When are allergies at their worst? When plants are in bloom and when the leaves begin to change. Both spring and autumn are full of triggers that can lead to watery eyes and a runny nose. Fortunately, there’s no shortage of natural remedies for allergies. And for children and adults alike, healing often begins with the gut.
Why do kids get allergies?
Both allergies and asthma involve your kid’s immune system. While genetics certainly have a role in the development of allergies, there are other factors that contribute to the widespread rise of allergies:
Nutrient deficiency – For example, it turns out that vitamins A, C, D, and zinc all play an important role in how well your child’s immune system works. A diet high in processed foods or one that’s limited because of picky eating will impact the kind of nutrients your kids receives.
Needing to be excessively clean – Don’t get me wrong, cleanliness feels great. But ever since the discovery of the microbe and infection, we’ve become obsessed with germs and getting rid of them – even if that means attacking the body itself.
Consider for a moment that human beings evolved and thrived in an environment that was relatively “dirty.” Mud, microbes, bugs, and parasites. It was all there. And we survived.
In fact, research shows that children raised on farms – with an assortment of animals, raw milk, and plenty of ways to get dirty – are less likely to have allergies.
An imbalance of gut microbes – Microbes don’t just cause infection. They also keep us healthy. A disruption of how microbes set up shop in the body can interfere how the immune system works later on. This can mean a c-section birth or antibiotic drugs during infancy.
Toxin overload – Things like smog, preservatives, additives in food, pesticides, and heavy metals all increase the toxic burden. Avoiding these during pregnancy and early childhood can decrease the risk of allergies and eczema.
Natural remedies for allergies and asthma
While over-the-counter medications can give quick relief and help to control the signs of allergies, they do not get to the root cause. On the other hand, natural remedies for allergies give both relief and restore balance to your child’s immune health.
#1 – Kid-friendly acupuncture
Acupuncture works. I'm not the only one who thinks so. A 2004 study in Pediatrics shows that acupuncture can significantly reduce allergy symptoms. Note that most kids are afraid of needles. But laser, tuning forks, and pressure can be used instead of needles.
#2 – Homeopathy
Homeopathy uses extreme micro doses of a substance – usually herbal – to stimulate healing. Because homeopathy does not involve a chemical, it’s even safe for babies. While it’s best to work with a practitioner, two remedies that may help with allergy symptoms:
- Allium cepa 30C can help with attacks of sneezing, runny, irritated nose and watery eyes.
- Kali-bichromicum 30C can help with persistent sinus congestion with thick nasal discharge.
#3 – Immune-balancing herbs
Chinese herbs like astragalus, codonopsis, ginger, and medicinal mushrooms can help to balance the immune system and relieve signs of allergies.
#4 – Food and vitamins for a happy immune system
Did you know that stewed vegetables, soups, and bone broth are easier to digest than raw veggies? Be sure to focus on these warming foods, which will support digestion and your child’s immune health. Steer clear common trigger for the immune system – like wheat or pasteurized dairy.
When it comes to vitamins for kids, I generally recommend that your child gets nutrients from food rather than a multivitamin. That said, some supplements are worth taking (I talk about them here).
Cod liver oil is one of those supplements. It's an excellent source of fat-soluble vitamins A and D, which support the immune system. It also gives your child omega-3 fatty acids that help to manage inflammation. If you’re wondering which cod liver oil is best, I like this one.
#5 – Probiotics for the gut
A large percentage of your child's immune system is found within and around the gut. So, it may come as no surprise that the microbes living in the gut have a lot of influence on immune health.
Beyond probiotics, make sure your little one eats plenty of fiber-rich foods that feed gut microbes, like fruit and veggies.
#6 – Natural antihistamines for the itchiness
Allergies and asthma show up when immune cells release histamines. This is the stuff that causes itchiness and swelling in the respiratory tract. Synthetic antihistamine drugs block histamines from binding to cells in the sinuses and respiratory tract.
Natural antihistamines – like quercetin and stinging nettle – can be more effective than synthetic drugs. This is because they block histamine release, sort of like solving the problem before it even shows up. This kid-friendly antihistamine supplement has both quercetin and stinging nettle.
What natural remedies for allergies have you tried?
Let me know in the comments below!