Sigmund Freud would have a field day with this: I’m all into natural health, but at the same time have pretty hefty pollen allergies. Like many people, they are better now that my immune system is heading into middle age, but they are still a nuisance on lawn care days, especially now that other medicine interactions don’t allow me to take much for them, natural or otherwise.
But over the years I’ve learned there are some non-medicine, non-herb things that can help make allergies more livable, or help to get more milage out of whatever herbs or medications you use. Of course, you have to take your individual situation into account, and avoid any of this that doesn’t fit your individual situation.
Food: Any quercitin and flavanoid rich food can help by reducing inflammation. Garlic, onions, olive oil, grapes, tea, blackberries, and blueberries are tasty, classic examples. Who wouldn’t want plenty of these, especially in the summer? My kitchen comes to a screeching halt without EVOO, garlic and onions any time of year.
Supplements: I’ll leave herbs like stinging nettle, ginko, astragalus and melissa for the herbalists…or at least for another post.
Be a Geek: When I was a kid, allergies were often associated with the nerd stereotype of the glasses wearing intellectual who stayed indoors most of the time (Hey! I resemble that remark). No, I’m not giving you permission to skip the workout…but if the only time you can exercise is morning and evening when pollen counts are highest, you might want to consider a nice, indoor air conditioned alternative if you can find it. Avoiding the thing that gives you an allergic reaction is a legit strategy. When that thing is teeny tiny and all through the air, why not get into an air conditioned place where the air is filtered as much as you can?
Water: Keeping things vacuumed, and washed up can help as much with pollen allergies as it does dust mite allergies. If pollen isn’t sitting there on your mucus membranes, it can’t wreak havoc on them. A 2005 study by Satomura et al (as reported in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine abstract on PubMed) showed that plain water gargles reduced colds in the general population. It would stand to reason that a practice of hand washing and plain water gargles every time you come in from outdoors would help reduce the amount of pollen load much the same as it would help in reducing virus exposure, although,to my knowledge, there hasn’t been any specific studies to that effect (anyone need a dissertation topic?). Ayerveda, Indian traditional medicine has used this same principle for, well, ever. Neti Pots have long been an allergy sufferer’s friend. It uses a mild salt or herb solution poured through the nose with a small pot, like a teapot, sized and designed especially for this use. How to use a Neti Pot is a little outside of this post, but it is easy enough to find information online, from a natural health practitioner, or even some yoga professionals.
It’s that simple. For some people, it may be enough. All of outdoors isn’t the enemy, a little good food and a good rinse can help us get along with all those green things out there.