This year has been one of the worst allergy seasons in recent memory. Kids and adults are flocking to the acupuncture clinic for relief. But did you know there are tools you can use in your own home to help with seasonal allergies as well?
I like to divide allergy care into three buckets:
- Daily practices
- Dietary changes
- Herbs and supplements
The first daily practice is nasal rinsing. Adults and children can both use a neti pot daily to flush the mucus membranes and reduce inflammation and irritation. Children may need some incentive to get started with this routine. If your child is too young or just plain unwilling to use a neti pot, try using a nasal spray such as Xlear Kids Nasal Spray with xylitol and saline.
The second is using anti-inflammatory essential oils (either through a diffuser or on acupressure points). You can use chamomile, eucalyptus, lavender, lemon, or peppermint. If you use them in a diffuser, follow the manufacturer’s recommended quantity of essential oil drops. If you are using them on your or your child’s skin, make sure to dilute a few drops into a tablespoon or more of oil (olive oil and jojoba oil are great choices). You can apply them to the soles of the feet or to acupressure points such as the webbing between your index finger and thumb (a point that helps reduce pain and inflammation in the head and face), or on the temples. Always test these diluted essential oils on a small spot of skin (usually I test on the lower leg) to make sure you and your child can tolerate the oil blend before using it widely on the body.
If you suffer from red, itchy, inflamed eyes, you can also use a daily compress on your eyes. Roll a handful of organic dried chrysanthemum flowers into a coffee filter or paper towel, soak with water, and lay back with the compress over your closed eyes. Let the herbal water reduce the irritation in your eyes.
During the allergy season it is prudent to reduce consumption of dairy, as dairy contributes to the production of mucus for many people. Additionally, increase the quantity and variety of fruits and vegetables, as these carry valuable antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that can help the immune system. Lastly, introduce or increase the quantity of fermented foods, as these are a great source of probiotic compounds which support digestion and immune health. You can try yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, and kombucha, and try to include some at least once daily.
Herbs and Supplements
Research has shown that a handful of herbs and supplements are truly helpful in reduce allergic symptoms. Nettle tea is a great daily drink to reduce hayfever symptoms. Put one handful of organic dried nettle leaves in a jar, fill it with hot water, and let it steep for an hour or as long as overnight. Strain the tea and drink throughout the day.
Another compound that helps with allergies is quercetin. You can work on consuming more quercetin-containing foods such as citrus fruits, apples, grapes, dark cherries, dark berries, onions, parsley, and sage. You can also supplement with quercetin using the following doses:
- 2-4 years: 50 mg daily
- 4-8 years: 50-100 mg daily
- 8-12 years: 100-200 mg daily
- 12-18 years: 200-400 mg daily
- 19+ years:400-1000 mg daily
During the first week of using quercetin you can use a “loading dose” that is twice the regular daily dose.
Vitamin C is also known as a natural anti-histamine. You can increase Vitamin C-containing foods in your diet (good options include citrus fruits, kiwis, bell peppers, strawberries, tomatoes, cruciferous veggies such as broccoli and cabbage, and white potatoes) or supplement with the following doses:
- 2-5 years: 250-500 mg daily
- 5-12 years: 500-1,000 mg daily
- 12-18 years: 1,000-2,000 mg daily
- 19+ years: 2,000 mg daily
If you are trying a number of these practices and still suffering with allergies, come on in for an acupuncture or acupressure session! It is possible your body is struggling with additional issues and needs a little more care to get through the allergy season. I look forward to supporting you and your family with your seasonal allergies!