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Get the Allergies in the Air Out of Your Hair

Reader’s Digest Canada

When spring comes the air is filled with music and allergens. Don’t let your itchy, scratchy, sneezy nose ruin the season. Try one of these natural antihistamines for instant relief, or prevent the problem with these tips for avoiding pollen.

Nature’s Antihistamines


Nettle contains a substance that works as a natural antihistamine. In fact, the famous naturopathic doctor Andrew Weil reportedly takes it for his allergies. You’ll find capsules of the freeze-dried leaf in health-food stores. Take 500 milligrams three times a day.

Ginkgo Biloba

Ginkgo biloba has become renowned for its memory-boosting properties, but it can also be an effective allergy fighter. Gingko contains substances called ginkgolides, which can stop certain allergy-triggering chemicals (platelet activating factor, or PAF) in their tracks. Take 60 to 240 milligrams a day.


Quercetin, the pigment that gives grapes their purple hue and puts the green in green tea, inhibits the release of histamine. Take one 500-milligram capsule twice a day.

Try Something Fishy

Omega-3 fatty acids help counter inflammatory responses in the body, such as those triggered by allergies. Salmon and mackerel are good sources of these fats. If you prefer the idea of fish-oil capsules, try taking 3,000 milligrams a day.

Flaxseeds are another excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. Take one tablespoon of flaxseed oil a day. You can add it to a glass of juice or blend it into a smoothie, but avoid heating it.

Use a Simple Soother

To soothe red, itchy, swollen eyes, dampen a washcloth with cool water and place it over your eyes. Repeat as often as necessary.

Saline nasal sprays are time-tested mucus-busters and can also help to keep your nasal passages moisturized. However, a recent study shows that some commercially made sprays contain a preservative that can actually damage the cells of your sinuses, so it may be safer to make your own. Dissolve a half-teaspoon salt in one cup of warm water. Load a bulb syringe, lean over the sink, and spritz the saline into your nose.

Repel Pollen Attacks

Stay indoors with the windows closed and the air conditioner turned on to filter out pollen, especially in the early evening, when pollen counts hit their peak.

Take shelter inside before a thunderstorm-and up to three hours afterward. Storms are preceded by high humidity, which makes pollen grains swell, burst, and release their irritating starch.

When you have to go out, wear wraparound sunglasses to keep the pollen away from your eyes. And if you don’t mind resembling Michael Jackson, a face mask works well too.

You can also protect yourself outdoors with a “pollen trap.” Dab a little petroleum jelly under your nose-trap spores that are wafting around before they land in your nostrils.

Wash your hair prior to going to bed so you don’t transmit a head full of dust and pollen to your pillow.


Beauty IS Skin Deep

Sunday, April 28th


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