for you to take your honey, if you like hard candy. Just boil a cup of honey over medium heat until it reaches the hard crack stage (375 degrees F, you’ll need a candy thermometer to measure this) and then pour into a cookie tray that has been lightly sprayed with cooking oil. Once the honey hardens, you can flip the sheet over and remove the hard candy, and break it into small bite sized pieces. Suck on a honey candy a day and you’ll not only be in heaven taste-wise, but you’ll be reducing the severity of your seasonal allergies naturally.
3. Burn local beeswax candles.
Every evening at dinnertime, I light beeswax candles and let the natural scent of beeswax fill the air. Not only is this an amazing, calming, lovely evening ritual, but breathing in the beeswax candle scent is another simple way to expose yourself to local seasonal pollen and become more resistant and less allergic to them.
Just like with the honey, the bees have done all the work of finding pollen sources from all around the area in your part of the world and all you have to do is sit back and enjoy the glow!
Burning a locally sourced beeswax candle by your beside (extinguish before going to sleep!) and sleeping all night in that room is a very simple way to desensitize yourself to seasonal allergies.
4. Keep grounding, even if it’s indoors.
Grounding is simply touching the earth, which directly reduces the inflammation in your body, even in your sinuses. Direct contact with the earth can reduce your whole body inflammation, and is an important way to keep your body’s hyper reactivity low.
In a study published in 2009 in The Journal of Alternative and Complimentary Medicine, researchers found that grounded subjects had statistically significant decreases in blood markers of inflammation compared to non-grounded subjects. An overview of how grounding decreases whole body inflammation was published June 2014 in the Journal of Inflammation Research. Even more recently, in a study published January 2019 in Frontiers in Physiology, researchers found that grounding resulted in a 10 — 20% drop in inflammatory cytokines.
But the problem is that during spring, if you have seasonal allergies you tend to stay indoors to get away from all the outdoor triggers like pollen. So that’s when it’s most important to have an indoor way to stay connected to the earth and continue to reap the anti-inflammatory benefits of grounding. Securing an indoor way to stay grounded to the earth is something that will not only help you during allergy season, but all year long whenever it’s too cold or too hot or raining too hard to head outside as well, so it’s something that can benefit your health well past allergy season.
There are lots of options for indoor grounding, including grounding wrist straps to wear, grounding mats to sit or stand on, grounding throw blankets to snuggle on the couch with, grounding bed toppers to sleep on, and much more. Be sure to select all natural grounding tools that are made from eco-friendly materials and hand crafted in an ethical way, that way your grounding tools are healthy for you and healthy for our planet too.
Find a complete selection of indoor, eco-ethically hand crafted grounding products that I have personally developed and tested for you right here.
5. Take anti-inflammatory supplements.
The thing with allergies is that they are worse when your entire body is hyper-stimulated and over worked. When a cup is already full, it only takes a few drops of water to get it to overflow and spill! That’s how it is when your mast cells are already destabilized and on a hair-trigger to release histamine at the tiniest pollen exposure.
You can take holistic, all natural supplements that keep your mast cells more stabile and less reactive. That means less over all histamine release and less allergic symptoms. Additionally, you can take supplements that help decrease whole-body inflammation. My favorite three supplements that decrease allergic response in the respiratory system are:
Here are my top supplements to help decrease histamine hyperactivity, reduce mucosal irritation, and feel your best during allergy season.
- Omega 3 fatty acids, well known to decrease whole body inflammation.
- Quercetin, a natural anti-histamine, this supplement stabilizes your mast cells and keeps your body from being so reactive to environmental triggers
- Bromelain, made from pineapples, reduces allergic sensitization
- Curcumin, which is a powerfully anti-inflammatory and made from the spice turmeric
- Diamine Oxidase, which is an anti-histamine supplement that blocks histamine release in the gut (from food triggers) which can be an important piece of the puzzle in keeping the entire body in a less reactive state. If you have tried some of the other natural anti-hitstamine supplements without success, I highly recommend you add on Diamine Oxidase and see the difference it can make.
You can find all of these ingredients combined into three supplements high quality, super effective supplements, all in my easy Seasonal Allergy Protocol, waiting for you right here:
6. Flush out your nose.
After showering nightly (as discussed above) rinse out your nasal cavity too so that you are truly pollen and particulate free before crawling into bed. It’s important to flush allergens out of your upper airways nightly before bed so you are not continuously exposed to them all night long.
Many many folks swear by flushing their sinuses out with saline using a neti pot, so if you want to give it a try I have included one in my Seasonal Allergies Protocol above. But even just misting your nasal membranes with a saline nasal mist will keep them hydrated and cleansed… just spray saline mist into each nostril and then blow your nose to blow it all out! I’ve also got my favorite saline based nasal spray in the protocol as well.
Woot! Now you are truly clean from allergens and ready to give your body a break for the night.
7. Address the underlying energy of allergies… safety issues.
Allergies are your body’s way of being hyper-vigilant and on alert. Your body feels like it’s doing it’s best for you by reacting to foreign stimulus and trying to get rid of it through sneezing and mucous and watery eyes.
The problem is that your body is reacting to something that isn’t a danger… it is overreacting… being triggered by something that is natural, not a threat to our well being, and not worth reacting to.
So the bottom line for your body is that it is in hyper-vigilant mode… patrolling and on alert when it doesn’t need to be. It is overly concerned for your safety. If you can address your fears and safety concerns appropriately, your body will not need to be in hypersensitive mode and will not feel the need to over-patrol.
Whatever keeps you from feeling safe — in relationships, at work, in your home — address it. Living in fear for prolonged period of time is very stressful and many people who have been under stress or through a trauma start to develop food sensitivities and allergies (including drug allergies and even seasonal allergies) that they never had before.
In fact, the incidence of allergies of all types is increasing world wide. And this is exactly why. Because if we are living in a hyperviligant state — emotionally and physically — our body responds by increasing it’s sensitivity and reactivity. The result is that new allergies begin to pop up, and current allergies worsen.
Whether you have to quit a job, leave an abusive relationship, install a security system at home, or simply get a dog to feel safe… do it.
You can also further your healing work by addressing trauma with a therapist or counsellor, or with me directly in my next Trauma Recovery & Resiliency Online Class, which starts today. It’s not too late to be added to the class, just sign up here right now.
8. Consider your seasonal allergies a blessing.
It’s true, seasonal allergies might be a nuisance but there may be some benefits you don’t know about. Some medical studies suggest that folks with allergic rhinitis are more likely to outlive the rest of us. Presented at the 2014 American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology conference, researcher Dr. Yoon found that people who tested positive for allergies were less likely to suffer cardiovascular events including heart attack, stroke, and over all risk of death.
In fact, allergy sufferers actually had better over all survival odds… by a lot! Allergic patients had a 50% lower mortality rate compared to non-allergic folks. That’s cutting the risk of death in half during the 7 year study period.
Allergic rhinitis patients had a decreased risk of heart attack, a decreased risk of stroke and over all a significantly decreased risk of all-cause mortality. “They were basically half as likely to die during the study period,” says Dr. Crans Yoon, after looking at a database of over 200,000+ allergic rhinitis patients and following those patients for a 7 year period.
People with allergic rhinitis had a:
- 25% decreased rate of heart attack (acute myocardial infarction)
- 19% decreased rate of stroke (cerebrovascular event)
- 49% decreased over all mortality risk
The bottom line?
- If you can view your seasonal allergies as a positive adaptation, you’ll struggle against them less.
- If you struggle against them less, they will have less of a negative impact in your daily life.
There are so many things you can do to lessen how annoying allergies are on a day to day basis: by increased hand washing, nightly showers, flushing your sinuses out with saline nightly, hepa-air filtration in the bedroom, natural supplements that decrease reactivity, consuming local honey, burning beeswax candles, indoor grounding, and truly addressing stress and healing trauma so your body is less hypervigilant.
And ultimately, instead of viewing your immune response to seasonal allergens as a burden, try to feel the power and strength of your immune system as it goes into action on your behalf.
Here’s to a beautiful spring…
Laura Koniver MD