There are fortunately many options for allergies these days from prescription medicines, over the counter medicines, herbals, essential oils, homeopathy, nutrition and more.
Over The Counter
Over the counter medicines like Allegra, Zyrtec, and Claritin are accessible and affordable. Plus, these medications have a low risk of side effects as well. Benadryl is a classic but can cause sedation and memory issues if taken long term. However, it is excellent for serious allergic reactions if you need help fast.
Herbals & Supplements
My favorite herbal product is Natural D Hist but there are other brands with similar ingredients. It has Stinging nettles, quercitin, bromelain, vitamin C and N-acetyl-cysteine which I consider to be a miracle supplement as it has many benefits like thinning mucus , liver and kidney protection and also increases glutathione which is one of the body’s most potent antioxidants. Remember to do the loading dose and try it before allergy season starts.
Local honey is like yummy painless allergy shots. Bees use the pollen to make the honey so that gives us small doses that seem to help the body like immunotherapy. Pollen allergies should continue to get better if you do this year round. If you have fall allergies then try to get the honey collected during that time. Get to know your local bee keeper so they can let you know when the proper honey you need is collected.
We love elderberry syrup around here and have wonderful brands like Sweet’s Syrup and others made by local moms. Apparently it is pretty easy to make yourself. It has a lot of vitamin C which helps allergies but most include honey which also helps allergies. Sweet's Syrup uses raw, local honey to help your immune system develop antibodies to fight off the seasonal irritants that are in bloom. Elderberry actually has quite the list of good studies to back up the claims.
Peppermint, lavender and lemon oils combined are AMAZING for allergies. Some people put 3-4 drops of each into gelatin capsules that you can purchase online and some put the edible kind into a tea to drink 1-2 times daily. You can also put peppermint oil on your finger tip and place just below (but not inside) your nose when you need help with an acute exposure. Be sure to dilute Peppermint oil with a carrier oil like coconut, olive or avocado oil as not to burn the skin. For kids, you can put some lavender inside the cheeks and the nose topically but you can put the oils in a tea for them to drink with honey. Again make sure you are using the edible essential oils and not the ones to use topically.
There are various homeopathic remedies over the counter to consider. Homeopathy is amazing and safe but if it doesn't seem to be working for you then you may need to see a homeopath. Homeopathy is truly an art due to how it is prescribed. Check out the book Homeopathy: Beyond Flat Earth Medicine by Dooley ND, MD for a quick primer on how homeopathy works. However, it can be complicated to figure out on your own.
When it comes to allergies it is important to avoid inflammatory foods like sugar. Other foods to pay attention to are dairy and wheat. Dairy is a mucus maker so we definitely want less snot! Most people don’t realize that wheat is a grass. If you have allergies to grasses, either eliminate wheat completely from your diet or just eliminate it during your allergy season.
For year round allergies, consider getting allergy testing, removing carpets from your house, get good quality HEPA filters for the rooms you spend most of your time in, and rule out mold in your house.
Hope these tips help to help you enjoy your year!
Dr. Cammy Benton MD IFMCP, ABIHM
Benton Integrative Medicine
16415 Northcross Drive Suite C
Huntersville, NC 28078