Spring is here and for some 26 million Americans that means hello to ragweed, pollen, mold and other triggers of the seasonal allergies that make the seasons hard, if not impossible, to enjoy. Television commercials are shown practically on top of one another telling viewers which products supposedly work the fastest on allergy symptoms, but none are fast enough for the poor allergy sufferer who wants relief yesterday.
Increasingly, more allergy, allergic asthma, and hay fever victims want relief without the side effects of prescription and over-the-counter antihistamines and decongestants. How can you go to work on a medication that warns you not to drive when you take it? Why must you endure another sluggish, foggy day because the only alternative, as far as you know, is to spend the day sneezing and blowing your nose?
The pills, sprays and other drugs have mixed results. Allergy sufferers complain of fatigue to begin with, and the drowsiness of even the most “non-drowsy” formula of antihistamine takes its toll. These medications are expensive. You may not like taking medication, especially if you already have to take medicine regularly for some other condition. You grow tolerant to them and they lose their initial effectiveness. Or maybe you just don’t trust an artificial rather than natural solution to your health problems. You think Mother Nature must have some resources in her natural medicine chest for your allergy woes.
Natural Allergy Relief
The news on that front is good and getting better all the time. There are new research studies showing promising findings with herbs like butterbur, antioxidants like quercetin, fatty acids such as omega-3 fish oils, ancient medical techniques such as accupuncture and more. This article will look in depth at butterbur research.
The Herb Butterbur Proven In Studies
The herb butterbur has shown impressive results in control group research studies as a method natural allergy relief. One drawback with this herb is that it is in the same plant family as ragweed, and so people allergic to ragweed, chrysanthemum, daisy or marigold should not use it.
It is not exactly understood how it works, but it is thought to work in a similar way as allergy medications: It blocks the action of histamine and leukotrienes, which are the inflammatory chemicals involved in allergic reactions.
One study had 186 hay fever sufferers. Some of these took a higher dose of butterbur, some a lower dose and some a placebo. After two weeks, there were significantly greater benefits seen with the higher dose.
Another study had 330 people with hay fever take butterbur, Allegra (the antihistamine) or a placebo. Butterbur was as effective as Allegra in relieving nasal congestion, itchy eyes, sneezing and other hay fever symptoms.
Teas, extracts and capsules made from the raw herb, and the raw herb itself, should not be taken because of substances called pyrrolizidine alkaloids that may be toxic to the liver and kidneys and can cause cancer. When purchasing butterbur, which has been used in herbal medicine for centuries, look for the label to read “P.A. free.”