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6 Easy Allergy Cures for Natural Relief From Sneezing, Headaches and More

Tame your worst pollen-triggered symptoms with these fast-acting remedies

As spring blossoms and pollen fills the air, allergy sufferers brace themselves for the inevitable onslaught of sneezing, itching, and congestion. But fear not — relief may be closer than you think. That’s thanks to easy allergy cures that promise to tame even the most stubborn symptoms. From the soothing properties of herbal steams to the anti-inflammatory effects of veggies, these gentle yet effective solutions will combat pollen-triggered allergies. So say goodbye to the discomfort and inconvenience of seasonal allergies as we reveal the secrets to reclaiming your well-being and enjoying spring to the fullest.

1. Scented steam helps halt headaches

Few things are as blissful as slipping into a steamy bath or having a long, hot shower. And if an allergy-triggered headache is dragging you down, scenting your tub with 12 drops of pine essential oil could quash that pain 10 minutes, suggests a research review in the journal Biomolecules for one of these easy allergy cures. The reason? Warm water instantly relaxes spasming scalp and neck muscles, while aromatic pine compounds (pinenes) soothe sensitive pain nerves. Tip: To disperse essential oils into a bath, mix them into a dollop of shampoo, first. For a scented shower, drop them onto a warm, damp washcloth and set in the corner of the tub.

2. Vitamin C helps stop a runny nose

We think of it as a winter cold remedy, but vitamin C can cut spring allergy symptoms (including sinus irritation, an itching, runny nose and postnasal drip) by as much as 70% if you take 500 mg. twice daily all season long, suggests a study in the journal Inflammopharmacology. That’s because vitamin C is a powerful natural anti-histamine, plus it blocks the release of hormones, prostaglandins, that worsen sinus troubles by causing congestion and pain. (Click through for more about health-boosting vitamins.)

3. Broccoli helps prevent sneezing

broccoli; easy allergy cures

The compound that gives broccoli its impressive cancer-fighting powers (sulforaphane) is also one of the easy allergy cures if seasonal allergies are making you sniffle and sneeze. That, say Australian investigators, is because sulforaphane reduces your body’s production of the inflammatory proteins that can make your nose itch, your eyes run…and fuel those embarrassing pollen-triggered achoos! Tip: You’ll absorb up to 10 times more sulforaphane per serving if you eat this veggie raw or quickly cooked (stir-fried, sautéed or lightly steamed) instead of boiled. Enjoy one cup daily for best results.

4. A heated eye mask helps deepen sleep

Getting a great night’s sleep makes it a whole lot easier to cope with daytime sniffling and sneezing. The problem? You’re three times more likely to have trouble sleeping once allergy symptoms flare. To the rescue: A hot pack! In a Japanese study, draping a hot pack or hot cloth across their eyes helped subjects drift off in as little as 10 minutes — and it helped them get back to sleep quickly if they woke up during the night. That’s because warming the heat-sensitive blood vessels around the eyes lowers heart rate and blood pressure, relaxes tense muscles, and fuels the release of sleep-deepening delta brain waves. (Click through to learn what to do if allergies make you tired.)

5. Short strolls help ease congestion

happy woman walking

That first breath of fresh air may leave you scrambling for a tissue, but if your biggest allergy bother is sinus congestion, heading out for a short stroll each day could be one of the easy allergy cures for breathing more comfortably all season long. That’s the word from scientists out of Brazil, who found that regular exercise tamps down your immune system’s production of the proteins (interleukins) that cause airway inflammation and make sinuses swell shut. Tip: Heading out for walks late afternoon or early evening provides the biggest benefits, since that’s when pollen counts are at their daily low, so you won’t be breathing in any more of this irritant.

6. A little R&R helps banish body aches

Battling pollen allergies increases your adrenal glands’ production of cortisol, a troublesome stress hormone that also lowers pain threshold, making your whole body feel stiff, achy and sore. The good news: Norwegian investigators say taking 30 minutes daily to do something you find truly relaxing (like reading, knitting or even napping) can quickly dial down cortisol release, cutting your aches and pains by 60%. What’s more, a daily dose of TLC also calms the series of nerves and glands (called the HPA axis) that kick-starts allergy flares, halving your risk of bad symptoms when pollen counts climb.

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