Seasonal allergies can be a real sneeze. They come out of nowhere, and by the time you realize what’s happening, you’re up to your eyeballs in tissues. Luckily, we have six natural home remedies for seasonal allergies that you can grab at that first achoo!
Is it the sniffles or hay fever? Covid-19 or pollen? Sometimes it’s hard to tell what’s making you sneeze since symptoms often overlap.
Common symptoms of allergies
- Runny nose
- Watering eyes
As explained by Susan Branson, a holistic nutritional consultant and author of the 101 Amazing Uses series, seasonal allergies “happen when the immune system reacts to a substance, whether it’s swirling through the air, absorbed through the skin, or eaten for lunch.” These substances don’t cause a problem for most people; however, “the immune system doesn’t recognize them in those with allergies. It sees them as unwelcome invaders and launches an attack against them.”
- Dust mites
- Pet dander
- Mold spores
- Insect stings
The good news (or bad news) is that if you start sneezing when the blossoms come out, it’s probably allergies. So now that you know you’re not dying, you might be thinking, What now?
According to experts at healthline.com, “the best natural remedy for allergies is, when possible, avoidance,” which is a must if you’re allergic to something like soy or bees. However, if you’re experiencing just a bit of seasonal allergies, the only option for avoidance would be to remove your nose in the spring and put it back on in the fall, and that’s just not realistic.
So, aside from buying stock in antihistamines, decongestants, and corticosteroids—all of which can have some annoying side effects—what can you do?
Fortunately, if you’re looking for a natural remedy or something quick to stave off the worst of the seasonal sniffles, Susan Branson has some options you can grab right out of your cabinet.
Caution: Don’t use home remedies to treat severe allergic reactions or anaphylaxis.
Essential oils have been used in healing, spiritual practice, and beauty treatments for more than five thousand years.
Lavender oil specifically has been shown to inhibit the release of histamine from the immune system. Histamine is the compound that causes inflammation and mucus production, the main culprit behind congestion, runny noses, and itchy eyes. By inhibiting this compound with lavender oil applied topically or intradermally, we can slow or even stop our immune system from throwing a fit over the allergens we breathe.
Other oils that can be used to treat seasonal allergies are peppermint, lemon, tea tree, helichrysum, German chamomile, and eucalyptus.
Did you just make gingersnaps or some honey ginger chicken? Do you have leftover ginger that you don’t know what to do with? If you have allergies, maybe it’s time to find more ginger recipes because the compound 6-gingerol in ginger has been proven to curb allergic reactions.
As shown in scientific studies, eating ginger can suppress compounds involved in your body’s allergic response and alleviate symptoms of hay fever. Unlike drugs you buy at the pharmacy, ginger will have no side effects even if you eat it every day.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Although a little smelly, apple cider vinegar can stop the release of inflammatory molecules when you’re having an allergic reaction.
Blocking the release of histamine and pro-inflammatory cytokines, chemicals that make an allergic reaction worse, the gallic acid found in apple cider vinegar can combat rashes and itching, mucus production, and constricted breathing.
To see these results, Branson recommends taking 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in 1 cup of water up to three times a day.
A clove of garlic a day can keep the vampires away, but have you ever considered using it to keep the allergies away?
Garlic can boost your immune system, which means that it lowers the chances of you getting the sneezes from allergies. Garlic also contains a flavonoid compound called apigenin that is a strong anti-inflammatory, which will help get rid of your runny nose, congested sinuses, and constricted breathing.
Branson suggests eating garlic a few weeks before allergies begin and continuing daily until the season has passed and your symptoms have disappeared.
Bright yellow-orange and flavorful, Turmeric has traditionally been used to treat allergies—but it’s really only effective with food allergies. However, Curcumin, the main active compound in turmeric, can fight off symptoms of environmental allergies.
Ingesting curcumin can inhibit the chemicals that help produce antibodies and airway inflammation when you’re experiencing an allergic reaction. By reducing these chemicals, curcumin can alleviate runny noses, sneezing, and congestion.
A spiky green succulent, aloe vera is not the kind of remedy you would typically ingest. Although it’s possible to eat it, and although it’s been proven to boost the immune system, the most common uses for aloe vera are applying it topically to an allergic response such as rashes, sores, and swelling.
This cooling, anti-inflammatory plant has been proven effective on symptoms caused by an allergic reaction, like hives, lichen planus, burning mouth syndrome, cankers, diaper rash, eczema, rashes from poisonous plants, and erythema.
For more amazing uses of household ingredients, check out our 101 Amazing Uses series:
- 101 Amazing Uses for Cinnamon
- 101 Amazing Uses for Coconut Oil
- 101 Amazing Uses for Aloe Vera
- 101 Amazing Uses for Honey
- 101 Amazing Uses for Ginger
- 101 Amazing Uses for Apple Cider Vinegar
- 101 Amazing Uses for Essential Oils
- 101 Amazing Uses for Garlic
- 101 Amazing Uses for Turmeric
Shaelyn Topolovec earned a BA in editing and publishing from BYU, worked on several online publications, and joined the Familius family. Shae is currently an editor and copywriter who lives in California’s Central Valley.