Ahh, pollen

Originally published March 7, 2013

Ahh… red eyes, headache, runny nose. But it looks pretty!

Ahh… red eyes, headache, runny nose. But it looks pretty!

It’s allergy season… oh boy! Have you heard of a Neti pot? Using a Neti pot can work great to clear out the nasal passages. It can be a little bit tricky to figure out how to make it work, but look it up on YouTube. There’s a Neti pot called Nasopure that’s been developed by a pediatrician for kids to use (and adults!). It’s a little easier than the traditional version and doesn’t require the neck yoga.

There was a Neti pot scare in the news a while back, so make sure you use purified water in your Neti pot.

Certain herbs can be helpful during allergy season, specifically, turmeric[i][ii] and nettles leaf[iii] have been proven to be helpful. Nettle leaf extract comes from the stinging nettles that you may have experienced walking through fields. The extract acts on the body’s inflammation pathways to limit inflammation and it’s an antihistamine. Turmeric is a spice that is commonly used in foods from South and East Asian countries. The active component of turmeric is curcumin. Curcumin has been shown to be an excellent anti-inflammatory, and is often used for allergies.

Vitamin C, quercetin[iv], Bromelain and NAC are common ingredients in many natural allergy remedies. Quercetin is a bioflavonoid found in red wine, grapefruit, onions, apples, black tea, and, in lesser amounts, in leafy green vegetables and beans. It acts as a natural anti-histamine and mast cell stabilizer.

 

[i] Anat Cell Biol. 2010 Mar;43(1):36-43. Epub 2010 Mar 31. Inhibitory effects of curcumin on passive cutaneous anaphylactoid response and compound 48/80-induced mast cell activation. Choi YH, Yan GH, Chai OH, Song CH.

[ii] Mol Nutr Food Res. 2008 Sep;52(9):1031-9. Immunomodulatory effects of curcumin in allergy. Kurup VP, Barrios CS.

[iii] Nettle extract (Urtica dioica) affects key receptors and enzymes associated with allergic rhinitis. Roschek B Jr, Fink RC, McMichael M, Alberte RS. Phytother Res. 2009 Jul;23(7):920-6.

[iv] Role of quercetin (a natural herbal compound) in allergy and inflammation. Shaik YB, Castellani ML, Perrella A, Conti F, Salini V, Tete S, Madhappan B, Vecchiet J, De Lutiis MA, Caraffa A, Cerulli G. J Biol Regul Homeost Agents. 2006 Jul-Dec;20(3-4):47-52.