Do you ever feel as though your allergies, whether caused by pollen, dander, or something else, leave you lacking in concentration? Well, you are not alone!
A diagnosed case of allergic rhinitis can impair decision-making, learning speed, and psychomotor speed (our ability to respond to stimuli in our environment), leading to reduced productivity and attendance at work.
There could be a link between these issues and allergy symptoms themselves. For example, who can concentrate when they are constantly blowing their nose? The most commonly prescribed treatment for allergies, antihistamines, can sometimes cause drowsiness as a side effect.
In this blog post, I am going to discuss some of my favourite options provided by nature to help those with allergies! Natural allergy treatments avoid these sorts of side effects, so they are increasingly popular options.
The luffa tree grows in tropical regions and is part of the cucumber family. It produces edible fruits as it grows, but as it matures, it develops a fibrous material, which is extracted and dried to make a sponge, such as the one pictured above. The fruit is also used in some natural hayfever remedies, making this plant extremely versatile!
A traditional medicine called luffa can be helpful when suffering from hayfever and other airborne irritants like dust and animal dander that cause frustrations like sneezing, blocked noses, runny noses, and itchy eyes.
This plant, officially known as Urtica dioica, grows all over the world. Its leaves are flat and heart shaped and it has a painful sting!
In spite of appearing contradictory, nettle is a very effective way to treat allergies like hay fever, thanks to the scientific research backing it up.
Unlike some antihistamines, Nettle affects the body’s immune response, so it becomes less likely to overreact when faced with allergens. Nettle also inhibits some of the inflammatory processes that cause allergic rhinitis and hayfever symptoms, such as congestion and itchiness.
Apparently, I’m not the only person who thinks nettle helps with allergic rhinitis! In a study of 69 participants, 58% said it helped their symptoms, and 48% said it proved equally effective as or better than their previous treatment.
Generally speaking, you’ll see neem trees growing in tropical regions since they are large, bushy, and remain evergreen all year long. Various products derived from Neem trees, including body lotions, creams and shampoos, contain the fruit, leaves and oil of the tree.
In case your allergies result in itchy, irritated skin, you might consider using a neem-derived product, since these can have a calming, soothing effect on it.
The anti-inflammatory properties of Neem explain why it benefits allergy sufferers. Where can I get this? Health food outlets and online retailers sell Neem products.
In spite of its native North American origin, Echinacea is grown in many European countries including here in Switzerland, where they are prized for their appearance and medicinal properties as well. There are ten species of Echinacea.
Echinacea purpurea supports the immune system, and a robust immune system allows us to deal with allergens.
You can buy Echinacea extracts at most health stores and some pharmacies. Look for products that use fresh, organically grown extracts of Echinacea herb and root, however, as these contain more of the plant’s beneficial properties than dried forms. Echinacea is a popular tea because it has a pleasant taste and is caffeine-free.
There are a lot of health benefits to this daisy-like flower, which grows extensively in Europe, the United States, India, and Asia. It is used in everything from shampoo to skin cream.
Depending on what your symptoms are, chamomile can be helpful for allergy sufferers. If you suffer from dry eyes, for example, you can place cooled tea bags onto your eyelids for a couple of minutes during the ad break.
Moreover, chamomile may also help with inflammation, so if you are prone to inflammatory symptoms like congestion, this could be useful. Likewise, chamomile tea is soothing and relaxing, so if your allergy symptoms are making it difficult for you to sleep, you may find it soothing to have a mug before bed.
It is widely used to flavor teas which can be purchased at most supermarkets. Chamomile essential oil is also available for use in diffusers.
Peppermint is grown and harvested throughout the world for use in various products ranging from food to toothpaste. You can grow peppermint at home too, though you may want to keep it in a pot to keep it from taking over.
Aside from being anti-inflammatory, peppermint offers a refreshing odor that may also help clear sinuses. The herb is also known to counteract the effect of allergens on the body.
Having trouble finding peppermint tea? Again, it’s widely available at supermarkets and health food stores. Otherwise, you can make your own by adding loosely chopped leaves into a cup of tea and then letting them brew for a few minutes.
Several drops of peppermint oil can also be applied to a tissue if suffering from a runny or blocked nose.