An allergic response occurs when the body's immune system overreacts to a trigger or allergen such as pollen – a substance released by every tree, flower, and weed. When you come into contact with something you are allergic to, the immune system then releases a chemical called histamine, which triggers the allergic reaction and all of the annoying symptoms.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, allergies cannot generally be prevented, but allergic reactions can. There are certainly plenty of medicines on the market that can block the body's release of histamine and also treat seasonal allergy symptoms, but many also cause a host of side effects, including drowsiness. The good news is that there are also natural supplements that can help with your allergies – without the side effects. Here are my top picks for herbal remedies for allergy relief:
Butterbur is a type of herb that has a well-respected reputation as a natural remedy for migraines. And, in numerous studies, it has also been shown to significantly improve unpleasant allergy symptoms. One study in the British Medical Journal of 125 people with hay fever found that the butterbur worked just as well as cetirizine, which is marketed as Zyrtec. The researchers also concluded that butterbur is a smart choice for anyone looking to improve their allergy symptoms while avoiding the sedative effects of antihistamines. Even though cetirizine is considered a non-sedating allergy medicine, this study found that subjects who took it experienced fatigue and drowsiness.
Raw garlic isn't just a must in homemade tomato sauce. Thanks to its ability to help reverse disease, it's also an important part of any wellness regimen. Additionally, garlic is a potent anti-inflammatory and immune enhancer that contains histamine-lowering quercetin. When it comes to fighting spring allergies naturally, quercitin is at the top of the list of natural compounds that have been proven to improve symptoms. That's because when you're experiencing spring allergies, your histamine levels increase as the body tries to combat the allergens. Studies have shown that garlic doesn't only improve immune function, but its quercetin also acts as a natural antihistamine.
3. Stinging Nettle Leaf
Stinging Nettle Leaf is a perennial flowering plant that has been used medicinally for ages, dating back as far as ancient Greece. Regarding seasonal allergies, stinging nettle has been shown to have excellent anti-inflammatory abilities; in fact, studies have shown that the bioactive components of stinging nettle can actually inhibit multiple inflammatory events. This is important because it is those inflammatory events that actually cause seasonal allergy symptoms.
Fresh and dried rosemary is already popular additions to many culinary creations and, in recent years, research has shed a light on rosemary's ability to help fight allergy symptoms and provide relief to asthma suffers. According to a study published in the Journal of Restorative Medicine, this popular herb contains rosmarinic acid, which has both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. The study also reveals that rosmarinic acid is a free radical scavenger that can suppress the inflammatory responses of certain white blood cells, as well as allergic antibodies. In other words: Rosmarinic acid should help improve seasonal allergy symptoms. Just one word of caution: If you're taking rosmarinic acid as a supplement, it may help to take it with food to prevent a potential mild stomachache.
Turmeric is a common spice commonly used in Indian, Thai, and other ethnic cuisines. And according to ongoing science, there is a seemingly endless list of turmeric health benefits that make this tasty spice just as effective as many pharmaceuticals – if not more so. Turmeric's most powerful active compound is curcumin, which animal studies have shown can significantly reduce and inhibit allergic responses. Another study published by the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology of 214 people with allergic rhinitis found that those who took curcumin for two months alleviated their sneezing and congestion, and improved nasal airflow compared to those who took a placebo.