Allergies have been a huge problem for me for much of my life. And since my family wasn't really focused on natural living at all, we treated my allergies with drugs, rather than trying to find natural allergy remedies that could help me find relief without the side effects that medications cause.
Thankfully, there are other options today for me to lean on for myself and my family. These ten natural allergy remedies have made a huge difference for us.
My History with Allergies
I had chemical sensitivities for as long as I can remember. I recall feeling odd or even terrible while walking down the detergent / house cleaning aisle in the grocery store, or through the perfume section in a department store (this was all due to sensitivities to artificial fragrances), and I remember just not feeling great throughout my childhood. I suspect some of this was due to allergies that were just starting to develop.
But it wasn't until my teen years that my allergies got really bad.
So bad that I had to stay home from high school while the trees were in bloom, only going in for 9th grade Biology Class, since Mr. Propheta's course was so hard — there was no way I was going to make it without showing up.
Either my mom or friends brought my homework home to me for the remaining 6 weeks.
I knew that I had been sick, but I never realized how bad it was until I went back to visit my high school after I was in the work force. I ran into my old Spanish teacher, and after we chatted for awhile, he mentioned how surprised he was that I did so well in school despite being so sick.
I was actually so self-conscious about my “issues” when I was in high school that it didn't even occur to me that someone would have been concerned about me.
I really was. that sick.
I was on 3 different prescription allergy medications and was still almost incapacitated. Sneezing, runny nose, swollen eyes.
I dreaded the onset of spring each and every year.
During my 20s, I found an allergist who helped me tremendously with a special allergy shot protocol that really had a miraculous effect on me. I no longer was suffering terribly, and can function in the spring.
However, allergies do continue to be something that our family struggles with to varying degrees — especially my youngest.
So far, this year, our allergies haven't been too bad, but a few of us have had some more sneezing and eye itching episodes recently so I started thinking about all of this again, and wanted to share some of what natural allergy remedies have worked for us, in the hopes that something will help you.
The following are a number of natural allergy remedies that we have found effective for our family.
This post may contain affiliate links from which I will earn a commission.
Natural Allergy Remedies
1. Nettle Tea
Nettle leaf has carotene, vitamin K, and quercetin. There’s some evidence that using stinging nettle after the first sign of allergic symptoms helps reduce symptoms. In fact, reducing allergy symptoms is one of the known stinging nettle benefits.
However, make sure to buy the leaf and not the root, as the root has a totally different function.
We made Nettle Tea by the pot, then drink it throughout the day, and I find it really does help relieve our allergy symptoms.
I also sometimes make it in my beloved Stainless Steel French Press – very convenient.
2. Local Honey
Pretty much every day my sons each have 1 teaspoon of local honey.
They love having the treat (who doesn't love honey?), but they are also getting allergy prevention benefits.
Basically consuming local honey is like getting an allergy shot since you get small amounts of the pollen with each yummy bite. The bees collect pollen from the very plants that you are allergic to, so if you buy honey from bees that are not local, you are likely not getting the best “natural allergy shot” that you can, since you'll be “immunizing” yourself against the wrong kind of pollen.
3. Saline Rinse
We use this DIY Saline Rinse whenever we are fighting colds, and it's great for allergy season too.
The salt water helps draw out the pollen that is irritating your nose, and also flushes out mucous and opens up nasal passages.
It works wonders.
4. Essential Oils
Did you know this about these common essential oils?
These plant-based wonders are naturally anti-inflammatory and have natural antihistamine qualities.
Put a drop of one or each of these in your hand, combine with a carrier oil (I like Fractionated Coconut Oil because it won't stain clothes or bed linens and doesn't spoil) and place some on your cheeks, forehead, chest or sinuses.
Alternatively, you could blend a drop of each of the following together and add a carrier oil and then use the resulting blend.
Lavender – a natural antihistamine
Peppermint – has anti-inflammatory properties
Eucalyptus – is known to relieve allergies (citriadora is the most safe version of this oil)
Lemon – also works as a natural antihistamine
Be careful using this blend with young children – Peppermint should not be used for children (some say under the age of 6), and only use citriodora on children — no other eucalyptus should be used on children under 10. Citriodora is not expected to be as effective, however.
We used this blend just this morning after my youngest and I started sneezing a bunch and we felt much better afterwards.
Since most of your immune system is housed in your gut, anything you can do to heal and strengthen your gut is going to help with your allergies.
Our family takes probiotics daily.
Using fermented foods is of course one way to get good bacteria into your gut.
Currently, we are using Metagenics Synergy, and also InLiven from Miessence (read more here about my experience with these superfood probiotics) but we've tried many versions of probiotics in the past with varying results.
6. Air Filter
My youngest didn't do well with allergy shots — he kept having what seemed to be reactions to them, so we have opted out for the time being.
However, he has suffered quite a bit in the past few years, so this past year we bought a large HEPA air filter for our home, and it has really helped all of us.
During allergy season, we leave it on around the clock, and I even have a HEPA-like filter in my bedroom for extra help.
Bonus — these both work secondarily as a White Noise Machine, so you can sleep (and nap) more soundly too!
7. Wash Your Hair
Especially if you are outside a lot, but even if you are not, washing your hair regularly is very important during allergy season.
I know that the whole “no poo” movement is gaining popularity, and I personally don't like taking time to wash my hair many times during the week, but think about it — your hair is exposed to the elements all the time and when you wash it, you are getting things out of it that you don't want in there — things like pollution and …. pollen.
Though I think it's very important to go as natural as possible and avoid toxins in your shampoo and other personal care products, do you really want to sleep with all of that pollution and pollen right next to your face?
8. Close Windows
I'm all for saving money on air conditioning bills, but in the spring, no matter how hot it gets (or how clean the air feels outside), we do not open our windows.
This past week it was lovely spring weather, but I had to keep the house sealed up to prevent more pollen from coming inside.
We also keep the car windows up almost all the time when driving during the spring for the same reason.
9. Laundry Tips
Wash your bedding — often.
Since you are going to be in your bed for the greatest percentage of each day, having clean sheets is a must.
No Outdoor Drying
And while I love reducing our energy usage and limiting our carbon footprint, hanging laundry outside in seasons when there is a high pollen count is not a good idea for those of us who suffer from allergies.
We moved this past year and I plan to set up an outside clothes drying system, but that will not be in use in the spring months.
10. Nose Balm
Yes – I said “nose balm.”
Betcha didn't expect to see Nose Balm in a list of natural allergy remedies, did you?
Since I have perpetually dry lips (well, they are a lot better these days – thanks to good lip balms and this Nourishing Lip Scrub), I use lip balm. A lot.
But have you ever heard of Nose Balm?
You can buy something specifically made for this purpose, but really you can use any lip balm or other balm for this purpose.
Just wipe a little all around the base of your nose. The balm traps the pollen as it's about to enter your nose and helps relieve allergy symptoms.
Here is a balm that is made just for this purpose, but it is a little pricey ounce for ounce ($28.72 per oz.)
This Earth Mama Angel Baby Balm is a perfect alternative.
Personally, I used this Beautycounter Baby Balm this past week and it worked great. It's a fabulous lip balm too. (the ingredients of this particular product are very clean compared to all of their other products.)
However, this Mother's Balm from NYR Organic is made from 100% organic ingredients, which is better than both of the above products.