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Allergy Alternative and Home Remedies

Allergies are common, but there are many allergy alternative and home remedies.

Fruits rich in vitamin C can help support the immune system and keep the body healthy. [©Shutterstock 2009]
©Shutterstock 2009
Fruits rich in vitamin C can help support the immune system and keep the body healthy.

For some patients, allergy alternative and home remedies are more appealing than traditional medical approaches. Some patients prefer to use natural methods of treating illness and disease, and allergies are no exception to this. Although alternative treatments are not proven to be effective, patients can opt to try them out before resorting to other methods of treatment, which usually involve medication. Since drugs have adverse affects on the liver, if a home remedy works in relieving symptoms or preventing allergy attacks, it may be a valid alternative to traditional medicine.

Dietary Alternatives

Staying healthy and bolstering the immune system are effective ways to prevent allergic reactions. Lactobacillus acidophilus are bacteria in the intestines that occur naturally and help keep harmful organisms out of the intestines. Taking supplemental L. acidophilus can help boost the immune system; yogurt is a good source of this probiotic.

Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is another supplement that can help support the immune system. Taking a daily multivitamin will help the body maintain homeostasis, or balance.

The antioxidants found in green tea have long been touted as healthful. Recent research shows that it may block the production of histamine and immunoglobulins, which are released during an allergic reaction .

Eating a balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables is important to keeping a patient's body at its healthiest, and thus, maintaining a strong immune system. According to the American Cancer Society, there is some evidence that eating apples, onions, leafy green vegetables and berries can help because they contain quercetin, a flavanoid that is thought to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

Medicinal Remedies

There are a few natural substances that have medicinal properties which can be useful for allergy sufferers. Among these are certain herbs that may help reduce the frequency of attacks or help with allergy symptoms:

  • Ginseng root
  • Echinacea
  • Butterbur
  • Gingko
  • St. John's wort

Before starting any type of herbal remedy, a patient should consult his or her regular doctor as well as an herbalist, homeopath or acupuncturist. Oftentimes, herbs are included in an acupuncturist's treatment..

Aside from herbs, allergy sufferers can use nasal cleansing solutions to help reduce symptoms of rhinitis and sinusitis. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services points out that nasal irrigation is an inexpensive yet effective way to get relief from allergy symptoms. There are two types of irrigation. The first is a home remedy that involves mixing warm water, kosher salt and baking soda in a spray bottle and spraying the solution into the nostrils. The second method of irrigation is commonly done with a neti-pot, and is performed by turning the head and pouring a solution up the nostrils. Both of these methods can help clear mucous from the nasal passages, and many allergy sufferers say that the warm water eases some of their pain.

Making Changes to the Home Environment

The Mayo Clinic recommends that patients clean their houses on a regular basis to keep allergens down. This includes using a HEPA filter in the air conditioner to avoid spreading allergens around the house via a central air system.

Patients should also check for mold and wood rot. If there has been previous water damage, it is possible that mold has formed and spores are causing allergic reactions in members of the household. Removing and replacing any items that are suspect may help.

Sometimes establishing a weekly cleaning routine can help patients keep their homes allergen-free. This may include vacuuming floor coverings, washing bed sheets and using a bleach solution to help cut down on bacteria in the bathrooms and kitchen.

See a Professional

Alternative medicine practitioners can also help when it comes to allergy alternative and home remedies. Professionals such as acupuncturists, homeopaths, herbalists, chiropractors, massage therapists and hypnotherapists can all offer allergy sufferers some relief. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America does caution that there are some special considerations when choosing to partake in alternative therapies. The most common of these is to watch for the placebo effect. This occurs when a therapy results in a reduction of symptoms but is not due to the therapy itself. This happens because psychologically, patients want to believe a therapy is working so they sometimes convince themselves that it is, even when it truly isn't.

Still, using the services of an alternative medicine professional can help reduce general discomfort and possibly alleviate uncomfortable symptoms. Patients should consult with any professional before proceeding to determine a course of treatment.

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