Hay fever: Natural remedies to ease the sneeze

If you're like millions of people around the country plagued with seasonal allergies, summer can literally bring tears to your eyes. Instead of being outdoors and smelling the roses, allergy sufferers have already retreated indoors to battle a war of sneezing fits, scratchy eyes, runny noses and the dreaded post-nasal drip.

The culprit, commonly known as hay fever, attacks when your body’s immune system over-reacts to dust, pollens, grasses and other allergens in the air.

Traditionally, people with seasonal allergies have sought temporary relief from over-the-counter medications in the form of antihistamines, decongestants and nasal sprays. But chronic sufferers have become all too aware that allergy medicines can cause annoying and sometimes even dangerous side effects.

With alternative health care steadily gaining acceptance, more and more people are ditching conventional allergy medication and opting for holistic therapy — a healing approach that integrates the whole person, mind, body and soul.

Unlike conventional, Western medical philosophy, the holistic principle behind treating allergies involves naturally strengthening the immune system, providing support for the adrenal glands, and using the right combination of vitamins, herbs and spiritual energy.

So if you're sick and tired of your allergies, fed up with annoying side effects that can rival the allergies themselves, or just sick and tired of hearing other people battle with allergies, check out these natural remedies and get on the road to holistic healing.

Natural Juice Diet

This approach is based on Chinese medicine philosophy. The natural juice fasting method is a blood purification and cleansing diet to promote a strong immune system and good digestion. Holistic health experts recommend a juice fast using raw carrots, celery and apple juice.

Magnesium-rich foods are also believed to help prevent allergies. Holistic doctors suggest munching on these snacks: cashews, almonds, sesame seeds, lima beans, white and red beans, millet, or bananas. You can add sprouts, green, leafy vegetables, root vegetables, and yellow fruit and vegetables to the diet and even occasionally eat wild and brown rice.

To achieve maximum allergy relief, it's recommended you avoid dairy, bread, pasta and any foods that clog the system.

Eat garlic

Even traditional Western medicine acknowledges that eating garlic can cure a multitude of sins. In fact, recent Japanese studies have found that aged garlic extract stimulates potent antimicrobial action that fights bacteria and yeasts. If you can stomach it, raw garlic is certainly good for you and has several health benefits to offer.

Otherwise, experts recommend enteric-coated tablets of dried or powdered garlic tablets because it's the type of supplement to take advantage of this herb's immune-boosting qualities. A note of caution — garlic, and other alliums can raise or lower blood sugar levels, so you should consult your doctor if you are diabetic or hypoglycaemic.

Vitamins

The theory here is that by taking the right vitamins, thus supporting the body's functions, we can achieve allergy relief. And it makes practical sense to use nutrition as a natural allergy treatment instead of conventional drugs.

Studies show that vitamins, minerals and herbs enhance the immune system without weakening the body’s defenses in the long term.

Try these supplements to help control your allergies:

Vitamin C — a natural antihistamine, improves adrenal function (up to 5,000 mg daily)
Grape seed extract — an immune booster (100 mg twice daily)
Magnesium — relieves brochospasm (400 mg, daily)
Vitamin B12 — reduces inflammatory response (1,000 mcg daily in the morning)
Vitamin A — an anti-inflammatory, improves immune system (10,000 IU two or three times daily)
Liquorice Root — This is a popular herbal remedy for allergy relief. It works by encouraging the production of certain hormones in the adrenal glands. It also reduces inflammation and enables your body to fight off viruses.

Acupuncture

According to traditional acupuncture, allergens can cause blockages in the flow of the body's energy, creating imbalances in the energy supply of different organs or systems, thus diminishing their function. This can cause physical, physiological and psychological symptoms, including pain, inflammation, emotional stress and other ailments.

Acupuncture treats allergies by eliminating the block to restore energy flow and normalise the state of health. The larger the blockage, the more time and treatments are required for the body to recover.

*There are a host of other effective holistic remedies that are slowly gaining acceptance in the form of alternative medicine. So if your allergies are driving you crazy, get hip and go holistic.

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