Herbal Remedies for Allergies

Allergic reactions are the result of the body’s immune systems overreaction to a harmless substance. The body’s immune system consists of special cells known as mast cells. These cells contain receptor cells which if triggered release histamine. This is a chemical substance responsible for the elimination of allergens in the body. Release of histamine in the body results in various symptoms such as itching, sneezing and watery eyes.

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Millions of people are affected by allergy every year. Majority of these are affected by seasonal allergies which usually occur at the end of summer. There are many pharmaceutical drugs designed for the treatment of allergy including antihistamines. These however have various side effects and aren’t designed for long term use. Herbal remedies are better alternatives as they have fewer side effects and are easily available. Some of the herbal remedies for allergies include the following.

Butterbur

Butterbur is one of the herbs commonly used in the treatment of allergies. This herb contains chemicals which act a leukotriene inhibitor. These help prevent and reduce swelling in the nasal passages which is a common symptom associated with allergies. Although working in the same manner as antihistamines, butterbur doesn’t have associated side effects such as drowsiness.

Quercetin

This is a natural bioflavonoid found in fruits, vegetables and wine. It works as a mast cell stabilizer blocking the release of histamine in the body. The antioxidant properties found in quercetin have also been found to help reduce inflammation.

Stinging nettle leaf

The stinging nettle herb has various medical uses. Among these is the treatment of allergies. The leaf contains various compounds including vitamin K, carotene and the bioflavonoid quercetin. It is a natural antihistamine and works by blocking the release of histamine from the mast cells. It’s usually boiled in to a tea and consumed.

Apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar has been long used for the treatment of various conditions including allergies. Vinegar is believed to help cleanse the lymphatic system as well as reduce mucus production in the sinuses.

Grape seed extract

Grape seed extract contains a variety of ingredients which help reduce and prevent allergies. These include vitamin E, flavanoids, linoleic acid and other antioxidants. Grape seed extract has been found to have antihistamine properties which helps reduce the amount of histamine released by the mast cells. In addition to this, antioxidants help reduce inflammation and boost the body’s immune system. In addition to this, grape seed extract has been found to help protect the body’s cells from environmental toxins which could otherwise contribute to the severity of the allergic reaction.

Goldenseal

This herb has also been effectively used in the treatment of allergies. Goldenseal contains a microbial chemical berberine which kills off any antibodies which might infect the body as a result of its reduced immunity during allergy attacks. This herb also contains various antihistamine and antioxidant qualities which help to reduce allergy symptoms such as itching and inflammation.

These are just a few of the different herbs used in the treatment of allergic reaction. Before using any of these herbs, its advisable to consult your physician to determine whether they can have any reactions with medications you might be currently taking.

About Nidhi Agarwal

Professor of Institute Of Post-Graduate Ayurvedic Education & Research.She has vast experience in the field of Ayurveda and Yoga. She has his clinical expertise in the Use of Rasayana in Jara (Geriatrics), Panchakarma chikitsa in Bone and joint disorders especially Osteopenia & Osteoporosis, Diabetes, Obesity, Hypertension, Skin diseases and application of Yoga in various psycho-somatic disorders.