I love Colorado. It is the only place where I have truly felt at home. That being said, I used to dread the Colorado allergy season. Each year I would get bombarded with allergy symptoms come late April/early May.
Spring is prime Colorado allergy season.
I do not like using over the counter pharmaceuticals to treat my allergy symptoms unless I absolutely have to. Fortunately, over the last few years, I have found a few natural remedies that have made my allergies bearable and kept me from resorting to pharmaceuticals.
Colorado is a semi-arid climate, so I wasn't expecting to have allergy problems. But what I have discovered is Colorado is prime allergy territory despite the dry climate; once the flowers start blooming and the grass starts growing, my nose starts running and my eyes get itchy.
My worst allergies came my third year in Colorado, after my body had time to build up immune antibodies. That was a horrible summer for me. I was rendered virtually useless from late April through mid July.
Grass blooming in Nederland Colorado
Fortunately I was able to find some relief.
Let me preface by stating that I AM NOT A DOCTOR. Please consult with your doctor before trying any of the natural allergy remedies that I suggest. Different things affect people differently. What works for me is not guaranteed to work for you.
Now that I got that out of the way, let me begin; The first thing I did was pick up some local bee pollen from my neighborhood natural food market. There is not a lot of scientific data on bee pollen for allergy relief. That is because not a lot of research has been done. Scientists need funding to do research. So they are largely at the mercy of the people and institutions that fund them. Often times it is not in the best interest of corporations to have their scientists research natural remedies because they cannot profit off them like they can profit off a synthetic remedies. There is some encouraging data however. According to the El Dorado Honey company, the Journal of Allergy reports that 73% of patients with hay fever averaged a 75% improvement in their symptoms when given bee pollen orally, while 78% of asthma patients averaged a 75% improvement after taking bee pollen. It should be noted that the earlier a person began taking bee pollen during the allergy season, the greater the success.
Make sure to get LOCAL bee pollen. If you live in Fort Collins Colorado don't get bee pollen from Muncie Indiana. Get bee pollen from Northern Colorado. I have personally found bee pollen to be very helpful when used in conjunction with quercetin. Quercetin is a natural antioxidant found in black tea, apples, citrus fruits and onions. There has been some promising research done on quercetin. Preliminary evidence from the Alternative Medicine Review suggests quercetin inhibits the release of histamines that produce allergy symptoms such as itching, sneezing, runny nose, and watery eyes.
Quercetin is known to work better when used in conjunction with bromelain; an enzyme mixture found to occur naturally in pineapples. I take Bluebonnet Nutrition Super Quercetin supplements with Bromelain in late March right before allergy season begins.
Last but possibly not least, acupuncture is another method I have used to treat seasonal allergies. I have this done in late March before allergy season begins. It should be noted that I always feel better after an acupuncture session, whether it is for allergies, back pain or what have you. The entire acupuncture experience leaves me feeling relaxed and rejuvenated. There is some promising research that suggests acupuncture may be effective in treating seasonal allergies, but the jury is still out.
If you are in Boulder County Colorado, I highly recommend Lefthand Acupuncture in Lafayette. Caroline Adams, the owner of Left Hand Acupuncture, is a Licensed Acupuncturist with a Masters of Science in Oriental Medicine and a penchant for matching the right acupuncture treatment with the right person.
To sum up, local bee pollen, quercetin and acupuncture are my main tools for treating seasonal allergy symptoms the natural way. I know other people who have had great success with these methods, as well as people who didn't have much luck with them. Every person is unique, if these methods do not work for you don't give up. Keep searching. You will most likely find the right combination to treat seasonal allergies for yourself if you search long enough.