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10 Home Remedies To Stop Allergies In Their Tracks

Home Remedies For Allergies

Allergies are a common problem that affects millions of Americans. Common foods like tomatoes and apples contain polyphenols that can ease allergic reactions. Drinking ogonkei oolong tea, peppermint tea, hop water, and lemon juice may help too. Probiotics and turmeric have anti-allergy effects while a saline nasal wash can flush out mucus and allergens. And of course, avoiding allergens is the basic step to stopping an allergic reaction.

Did you know that around 40 to 50 million Americans are estimated to suffer from allergies?1 An allergic reaction occurs when your immune system overreacts to substances like pollen or pet dander. Mast cells in your nasal lining mistake them for dangerous pathogens and release chemicals like histamine. These chemicals trigger your immune system and also cause the symptoms of an allergic reaction – runny nose, watery eyes, sneezing, and coughing.2 While your doctor may prescribe medications like antihistamines or corticosteroid nasal sprays to deal with this problem, many simple home remedies can help too. Here are a few well-established ideas that you can try at home:

1. Flush Out Allergens And Mucus With A Nasal Wash

A nasal wash can help remove mucus and allergens from your nose. While saline sprays are available at stores, it’s fairly easy to make a nasal wash at home too. All you need to do is add a teaspoon of salt and a pinch of baking soda to 250 ml of clean warm water.3 Fill a bulb syringe or a neti pot with this solution and lean forward over a sink to run the solution into a nostril and out the other. Don’t worry if it runs out the same nostril – that works too. Now repeat this process with your other nostril.4

2. Have Tomatoes

That’s right, you can chomp down on tomatoes to tackle allergies! According to research, an extract from the common tomato was able to reduce nasal obstruction, relieve that runny nose, and significantly decrease sneezing in people with perennial allergic rhinitis when administered for 8 weeks. So how do tomatoes work? Experts suggest they can inhibit the release of histamine from mast cells. A kind of polyphenol known as naringenin chalcone which is present in the skin of red tomatoes is thought to be responsible for this effect.5

3. Drink Peppermint Tea

A compound called luteolin-7-O-rutinoside present in peppermint has a strong inhibitory effect on the release of histamine. Therefore, peppermint tea can help alleviate allergy symptoms like a stuffy or runny nose.6 7 To make peppermint tea, steep a teaspoon of dried leaves in a cup of boiling water for approximately 10 minutes.

4. Have Probiotics

Probiotics, good bacteria that live in our body, have many beneficial effects, from improving your immune function to finetuning your digestion. Studies show that probiotic bacteria can help tackles allergies as well. One study found that consuming fermented milk that had Lactobacillus GG and Lactobacillus gasseri TMC0356 for 9 weeks significantly reduced nasal blockage in people who were suffering from Japanese cedar pollinosis, a seasonal allergy caused by Japanese cedar pollen.

Probiotic bacteria works by inhibiting cytokines, which are proteins that play a significant role in communication within your immune system. It was found that Lactobacillus GG significantly inhibited the production of cytokines interleukin 4 and interleukin 5 while Lactobacillus gasseri suppressed interleukin 5 production. Fermented foods like yogurt naturally contain probiotics. Since all probiotics may not be helpful for people with allergies, check the strain of bacteria present in your favorite yogurt to make sure it can help you deal with allergies.8

5. Eat Apples

Here’s a home remedy as easy as apple pie – snacking on apples! One study found that sneezing was significantly lower in people who had apple polyphenol once a day for 12 weeks, starting a couple of weeks before pollen season, when compared to the control group which had a placebo. So, if you suffer from allergies, an apple a day may literally keep the doctor away (yes, we couldn’t resist that one!).9

6. Drink Hop Water

Do hops make you think of a tall pitcher of beer? You should know that these flowers can do more than flavor and stabilize beer. Hops can help relieve symptoms of allergies too. One study prepared hop water by boiling hop pellets in water or letting them steep in cold water overnight. People suffering from Japanese cedar pollinosis were then given hop water extracts for 12 weeks. And it was found to be effective at improving symptoms like nasal swelling, nasal discharge, and nasal color. Glycosides of flavonoids like quercetin and kaempferol present in hop water may be responsible for these beneficial effects as they can inhibit histamine. So if stuffy runny noses trouble you, try drinking hop water for relief.10

7. Use Turmeric To Spice Your Food

Turmeric, the golden spice commonly used in South and East Asian curries, can help you deal with allergies. Turmeric works because an ingredient in it called curcumin can inhibit the release of histamine. Animal studies show it is quite effective at fending off an allergic response.11 Simply add turmeric to soups, stews, and curries. You can also have a nice cup of turmeric tea to put the brakes on your allergy.

8. Have Lemon Juice

If life hands you allergies, make lemonade! Lemons contain vitamin C as well as the flavonoid hesperetin – both effective allies against allergies as they have antihistamine properties. One case study looked at the effect of lemon juice on a subject who was sensitive to substances like detergents, pollen, dust, and perfumes. On taking lemon juice, she experienced relief from symptoms like sneezing, runny nose, and irritated and watery eyes.12 13 So, sip on refreshing lemon juice to keep those irritating allergies at bay.

9. Drink Oolong Tea

According to a Japanese study, drinking a variety of oolong tea known as “ogonkei” can help reduce allergy symptoms. People who drank this tea experienced relief from nasal discharge, sneezing, nasal obstruction, and watery eyes even during periods when pollen levels were high. Studies have found that compounds like epigallocatechin gallate and epigallocatechin present in tea can inhibit the release of histamine from mast cells and may be responsible for the anti-allergy effect observed here. Experts suggest that drinking ogonkei oolong tea may reduce the need for using anti-allergy agents even during peak allergy season. So go get that cuppa to soothe your allergies!14

10. Avoid Allergens

Back to the basics with the last remedy! To prevent your allergy from getting worse and to avoid a further attack, limit your exposure to allergens. Here are a few steps that you can take to avoid common allergens like pet dander, pollen, and mold:

  • Try to stay indoors when there are high levels of pollen in the air.
  • If you need to spend time outdoors or do yard work, wear a mask.
  • If you step out for yard work or a stroll in the park, remember to shower and change afterward to wash off any pollen that sticks to you.
  • Keep your doors and windows shut during pollen season and use air conditioners instead of fans to keep pollen out of your home.
  • If pet dander is a problem, give your cat or dog weekly baths and make sure they stay out of your bedroom and off the furniture.
  • Wash your bedding in hot water, above 120° F, to get rid of dust mites.
  • Use a dehumidifier to keep the humidity below 40 percent. This dries out the air and keeps mold, dust mites, and other triggers at bay.15

References   [ + ]

1. Types of Allergies. American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.
2. The secret to an easier allergy season. Harvard Health Publications.
3. Allergic rhinitis – self-care. The University of Iowa.
4. What to do about sinusitis. Harvard Health Publications.
5. Yoshimura, Mineka, Tadao Enomoto, Yoshihiro Dake, Yoshiaki Okuno, Hiroki Ikeda, Lei Cheng, and Akio Obata. “An evaluation of the clinical efficacy of tomato extract for perennial allergic rhinitis.” Allergology International 56, no. 3 (2007): 225-230.
6. Inoue, Toshio, Yukio Sugimoto, Hideki Masuda, and Chiaki Kamei. “Antiallergic effect of flavonoid glycosides obtained from Mentha piperita L.” Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin 25, no. 2 (2002): 256-259.
7. Duband, F., A. P. Carnat, A. Carnat, C. Petitjean-Freytet, G. Clair, and J. L. Lamaison. “Aromatic and polyphenolic composition of infused peppermint, Mentha x piperita L.” In Annales pharmaceutiques francaises, vol. 50, no. 3, pp. 146-155. 1992.
8. Kawase, Manabu, Fang He, Akira Kubota, Masaru Hiramatsu, Hiroshi Saito, Toyota Ishii, Hiroshi Yasueda, and Kazuo Akiyama. “Effect of fermented milk prepared with two probiotic strains on Japanese cedar pollinosis in a double-blind placebo-controlled clinical study.” International journal of food microbiology 128, no. 3 (2009): 429-434.
9. Kishi, Kazumasa, Masahiro Saito, Takao Saito, Megumi Kumemura, Hiroshi Okamatsu, Misa Okita, and Kenji Takazawa. “Clinical efficacy of apple polyphenol for treating cedar pollinosis.” Bioscience, biotechnology, and biochemistry 69, no. 4 (2005): 829-832.
10. Segawa, Shuichi, Yoshihiro Takata, Yoshihisa Wakita, Takafumi Kaneko, Hirotaka Kaneda, Junji Watari, Tatsuko Enomoto, and Tadao Enomoto. “Clinical effects of a hop water extract on Japanese cedar pollinosis during the pollen season: a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.” Bioscience, biotechnology, and biochemistry 71, no. 8 (2007): 1955-1962.
11. Kurup, Viswanath P., and Christy S. Barrios. “Immunomodulatory effects of curcumin in allergy.” Molecular nutrition & food research 52, no. 9 (2008): 1031-1039.
12. Allergic rhinitis. University of Maryland.
13. Vazouras, Konstantinos GI, Jota Partheniou, and Ioannis DK Dimoliatis. “Alleviation and prevention of severe allergic rhinitis and conjunctivitis following long-term lemon juice use: a case report.” Cases journal 2, no. 1 (2009): 8971.
14. NIINO, Hitoshi, Kengo OBARA, Yuko SAGESAKA, Megumi SUZUKI, Nanae IIGAYA, Koji OGAWA, Masahiko HAYASHI, and Jong-Chol CYONG. “Clinical effect and safety of oolong tea” ogonkei” for seasonal allergic rhino-conjunctivitis caused by pollen.” Journal of Traditional Medicines 25, no. 1 (2008): 10-17.
15. Allergic rhinitis: Your nose knows. Harvard Health Publications.

Disclaimer: The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.