Like many people, I suffer from pollen and hay fever allergies. The bane of my childhood, when I spent most of my time in the barn and still carried a box of tissues with me everywhere I went. My allergies had been getting better as I grew older–but this year everything went all to hell and my allergies have been the worst they’ve been in years.
Even worse, I can’t take most allergy medicines because they make me sleepy, including the supposedly “non-drowsy” kinds. Plus I hate taking pills, though I’ll take them when necessary. A few times this year those pills became necessary, and they knocked me out for a good three to four hours. Fun. Normally sleep is good. But not at 3 in the afternoon in the middle of class.
I hear, both in person and browsing the interwebs, that many pagans prefer a more natural approach to healing and medicine, and only resort to pills when they are necessary. (Though this of course does not apply to all–there are some who will use conventional medication first, and only resort to natural remedies if or when the conventional means don’t work, especially for serious problems.) So, if you’re like me and can’t or won’t take allergy pills, yet still need some relief, I have a few suggestions:
- Mint: I have actually had success with this, which is why I list it first. Use essential oil of mint to help with the sinuses. I don’t think it actively prevents allergies, but it does help in breathing easier and in my experience I think it even helped in preventing somewhat the usual reaction to pollen. I noticed that when I smelled mint I didn’t sneeze as much, and my nose was less stuffy. I could breathe! Even mint toothpaste and mint gum helped, so I don’t think it depends entirely on the essential oil (although I’m sure the oil is most effective). Doubt me if you wish, but I was in Pittsburgh and suffering from allergies, unable to take a Benadryl or I would sleep my vacation away. My aunt offered me a stick of mint gum, and without thinking of allergies I took it. Ten minutes later I’d noticed I had stopped sneezing and I could breathe easier. I chewed mint gum for the rest of the trip and had very few problems after that. Cross my heart and hope to die if I lie!
- Quercetin: a plant-derived flavonoid nutritional supplement that some people use to help with allergies. I had originally planned to try this, but I was having trouble finding it, and now I don’t need it! It’s not as “natural” as mint or saline, but it is plant-based. However, because it’s a supplement, ALL directions and information on the label should be read before use. More info: click here.
- Saline spray: I’ve used this before. The key here is to use it at least once a day. It keeps the nasal cavity hydrated (prevents nosebleeds, if your allergies are as serious as mine), and helps to flush out the allergens that you breathe in. I include this in natural remedies because, if my understanding is correct, it’s just a mixture of salt and water. Sounds pretty non-scientific to me.
- Fish oil: I’ve heard of this only briefly, but I’m not sure of its effectiveness or how it would be used for allergies. But it could be something to look into.
- Wash: Wash before going to bed, either by taking a full shower to get rid of as many allergens on your body as possible, or if you can’t shower (or already did), then just wash your face. It seems like common sense, and I certainly hope everyone showers. But washing up before bed takes away the allergens that stick in your hair, on skin, on clothes, etc. and should help with sleeping.
Hope someone out there finds this helpful! And good luck with the allergies, now that we’re moving soon from spring to summer!