To my dismay, when cedar fever season came to Austin I was intensely surprised that I fell victim. There was no slow buildup. Nope. The bell rung, it met me at center ring, did a quick ‘one-two,’ and I was on my back looking for someone else to tap in. Not wanting to use pharmaceuticals, I had to discover how to beat these allergies naturally.

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Life is funny isn’t it? When I hear of people talking about colds, flus, allergies, or whatever, often I find myself guilty of feeling a little prideful. “Well all you’d have to do is eat better and you wouldn’t get any of that.” Not so much in a judgmental way, maybe more in a jaded way after having tried to offer help to many who didn’t want it but would rather continue on in their suffering. So I could only mutter snide “helpful” comments under my breath.

That’s where life comes in and sets you back in your place. Moving to Austin we heard comment after comment about cedar allergies. “First year here? Oh, wait until cedar fever comes. You’ll be miserable.” Every time I heard it mentioned I would think to myself, “Lucky for me I don’t have to worry about that stuff.”

That wasn’t always the case, though. I remember not many years ago I dreaded my seasonal allergies. But ever since I changed how I eat, cutting out dairy in particular, I haven’t experienced them again.

So to my dismay, when cedar fever season came, I was intensely surprised that I fell victim. With cedar fever, there was no slow buildup where I could feel something setting in. Nope. The bell rung, it met me at center ring, did a quick ‘one-two,’ and I was on my back looking for someone else to tap in. Bam. I was miserable. Sneezing, nearly blind with itchy eyes, couldn’t sleep for days, sneezing, coughing, sneezing, and more sneezing.

First stage is denial. “No, this doesn’t happen to me. It’ll pass in a day or two.” But it didn’t pass. Being as averse to pharmaceuticals as I am, there was no way I was going to go to the store and buy the allergy drugs. But I wasn’t getting better. I became tempted. And then I did it. After a week of not sleeping and not knowing what to do, I was desperate.

Of course I didn’t like taking those pills; I’m too familiar with what they do long-term and that they offer no real solution to the problem. On top of that, they were only mildly effective in dealing with the symptoms. I took them for two days and then chucked them in the trash.

But I was still miserable.

One of the perks of the Austin scene is a local chain of pharmacies that offer natural, holistic solutions. As I was passing one of those I saw on their sign, “Cedar Fever? We can help.” I nearly caused an accident as I stomped on my brakes and swerved to pull in to their parking lot.

As I stumbled in, I pointed to my half-blind, red and swollen eyes, they immediately knew why I was there. The pharmacist handed me their locally made homeopathic concoction that you take by placing a few drops under your tongue any time you felt you needed it. She also recommended colloidal silver spray. So I started it right then. In the store. I needed it bad! Amazingly, by that night I felt a ton better. Within two days, I was back in control and felt hope coming back into my life…I had slept through the night! It’s incredible how well it worked!

Sadly, because I let the symptoms go on for so long, I could feel something was brewing in my lungs. My coughing turned to hacking, and I didn’t like what I was coming out as a result of those hacks. Gross. Same thing for my sinuses. I could tell some kind of infection was going on in there.

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So this is when I emailed our functional MD’s office and mentioned that I suspected an infection as going on. To my disappointment, and a bit of shock, they answered that if it’s an infection my only real option will be to come in and be seen so they could prescribe antibiotics.

Again, I know what antibiotics do the body’s flora balance and what they can open the door to down the road. They have their place, but only when absolutely necessary, typically in emergencies or as a last resort.

Now, I grew up in a very conservative environment where seeing doctors and taking whatever they gave you was just what you did. True for most of us, right? Seeking alternative treatments was for weirdos and hippies. I’m not a hippie, so I guess that makes me a weirdo. But I’ve learned in the last three years that there are natural remedies for almost every health concern, but I just have never had any concerns that needed treatment, so I didn’t know how to handle it when I did.

Randomly, at a church function I overheard one woman (I’d say weirdo would describe her as well ;), mention to another woman who was dealing with a sinus infection, that taking myrrh would help. I had never heard this, but it at least put the idea of talking to an herbalist in my head. I knew just where to go..The Herb Bar in downtown Austin.

After a quick conversation with their master herbalist, I was given another sublingual drop formula. Myrrh was indeed part of the solution, but it’s anti-biotic properties are most effective when coupled with Echinacea.

The results, and my amazement, were the same as with the allergy treatment. By the next day I was feeling better. Within a few days, the hacking and nasty phlegm was long gone, and I could finally breathe without making weird noises. By the end of ten days I was my normal self, but now humbled, stupefied, and with a greater drive to keep on learning.

I was thrilled that I was able to beat this with natural means and avoid medical anti-biotics completely. This was a first for me. I don’t get sick – I don’t think I’ve ever had the flu, and even before I started eating better, my worst illnesses was the once a year cold every spring. So this was a big learning experience for me.

I continue to be amazed at what is possible without drugs, and without harming the body or setting it up for future ailments. There aren’t billions of dollars to be made in natural cures, so we never hear about them. But they’re there. If your doctor (even one you trust, like my functional MD) says something that doesn’t sit well with you, you have the right to explore other options and find a solution that works for you.

You have to be in charge of your health and be willing to spend the time necessary to figure out what works for your body. Taking pharmaceutical pills can buy you some time or temporary relief, but they’re almost never a long-term solution, and should only be taken very cautiously.

The takeaways from this experience:
1 – Never get cocky and always seek to learn
2 – Natural remedies exist for nearly everything, and local experts are particularly helpful
3 – Always be willing to push back on medical advice, ask questions, and do your own research until you feel comfortable

5 thoughts on “Beat Seasonal Allergies Naturally

  1. Wow, thanks for sharing your cedar allergy story. I’ll keep that in mind along with Myrrh and Echinacea.

    I’ve suffered with allergies since I was a young child. The first allergy attack I had, my parents didn’t know what to do with me so they took me to the emergency room. They were so panicked that my dad ran a red light on the way to the hospital and was pulled over by the police.

    Upon taking one look at me, the policeman said to my dad, “Follow me.” And he escorted us to the emergency room.

    That happened many, many moons ago. Since then, like you, I’ve changed my diet and no longer suffer with allergies. I know how you feel about offering dietary advice to cure the ailment du jour. I too get a bit frustrated when I see a loved one slamming down chili cheese dogs followed by large bowls of ice cream all while complaining about how bad the allergy season is.

    Your post is a reminder to for me to chill on the cockiness lest I be humbled. It also reinforces my belief that if we search hard enough for a non-pharmaceutical solution, we’ll find it.

    1. Loved your comment Felicia. Thanks for sharing. We deal with those allergies thinking it’s just how we were born. Isn’t it liberating to know that we can get rid of them just by eating better?!!

      And all we can do for our suffering loved ones is set a good example, and take advantage of opportunities to teach when they ask for it. Hard isn’t it?!

  2. This was an excellent read! It really opened my eyes to all of the things that herbal remedies can do. I have been a major victim of allergies for years, and I agree: drugs don’t cut it! I will look forward to exploring natural remedies! Thank you!

    1. I can feel your pain Laura! It’s so hard when allergies get so bad that is disrupts your life. Cutting out some of the more inflammatory foods (dairy, gluten, etc) and adding in some herbs could be just the trick.

  3. Here are my thoughts on natural remedies for seasonal allergies…
    1) Quercetin in citrus and cruciferous vegetables
    2) Stay hydrated well
    3) Vitamin C
    4) Avoid dairy
    5) Honey

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