Maybe you don’t want to deal with side effects like drowsiness, or you feel that pills and nasal sprays don’t jibe with your let-the-body-heal-itself philosophy. Here are some natural alternatives.
The Fruit Cocktail You’ve Never Heard Of Try: Quercetin, a bioflavonoid found in grapefruit and apples (as well as red wine, onions and black tea) and bromelain, an enzyme cocktail that’s abundant in the stems and juice of pineapples. Why: Quercetin acts like a natural antihistamine to prevent allergic reactions – at least in test tube studies. Bromelain has long been used as an anti-inflammatory and it happens to be a great buddy for quercetin: It helps increase the absorption of quercetin into the bloodstream. How: Taking quercetin and bromelain together may help prevent the immune response that causes symptoms like itchy eyes, sneezing and a runny nose, says Sezelle Gereau-Haddon, MD, an integrative otolaryngologist with the Mount Sinai Beth Israel Centre for Health and Healing. She recommends supplements because you’d need to eat a cornucopia of fruit to get noticeable results, Huffington Post reports.
The Shrub That Prevents Headaches (and Nasal Congestion) Try: Butterbur, a shrub that grows in wet, marshy ground. The name comes from the traditional use of the plant’s large leaves as a butter protector in warm weather. Why: Butterbur supplements can be just as effective as oral antihistamines for allergy symptoms like itchy eyes, found a government-supported clinical trial of 125 participants. Other studies suggest that the herb can help allergy-related headaches and nasal congestion. How: Gereau-Haddon recommends supplements but points out that butterbur is part of the ragweed family and, unfortunately, about 75 percent of people allergic to pollen-producing plants are also sensitive to ragweed (as well as birch trees, chrysanthemums, marigolds, and daisies).
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