With the pollution levels refusing to settle towards a safer range, a good percentage of people across all age groups are susceptible to respiratory allergies or worsening of preexisting problems. If you suffer from a respiratory condition such as asthma or bronchitis or allergy, then it is important to be extra careful, especially with any change in the temperature or season. Respiratory allergies are one such condition in which there is a heightened immune response which can make things worse. In this article, we will be shedding light on what are respiratory allergies, its symptoms and some common herbs that can help you to fight respiratory allergy.
What Are Respiratory Allergies?
Respiratory allergies are caused by compounds in the air which when inhaled, trigger an inflammatory response. It could be a specific allergic reaction or a generalized reaction to irritants such as cigarette smoke, kitchen fumes, etc. These can be indoor pollutants or outdoor pollutants that can trigger a reaction or aggravate symptoms of allergy. Some of the common sources of respiratory allergies include household dust such as mites, molds, pet allergens, etc
An increase in the humidity level can cause molds to grow which in turn can release the spores. These spores contain allergen thereby increasing your risk of respiratory allergies. The hot and humid environment, especially in the mattresses and bedding, acts as an ideal area for the dust mites to thrive. The proteins present in the animal skin, fur, urine, and saliva also contain allergens which can not only thrive in the household for a long time but can also spread across a wide area.
The typical symptoms of respiratory allergies include a runny nose, itchy throat, itchy and watery eyes, headaches, stuffiness, sneezing, and coughing. In some cases, respiratory allergies can also lead to skin reactions such as redness of the skin, itchiness, or appearance of small blisters on the skin. If you experience any of these symptoms, it is wise to consult a doctor, preferably a dermatologist, for the right diagnosis and treatment of the condition.
Herbs To Fight Respiratory Allergies
While it is important to stick to the medications as prescribed by the doctor, for those who have respiratory problems off and on can benefit by adding some natural herbs to their daily regimen. Here are a few natural herbs that will help you fight symptoms of common respiratory allergies.
1. Eucalyptus Oil
Known to be the native of Australia, Eucalyptus is a well-known herb even in the Indian Subcontinent. Its unique aroma not only distinguishes it from the rest of the essential oils but also makes it an effective natural remedy for a wide range of health problems including respiratory allergies. The oil is packed with anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, which is the reason for its amazing medicinal properties. This oil acts as a soothing agent and relieves nasal and respiratory allergy. It acts on the nasal and sinus passages thereby reducing the inflammation.
Keep a bottle of Eucalyptus oil in your medicine cabinet at all times. If you are feeling blocked nose or runny nose, the take steam inhalation by adding a few drops in your steamer for quick relief.
Most of us are aware of oregano as a garnishing agent on pizzas, pasta, and soups. However, this tasty herb which is a popular kitchen ingredient is also packed with medicinal values. Yes, oregano acts as a natural anti-allergic and decongestant agent. This is the reason why this herb is commonly used to treat respiratory allergies.
To reap the anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic properties of oregano, you need to use its oil. You can add a few drops of this oil when taking steam inhalation and do this two to three times a day for relief. If you’re feeling an itch in your throat, or have a headache, apply it on your throat or head by combining it with a carrier oil such as olive oil. It can also work for sinus headaches in addition to nasal allergies and respiratory problems. Make sure you grab a bottle of oregano oil the next time you visit a grocery store.
3. Peppermint Oil
If you’ve been sneezing, coughing and itching your eyes all day, this is your answer! Peppermint leaves exert a soothing effect on the throat and skin. This is because it contains menthol which not only relaxes the respiratory tract muscles but also provides a very soothing on the respiratory tract. Peppermint is also an antihistamine and decongestant which makes is an amazing herbal remedy for people suffering from cough, throat pain, allergies, and inflammation.
If you’re suffering from allergies and are looking for home remedies to provide some respite, then peppermint oil is your best bet. Add a drop or two of peppermint oil in a glass of lukewarm water and drink it for some relief from throat pain. You can add a few drops of this oil in hot water and use it for steam inhalation to clear mucus and cough, thereby providing relief from respiratory problems.
4. Nettle Leaf
Not many people are aware of nettle leaf and its benefits. It acts as a natural antihistamine, which means it prevents your body from producing histamine, which causes allergic reactions. This leaf is available in Ayurveda stores and is well-known for its powerful analgesic, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.
Get yourself nettle leaf capsules or look out for the nettle leaf tincture at your local Ayurvedic or homeopathic dispensary. The capsule is the best alternative to an antihistamine tablet. Also, you can use the tincture to make a yummy tea combined with other herbs like peppermint leaves to get rid of allergies, nasal symptoms or respiratory problems.
5. Chamomile Oil
This is one of the most popular and powerful herbs used to treat respiratory problems. It has wonderful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antihistamine, and antispasmodic properties. This means it will counter most of the allergy symptoms that include itching, inflammation, and irritation. Hence, if you suffer from any respiratory problems, it is best to invest in chamomile oil as it exerts an all round effect with minimal side-effects.
The best way to enjoy chamomile is in the form of tea. All you need to do is add a few drops of chamomile oil or few chamomile leaves to a cup of brewed tea. Strain and drink when warm to soothe an irritated throat and nasal passage. You can even add some fresh ginger or a pinch of dried ginger to help soothe inflammation.
If you suffer from a chronic allergic condition or seasonal allergies, it is always best to consult a doctor before trying any herbal remedies. Stay Healthy, Stay Happy!
(The content is reviewed by Dr. Lalit Kanodia, General Physician)
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