Allergies cause a lot of misery, particularly at certain times of the year when pollen is in the air. Nasal congestion and sneezing are often accompanied by fatigue, mental fuzziness, and delayed reaction time. These symptoms can make driving hazardous, but so can many common antihistamines available over the counter to treat allergy symptoms. No wonder people get excited about home remedies to treat allergies—or to prevent them in the first place!
A caller on your radio show said that her allergies went away when she maintained a gluten-free diet. I have had a similar experience. I had battled allergies most of my life. About ten years ago I was diagnosed with lupus. Since eating a gluten-free diet for the last two years, I have been allergy free. In the last nine months I have had no lupus symptoms and have eliminated prescription medications. Gluten is toxic for me, and I will avoid it for the rest of my life. My teenage son was just diagnosed with celiac disease. I am hoping that a new gluten-free diet will eliminate his allergies as it did mine.
Celiac disease is an inability to tolerate gluten, a protein found in barley, wheat, and rye. Celiac disease is very serious. It is not usually linked to allergies but may be associated with lupus.
Since using a neti pot daily, my friend, my daughter-in-law, and I have stopped our prescription nasal sprays and inhalers for sinus problems and allergies! I get bronchitis easily, but I have been cough free for two months since I began rinsing my sinuses nightly with a mixture of one cup of warm water and one-quarter teaspoon of plain salt.
The neti pot looks a bit like Aladdin’s lamp. It is a traditional technology for nasal irrigation to cleanse the nasal passages and sinuses. Practitioners of India’s traditional ayurvedic medicine have used neti pots for regular nasal cleansing for hundreds of years. In using a neti pot, the head is tipped forward and slightly to the side so that water can be poured into one nostril and allowed to run out the other. Nasal irrigation may also be accomplished with spray equipment from a drugstore. A study suggests that many people with chronic sinus symptoms benefit from daily nasal irrigation.1
While in Africa I started drinking rooibos tea every day. Now I am back home in Houston, and my usual fall allergies have not recurred. Have you heard of using rooibos tea for allergies?
We have heard of rooibos (red bush) tea from South Africa. Traditionally it has been used to fight pollen allergies, but there is little clinical research to support its effectiveness. However, one study did suggest rooibos tea has an effect on the immune system that might help relieve allergic symptoms.2
A friend found a mention of nettle leaf for allergy relief in your book and passed it on. It works. When a student in one of my college classes told me that his allergy disrupted his sleep. I gave him a dose of my nettle leaf extract. An hour later he interrupted class to say his symptoms were gone. On your Web pages you discuss nettle root for prostate health. Are the uses of the leaf and the root different?
Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) is commonly used in Europe, both as medication and vegetable. In the United States, few know about it. You are correct that nettle root extract is used to treat symptoms of enlarged prostate. Research suggests that aboveground parts are useful in treating allergy symptoms.
Joe Graedon & Terry Graedon, The People’s Pharmacy: Quick & Handy Home Remedies, published by National Geographic