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  • Kristen Fewel

The Outdoor Antidote: Natural Remedies for Allergies

Published Mar/April 2018

Spring is here and nature’s calling! You can’t wait to get outside to adventure under the blue skies, warm sun, and flowers in full bloom! Ahh- choo!

The cold reality of a warm spring is that many of us have a reflexive and mucosal reaction to things flying through the air, up our nose, and into our lungs. Few things are more annoying than running outside with a box of tissues in every pocket and purse, then later pulling those tissue pieces out of your laundry.

Sneezes, coughs, and runny noses are our body’s way of getting the foreign invaders out, so stifling the inconvenience of hay fever with medication is not a good idea for long periods of time. Although store-bought medication can help you get through important occasions, they also come with side-effects—some of them quite serious-- so natural remedies and long-term immune-building strategy is the best for your overall health.

Some natural remedies can provide immediate relief, while others are more effective when done regularly as a part of a consistent healthy allergy-prevention lifestyle. This will reduce the severity of your symptoms, while also decreasing inflammation in your body and detoxifying your home environment.

In thick of an allergy attack, a steamy eucalyptus shower will clear nasal passages in short order. This is an upgrade to grandma’s cold remedy of covering your head with a towel over a bowl of hot water. Splash a few drops of eucalyptus oil on the wall of your shower out of range of the water stream and breath in the vapors. Blow your nose in the shower to evacuate the mucous. Note of caution: Do not bathe in eucalyptus, as it will sting your sensitive parts.

Lavender, lemon, and peppermint essential oils have natural anti-histamine properties and are beneficial for most adults and children over 10 years of age. The suggested blend for most adults is a few drops each of lavender, peppermint, eucalyptus citriadora, and lemon in a vapor diffuser or small spritzer bottle of distilled water. Breathe deeply.

The best remedy for allergies is keeping your overall health as strong as possible. Some non-medicated lifestyle measures you can take to feel healthier can be found in food and drink, and that is something you do at least three times per day! Establish an alkaline plant-based diet which helps your body fight off infection, maintain your energy, breathe easier, and sleep better. Junk food distracts your immune system from doing its job so pass on the pastries, and don’t do those donuts. As tempting as those things can be when you’re frustrated or not feeling well, they will not help you get better.

Relieve a stuffy nose by drinking plenty of fluids throughout the day such as nettle leaf tea (also called nettle stinging leaf), which acts as a natural antihistamine. Nettle tea by YogiTea or Traditional Medicinals can be found at Mother’s Market, your local health food store, or online in loose leaf bulk at

Preparing an apple cider vinegar tonic sipped throughout the day is another good way to gain allergy-fighting power. To make your tonic, all you need is just a splash (2-4 tablespoons for those who like precise measurements) of unfiltered, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar in a large glass or aluminum bottle with room temperature or warm water (not hot) and a generous helping of local raw honey to taste. This is food your body can use, so don’t be afraid to change up the recipe for flavor. The best health habits are ones that stay enjoyable, so feel free to add more water, a twist of lemon, or spices such as cinnamon or cayenne pepper to your daily tonic.

Local raw honey is not vegan, but it does carry benefits in strengthening a person’s immune system on par with homeopathic remedies. Most store-bought honey in a little plastic bear is not much honey at all, containing almost none of the immune-boosting nutrition that you want because it’s cut with syrups and artificial sweeteners. Read the label. The best local raw honey has not been heated or pasteurized, and most importantly contains a blend of local pollen which can help strengthen your immunity to pollen found in the air you breathe. The best sources for local raw honey is from local OC beekeepers such as “Backyard Bees” at the Orange Homegrown Farmer’s Market on Saturdays from 9am-1pm, or online from Massey Honey Co. at

Each breath you take is precious, so take control of your indoor air quality as much as possible. A few changes to how you treat your indoor air can make a big difference in how your body reacts to the outdoor air. Remove artificial fragrances and perfumes. Check out using laundry balls instead of chemical-laden fabric sheets to soften your laundry. Wipe down your counters with organic spray made from non-toxic ingredients. May your efforts to be allergy-free shift the winds in your favor toward greater health and enJOYment!

Kristen Fewel is a freelance writer and advocate for a plant-based holistic healthy lifestyle.

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