If you are within 20 feet of another person, you probably don’t feel comfortable sneezing right now, even if it is from allergies. The good news is there are many natural allergy interventions that also support the immune system.
Differences between Allergy symptoms and COVID-19?
Are you analyzing every sneeze and cough right now?
A sniffle might cause someone to worry that they are showing symptoms of Coronavirus infection, but fortunately there are many difference between that and allergy symptoms.
The most common symptoms for COVID-19 are:
Shortness of breath
The most common allergy symptoms are:
runny or stuffy nose
watery and itchy eyes
itchy sinuses, throat, or ear canals
Immune support for Allergy Season
Did you know that many of our favorite immune products can also reduce allergy season misery?
Supplements like these modulate our immune responses to help us react less to allergens. They don’t work particularly quickly so we often need to add faster acting substances to help ease symptoms.
Some top recommendations for allergies:
Nettle Leaf- appears to work through anti-inflammatory pathways including reducing histamine release from mast cells.
Quercetin- a popular choice during allergy season, probably due to anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC) – helps break up mucus and is used by the body to make one of its most important antioxidants called glutathione.
Plus, Quercetin and NAC are being reviewed for their benefits during viral infections. Mechanistic studies (not actual trials with people) show that it may inhibit infection from various strains of influenza. NAC was shown to reduce the severity of flu symptoms in a study with 262 participates.
Give yourself some piece of mind. Support your immune health for seasonal allergies and general wellness.
Like nearly everyone else in Northwest Arkansas, I suffer from seasonal allergies. Fortunately mine are pretty mild. I might wake up with a sore throat or find myself sneezing while working in the garden.
My first choice herb for seasonal allergies is nettle leaf, also know as stinging nettles. Nettles can reduce the amount of histamine our bodies release in response to whatever pollen or mold is bothering us. Nettles have also traditionally been used for their ability to reduce inflammation, which may help with allergic symptoms or other conditions like arthritis.
Nettles are also a nourishing diuretic meaning they increase urination without depleting nutrients. This is because nettles are rich in vitamins and minerals to replace any that might be lost with increased urinary output. These urinary benefits makes nettle leaf a good choice for preventing urinary tract infections and kidney stones. It should be noted that nettle root could be helpful for many prostate issues since it inhibits the conversion of testosterone to estrogen.
Because they are so nutritious, nettles can be cooked like other greens. Pick the top few tender leaves, wearing gloves to avoid the sting. When nettles are cooked, the sting is neutralized.
Clearly, it is safe to use large quantities of nettles for allergy season support since they can be eaten as a food. If nettles alone aren’t enough, I add quercetin and N-acetyl cysteine to further diminish allergy symptoms. Quercetin shares nettles antihistamine characteristics while N-acetyl cysteine helps break up mucus.
The other day I walked outside to find my car covered in pollen, so clearly we are entering the peak season for seasonal allergies. The question I always address at this time of year is how to reduce allergy symptoms naturally. First, start with overall health and diet. For instance, people who consume diets higher in carotenoids, nutrients found in many vegetables, had lower incidences of seasonal allergy symptoms. I have also had numerous patients whose allergy symptoms became more manageable when they eliminated a troublesome food from their diets, such as dairy. A couple of studies have also shown that the use of products containing beneficial bacteria, such as probiotics, can reduce allergy symptoms in children and adults with moderate to severe nasal symptoms. These probiotics may be helping by reducing inflammation in the body or reducing the body’s tendency to react to some of the common problem foods.
After the diet is improved, we can tackle the remaining symptoms with natural supplements. For years, I have been touting the use of zinc for allergy sufferers. Zinc helps to balance out the immune system, which can reduce the body’s overreaction to allergens like pollen. In addition, a study has shown that people with seasonal allergies tend to have lower levels of serum zinc compared to non-allergic people. Another fabulous allergy supplement is the herb butterbur. Butterbur is an inflammation-modulating herb that has been used for coughs, allergies, and migraines. A recent study comparing butterbur to an allergy medication and a placebo showed that butterbur and the medication were both equally superior to the placebo in reducing allergy symptoms. But always make sure the butterbur you purchase has had its unsaturated pyrrolizidine alkaloids removed, since long-term consumption of herbs that still contain these compounds can damage the liver.
This is just a few of the supplements worth considering for allergy support. For few other ideas, check out this recent article on allergies that quotes me along with other local practitioners.
Laurell Matthews, ND is a naturopathic doctor with a passion for helping people understand how to be healthier using dietary and lifestyle changes along with other natural medicine modalities like botanical medicine.