If you regularly suffer from the symptoms of seasonal allergies — sneezing, watery eyes, chronic sinus infections — you might be willing to do anything to get relief. While taking allergy medicine and avoiding the allergens that trigger your symptoms can be helpful, some people want a better or different solution.
That could explain why there are so many different alternative or natural allergy remedies out there. The question is, do these remedies work? Or do they end up doing more harm than good? Take a look at a few of the most popular natural allergy remedies and at the science behind them.
Honey, specifically, raw, local honey, is often recommended as the best natural allergy remedy. The thinking behind it is that honey is made with pollen from flowers, trees and other plants and that exposing your immune system to the pollen that you’re allergic to will help to reduce your allergic reaction.
Unfortunately, there’s little real evidence to support that claim. In fact, exposing yourself to the thing you’re allergic to is more likely to trigger an allergic reaction, unless it’s done in a controlled manner, such as when you receive allergy shots. It’s also very likely that honey, even locally produced honey, is made from a different type of pollen than what you’re allergic to.
Onions contain quercetin, a polyphenol that’s thought to help control allergies by helping to calm your airways. Some recommend chopping up onions and making a poultice, which is then applied to the chest or even the feet.
While there’s no harm in increasing how many onions you eat, you aren’t likely to notice much of an improvement in your allergy symptoms, as the onions aren’t eliminating the allergens that trigger those symptoms. As far as putting chopped onions on your feet or chest goes, you’re better off skipping that and using the onions in cooking.
Neti pots are shaped like miniature watering cans and are used to rinse the nasal passages out with a saline (saltwater) solution. This might be one of the goofiest looking natural allergy remedies mentioned so far, but it’s also the one that’s most likely to help you out if you have allergies.
A neti pot can help relieve your symptoms by washing allergens out of your nasal passages. The saline solution can also be very soothing and can help calm inflammation in your sinuses, reducing the symptoms of chronic sinusitis.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar has a lot to live up to. Not only is it recommended as a natural allergy remedy, it’s also thought to help lower cholesterol levels, help with weight loss and help cure skin issues. So, will adding a few tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to a glass of water and drinking it down help relieve your allergies? It’s unlikely.
Cleaning Up at Home
Can the secret remedy to your allergy problems be lying in a vacuum or dustpan? If you’re allergic to indoor allergens, such as dust or pet dander, the answer might be yes. Doing your best to keep indoor allergens to a minimum by vacuuming and mopping regularly can help you keep your allergies under control.
If your indoor allergies are really intense, an even better option might be to hire a cleaning crew to visit your home on a regular basis to sweep up any dust and debris.
Certain Herbal Supplements
A variety of herbal supplements, such as quercetin, stinging nettles, butterbur and bromelian, are often presented as alternative allergy remedies. Will they help you?
The jury is still out. There hasn’t been much scientific research or many studies done to determine whether or not certain herbal supplements are as effective for treating or reducing allergies as allergy medications or immunotherapy.
It’s also worth remembering that you need to be careful with any herbal supplements. Some can interact with common medications or create problems for people with certain medical conditions. Before you take an herbal supplement to help your allergies, it’s a good idea to consult with your doctor to make sure it won’t cause any complications or interactions.
ABOUT DR. RUBINSTEIN
Dr. Rubinstein has nearly sixteen years of experience in helping patients with sinus problems and allergies in the Hudson Valley. A board certified facial plastic surgeon and board certified otolaryngologist, he has extensive knowledge of laser procedures, facial plastic surgery, and nasal and sinus treatments, which allows him to improve aesthetics as well as functionality of the nose and facial features. Dr. Rubinstein received his board certifications through the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and the American Board of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery. If you’re interested in learning more about allergy treatment options, schedule an appointment with Dr. Rubinstein at the Hudson Valley Sinus Center by calling 845-562-6673.