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Seasonal Allergy Relief

A L L E R G I E S

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Natural Treatments for Seasonal Allergy Symptoms

By Dr. Kristie

It’s that time of year when environmental allergies start to make their appearance. The sneezing, runny nose, and watery eyes can make for a very unpleasant warm weather experience. Unfortunately, traditional medications used to treat seasonal allergy symptoms can have undesirable side effects such as tiredness, dry mouth, and blurred vision. This why more and more people are looking for a safe and effective natural treatment for allergies. The range of natural allergy treatments that have been tested range from herbal treatments to acupuncture. Which of these remedies work and what is the best natural treatment for allergies?

Herbal Natural Allergy Treatments

One of the most effective natural allergy treatments tested to date is the herb known as butterbur. Butterbur is a large leaved plant native to Europe which has been used by medical practitioners to treat migraine headache symptoms but its fast becoming recognized for its ability to potentially treat allergies. A study conducted in 2004 and published in the Journal of Clinical and Experimental Allergy found it to be as effective as a commonly used prescription allergy medication for controlling allergy symptoms. Several other studies have supported the effectiveness of Butterbur in treating seasonal allergies without the associated side effects seen with prescription medications. Unfortunately, not all studies have demonstrated its ability to treat allergies so further testing will be needed to determine if it’s truly a useful treatment for relief of allergy symptoms.

Other herbal treatments that have been reported to reduce the allergy symptoms include the herbs nettle and Echinacea. Unfortunately, these natural allergy treatments have not been adequately studied to document their effectiveness, although many allergy sufferers swear by their effectiveness.

Nonherbal Natural Allergy Treatments

The ancient art of Chinese acupuncture has been tested as a possible treatment for seasonal allergies and has shown mixed results. One study published in Allergy Magazine in 2004 showed that a combination of weekly acupuncture and Chinese herbs reduced allergic symptoms in a group of allergy suffers. Several other studies have failed to show a benefit from acupuncture used alone, although may of these studies were poorly designed. The verdict is still out as to whether acupuncture is a viable natural treatment for allergies.

Another nonherbal therapy that has been looked at for its potential to treat allergy is aromatherapy. Although various essential oils such as eucalyptus have been investigated for their potential to treat allergic symptoms but there’s insufficient data to support the premise that essential oils play a role in natural treatment of allergies.

Analysis

Based on prior studies of natural treatments for allergy, the herb butterbur seems to offer the highest potential for treatment of seasonal allergies although the long term risks of using this herb are unknown. There’s some thought that the chemical components of butterbur may cause liver damage if used long term. Thus, it should be used with caution except when monitored by a doctor.


About the Author

She is a Medical Doctor with a concentration in Family Practice. She also has an undergraduate degree in both Biology and Psychology and masters in Clinical Pathology.


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