What’s Causing your Seasonal Allergies & How to Resolve Your Symptoms

Robin Berzin, MD
April 4, 2018

Runny nose? Itchy, watery eyes? Sneezing? Headaches? Fatigue? It's that time of the year again: allergy season.

An estimated 50 million people in the US suffer from seasonal allergies, commonly known as hay fever. Conventional treatments typically rely on over-the-counter antihistamine medications, contributing to the roughly $18 billion the US spends on allergy-related costs each year.

While these medications may offer symptomatic relief, they don’t address the root cause of allergies, and can even come with unpleasant side effects like brain fog , sleepiness, dizziness, nausea, and blurred vision. At Parsley Health, our root-cause resolution approach to feeling better means that we try to address the root cause of symptoms before jumping to medications with unpleasant side effects.

Your seasonal allergies, explained

Allergic reactions occur when your immune system identifies an airborne substance (one that’s usually harmless) as dangerous. This causes the body to release a compound called histamine, which in turn causes allergy symptoms.

If you deal with seasonal allergies, you know too well that this can impact your quality of life. Below are some of the most common seasonal allergy symptoms.

Common allergy symptoms

  • Congestion
  • Excess mucus production
  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Itchy, watery eyes
  • Scratchy throat
  • Irritation in the ears
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Irritability
  • Hives

Less common symptoms

  • Headaches
  • Shortness of breath
  • Coughing
  • Low blood pressure
  • Asthma

5 hacks to treat your allergy symptoms

So what's an allergy sufferer to do? Trying to find a solution that resolves symptoms while avoiding harsh side effects seems impossible, but there are actually many natural options that can help you find this balance. Try these five natural remedies for allergies that can help keep symptoms in check.

1. Quercetin

Quercetin is a flavonoid found in many fruits and vegetables. It’s also a natural antihistamine that works without the side effects of other medications. We recommend using quercetin regularly as soon as seasonal allergies hit in order to build up levels in the body and then continuing throughout the allergy season. You can get quercetin in supplement form—consider starting with 1000 mg, taken twice daily on an empty stomach—or by increasing your intake of foods high in this flavonoid. Some natural sources include:

  • Grapes
  • Berries
  • Citrus fruits such as lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruit
  • Broccoli
  • Kale

2. Nettle tea

Also known as stinging nettle, nettles get their name from the leaves of the prickly plant that's been used for centuries to treat allergy symptoms. Nettles may reduce the amount of histamine that is produced by the body in response to an allergen. You can consume nettle as a tea or take it as a tincture.

3. Local bee pollen and raw honey

For those dealing with a pollen allergy, local, raw honey can be a great way to resolve symptoms. Local honey acts similarly to a vaccine: by giving yourself a little dose of the local pollen through the honey, you allow your body to begin building a tolerance to the pollen and have a less severe allergic reaction. It’s best to start taking either honey or bee pollen daily at least six weeks before allergy season begins.

You can find bee pollen and raw honey at your local farmers market or health food store. Bee pollen has been shown to decrease the IgE-mediated activation of mast cells, thereby dampening the allergic response.

4. Vitamin D

Low vitamin D levels are associated with an increase in allergies. Consider taking a high-quality Vitamin D3 supplement and increasing your exposure to sunlight to help decrease allergy symptoms such as sneezing and nasal congestion. Vitamin D3 has been shown to naturally support immune system function, and strengthen respiratory health. I recommend Parsley's Vitamin D3 + K2 , which comes in an easy-to-absorb liquid form.

5. Neti Pot

The neti pot has its roots in Ayurvedic medicine, but is quite popular today as a gentle and effective way to rinse the nasal cavity. By flushing the nasal cavity with a gently warmed saline solution, you clear out allergens and loosen mucus. You can use a neti pot two to three times a week to help get rid of your allergy symptoms.

How one woman beat daily hive outbreaks

Ashley Koch, a mom of two and a family nutrition advocate based in San Francisco, suddenly found herself dealing with mysterious daily hive outbreaks. After visiting multiple doctors, she was told to take medication until they went away with no investigation into the root cause. This is her incredible transformation story of how she was able to heal drug-free.

Robin Berzin, MD

Dr. Robin Berzin is the Founder and CEO of Parsley Health, America's leading holistic medical practice designed to help women overcome chronic conditions. She founded Parsley to address the rising tide of chronic disease in America through personalized holistic medicine that puts food, lifestyle, and proactive diagnostic testing on the prescription pad next to medications. Since founding Parsley in 2016, Dr. Berzin has seen 80% of patients improve or resolve their chronic conditions within their first year of care, demonstrating the life-changing value of making modern holistic medicine accessible to everyone, anywhere. Parsley is available online nationwide.

Dr. Berzin attended medical school at Columbia University and trained in Internal Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. Her book, Prescription for Happiness: How to Eat, Move, and Supplement for Peak Mental Health, was published by Simon Element in January 2022.

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