Searching for some natural remedies for allergy relief? Up until a few months ago, allergies weren’t even on my radar. Having lived most of my life in Canada where summer was here and gone in the blink of an eye, I honestly had never experienced a single sniffle with the change of seasons. Then we moved to the Southeastern United States and all of that changed.
At first, I thought I had a cold. I was sneezing non-stop, my throat hurt, and my energy was zapped. When I woke up one morning and my right eye was swollen half-shut, I clued into what was going on. Allergies. Turns out I wasn’t just allergic to pollen, I also had developed a wicked allergy to dust mites. Joy.
I was able to trace the development of my allergies to a significant exposure to mold (this can be a common trigger). While I’ve been working on detoxing my body and strengthening my gut health, I knew my allergies wouldn’t just disappear overnight. I also knew I didn’t want to rely on over-the-counter medications that can bring unwanted side effects.
This post was born out of my own mission to discover natural remedies that would support my body, not fight it. If you prefer to live a clean, holistic lifestyle and are looking for the best natural remedies for allergy relief, then read on!
Where Do Allergies Come From?
More than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies, which is also the 6th leading chronic illness . Allergies are also the number one condition affecting children. Why are so many people becoming increasingly allergic to everything from food to dust, and even trees?
According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America :
“An allergy occurs when the body’s immune system sees a substance as harmful and overreacts to it. The substances that cause allergic reactions are allergens. When someone has allergies, their immune system makes an antibody called immunoglobulin E (IgE). These antibodies respond to allergens. The symptoms that result are an allergic reaction.”
Many theories exist about why allergies are on the rise, including climate change, obesity, vitamin D deficiency, overuse of antibiotics and acetaminophen, and the hygiene theory. This theory basically is around the idea that the world we live in is too sterile and clean. This reduces the exposure of germs and other microbes that increase the diversity of the microbiome.
Depending on the type of allergy, common symptoms can include:
Common symptoms of an allergic reaction include:
- an itchy, runny or congested nose
- itchy, red, watering eyes
- chest tightness
- shortness of breath
- raised, itchy, red rash
- swelling of the lips or tongue
- upset stomach
- dry, red and cracked skin
- low energy
Types of Indoor/Outdoor Allergies
While this type of allergy is rare, it is possible to be allergic to insect stings from bees, wasps, mosquitos, yellow jackets, hornets, ants, and more.
Mold can grow in your basement, attic, bathroom, or anywhere else that’s damp and warm. With over 1,000 species of mold in the US, this type of allergy is more common than most people think.
Pets can be a wonderful addition to the home (and are great for the microbiome). Unfortunately, some people are allergic to pet dander and/or saliva.
Pollen, Grass, Trees, Weeds
All of these substances can trigger hay fever, or allergic rhinitis. The good news is that symptoms tend to be seasonal and are heightened in the spring, summer, or early fall depending on where you live.
Dust mites are tiny bugs that are invisible to the naked eye. They feed off dust in the home and thrive on moisture in the air. Dust mites are one of the most common indoor allergens and symptoms cause symptoms year-round.
Between 78-98% of urban homes have cockroaches (gross!) and the saliva, feces, and shedding body parts of cockroaches can trigger allergies and asthma .
This list is by no means exhaustive, and I haven’t included allergies to things like food, medications, latex, household products, cigarette smoke, diesel, perfumes, etc.
10 Natural Solutions for Allergy Relief
Before diving into natural remedies, it’s important to keep holistic health in mind. This includes focusing on detox, a whole foods diet, gut health, exercising, and reducing stress. These things alone can make a huge difference in reducing symptoms and even preventing the development of allergies.
Obviously, if you’re reading this post, you’re probably desperate for some immediate relief. Now that we have a better idea about the problem, let’s talk about some solutions!
1) Essential Oils
Allergies result from inflammation and an overreaction of the body’s immune system. Part of this cascade includes a flood of histamines, which are released by immune cells and are a major contributor to symptoms.
Essential oils can help to battle allergies by reducing symptoms and by reducing histamines in the body. They can also help to naturally support the immune system against other foreign invaders that may try to sneak in when your body is run down from allergic reactions.
Some of the best essential oils for allergies include:
Peppermint Oil: Can help with sinuses and scratchy throats, reducing inflammation, and easy breathing. Try diffusing a few drops in water, diluting in coconut oil and rubbing onto the chest, or inhaling straight from the bottle. 1-2 drops of high quality peppermint oil can also be added to water.
Eucalyptus Oil: Has anti-inflammatory properties and can help to support breathing and open airways. Try diffusing some drops in water, apply diluted to the chest and temples, or create a “tent” with a towel and inhale a few drops in boiling water.
Basil Oil: Reduces inflammation, supports adrenals, and aids detoxification. To use, diffuse a couple of drops of oil or apply topically in carrier oil to the chest, back of neck, or temples.
Lemon Oil: Kills potential allergens in the air and on surfaces, antibacterial, supports the immune system, helps with mucous and runny nose. Diffuse, use to clean your home, or add to laundry.
Tea Tree Oil: Can be diffused to kill mold, bacteria, and fungi. Naturally anti-inflammatory and antiseptic. Can be used topically, diffused, or to clean your home.
2) Apple Cider Vinegar
Raw apple cider vinegar (with “The Mother”) is a probiotic food that contains natural yeast and bacteria. This age-old remedy has been used since Hippocrates first claimed it could help clean wounds and treat a cough.
Like other fermented foods, it contains acetic acid, proteins, and enzymes that have a number of health benefits. Personally, I love ACV for treating allergies because it helps to reduce my mucous production, supports my immune system, and cleanses my lymphatic system.
Warning: ACV can have a very strong smell and taste if you are a newbie! Start with just a single teaspoon diluted in water and work your way up to three times a day.
Homeopathy is a gentle system of healing that works with your body to restore balance and health. Homeopathy is based on a rule of nature called the “Law of Similars.” According to this law, “like cures like.” Homeopathic remedies are made by a process that involves repeated dilution of a specific substance until little of the original substance remains.
There are many single remedies that can be used for allergies, depending on the type of allergy or the symptom. Some of my favorites are Arundo, Allium cepa, Arsenicum album, Euphrasia, Nux vomica, Pulsatilla, and Sabadilla.
Some other favs are:
Stinging Nettle: This flowering perennial has a long history of medicinal use, dating back to ancient Greece. Its bioactive compounds have strong anti-inflammatory properties that have been shown in studies to inhibit the inflammation that causes allergy symptoms.
Turmeric: If you love ethnic food (especially Indian or Thai) as much as I do, then you’ve probably heard of turmeric before. This spice has some pretty amazing health benefits thanks to its powerful active compound called curcumin. Not only does this compound have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, but according to one study, it can help to alleviate allergy symptoms too .
Quercetin: This bioflavonoid is found in many plants and foods, including red wine, onions, apples, berries, green tea, and many others. It has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory properties, and is a natural antihistamine. One study also found that it can reduce the inflammatory response in the airways to improve allergic respiratory symptoms .
Bromelain: If you love pineapple, you’re in luck! If not, there are always supplements! This enzyme that’s found in the beloved, prickly fruit has some powerful anti-inflammatory properties that can help to fight allergies .
Butterbur: As part of the daisy family, this marsh plant may not look like anything special—but it is! Not only is it effective for treating migraines, but research has found that it is helpful in relieving sinus allergies and hay fever .
Vitamin C: While it isn’t technically an herb, Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-allergenic. It also functions as a natural antihistamine . While it’s found in many foods, taking 2 grams a day is necessary to see relief from allergies.
If you’re allergic to tiny little critters like insects or dust mites, dealing with the problem can feel overwhelming and impossible. With my own dust mite allergy, I tried vacuuming, using pillow and mattress encasements, changing filters more frequently, and using special sprays. Nothing seemed to be working. They’d always come back!
Then, I discovered ultrasonic pest controllers. These devices are so simple and easy to use. You plug them into the wall and they emit ultrasonic frequencies that are inaudible to humans and pets but irritate pests’ auditory systems.
Most companies claim these ultrasonic repellers also work on mice, mosquitoes, flies, cockroaches, spiders, bed bugs, ants, and more. Win-win!
While studies on their effectiveness have found mixed results, many happy customers beg to differ. If you check out the comments on many of these products, lots of people have found them to be effective. In my case, they worked! Most devices are very affordable and come in multi-packs so it’s a low-cost solution that’s worth a try.
6) Air Filter
When it comes to indoor allergies, you can either address the symptoms or you can try to remove the allergens. Indoor air filtrations systems are designed to remove things like pollutants, pet dander, mold spores, dust mites, pollen and any other potential contaminants from the air.
The best air filtration units for allergies are those that use a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter. These filters meet standards set bye the United States Department of Energy to remove up to 99.97% of tiny (0.3 micrometer or bigger) airborne particles.
Personally, I like the LEVOIT air purifier that uses a three-stage filtration system including a fine preliminary filter, a HEPA filter, and an activated carbon filter.
7) HEPA Vacuum
Just like using an air filtration system can remove contaminants from the air, a HEPA vacuum cleaner can help to remove contaminants that may have settled in carpet or on the floor. It’s important to note that not just any vacuum will do. Only HEPA filters can remove 99.97% of contaminants. My favorite HEPA vacuums (I own both) are the Dyson Ball and the Dyson Cordless Stick Vacuum.
Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese practice that is based on the flow of life energy called “qi” throughout the body along pathways that are called meridians. When these pathways become blocked, symptoms occur. Acupuncturists try to restore the energetic flow by inserting tiny needles at specific points on the body.
One 2012 study involving 422 people with seasonal allergies compared the effectiveness of acupuncture against a sham (false) acupuncture treatment and found statistically significant results in those receiving the real treatment . There are many practitioners who perform acupuncture so it’s definitely another avenue to explore.
Honey has been touted as a natural remedy for allergies for centuries. The belief is similar to homeopathy and the idea that like treats like. Honey naturally contains pollen, and consuming small amounts may help to desensitize the body. Raw, unpasteurized honey also has anti-inflammatory properties and can help with symptoms like soothing a sore throat. While research on the health benefits of honey is limited, one study did find that honey helped to relieve symptoms of allergies .
The gut is the root of nearly all disease in the body and the key to healing. I’m a strong proponent of gut health and cultivating a healthy microbiome. Probiotics are living microorganisms that have a positive effect on their host (us). It’s known that over 70% of your immune system is in your gut, so a healthy gut plays a huge role in allergy prevention and treatment. I am a big fan of Just Thrive Probiotics made with spores that can survive the harsh conditions of the GI system and come alive in your gut.
If you’re suffering from allergies, I feel your pain. I’ve been there. But—the good news is that allergy relief is possible using natural therapies that work with your body, not against it.
I have personally used all of the natural options listed above at one time or another and have found them to be safe, natural, and effective. I am now symptom-free thanks to working on my root issues (like detoxing mold and healing my gut) and am confident that I have all of these tools in my box in case any symptoms pop up.
I hope that you’ve found these 10 natural remedies for allergy relief helpful. Relief is on the way!
Which of these remedies have you found helpful? Leave a comment and let me know!