For many of us the advent of Spring is coupled with allergies, wheezing, sniffing and itching that is triggered by high pollen counts, new plant growth and many other seasonal factors. Such allergies are caused when the immune system over-reacts to these typically harmless triggers.

As an organic lifestyle advocate, I always favour first using natural remedies to treat these nasties, although one should be mindful that serious allergic reactions like asthma, require medical intervention.

I have used the following natural remedies with great success, for many years.

Feed your body with lovely organic food

Although there is growing evidence that an organic, balanced diet can cure maladies, the primary benefit of this way of eating is that it helps to keep the immune system in top shape. And, the stronger your immune system, the less likely you are to be affected by seasonal allergic reactions. If you’re expecting allergies in April and May when the first Spring blossoms appear, start eating wisely and organically right now so that your immunity is gradually boosted in time for the pollen onslaught!

The term “organic food” is now widely used so it is good to remember that it means produce that is free of antibiotics and artificial growth hormones, that has been cultivated without pesticides and synthetic fertilisers, that has not been irradiated and that does not contain bio-engineered ingredients. Check before you buy!

Make quercetin your friend

Pack your diet with this natural bioflavonoid and potent antioxidant that acts almost like an antihistamine – a real allergy fighter! I have always understood that you should start increasing quercetin in your diet four to six weeks before allergy season. How do you do this? Increase your intake of organically grown onions, garlic, apples, red grapes and tomatoes, to name just a few of nature’s wonders. Add berries which, like the skin of red grapes contains the famed resveratrol, and you are sure to get an additional immune boost. If you prefer to take a quercetin supplement, remember to check with your health practitioner first, as you should do with the use of all herbal and natural supplements.

Steaming with eucalyptus oil

I fondly remember my father using steam to easy his Spring allergic symptoms! The pine-like aroma of eucalyptus oil can enhance a steam inhalation session by some measure. The rising eucalyptus vapour provides a soothing, menthol-like sensation that is sure to make breathing feel a little easier for wheezing allergy sufferers. I put a few drops in a bowl of steaming water and drape a towel over my head, while inhaling deeply for five to eight minutes. Or, I put a few drops of eucalyptus oil on the shower floor and enjoy breathing in the warm, steamy vapours. This clears nasal passages and provides great relief. But, remember this oil should never be taken per mouth and that pregnant women should always check with their health professional before using oils and herbs.

The “old fashioned” neti pot is back in fashion

This is an age-old way of flushing a saline solution through the nasal cavity to rinse away allergens and clear sinuses, giving allergy sufferers great symptomatic relief. It may not be very elegant, but it really works! Fill your neti pot with a sterile saline solution by dissolving one teaspoon of Himalayan or sea salt in a quart of warm water that has been previously boiled or is distilled. Tilt your head so that you can pour the mixture through one nostril and let it drain out of the other. Easy and inexpensive!

There are many more natural remedies to fight Spring allergens, but I hope that the ones I have explained are helpful.

Remember to feed your body with lovely organic foods, manage your stress levels, exercise and live positively!