Allergies are on the rise in South Africa, Health24 reports. Globally, 30-35% of people experience allergies at some point in their lives — a number increasing largely due to environmental changes and insufficient immune systems.
Allergies occur when the immune system reacts to a foreign substance you either eat, inhale, touch, or inject into your body. You may experience symptoms like itchy eyes, coughing, sneezing, a runny nose, and a scratchy throat. While there’s no cure for allergies, there’s plenty of ways to manage them naturally without the need for medication, which often comes with unwanted side effects.
Change your diet
Rather than masking symptoms with medication, changing your diet can boost your immune system and alleviate allergies. Eat non-mucus forming foods like fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and yogurt containing active cultures. Avoid sugar, caffeine, and dairy which increase mucus production and congestion. Green tea and ginger, in particular, have been proven to reduce sneezing and congestion. Consuming local honey may also help your body adapt to the allergens in the area and decrease pollen sensitivity.
Herbs are effective at relieving allergy symptoms; several function as calming antihistamines which stop the body making its own histamine. For example, you can take both nettle leaf and moringa both as a tea or in capsules to soothe your allergy symptoms. Additionally, butterbur is a popular allergy treatment (taken either in pill or oil extract form). In fact, butterbur was found to be just as effective as conventional oral antihistamines for itchy eyes.
Purify your home
Dust, pollen, pet dander, and mold spores in your home can trigger allergies. But you can purify your home with a high-efficiency particulate air filter. HEPA filters trap these allergens, so they’re no longer circulating around the air in your home. You can also use HEPA filters in your vacuum cleaner and AC system to keep allergies at bay. It also helps to shower and change clothes every time you come in from the outside to make sure your home stays clean and allergen-free.
Probiotics are live cultures which contain good bacteria essential for a healthy immune system. Research has shown probiotics can regulate the body’s immune response to allergens and reduce symptoms. For example, some strains of good bacteria boost antibodies which combat allergies triggered by pollen over summer. You can take specially-formulated probiotic supplements to strengthen your immune system, but there’s also fermented foods containing good gut bacteria, such as, sauerkraut and kimchi.
Finally, it may help to start treating your allergies before you even begin experiencing symptoms. A good way to do this is by spritzing a saline rinse into your nose each day. The saline will get rid of pollen and reduce nasal congestion. Using a combination of these natural remedies should reduce or eliminate your need for medication.
By Jocasta Smith