By Emily Holler
Allergies seem to be on the rise with more and more people suffering chronic sinus or respiratory irritation in their daily life. Australia and New Zealand have among the highest prevalence of allergic disorders in the developed world with children also at high risk of developing allergies, sometimes even resulting in life threatening anaphylaxis. It is estimated that 4.1 million Australians (amounting to almost 20% of the population) have at least 1 allergic disease.
Allergies can really make you miserable and those who suffer would give almost anything for some relief. Diet, gut health and overall health and wellbeing play a big role in the development of allergies as they are pivotal to the functioning of the immune system. So a long term strategy would involve strengthening these areas. In the meantime however, the good news is that there are many natural and affordable ways to reduce the misery of allergies.
Here are our top tips for managing allergies:
1. Apple Cider Vinegar
Is there anything that apple cider vinegar isn’t good for? This age old remedy is recommended for reducing mucous production and and cleansing the lymphatic system. At the first sign of an attack, simply flush sinuses with ACV using a neti pot (see below). One diluted teaspoon is sufficient.
2. Neti Pot
A neti pot is a device used to flush the sinus cavity of allergens and congestion. Also known as ‘sinus irrigation’, this ancient practice has become more mainstream in recent times. Be sure to use distilled, sterile water as tap water is full of nasties that could actually exacerbate the problem.
As already mentioned, the health of the gut plays a significant role in our bodies ability to cope with allergens or not. Many studies have linked the presence of plentiful and diverse species of bacteria in the gut with a reduced allergic response. Simply add a high quality probiotic supplement to your diet and / or add fermented foods such as kefir, sauerkraut and kombucha to your diet.
4. Essential Oils
Australia’s own eucalyptus oil is one of the most potent remedies available for killing the house mites responsible for causing allergic reactions. By inhaling via a diffuser, essential oils can also be used for reducing inflammation and improving the detoxification of the organisms that can trigger an allergic response. Frankincense oil has been proven to have an immune boosting response. Oils can also be rubbed on the chest in a carrier oil such as coconut.
5. Stinging Nettle
Stinging nettle is a wonderful herb with many profound uses, one of which is its ability to treat hay fever and allergic rhinitis. It does this by controlling the histamine response that takes place in the body in response to allergens. Nettle can be consumed as a tea, in a tincture or in capsule supplement form.
Hopefully these simple remedies can offer relief to those of you who are suffering from chronic allergies. However strengthening the body (specifically the gut) and the immune system will be crucial for achieving long lasting reduction of allergic disorders.