Spring seasonal allergies are a yearly trial common to many people. Some years are worse than others, but even at their mildest, they can be quite annoying, even aggravating. Pollen and other substances can cause an allergic reaction during this time of year. Certain dietary supplements can be helpful in easing the symptoms and course of a seasonal allergic reaction.
Experiencing Spring Allergies
Spring allergies, also known as allergic rhinitis or hay fever, are a response to an environmental allergen. While we think of them as “spring” allergies, these allergic reactions can strike as early as February and as late as winter. The spring allergy season is even longer in particularly rainy seasons, as well as in tropical climates where there’s a lot of moisture.
Spring allergy symptoms are recognizable and uncomfortable. They can include sinus and nose congestion, coughing, eye redness and irritation, a dry and/or sore throat, and fatigue. Your experience of these symptoms might not always be the same. The duration and intensity of symptoms varies depending on whether your body has antibodies for a certain allergen that it encounters.
The Causes of Spring Allergies
The predominant springtime allergen is pollen. Pollen are tiny grains released into the air from trees, grasses, and weeds to fertilize other plant life. When you inhale pollen through your nose, it can cause an allergic reaction. The immune systems of most people will respond to pollen as though it is a threat, and release antibodies and histamines which attack the allergen. The release of histamines causes spring allergy symptoms.
Many different trees and plants release pollen. These include cedars, poplars, and many others. You’re most likely to inhale pollen while outside on a windy day. Rainy days, on the other hand, can wash away pollen. However, spring rains can cause moisture to build up indoors, which leads to mold. Mold is another spring allergen, though not as common as pollen. It’s almost like you can’t win.
Remedies for Spring Allergies
The following supplements can help alleviate spring allergy symptoms. These can serve as great alternatives to OTC medications, and might even work better than such meds do.
Butterbur is an herb which has been shown to help alleviate spring allergy symptoms. Several studies support this; one study has even shown that butterbur works as well as cetirizine, the drug marketed as Zyrtec. Butterbur has an advantage over some OTC allergy meds, in that it does not cause drowsiness, while some OTC meds do cause drowsiness.
Bromelain, an enzyme that occurs naturally in pineapple, is commonly used to reduce inflammation and swelling of the sinuses. Some studies suggest that bromelain can help reduce inflammation that occurs as an allergic reaction.
Quercetin is a flavonoid that occurs naturally in many plants and plant-based foods. Science has shown that quercetin can have both antihistamine and anti-allergic effects. Animal studies suggest quercetin can also help to lower airway inflammation. An oral quercetin supplement contains much more concentrated quercetin than a piece of fruit, so it should be a preferred way to consume this helpful flavonoid.
Turmeric is a spice containing curcumin, which is its powerful active ingredient. Curcumin has been shown to inhibit the body’s allergic reactions. One significant study showed that curcumin correlates with reduced sneezing, congestion, and airflow restriction in individuals with allergic rhinitis.
Vitamin C is a natural antihistamine that can combat symptoms if taken during the onset of allergic rhinitis. Vitamin C also has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Taking in a high dose of vitamin C (up to 2 grams) could help greatly in combating a seasonal allergic reaction.
If you experience spring allergies, don’t let them run their course unabated. Taking one or more of the above supplements could help your body manage seasonal allergens, and significantly reduce their symptoms. Be sure to talk to your healthcare provider before adding any of these supplements to your daily regimen if it’s just for a few weeks.