Are you still experiencing runny nose, watery eyes, sneezing, coughing, itching, and dark under eye circles? Even though fall is officially here, these classic allergy symptoms can be full force.
It is estimated that more than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies. While we often think of spring as allergy season, the reality is allergies can be bothersome year round. In fact, 75% of spring allergy sufferers also experience fall allergies.
If you stroll through your local pharmacy, you are likely to see a plethora of drugs for sale to help with your allergies. Many of these products, while effective, have undesirable side effects such as drowsiness and dry mouth. If you want to avoid side effects or you prefer a more natural approach, you are in luck! It’s still possible to relieve your symptoms naturally with the following three scientifically proven options:
1.) Butterbur (Petasites hybridus)
Butterbur is a plant found in Europe, Asia, and North America. Butterbur works similarly to allergy medicines — by blocking the action of inflammatory mediators called leukotrienes. In fact, a placebo-controlled study of over 300 people compared butterbur to fexofenadine (an allergy drug sold under the brand name Allegra) for allergic rhinitis, a common symptom of allergy sufferers. The results of this study showed butterbur to be as effective as fexofenadine and superior to placebo.
Side effects of butterbur include nausea, burping, fatigue, and headache. Users of butterbur should be cautious of unpurified butterbur preparations. These products may include liver-toxic contaminants called pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PPA). If you use butterbur, be sure to only use products that are free of PPA.
Probiotics are bacteria that are purposefully introduced into the body for health benefits. There are various different bacterial strains available in probiotic products. One such strain, Lactobacillus paracasei, can improve allergy symptoms, in particular red and itchy eyes. Lactobacillus paracasei has been studied alone, in combination with conventional allergy medicine, and in adults and children. Other benefits of probiotics include decreased symptoms of eczema, diarrhea, and irritable bowel syndrome. Probiotics are generally recognized as safe. However, if you are immunosuppressed, you should avoid using probiotics due to increased risk of infection.
3.) Nasal irrigation
While not the sexiest treatment, nasal irrigation is effective at preventing and soothing allergies. Clinical studies show nasal irrigation relieves symptoms and may reduce the need for antihistamines in allergy sufferers. In particular, nasal irrigation reduces running and irritated noses.
Side effects of nasal irrigation include pain, burning, and irritation of the nose. Traditionally, this treatment involved mixing warm distilled/filtered and previously boiled water with a salt powder in a pot or plastic bottle before performing irrigation. Improper cleaning of irrigation containers can lead to infection. However newer products supply the irrigation solution premixed and ready to use.
If you or a loved one suffer from allergies, consider one of these natural options. Your eyes and nasal passages will thank you! Please note, if you are pregnant or breast feeding, be sure to check with your healthcare provider before starting anything new.
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