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Eight all-natural allergy remedies you can do at home

Deputy editor Laurie Jennings walks you through natural ways to beat your seasonal allergies.

Get your fruity fix
– Quercetin, a flavonoid that gives many fruits, vegetables and flowers their vibrant colour may help your body from releasing histamines.
– Apples, citrus fruits, onions, parsley and red wine are your best dietary sources. It’s also found in dark berries, grapes and olive oil.
– Or take a quercetin supplement, available from your health food stores in pills or capsules.

Try a daily extract

Butterbur
– Butterbur extract is so potent that it’s been compared to drugs like Allegra or Zyrtec.
– It’s a plant that grows along rivers, ditches, and marshy areas in northern Asia, Europe, and parts of North America.
– In one study 330 people were given either butterbur extract the antihistamine fexofenadine (Allegra), or placebo. The results showed that butterbur and Allegra were equally effective, and both were more effective than placebo.
– Look for extracts in your health food store that are UPA-Free. (This goes for all extracts!)

Stinging nettles
– One study suggested that nettle capsules helped reduce sneezing and itching in people with hay fever.
– Researchers think it may be due to nettle’s ability to reduce the amount of histamine the body produces in response to an allergen.
– This herbaceous shrub grows all over the world and is available as dried leaf, freeze dried leaf, extract, capsules, tablets, and as root tincture (a solution of the herb in alcohol), juice or tea.

Bromelain
– It’s an enzyme found in pineapple that is sometimes used to curb inflammation after sinus surgery.
– It reduces swelling and improves breathing.
– It’s a good extract to start with.
– Look for it in capsule form in your health food store.

Wash off pollen
– Showering before bed helps remove pollen that’s landed on your skin and hair throughout the day, especially if you’ve spent a lot of time outdoors.
– Or try a neti pot. It irrigates your sinus cavity and nose with a saline solution, flushing out pockets of allergens (like pollen) that can harbour in the nasal cavity. Neti pots are available at health food stores and drug stores.
– Prepackaged saline nasal spray, which functions like a neti pot, may be easier to use for some allergy sufferers. Sprays deliver a saline solution a bit more gently and evenly, whereas pots can sometimes be a little sloppy. You can find these are the drug store.

Switch up your bedding
– Tightly woven anti-allergen bedding helps block dust mites that feed off our skin and create allergy-inducing dust.
– Smart Silk is the first all-natural bedding to be certified asthma and allergy friendly. Available at smartsilk.com.
– Smart Silk’s Shield Advantage is a proven barrier against allergens, dust mites and pet dander that live on your bedding.
– Their products include duvets, duvet covers, pillows, pillow protectors, mattress protectors, flat and fitted sheets, pillow cases, crib bedding.
– Instant DIY option: Throw your pillow and/or pillowcase in the dryer on high for 5-10 minutes before bed to burn off the dust-mite population.

Block it out
– Sleeping with your window open lets in a breeze, but also unwanted pollen for allergy-sufferers.
– Look for products like those from PollenTEC – window and door screens that filter out up to 100 percent of grass allergens and 90 percent of ragweed. Available at pollentec.com.
– High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters ease symptoms by trapping allergens and other airborne irritants, such as pet dander and dust. You can get portable air cleaners/purifiers with HEPA filters or whole-house systems that incorporate HEPA filters into your home’s HVAC system.
– Air conditioners and dehumidifiers can also help clean air. They remove moisture, which will curb the growth of the mold and mildew that can worsen allergies.

Steam inhalation
– Inhaling steam can help to decongest and have you breathing again.
– Simply pour boiling water into a bowl, drape a towel over your head to form a tent and inhale deeply through your nose for a few minutes. (Be careful not to burn yourself!)
– Adding a few drops of eucalyptus oil can boost the benefits of steam inhalation to further open your nasal passages.
– Some research suggests this essential oil has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Add a few drops to your bowl of steaming water.

What remedies do you use to fight allergies? Tell us in the comment section below.