Healthy Q & A: Allergies

Q:  I have horrible, horrible allergies.  I am basically miserable going outside, which is terrible.  Is there anything that can help?  I hate drugging myself with over the counter stuff.

A:  Allergies can be awful, and as pretty as the buds and flowers opening can be, it can make many people miserable.  Thankfully, there are several things which can make a big difference in allergy symptoms.


The first thing I’d recommend is something to irrigate and rinse out the sinuses.  The most commonly known thing for doing so is a neti pot, which basically looks like a small teapot.  Neti pots are wonderful, though we have a newer product for rinsing out the sinuses, called Nasopure, which is even easier to use to rinse pollen, pollutants, and excess mucus from the sinuses.  Here’s a quick video on how to use it.  It can even be used by children.


Next, there are two supplements which can really help with allergy symptoms, stinging nettle and quercetin, both of which work as natural antihistimes.  Quercetin, a potent antioxidant closely related to vitamin C, works to inhibit the release of histamine while also boosting the immune system.  Quercetin is often combined with the pineapple enzyme bromelain, which increases its effectiveness.  The other natural allergy remedy I’d recommend is stinging nettle capsules, which help to reduce sinus inflammation.  We do have one product at the store which combines all of the above, called Quercetin Nettle Plus by Mt. Angel.  It’s a really fantastic combination, which helps to relieve symptoms and get you through spring with a minimum of suffering!


There are also some lifestyle changes which can make a difference in allergy symptoms: keeping windows closed, changing clothes and bathing frequently, washing bedding.  Here is a great article with simple tips to get through allergy season a little easier.

Healthy Q & A: Seasonal Allergies


For me it seems like allergy season started last weekend.  I’ve had it for years and dread it.  I think I blew my nose 500 times yesterday.  I usually take over the counter allergy medicine, but I feel like it can’t be good to take that forever.  What would you recommend for allergies that really works?


Seasonal allergies can be awful, it can seem almost like you have a never-ending cold.  Medicating yourself for weeks on end is not ideal however.  Thankfully, there are a number of effective ways to help ease allergy symptoms.


The first thing I’d mention is a neti pot, a small ceramic container that looks like a teapot.  It’s wonderful for cleaning out the sinuses on a daily basis.  You fill it up with room temperature filtered water with a bit of salt to make a saline solution, and then use the neti pot to flush water in one nostril and out the other.  It sounds really odd, but once you get the hang of it, it’s a wonderful way to keep your sinuses free of allergens (it’s also great for colds and sinus problems in general).  This is a video on how to use a neti pot if my description is somewhat lacking.


Quercetin is a bioflavanoid which is great for allergy season.  It prevents the body from releasing histamine (the cause of your runny nose and watery eyes).  1,000mg per day between meals is a good dosage to start with.  Stinging nettle is another natural antihistamine that works well for allergy sufferers, without the drowsiness and other side effects common to over the counter antihistamines.


Another impressive natural antihistamine which has had positive recent research is butterbur.  In one recent Swiss study, butterbur extract was found to be as effective as the active ingredient in Zirtec (a popular seasonal allergy drug), without the side effects.


A product we especially recommend for allergies is Jarrow’s AllerTame.  It contains both butterbur and quercetin as well as omega 3 fatty acids and rosemary to help with reducing inflammation.  I’d definitely recommend giving it a try this allergy season.