If you are like 10-25% of the world, Spring-time brings on sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes and congestion. Whether you are dealing with acute or chronic allergies, these symptoms are no doubt uncomfortable. Conventional medicine used nasal decongestants, pain relievers, antihistamines, drugs that thin mucus and even antibiotics. Sometimes these drugs are ineffective and some can even cause dependency.
Traditional Chinese Medicine sees an underlying constitutional deficiency in people who suffer from allergies. There is a defense system (called Wei Qi) that circulates around our body, protecting us from exterior invasion. Allergic symptoms point to this defensive Qi being weakened. Though it is best to address this weakened state before allergy season begins, there are still somethings that can be done today that can ease suffering.
1. Stinging Nettle is a natural alternative to antihistamines and doesn’t have the uncomfortable side effects of drowsiness and dry mouth. It is a commonly found plant in the United States. You can make it into a tea, take it in capsule form, and there are also tinctures available. Peppermint tea is also a great herbal option.
2. Nasal Irrigation using a saline solution can soothe your upper respiratory tract and also clear lodged irritants from your nasal sinuses. Ready-made solutions are easily found a local pharmacy or grocery store. You can also make your own solution or use pre-packaged options. Doing this in the morning and evening can give you strong relief.
3. If you are particularly sensitive to pollen, and you have spent time outside, consider a hot shower before bed. Not only will the hot steam open up your sinuses, you will also be washing off the sticky pollen stuck to your skin, hair and clothes.
4. If a hot steaming shower is not an option, use a pot to boil water. You can drop some essential oils in (I recommend Eucalyptus or Lavender). Bring a few cups of water to a boil, turn off the heat. Drop several drops of the oil in to the water. With a towel over the top of your head like a hood, trap as much steam as you can and inhale deeply. Doing this for 5 − 10 minutes.
5. Make sure your home environment is clean of mold, pet hair and other allergens. It goes without saying, but if you have irritants constantly around you, you will constantly react to them. Wash your pets, disinfect surfaces that have mold on them, use a dehumidifier and air filter. Avoiding the cause of the symptoms is a tried and true method.