Springtime is greeted with mixed emotions by people with pollen allergies. The reawakening of nature is heralded by sneezing fits, red and watery eyes and, in severe cases, allergic asthma. The good news: There are many time-tested home remedies that offer relief.
Allergy symptoms are signs that your immune system is on the rampage, reading to normally harmless substances such as pollen from grasses or plants. Here’s how to wage war on the microscopic menaces that send your immune system into overdrive.
• Black cumin, used for centuries to promote health and fight disease, can help to support an overly sensitive immune system. Make an herbal tea by steeping seeds in 1 cup (250 ml) boiling water for 10 minutes. Drink 4 cups (1L) a day for 3 months.
• Watch what you eat. Nutrition plays an important role, especially in the lead up to hay fever season. Vitamin C (fresh fruit, salad greens and vegetables) and magnesium (nuts, milk and grain products) strengthen your immune system. It may also help if you eliminate meat from your diet.
• A nasal rinse with table salt may help clear a congested nose and remove trapped irritants. Dissolve 1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt in 1 cup (250 ml) of warm water. Put the salt solution into a container with a long, thin spout or a shallow bowl. lean over the sink and sniff the liquid up into one nostril at a time, allowing it to drain out through your nose or your mouth. Nasal rinses are best used before going to bed.
• Cider vinegar is a proven treatment for hay fever. Put 1 teaspoon (5 ml) cider vinegar in 1/2 cup (125 ml) water and sip the mixture slowly, preferably in the morning.
• Apply a moist cloth to itching eyes for fast relief. Use cold or warm water, whichever feels better, but make sure it has been freshly boiled and cooled.