(NaturalHealth365) Whether you suffer from seasonal allergies or are susceptible to common year-round allergy triggers, such as certain foods or dust, allergy symptoms can impact your everyday life. Allergens release histamines that attack your body’s cells, causing the familiar symptoms of runny nose, sneezing and watery eyes.
While there are dozens of over-the-counter antihistamines to choose from, their negative effects can far outweigh the benefits. Rather than risk the problems associated with these drugs, you can choose from several effective, natural antihistamines that can put a halt to your symptoms without putting your health at risk.
Brain function gets damaged with toxic pharmaceuticals
When your body is exposed to allergens, it reacts by releasing histamines that attack cells in the body, causing them to swell up and leak fluid. This results in the common allergy symptoms of watery eyes, congestion, swelling of the nasal passages, itching, sneezing and runny nose.
The most common over-the-counter antihistamine medications, known as first-generation antihistamines, work by blocking histamines. However, they also cross the blood-brain barrier, interacting with a number of unintended receptor sites.
The result is a sedating effect. While dangerous in itself, particularly for driving or operating machinery, this sedation also induces an unnatural sleep, interfering with the body’s recovering time, when the brain normally stores memories and retains learning. The sleepy feeling brought on by these antihistamines can lead to impaired psychomotor performance, cognitive functions and memory problems.
Effective, natural alternatives to allergy medications
Avoid these drugs and their dangerous side effects by choosing natural allergy remedies to address your symptoms. For seasonal allergies, beginning a natural antihistamine a month or two before the season begins can be most helpful. Here are five of the most effective options:
1. Vitamin C: Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant with a vast number of health benefits, including its ability to act as an effective antihistamine. Rather than blocking histamine from binding to receptor sites, as pharmaceuticals do,
Vitamin C benefits for allergy sufferers occur because it prevents histamine from forming in the first place. Vitamin C also reduces inflammation by helping to better balance immune responses. Plan to take about 1 gram three to five times per day to relieve symptoms. If symptoms persist … you need more.
For more information about the best way to take vitamin C – read about the ‘multi-C protocol’ by Thomas E. Levy, MD, JD
2. Salt: Salt is one of the most overlooked natural allergy remedies, yet it is effective in relieving many of the symptoms that commonly occur with allergies. When allergy symptoms flare, put a small amount of unprocessed salt on the end of your tongue and allow it to be absorbed.
You should feel its effects within seconds. You may need to experiment with the amount and frequency of using salt until you find what works best for your body.
3. Quercetin: This antioxidant can be found naturally in apples, onions and other produce. Research has shown it to be an effective natural allergy remedy because it is able to lessen the respiratory side effects caused by inflammation in the airways.
While you can purchase quercetin as a supplement, you can also get its helpful effects by adding larger amounts of quercetin-rich foods in your diet.
4. Stinging Nettle: While its name may sound a bit ominous, stinging nettle is a common herb used often in natural medicine and it is a natural antihistamine. For example, researchers at Northwestern Health Sciences University College of Chiropractic and the National College of Chiropractic Center found that 58 percent of participants reported relief of symptoms with the use of 300 mg of freeze-dried stinging nettles each day.
5. Bromelain: Bromelain is most commonly known as an enzyme found in pineapples and pineapple juice, but can also be purchased in supplement form. It is known to be effective at treating the respiratory distress and other symptoms often associated with allergies, primarily by blocking the action of agents causing inflammation and swelling.
Research suggests taking between 400 to 500 mg three times daily to help reduce mucous.
Of course, in terms of keeping the immune system strong, one should never forget the importance of remaining physically active, minimizing stress and getting plenty of rest. Plus, be sure to minimize your exposure to highly-allergic foods like conventionally-produced dairy products, processed sugary foods, wheat and commercial peanut butter.
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