Allergy season is just around the corner, but individuals preferring natural medications (herbs, vitamins, and supplements) can breathe easier knowing that several therapies have supportive evidence for the treatment or prevention of seasonal allergies.
Here are some conclusions from the experts at the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database:
Bromelain is an enzyme from the pineapple plant and may be a useful addition to other therapies (such as antibiotics) used for sinusitis. Bromelain has anti-inflammatory properties, which may be beneficial for allergies by reducing swelling and improving breathing.
This is my personal favorite to recommend as good scientific evidence suggests that extracts from this perennial shrub not only may help prevent allergic rhinitis in susceptible individuals, but help in the treatment of symptoms. Comparisons of butterbur to prescription drugs, such as fexofenadine (Allegra®) and cetirizine (Zyrtec®), have reported similar effectiveness with fewer side effects.
Good scientific evidence suggests that nasal irrigation with warm saline may effectively treat allergies and chronic sinusitis. Nasal irrigation is generally well tolerated. It should be used cautiously in those with a history of frequent nosebleeds. Also, if the irrigation liquid is hot, the nasal tissues may become irritated.
- Limit the amount of time spent outdoors in the morning and evening, when pollen levels are the highest.
- After being outdoors, wash the hands and face to remove residual pollen.
- Keep windows closed and use an air conditioner in the house and/or car, if possible.
- Consider installing central air conditioning with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter attachment. The HEPA filter can trap airborne allergens (such as mold spores, dust mites and pollen) from outdoor air, preventing them from circulating inside.
- Avoid drying laundry outside, as pollen and other allergens may stick to the fabric.