7 Natural Remedies for Allergy Relief

7 Natural Remedies for Allergy Relief 7 Natural Remedies for Allergy Relief

As prime allergy season approaches (at least in our area) I thought I’d share some natural remedies that I’ve seen be very effective for seasonal and other allergies.

Thankfully, we don’t suffer from many allergies anymore after our time on the GAPS diet, which greatly helped relieve many of our allergies. I still occasionally get hit with an allergy attack from dust after cleaning though (a reason not to clean? I think yes!) and my hubby occasionally reacts to grass.

These simple natural remedies can be very effective for allergy relief. Different people seem to benefit from different remedies, so it might be worth trying more than one of these to see which works best.

1. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is an age old remedy that is often suggested for a variety of health conditions. I’ve personally used it for allergy relief (and heartburn relief) with great success. The theory is that its ability to reduce mucous production and cleanse the lymphatic system makes it useful for allergies. It is also said to help digestion, weight loss and more so it is worth a try!

What I did: I mixed a teaspoon of organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar with “The Mother” (that part is important) into a glass of water and drank this three times a day. This helped me with relief of acute allergy symptoms and seemed to help prevent allergy attacks as well.

2. Neti Pot and Saline Rinse

I haven’t personally tried the Neti pot because I’m a big scardey cat about pouring things in my nose, but I have friends who swear by it, and I’ve used saline nasal spray before. (If you use one, I’d love to hear your experience in the comments!) The basic theory is that you use a Neti Pot filled with a sterile saline solution to flush out the sinuses of allergens and irritations.

Surprisingly, I’ve heard this recommended by conventional and alternative doctors, and it seems that it doesn’t really have a downside.

To use: Either use a pre-made saline rinse or make your own by dissolving 1 teaspoon of himalayan or sea salt in a quart of boiled distilled water. Cool completely and put in the Neti Pot. Pour through one nostril and let it drain out the other.

3. Quercetin

Quercetin is a natural bioflavonoid that is said to help stabilize mast cells to keep them from releasing histamine. It is also a potent antioxidant that is said to help reduce inflammation. It is best used as a long term remedy and many people start taking it about 4-6 weeks before allergy season to help prevent allergy symptoms.

As with any herb, you should check with your doctor before using, especially if you have a liver problem, are pregnant,  or are on hormonal contraceptives.

To Use: Though Quercetin is naturally found in foods like citrus and broccoli, it is very difficult to get the amount needed to relive allergies from food alone. A supplemental dose can be helpful for preventing allergies or helping acute symptoms. Not recommended during pregnancy or nursing though some practitioners feel it is safe after the first trimester.

4. Nettle Leaf

Nettle leaf is another natural antihistamine that can be very effective as it naturally blocks the body’s ability to produce histamine. It grows in many places and can be made in to a tincture or tea, but for allergy relief, capsules made from dried nettle leaves are the easiest and most effective option.

Nettle leaf can also be used in combination with other herbs to make a soothing herbal tea for allergy relief. It is often mixed with peppermint leaf and sometimes red raspberry leaf to make a refreshing allergy relief tea.

To Use: Either make a tea (recipe at the bottom of  this post) or use capsules for acute relief of allergy symptoms.

5.Probiotics

Allergies are the result of an imbalance in the immune system that causes the body to react too strongly to a stimuli. New research links the presence of beneficial bacteria in the gut with reduced incidence of allergies. Evidence is even emerging that a mother’s gut bacteria during pregnancy and nursing can impact a child’s likelihood of getting allergies throughout life.

While we can’t do much about our mothers’ diets while they were pregnant, balancing gut bacteria now and consuming enough beneficial bacteria can have a positive effect on allergies now. Fermented foods and drinks like Kombucha or Kefir can hep boost gut bacteria, as can a high quality probiotic capsule.

6. Local Honey

There isn’t much scientific evidence to back this one, but there seems to be a lot of anecdotal evidence from people who have tried it. (Even Mark Sisson weighed in on the subject here). The theory is that consuming local honey from where you live will help your body adapt to the allergens in the environment there. This is supposed to work like a natural allergy “shot” and doesn’t seem to have a downside.

To Use: Consume a teaspoon or more of raw, unprocessed local honey from as close to where you actually live as possible. Do this one or more times a day to help relieve symptoms. It is often suggested to start this a month or so before allergy season.

7. Diet Changes

If all else fails, sometimes dietary changes can be the answer to allergy problems. In our own experience, the GAPS diet helped relieve many of the allergy symptoms we experienced, including some rather severe food allergies in one of our children.

After our experience, I’d definitely encourage this as an option, especially for severe allergies or those in need of gut healing/rebalancing.

 

Do you have allergies? What has helped you? Share below!

Reader Comments

  1. Melissa Harvey says

    I am a fan of the neti pot! The key is to use as a preventative tool for allergy relief, as you e recommended. Once you have major congestion/sinus infection, it is too late. Using the neti pot at this point could push the infection further into sinuses and to ears.
    The first few times I used it, the sensation of pouring water through my nose was weird, to say the least. After just a few tries, it becomes almost normal to do!

    • Priscilla says

      I would fight for my nettie pot. I use the teapot type. I fill the pot with warm water, about one cup, and add 1/8 teaspoon of PLAIN table salt. Works great, especially if I have been outside for a while.

    • Cari says

      I am also a fan of the Neti Pot. I was diagnosed with Chronic Rhitinis after coming up negative from allergy testing and suffering from constant sneezing and runny nose for 8 months straight! It was miserable. I tried all kinds of meds and nose sprays. You name it Ive tried but nothing cleared up my systems like the neti pot.

      When I first bought it I did it once everyday for the first three days. And now I only use it as needed. But dont waste your money on the meds try the Neti pot. It is a little nerve racking at first but after a couple of tries it is comfortable.

  2. Tamikko Braun says

    I love my neti pot and have used it many times for allergies and when I’ve had infections. Although making a quart of the solution is way too much. I used to have a recipe for 2 cups and only used about half so 1 cup is really all you need to make. Here’s a link to a recipe I found in our local magazine that I love. http://www.alive.com/articles/view/22886/sinus_flushing
    I completely understand if you want to erase my comment because of the link. You just really don’t need to make that much. Love all the suggestions, especially probiotics. I really need to add those to my everyday for so many good health reasons.

  3. Emily Ickes says

    The whole idea of the neti pot kinda freaked me out for quite a while until I had a terrible cold this past Christmas and I was willing to try anything to be able to breathe through my nose again. I boiled some water and let it cool, giving myself pep talks the whole time about how I could be a big girl and handle this. I was surprised at how bizarre it felt going through my skull, and at how quickly and effectively it opened up my breathing passages. The feeling that my brain had been replaced with wet cotton had disappeared and I no longer needed to breathe through my mouth. The effects only lasted a few hours, but it was enough to give me some relief and afer repeating it again before bed (with cold water, what a strange feeling!), I was actually able to sleep comfortably for the first time in two days. Ever since, I’ve been recommending it to my pregnant and breastfeeding friends as well as my friends who are trying to avoid OTC meds for minor complaints.

  4. says

    My parents opened a salt room recently and it has done wonders for my allergies! Between regular salt therapy sessions (also known as halotherapy) and a grain free diet, I am no longer experiencing seasonal allergies. It also helps with other respiratory issues like asthma and COPD, and is also good for people with skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis.

  5. says

    I use the neti rinse the squeeze bottle not the pot. It took time to get used too. I now use a Himalayan salt inhaler in the morning while doing homework. I think it is helping. I’ve suffered with allergies all my life. all natural diet now doing paleo has helped the most.

  6. says

    i have also heard of raw milk as being great for allergies! several friends of mine say it completely eliminated their family’s allergies! wish we could find some locally here in south GA

    • Laurie says

      A good friend of mine has said the same thing about raw milk. You have to go to the local farmer, before it is shipped off to be pasteurized. I hope you can find some!

  7. Laurie says

    I thought I would comment on the Neti Pot usage. I have used one for a few years. I even keep a small bottle of the solution mixed and ready to use at anytime when my nose is very dry. This really help during the winter months. There are a couple of versions of the pot, too. One is shaped like a mini teapot and the other like a nasal bottle. Because the solution is saline, it doesn’t hurt when in the nasal passage. I would recommend it anyone.

  8. says

    I like to use apple cider vinegar for a range of issues like dandruff, stomach issues, and allergies. I make a cold funky cider from apple cider vinegar, raw honey, cinnamon, coconut water, and ice.

  9. amanda lee says

    Use of a neti pot, while it may take a few tries to get used to, is very effective and actually feels good once you get used to it. I’ve been using it for years at the first hint of a cold/flu and coupled with the right herbs and dietary add-ons I rarely get full-blown sick.
    In researching quercetin, however, I’ve found numerous research studies that show that in supplement form it has very low bioavailability in humans, and may even stimulate insuin release. Has anyone found anything to the contrary? I highly believe in appropriately researching before purchasing and ingesting supplements. Love your site, Wellness Mama!

  10. says

    The neti pot works really well however one caveat. If you have had any kind of major ear surgery or are prone to fluid buildup in your ears, you shouldn’t use it. Stick to the spray instead. Both conditions apply to me so my ENT will no longer let me use one since it could cause a major infection in my case.

    • Nina says

      Has been a life long plague for me as well. I used the neti pot successfully several years ago, but had one usage turn into a nightmare and now I’m wayyyy too scared to try again.

  11. says

    I am the biggest wimp in the world, so if I could do a neti pot, you can too! It’s terrifying at first, but once you do it you will be suprised how unscary it is! You should try it.

  12. Nancy says

    I suffer terribly with allergies. I first heard about the Neti-pot in the fall, but being a devotee of natural products couldn’t believe I hadn’t heard of it before. Our family came to visit right after the beginning of allergy season and all were sick. Soon my face was puffy my sinuses full and we were off to Disney. We stopped in the grocery store and I quick wanted to get some saline spray and spied the neti-pot. I took it back to go the hotel and read the directions and tried it. I was not hopeful. Shortly after the first sinus wash I felt a little relief. Sometime in the night I heard a tiny “pop” and my sinuses were clear!!! I continued the wash according to directions and I felt better than I had in a long time. What a terrific product. Mind you I HATE anything near my nose. I would suggest fully reading the instructions. ALWAYS use the solution (for some reason plain water BURNS). Go slow and don’t tip your head too far to keep the solution down your throat.

  13. Lori says

    I used a neti pot daily for about three years. I still use it occasionally. I went from getting two or three sinus infections a year to zero. You can use plain saline solution, or you can use a mixture of baking soda and salt. I have a very sensitive nose, and used 1/4 tsp baking soda and 1/4 tsp salt to 8 oz of water. The only time it ever felt “weird”, was when i got the mixture off or used cold water. Its seriously worth a try!

  14. Dana McNaught says

    The neti pot definitely takes some getting used to, but it really works! My eyes would tear up when I first started using it because the sensation was just so odd, but now it’s a quick and easy process! :-)

  15. Melissa Waldrop says

    I like the results of using a NetiPot, I don’t really like the sensation. It’s not like I’m drowning, but it’s just not really pleasant. But, afterwards, my sinuses feel clearer and it’s somewhat refreshing. A couple things to note, you want to use warm, distilled water (too cold or too hot and it becomes quite unpleasant!). Think about how warm your sinuses are…that’s about the temp you want the water. And the second thing is to make sure all your salt is dissolved (if you’re using salty water). One time mine was not and I didn’t realize it. A few hours later, that undissolved salt started coming out of my nose. LOL It was, um, very interesting. haha

    Katie: I think you should try it. I think you’d like that way you feel afterwards.

  16. says

    I can attest to several of your remedies. I have been using vinegar “with the mother” for my acid reflux for several months now and it works great. To boot, vinegar has so many other health benefits. I tell everyone I meet that has acid reflux about trying vinegar “with the mother”. I personally use Braggs vinegar. I mix a tablespoon in with my ruby red grapefruit juice in the morning.
    As for the neti pot, I got started on that a couple years back and love the way it cleans out my sinuses. I used to be a baby, too about putting anything liquid in my nose. When I finally tried it, I thought, “Wow, this isn’t so bad!” My 12 year old son wanted to try it out when he was watching me do it one day. I hesitated at first, but he suffers from allergies, and I thought, why not? He used it with no problems and even thought it was neat!
    Lastly, I buy local honey for myself and my son, as we both have allergies. It definitely does work! I will never buy honey from the store again.
    Just some final advice for anyone out there that suffers from allergies or sinus issues, consider having your ductwork cleaned. I recently had it done, and, Oh my gosh!!! My son and I can breathe now! It made such a big difference. I bought a really good air cleaner, too. Between everything I have done, I have finally been able to breathe again! I used to have so many sinus issues, it was practically all I ever thought about. It’s miserable when you always feel like you’re breathing through a wet towel. Not anymore! Yay!
    By the way Wellness Mama, my family and I love your chia snack recipe! I feed my family chia seeds all the time. We have a chia drink every day. Chia seeds are the best! I am looking forward to trying out more of your recipes and your lotion bars. I do the oil cleansing for dry skin, like you suggested,and I love it!

  17. says

    Any natural remedies for itchy,watery eyes. This is what my daughter is dealing with and she needs relief. A medication I gave her I just found out has parabens in it and others are full of artificial colorings and HFCS. Please Help.

      • Nina says

        I have to tell you because I enjoy your blog so much that ending every response to a comment with “…” sends a message you probably don’t want to send. You send out good information into the world, your responses do as well. Ellipses are hardly anyone’s friend.

  18. dana says

    Local honey is what i use and it works great! My dad has been doing this for years. We put about a teaspoon in our coffee in the mornings and it doubles as a natural sweetener and an allergy remedy.

  19. Kristine says

    I am not sure what exactly to do at this point, I guess I will keep looking. I am 4.5 months pregnant with allergies that have come back with a vengeance this year. Almost every year I get allergies that turn into a sinus infection or cold, which then turns into an ear infection that I have to take antibiotics for. I am desperately trying to avoid having these problems and not take antibiotics this year for the sake of my unborn baby. This is very important to me, but I have not idea what natural thing I could try taking. And my midwife is not that the most natural person in terms of supplements to know.

  20. Jessica says

    What about for toddlers? my daughter is almost three and her pediatrician prescribed her Nasonex, a nasal spray, to use daily and also to use Benadryl or Claritin daily. I am hoping for some more natural sugguestions.

  21. Jessica Reese says

    Netti Pots are great! NEVER blow your nose after doing it though, That is how you end up with water in your ear canal…you will very much want to blow your nose but gently let it fall out naturally. It might continue to come out of your sinuses throughout the day when you bend over, happens to me a lot. It makes for a good laugh when someone sees it happen!

  22. paizley says

    I had a respite from allergies for about 5 weeks this summer. Yup, no sneezing, no runny nose, no post nasal drip. It was wonderful. But now the allergens I’m sensitive to are full force and nothing natural works for me. I keep trying though. The neti pot does help clean my nose but it doesn’t help with allergic reactions. I’ve been tested more than once and I have extreme sensitivities to certain pollens. Short of receiving shots to desensitize me over time, I use diphenhydramine (Benadryl) judiciously. That’s the only one that works for me and doesn’t put me to sleep. The newer ones are ineffective. I wish I could go all natural but the other night at a restaurant, I sneezed 6 times in a row. I had not taken anything for my allergies before going out. So after the sneezing fit, my nose ran and ran. I was congested and miserable. Ooh, just had a sneezing episode as I’m typing. Even have them when I’m sleeping. Duh…wakes me up leaving me with frontal congestion and runny nose which I have to get up to take care of. Annoying. I could use inhaled steroids but I won’t. I had to have a hip replaced due to avascular necrosis caused by steroids. Because of my nasal allergies, I have damage to my sinuses. Considering surgery. I have researched and feel this may help since I’ve developed permanent blockages. Severe allergic rhinitis can be more than an annoyance. I’ve had allergies for over 30 years. So, all you good people that find relief with natural remedies, I salute you! Wish I was part of your group!

  23. Sneeze Queen says

    Quercetin definitely helps for me. I have heard abt the goodness of Neti Pot, but just can’t bring myself to try it, lol! And if you are allergic to dust mite, pls do yourself a favour by getting good anti dust mite bedding covers. They are a life -saver for good night’s sleep

    • Carol says

      Thank you so very much for this post! I am really feeling frustrated with my allergies, seems like every year they come earlier and last longer!! And the same therapy doesn’t always work from one year to the next! So Paleo is probably next!

    • aayel68 says

      Welcome.
      everything you write here is cosmetic surgery.
      They have nothing in common with the proper treatment of all diseases.
      You take the bypass reason.
      Mask the disease in different ways.
      Nobody thinks about catching an arsonist.
      You focus on extinguishing the fire.
      Allergic diseases have their cause in the mistaken nutrition.
      Instead of quickly and effectively treated, it is you and the doctors I guess
      And only diet for people completely cure any disease.
      Allergy is completely curable.
      When you have knowledge, it is impossible to make mistakes.

      maniekpi@interia.pl

  24. zara says

    After suffering from pollen/dust/ lactose allergy and trying everything
    from medicines to considering committing suicide as I use to be sick
    everyday ,I found homeopathy and it works, Allium cepa 30c is the cure
    and by God name I am allergy free at last !!and want to share it with
    everyone.

  25. Keitheile Mary Leselwa says

    I have been having allergies problem for 14 years now. I have tried a lot of medication, but up to know I am still suffering. I think my allergies now has turned to make me like a person who have asthma. I do not know what to do now please assist.

  26. says

    Thanks for this resource, Katie! #7 was the biggie for me. After doing a Whole30 and eliminating some stuff that was irritating my system, a lot of my allergies got better. I also do aromatherapy with eucalyptus, peppermint and tea tree oil if I’m feeling stuffy or just “down.”

  27. Keri says

    I’m going to try the Nettle and Quercetin, but how much are you supposed to take or start out with? My allergies seem to be getting worse the older I get.

  28. says

    I have found essential oils to be the most effective and powerful relief and solution for my severe environmental (Seasonal and Indoor) allergies. I have suffered from allergies nearly all of my life, and allergies have gotten worse as I have aged. I tried nearly everything I could and nothing provided strong enough relief or relief that lasted very long over time. Then I tried essential oils and was BLOWN AWAY by how fast and effective they controlled my allergies. And now … I hardly have to use them at all for my allergy issues because they are nearly completely gone! Nature’s medicine gives the body what it needs so it can heal itself. I am living proof.

    • Carol says

      What essential oil or combination of oils do you use? I have some oils and would love to use them for allergies!

      • sandra says

        Equal parts of lavender, lemon and peppermint essential oils. Mix up as much as you like in a dark bottle. Put 3 drops of the mixture on the neck, wrists and forehead. Do not get in your eyes!

      • Ariel says

        I use equal parts (2 drops) Lemon, Lavender, and Peppermint under my tongue, swish with water, and swallow. I use doTERRA Essential Oils which are safe for internal consumption.

  29. Jennifer says

    My 11 year old suffers from allergies year round. They don’t appear in the form of sneezing, runny nose, etc. His drainage stays in his head forming a thick mucus which affects his hearing and we have done tubes twice. I would love to stop using Zyrtec and help him naturally. Do you believe that your suggested remedies affect only drainage outside his head or could help his issues as well? Thank you!!!

  30. Sneazy missy says

    This post couldn’t come at a better time. I have suffered with allergies all my life. I’m 42 and when I moved to Canada from South America 13 years ago, they kind of cleared up but since last December, my allergies came back with a vengeance and a sword with poison ivy. Lol. My sinuses hurt, sneezing like crazy and so hard, sometimes I snart (sneezing so hard a little fart comes out), my nose dripping, so I have to use Kleenex tampons in my nose. I’m so tired of this. I look like Rudolph. I do the netti pot and it works well but not all the time. I will try the acv right away. I ‘m sure it contains ‘the mother’. Thanks for posting this. Will try everything because the claritin isn’t working! Cheers!

  31. Jessica says

    What about alfalfa supplements for controlling allergies? I’ve only heard a little bit but wanted to get your opinion!

  32. Susie says

    I have used the neti pot for a very long time. It works great to keep sinus infections at bay; however for just regular allergies it is not a big help for me. Been thinking about trying the freeze-dried stinging nettles for that.

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