Dear Ask Alison,
I have terrible allergies, but I really do not like taking over the counter medicine because it makes me so tired. Do you have any suggestions for natural ways to combat seasonal allergies? ~ Lisa M., O’Fallon
I’ve tried everything under the sun to avoid my daily Claritin fix: bee pollen, probiotics, teas, standing on my head, and chanting! But when it comes to natural or “alternative” treatments, which aren’t regulated the same way as pharmaceuticals, it’s crucial to 1. Talk to your physician and 2. Look for science-backed claims.
I highly recommend the Natural Medicines research tool available from the Library (for free!). Supplements and natural remedies undergo thorough review by a panel of doctors before achieving “Effectiveness Ratings.” These ratings, along with your doctor’s advice, can help you make informed decisions
Here are some remedies that have been rated as “Possibly Effective” for seasonal allergies:
- Saline Nasal Irrigation: Over-the-counter irrigation systems can be found at any drugstore
- Butterbur: Sounds like a Harry Potter cocktail, but the extract from this shrub can be found in capsule form at any muggle drugstore
- Beta-Glucans: Wellmune and other brands of the yeast-derived b-glucans can be found in most health food stores.
- Thymus Extract: Ask your pharmacist for Thymomodulin capsules
To learn more about the science behind natural remedies, visit the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, National Institutes of Health website.