I don't know about you but as Spring gets closer and closer, I know my sinuses are going to start acting up. That stuffy nose and sinus pressure is awful. I feel like I constantly have to blow my nose or that an elephant is sitting on my sinuses. Seasonal allergies are no fun. While it is important to treat the sinuses to avoid a sinus infection, I don't like taking over-the-counter medications for nasal congestion (or really for anything). The side-effects can be pretty bad. Especially if you are taking over-the-counter products for a long period of time. Some products, like nasal spray, can be addicting.
One of the most popular products taken to relieve nasal congestion is diphenhydramine. Diphenhydramine suppresses the histamine response in our bodies. Histamine is our natural reaction to an allergen, such as pollen or dust. While this is a valued response if you suffer from allergies, there are natural products that can do the same thing and not cause side-effects.
One of my favorite antioxidants that helps with seasonal allergies is Quercetin. Quercetin is found in apples, blueberries and onions. The saying is true: An apple a day keeps the doctor away! But I digress. Quercetin has been studied in rats and shown to suppress allergic response. To start taking Quercetin, take at a minimum 200 mg per day. If you don't feel relief in about 5 days, slowly move up to 1,000 mg per day. Definitely take Quercetin with a meal to increase absorption. A couple of my favorite brands of Quercetin are below. Just remember, the cost per pill for these products translates into less money spent at the Doctor or buying an over-the-counter product that can have side-effects.
Believe it or not Vitamin C is a potent vitamin to help reduce seasonal allergies. If you aren't taking Vitamin C daily, you should. Vitamin C is prevalent in a variety of foods, most commonly in citrus fruits but also broccoli and bell peppers. Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin which means you cannot take too much. Your body can excrete it easily. You should take at least 1,000 mg a day. While you can take a pill, there are also powdered mixes such as EmergenC that you can put into water. This helps achieve two healthy living goals. Drinking enough clean water and getting 1,000 mg of Vitamin C. Some people may not be able to handle 1,000 mg of Vitamin C all at once. They may experience side-effects such as gas. Simply look for a lower dose supplement and take it throughout the day.
Probiotics are another supplement that you can take to reduce allergic responses to pollen and dust. Thought they were only good for digestive health? What if I told you about 70% of your immune system lives in the gut? Probiotics benefits are they help populate good bacteria in the digestive tract which in turn, gives you a healthy immune system to fight back against seasonal allergies. Look for products that have both Lactobacillus and Bifidobactrium strains. These are the most populous strains in our body so you will get the most benefit by taking a product with them. Here are a few I like:
If you struggle to remember to take supplements, there are other natural remedies you can use to help relieve nasal congestion promote sinus drainage. These methods will give temporary relief but if you really want to reduce your bodies allergic response, supplementation is the way to go. The Neti Pot is a great way to clean the sinuses and promote sinus drainage. Make sure to use clean lukewarm water when cleansing the nasal passages. Don't use water for the tap because you will be introducing other chemicals into the nasal passage. The nose is very sensitive to chemicals so try to avoid knowingly putting chemicals into it.
Essential oils are also helpful for nasal congestion. I use eucalyptus oil in a diffuser when I am working in my home office. But this is not a practical solution when I am working at the corporate office. There are necklaces and bracelets that can be used for diffusing the oil through out the day. For sinuses I would recommend using a necklace with a lava stone. You simply add a drop of oil on your fingers and rub it on the lava stone. Put it back in the necklace to enjoy nasal congestion relief all day.
Healthy and Natural World reports that peppermint oil is great for congestion relief. Inhaling it reduces the amount of phlegm which will help you breath easier. Lemon oil is also known for reducing nasal mucus and treating throat and mouth inflammation. A great side-effect of lemon oil is that it helps to reduce stress. So when you are inhaling lemon oil for allergies your mood will brighten as well. Isn't that fantastic?
Tea is another great way to relieve seasonal allergies. Buddha Tea has a variety of teas to choose from. I personally like Hyssop Tea. This tea has a sweet taste, helps to relieve congestion and has anti-viral properties to reduce the risk of infection and promotes healing. Other teas to try are Licorice Root Tea and Spearmint Leaf Tea. Licorice Root relaxes the lungs and reduces the amount of time we need to cough or sneeze. Spearmint Leaf soothes the throat from irritation caused by post-nasal drip and coughing. It also breaks down mucous.
Another natural way to fight allergies? Exercise. That's right. Exercise promotes strong blood flow in the body plus it heats up the body helping to kill pathogens. Exercise does not have to be very strenuous to work. Committing to moving your body at least 30 minutes a day will help you manage seasonal allergies and nasal congestion. Yoga is a great way to relieve sinus congestion due to allergies. Taking a class or doing a workout from home by searching YouTube, let's you find classes where you spend time with your head below your chest and will help clear nasal congestion. This doesn't mean you have to go upside down! Poses like Downward Dog, Rabbit, Puppy Pose, Fish Pose and Alternate Nostril breathing will help your body breakdown the congestion. You can go to LiveStrong to learn more about the poses.
I hope you enjoyed this post about natural ways to clear your sinuses. If you try any of the alternatives I've shared, let me know how they are working for you. If you would like to receive more healthy living tips and recipes for free, follow my blog on Bloglovin.