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Natural Strategies For Seasonal Allergies

May 9, 2012

Spring and Summer are such delightful seasons!  We get to be out in the garden, the flowers are blooming, the breeze is blowing…..and if you have hay fever you are sneezing uncontrollably.  It’s my least favorite part of these beautiful days.   If you have allergies you know what I mean.  It can totally ruin your day.

Symptoms of allergies:

  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Swollen sinuses
  • Itchy and/or swollen eyes
  • Scratchy throat

If you’re anything like me, you really dislike taking over-the-counter and prescription medication.  If there is a natural way to treat something you’ll do it!  And yet, when the sneezing just won’t stop you get to the end of your crunchiness and feel like reaching for the antihistamines.  One of my sons has allergies particularly bad.  There are a few things we’ve done to make it through this season with our health and patience in one peace.

1. Local raw honey and/or local bee pollen.

Daja buying some raw local honey at the Montrose Farmer’s Market!

This is my favorite and easiest remedy.  However, you need to understand why and how it works.  First of all, it doesn’t work like popping a pill.  You cannot just take a spoonful and then expect your symptoms to go away like you would with a pill.  It also doesn’t work with the idea that if a little is good for you than a lot is better.

Why?  Because honey works very gently and homeopathically to build your body’s natural resistance and immunity to airborne allergens.   For those that are unfamiliar with homeopathy, here is a very simplified explanation: When you get sick or the body is not in balance your body produces a symptom.  The symptom is a sign that the body is trying to correct something.  The symptom itself is not the disease.  Your body’s  auto-regulatory mechanism called the homeostatic mechanism (think of how a thermostat keeps your house at an ideal temperature, alternating switching on the heat or the air conditioner) keeps the body in a state of homeostasis (or balance).  Homeopathic medicine stimulates the body’s natural mechanism so that the body heals itself, thus the symptoms disappear.

Homeopathics work on the principle of using like to treat like.  In pharmacology it’s called the “law of similars.”   Minute doses of elements and extracts from plants, minerals, and animals are given in small doses–just enough to trigger the body to respond itself.  This is why you don’t need to have spoonful upon spoonful of honey to fight your allergies.  A bit everyday will do it.

Local honey works for the airborne seasonal allergies because the bees make the honey from the pollen in your area.  Therefore, honey produced in Ohio will not necessarily help me in Los Angeles.  The more local the honey, the better it will work for you.  The small amounts of pollen in the honey along with the healthy bacteria will help your body to create a healthier immune response.

If you find a local honey producer, ask if they have bee pollen.  You can take that as a supplement instead of honey.  A good place to start looking is at our local farmers market.

Ideally you should start a honey regime 3-6 weeks before allergy season.  Although (at least here in So. Cal) we are already in the throes of allergy season, you can still take it daily and begin to build your immunity.  We do this by spreading a bit of honey on our oatmeal in the morning or a spoonful in our smoothies.  If we aren’t eating something that lends itself to honey, we’ll take a small spoonful directly.

Be very wary of commercial honey you can pick up at the regular grocery store.  It may not be what you think it is.

2. Chiropractic.

When your throat starts itching and your eyes start running you may not immediately think of seeing a chiropractor.  (Aren’t chiropractors only good when your neck or back hurt?)  Actually, our family has experienced great results with regular chiropractic care.  The whole family sees a chiropractor–including the baby!

How does this work?  The chiropractic approach is to remove vertebral sublaxations, which are very common and put stress on the nervous system.  By relieving the source of the stress the body can function more efficiently.  Studies in psychoneuroimmunology show that when the nervous system functions better, the immune system functions better!

I take aspirin for the headache caused by the Zyrtec I take for the hayfever I got from Relenza from the uneasy stomach from the Ritalin I take for the short attention span caused by the Scopederm Ts I take for the motion sickness I got from the Lomotil I take for the diarrhea caused by the Zenikal for the uncontrolled weight gain from the Paxil I take for the anxiety from the Zocor I take for my high cholesterol because exercise, a good diet, and regular chiropractic care are just too much trouble. (T-shirt from here.)

3. Oil Pulling.

Have you ever tried this?  Oil pulling is an ancient method of releasing toxins from the body.  It strengthens teeth and gums and freshens breath.  It is said to also cleanses your lymph-nodes and sinuses.  Since we’ve been regularly oil pulling I’ve noticed that my son’s hay fever has dramatically improved.  I notice that after about 10 minutes of pulling that my sinuses start draining and my head becomes very clear.  While you can use any kind of oil, by far the most palatable is coconut oil.  This should be done on an empty stomach first thing in the morning.  Usually I’m pulling while making coffee and getting breakfast ready.

It’s super easy.

Here’s what you do:

1. Place a spoonful of oil in your mouth.

2. Swish it gently around, making sure it covers all your teeth and gums.  Sort of suck it through your teeth.  DO NOT SWALLOW IT!  It will quickly become full of toxins and you don’t want to put these back in your body!

3. Continue for 5-20 minutes.

4. Spit in the trash can!  (Coconut oil can clog up the sink!)

4. Supplement with herbs.

Herbs that are helpful in managing seasonal allergies are nettle leaf (not the root), mints, eye bright (especially if your symptoms manifest with itchy, runny or irritable eyes), clover, lavender, and calendula.  Mountain Rose Herbs has a tea blend of helpful herbs for allergies: called Allergy Season Tea.

Bulk organic herbs, spices and essential oils. Sin

5. Fermented and cultured foods.

An important–vitally important–part of a healthy immune response is a healthy digestive track.  A healthy gut is key to optimal health.  This is why we include a lot of cultured foods in our daily diet.  Every day we have kombucha, kefir, yogurt, sourdough, lacto-fermented vegetables, etc.  You can get started making fermented foods in your own kitchen with starters and cultures from Cultures For Health.
Cultures for Health Starter Cultures and Supplies for Real Food

6. Prayer.  

As always, this is our step number 1!  If we feel ourselves starting to not feel well, for whatever reason, we pray.  We believe we have grace and authority from the Lord over sickness.

May this Spring and Summer be delightful for you without the interference of allergies!

Disclaimer – The herbal information on this web site is intended for educational purposes only. It is not the intention of the writers to advise on health care. Please see a medical professional about any health concerns you have.  Disclaimer – These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA.  The information on this web site is not intended to prevent, diagnose, treat, or cure any disease.

(Linked to Wildcrafting Wednesday and Backyard Farming Connection Hop)

15 Comments leave one →
  1. May 9, 2012 4:13 pm

    I get it…I really do! I just gag at the thought of oil in my mouth. 😦 The natural remedy for gallstones RUINED oil pulling for me. MAYBE someday!

    • Daja permalink*
      May 9, 2012 8:07 pm

      Well, you could start the kids and Josh doing it! 🙂

  2. May 9, 2012 5:24 pm

    Interesting. Was just thinking about this and having to look it up again. Thanks for sharing. I was also wondering about the type of oil. Now, which coconut oil do you use. I can’t remember now if it was processed or raw.

    • Daja permalink*
      May 9, 2012 5:35 pm

      Any kind of oil will work for oil pulling. But, coconut oil is the most palatable. The others sort of make me gag! LOL! If I didn’t have coconut though, I’d muscle through, I think.

      I get a raw, organic, cold pressed coconut oil. I buy it in bulk from Azure. Someone told me it was best to come in an opaque container so that it’s wonderful properties are not lost due to the light. So, the only way I’ve found it in an opaque container was when buying a huge tub. But, that’s OK, because we use it quite a lot.

  3. Leona permalink
    May 9, 2012 10:59 pm

    I am going to try the oil pulling!! I think I can do that 🙂 I have been eating the honey I got from a local farmer, he told me to take like 3xs a day for a good month THEN to take it just once a day once symptoms improve.(build immunity).. It did not help much but still taking it. I went to the Chiropractor today, oh man did I NEED that badly!! Massage is another good one for the sinuses. I have major swelling in my face/neck/head, I don’t sneeze much, I am just swollen and get headaches 😦 The massage made my sinuses open up a bit and start to drain!

  4. Leona permalink
    May 9, 2012 11:07 pm

    OH I am waiting on my order from Cultures for health, I CANT WAIT!! YIPPEE!! BTW have you ever heard of GAPS? I went to an info meeting, found it all interesting… Your fermented post came just in time for me 🙂 THANKS!!

    • Daja permalink*
      May 10, 2012 8:44 pm

      Yes, I have heard of GAPS. I know people who have had really good results for healing some chronic things using the GAPS diet. Are you going to try it? It’s not for everyone, for sure. But, if you need to sort of reset your body and get back in balance, it’s worth it!

  5. Jen permalink
    May 10, 2012 5:37 am

    Thank you so much for this post, my son and I both suffer seasonal allergies so we will give these a try. I always forget about local honey come allergy season. We always have raw coconut oil around so we will try oil pulling. I love the t-shirt… so true.

  6. THE Bombshell* permalink
    May 10, 2012 6:28 pm

    I want to eat Ceasar up!!!!

  7. May 18, 2012 8:43 am

    I’ve seen strong-brewed nettles tea (especially sun tea) be a beautiful anti-allergy tool. For my kiddo, it was finding the right homeopathic match and glyconutrients that worked. Beautiful suggestions here 🙂

  8. March 15, 2013 4:49 am

    Great post. I have tried oil pulling but stopped b/c of amalgam in my mouth. (I don’t want the risk of pulling the mercury out.) But I had no idea it could help with allergies. My oldest dd has them pretty severely and she might benefit from the oil pulling.
    Thanks for sharing at Wildcrafting WEd.
    Jennifer at The Entwife’s Journal

  9. June 25, 2013 2:55 pm

    Wow! Great information. Never heard of oil pulling before. Thanks for teaching something this evening. Continued blessings…

  10. Linda Nelson permalink
    January 9, 2014 10:30 pm

    Hi Daja: I have been having really bad allergies the last month or two and I had tried oil pulling but had not stuck with it. I am starting again tomorrow.
    How long does it take to see results? I can’t take the honey due to being per-diabetic. So I’m a little hesitant to start it.
    Thanks for your article.

    • January 10, 2014 9:06 am

      Oil pulling always helps me almost immediately to clear my sinuses and relieve an itchy throat. But to see long-term results, I do it every morning. So, I would think that with several days (perhaps a week) of doing it consistently (once or twice a day) you’d get results you could feel.

      Of course, monitor your blood sugar, listen to your body, and consult with your doctor if you need to regarding the honey. But, as I stated in the article, a little is all it takes. You don’t need a large amount. A small bit will do it and you can take it along with other food (especially protein!) so that it will have a less adverse effect on your blood sugar.

      Hope that helps!


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