Spring allergies are hitting early and they're hitting hard, but before you reach for your usual treatment, there are natural ways to reduce your symptoms without those nasty side effects.
Dr. Birgit Rakel said spring allergy sufferers have choices.
"I think the most exciting right now is butterbur*," Rakel said.
A study finds that taking butterbur four times a day relieves the symptoms of hay fever without causing drowsiness. Dr. Rakel is also a fan of Quercetin, a supplement that's already common in foods like green tea, berries, broccoli, and onion. She said the herb Stinging Nettle is another favorite, but has fewer studies to support its effectiveness.
For itchy eyes, the doctor recommends the homeopathic drops, Optique 1, and she said changing your diet will help. Omega-threes and fresh veggies will help reduce the inflammation associated with allergies, and go easy on dairy which increases mucus.
Dr. Rakel also warns against taking any supplement without talking to your doctor first. Supplements are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. They can be pricey and it's difficult to know what dose works best. Dr. Rakel said don't be afraid to ask your doctor and you can also look for a doctor who incorporates an innovative approach to traditional medicine.
*Butterbur should only be taken under the supervision of a doctor since it can potentially cause liver problems or even cancer. Some products have removed the harmful substance. Look for PA-free on the label.