I was first introduced to natural healing in my early 20s. Someone – I suspect my mother – told me that the gel from an aloe vera leaf could take the sting out of burns. I had just moved into my first apartment and now had to cook for myself. I put an aloe vera plant on top of the refrigerator so it was always handy for my kitchen mishaps.
Now, many years later, I use an assortment of natural remedies: melatonin and lavender oil for sleep, ginger ale and candied ginger for seasickness, and vitamins and herbal supplements to prevent and treat various ailments.
Finding natural remedies has never been easier. Sure, the Internet makes it easy to locate information and products, but doctors and other medical professionals seem more willing to discuss natural remedies. Of course, I often broach the subject first, but once I do, I find they are receptive to discussing a substitute for a prescription or over-the-counter medicine.
Today, many people talking with their doctors or searching the Internet are seasonal allergy sufferers.
Don’t Wait Until the Sneezing Starts
More than 24 million children and adults in the United States have an allergic reaction to pollen from trees, grass and weeds, often referred to as “hay fever,” so there’s a lot of interest in exploring natural remedies. Surveys show that almost half of all people with allergies try a natural remedy.
“For seasonal allergies, beginning natural treatments 1-2 months before the season starts can help reduce the severity of symptoms. Good health can help ease allergy symptoms, and good health starts with nutrition. People sensitive to airborne allergens may also be sensitive to certain foods. Identifying and removing those foods from the diet can greatly improve health and reduce allergy symptoms,” writes Dr. Lisa Lewis for the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians.
She recommends various vitamins, minerals and herbal medicines and tells consumers to purchase high-quality products and follow recommended doses.
Doctors on WebMD advise talking to your doctor or pharmacist, especially if you have other medical conditions.
Natural Remedies for Allergies
Here are three suggestions from WebMD doctors:
- “Butterbur is the Singulair of the herbal world,” says Dr. David Rakel, founder and director of the University of Wisconsin Integrative Medicine Program. “I think of all the allergy supplements, it has the best evidence behind it.” Plus, butterbur does not cause sleepiness, a common side effect of many antihistamines.
- Found in wine and many fruits and vegetables, quercetin helps block the release of histamine that causes inflammation. “Quercetin is sort of the herbal equivalent to cromolyn sodium [in the over-the-counter spray NasalCrom],” Rakel says.
- There’s good evidence that flushing out the nasal passages with salt water can help allergy symptoms. You can use a simple neti pot or a more elaborate device.
What About the Sweet Nectar?
Many allergy sufferers have turned to eating honey, especially local honey, for relief, but at least one study has debunked the remedy. According to The New York Times, the University of Connecticut Health Center studied dozens of people with springtime allergies. One group ate a tablespoonful daily of local honey, another ate commercial honey, and a third was given a corn syrup placebo with synthetic honey flavoring. Allergy relief for honey eaters was no better than the placebo group.
Honey as a Natural Remedy
But honey, which has been used as food and for medicinal purposes since ancient times, may have other medicinal uses, explains an article from the Research Affairs of Tabriz University of Medical Sciences in Iran and published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
“The most well known effect of honey is antibacterial activity. Honey has also been reported to exhibit an inhibitory effect on yeast, fungi, leishmania and some viruses. Topical application of honey has been effectively used on mucocutaneous injuries such as genital lesions, superficial skin burns and post operation wounds. In addition, honey has been used in some gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, inflammatory and neoplastic states.”
Kendal at Oberlin Supports Health
Here at Kendal at Oberlin, our values include improving “the quality of life and vitality of those we serve”. We do this by providing the physical means to improve via our fitness center, fitness classes, and educational seminars, as well as through emotional support provided by our residents and staff. We treat each person as a valued individual in a caring atmosphere.
As a continuing care retirement community, we provide coordinated care for residents throughout the stages of life.
To sample life at Kendal at Oberlin, we offer a Try It, You’ll Like It program. Sample living at Kendal at Oberlin by spending a night or two with us. To learn more, call 800-548-9469 or 440-775-0094 or contact us online.
Molly Kavanaugh frequently wrote about Kendal at Oberlin for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, where she was a reporter for 16 years.