The transition for Summer to Fall. When light breezes cool off the evenings and anticipation builds for hot apple cider and pumpkin everything. When leaves start changing color, boots and scarves get pulled out of storage, and squashes start appearing at the farmers market.
And for some, noses get stuffy, heads heavy and sore, eyes watery, and breathing becomes impossible. Over the counter medications can help, but who wants to be dried out and fuzzy headed all the time, among other things. But never fear - because there are steps you can take to get rid of those symptoms without the side effects of conventional medications.
Enjoy Fall this year by getting rid of allergies once and for all! - Tweet this
1. Cut out Sugar and Dairy
Phlegm - that thick, sticky substance that clogs up your nose, sinuses and more, is created by your body when it has difficulty digesting certain foods. The two foods that accumulate the most phlegm in the body are sugar and dairy. By sugar I mean the white, powdery processed stuff. That includes the fancy brown, turbinado, and raw varieties. However, honey and fruit are both ok. And avoiding dairy isn't as scary as it sounds - there are plenty of great alternatives these days, my favorite being anything made with coconut. Coconut contains lots of good fats to nourish your body, and usually doesn't taste like coconut. As an additional step, you can also try cutting out bananas and raw fruits and veggies. I'm sure you've noticed that sticky feeling in your mouth after eating a banana - it's that sticky-ness that becomes phlegm in the body. And cooking your fruits and veggies makes them easier to digest, and less likely to create dampness.
2. Use a NEti Pot
Everyone I know that uses a net pot on a regular basis swears by it. If you are new to the neti phenomenon, it is a specially designed pot used to pour saline water through your sinus cavities. Start by filling your neti pot with warm water, and dissolve ¼ tsp. sea salt into it. Open your mouth wide, close the back of your throat and tilt your head to one side. Insert the spout into one nostril and slowly pour some water through until it comes out the other side. Do NOT blow out until your head is upright. Repeat on the other side. Do this every day (I find it easiest in the shower) until your symptoms subside, then use it only a few times a week.
3. Freeze Dried Nettles
Stinging nettle leaf is well known in the herbal community as being beneficial for allergies, as it is a natural anti-histamine. Look for capsules of freeze dried nettles, and take a few a day with water. These can be taken long term with no adverse effects.
LI4 - Joining Valley, pictured below, is one of the most powerful points in acupuncture. Among other things, it is the Command point for the Face, which makes it great for headaches, toothaches, and stuffy and runny noses. Massage the point strongly for at least 30 seconds on each side, 3 times a day. LI20 - Welcome Fragrance, is a local point to open sinuses. Finding the most tender points around the eyes and nose is usually the most beneficial.
5. Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine
In chronic, complex cases, sometimes home remedies aren't enough. Your acupuncturist will assess your whole constitution as well as your symptoms, to give you a very individualized treatment. Acupuncture works by calming inflammation, regulating the immune system and balancing the body.
Have you tried any of these suggestions? Do you have any to add?
Elizabeth Allen is an acupuncturist in Greenville, South Carolina, specializing in pain management, women’s health, and psycho-emotional issues. She’s passionate about helping people feel their best and sharing her wealth of knowledge with the community. Elizabeth is the owner of AcuMed Spa, on Wade Hampton Boulevard. Appointments can be made by calling 864-451-4313, or scheduled online here.