Portland is blooming and if you have seasonal allergies, you’re probably feeling it. During this time of the year many of us reach for Claritin or Benadryl to ease itchy throats, eyes and runny noses, and I used to as well. But then I discovered the magic of bee pollen, honey and essential oils for reducing allergy symptoms.
Using natural remedies to reduce my allergy symptoms was appealing to me because over the counter remedies made me feel drowsy and I hated how expensive they were, and I never felt like they worked that well anyway. So I did a little research online and talked to several of the vendors at the farmers market where I work and created an all-natural allergy-fighting routine that works so well I haven’t used over the counter allergy medicine for a couple seasons now.
- Bee pollen
- Lavender and peppermint essential oils
- Daily Neti Pot sinus wash
My daily routine goes something like this: in the morning I take a teaspoon of bee pollen with breakfast, either in a honey tonic or plain pollen (more info about where I buy it below). In the evening, just before bed I also use my Neti Pot to flush out my sinuses and then diffuse lavender and peppermint essential oils while I sleep.
Why it works
It seems counterintuitive to consume bee pollen as a way to reduce allergy symptoms, but pollen reduces histamines, which is a chemical released by the body as an allergic response, which causes itchy and watery eyes, a stuffy nose and sneezing (Here is a more technical explanation if you want to learn more about the science behind it).
Bee pollen can be a problem for people who are allergic to bee stings, so if that is you, you’ll want to take a small amount first. It helps to take pollen daily so you can build up an immunity, but better late than never, right?
Lavender and peppermint essential oils have similar antihistamine and anti-inflammatory properties, and I enjoy diffusing them at night which is when I tend to feel the most congested. You can also add a few drops of the oils to an empty capsule along with a carrier oil and take it with water but diffusing them creates a lovely scent in my room so I stick with that.
The Neti Pot might be the best part of my allergy-busting routine. It feels unpleasant at first but I can actually feel the irritants in my nose flushing out when I use it. Just the other day I was working outside in the garden and the wind kicked up. Almost instantly I felt congested and my eyes started watering. So before bed I used my Neti Pot and my symptoms went away completely. Hooray!
If you are ready to experiment with some of these allergy remedies, they are easy to find and relatively low cost, compared to over the counter allergy meds.
Bee pollen – I buy mine from Boyco Foods, a vendor at the PSU Farmers Market. You can also find it in the refrigerated section near the probiotics at stores like Whole Foods, and I am sure many co-ops and natural food stores carry it as well. If you are unsure about taking pollen alone, I recommend Mickelberry Gardens Northwest Pollen Honey Tonic. It tastes delicious and you get more honey flavor than pollen. Right now the tonic is on sale so it’s a good time to try it out!
Essential oils – I buy the brand Young Living and so far I am very impressed by the price and quality of the oils. I am a Young Living member so let me know if you would like to purchase them.
Neti Pot – This is available at most drugstores and is a little teapot-like contraption you fill with water and saline to flush your sinuses. You will want to make sure you have purified or distilled water on hand. I regularly boil water and let it cool to room temperature so I don’t have to buy it. When you run out of the saline packets it comes w
ith you can buy more at a low cost.
So there you have it, my allergy-busting remedies. What remedies do you swear by?
Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional and any information that I provide on this blog is general information and for educational purposes only. What works for me may not work for you, especially if you have severe allergies.