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13 Natural Remedies for Seasonal Allergies; Allergy Fighting Berry and Seared Tempeh Salad with Tangy Raspberry Vinaigrette

Posted May 21 2012 9:00pm


When I moved to D.C., my seasonal allergies, which had always been occasional and mild, suddenly became frequent and aggressive. As terrible as sneezing and watery eyes can be, I have to admit that I wish my seasonal allergies manifested that way. I happen to be allergic to cats; when that allergy flairs up, my eyes get puffy and I sneeze and break out in hives. It’s embarrassing and uncomfortable, but it doesn’t ruin my day.

When my seasonal allergies strike, on the other hand, I don’t sneeze or get a runny nose at all. I get crushing sinus headaches, fatigue, and an odd kind of lightheadedness. It’s been like this for as long as I can remember, but it wasn’t a big deal when it happened a handful of times each spring and fall. Now that it happens more often, I’m starting to worry that it’s interfering with my effectiveness. It’s hard to focus on chemistry with a sinus headache!

I have the same attitude toward managing allergies that I do toward most commonplace and non-urgent health complaints: if it’s really bad, I’ll take an OTC drug. If it’s moderate or mild and I suspect I can manage the symptoms with a natural course of treatment, I will. So when my allergies are particularly bad, I take a Claritin or a Zyrtec. Both work, though I think Zyrtec may be a little more effective for me. What I’ve been wondering lately is whether there are natural remedies out there that can help me out on days when my allergies are serious enough to bother me, but not so intense that I want to hit the medicine cabinet. I’ve seen plenty written about bee pollen and honey, but as a vegan, I don’t consume either. So a few weeks ago, on a day when my allergies were particularly crazy-making, I posted a message on Facebook asking my readers what their tips were for natural allergy management. I got a slew of helpful responses, and I thought I’d share them with you!

1. Acupuncture
2. High dose Vitamin C
3. Nettle tea
4. Perilla seed extract (courtesy of Carrie)
5. Neti Pot
6. Butterbur
7. Swimming in saltwater (head submerged; same concept as neti pot)
8. Pineapple
9. Quercitin supplements
10. Apple cider vinegar and water as a drink
11. Natural D Hist
12. Lavendar essential oil from Young Living Essential Oil
13. Miao Ling Bi Shuang herbal nose spray from Yo San University .

Readers also directed me to this article from Rodale.

Thanks, CR rockstars! How tremendously helpful. I’ve been using my neti pot often and it doesn’t seem to be helping so far, so I’ll continue, but I’d like to add a few other remedies. As for acupuncture, well, I’ve tried it three different times, for different ailments. I found the whole experience very pleasant and relaxing, and my practitioners were very knowledgeable and insightful. But I can’t say that acupuncture helped the conditions I was hoping to manage, and since it’s not covered by my insurance, I’ll probably forgo it this time.

So! I think I’ll start with nettle tea, and then consider the Natural D Hist and the Perilla extract. Anyone have a nettle tea they recommend in particular? How does it taste?

In the meantime, I will of course take Hippocrates’ famous words to heart, and see if I can’t let food be my medicine. The foods that seem to have the best antihistimine effect are Vitamin C and quercetin. I think we’re all pretty familiar with Vitamin C (best food sources: citrus, strawberries, kiwis, bell peppers), but quercetin? Well, it’s compound found in red onions, in berries, and in tea (among other sources) which has been shown to reduce allergic inflammation and to reduce symptoms. Quercetin supplements exist, but since onions, berries, and tea are quite commonplace within a plant-based diet (even onion haters like me eat them on occasion, cooked if not raw) you can almost certainly obtain it without supplementation. Finally, apples have also been shown to reduce seasonal allergies and asthma significantly.

With this in mind, and a bad allergy morning underway, I whipped up the following salad two days ago. I used strawberries and raspberries in the vinaigrette (so it contains both quercetin and Vitamin C), and more berries in the salad itself. There’s half a chopped apple mixed in with the crispy baby spinach, as well as finely chopped red onion. I could only manage 1/4 cup (not bad for me, actually), but you could add more if you like. And to add a little nutrient density and protein to the mix, I also cooked up some tempeh and chopped it in.

All together, it was a satisfying and delicious meal. Except I realized after scarfing it down that a little avocado would have made the dish even better. So I’ve added it to my recipe, below. My loss is your gain Smile


Allergy Fighting Nutrient Dense Salad: Berries, Spinach, Apple, and Seared Tempeh with Tangy Raspberry Vinaigrette (high raw, vegan, gluten free)

Serves 1 as a meal; you can split as an appetizer or double for two meals!

For the salad:

3 heaping cups baby spinach
1/4 cup red onion, very finely diced
1/4 cup blueberries
1/3 cup raspberries
1/2 gala apple, chopped
1/4 avocado, chopped
2 oz tempeh, seared or grilled lightly with some coconut oil spray and tamari (baked is fine, too!)

For the dressing (will make about 1 1/2 cups; reserve extra for more salads!):

1 cup mixed raspberries and chopped strawberries
1/4 cup orange juice
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 pitted date
1/8 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp olive or avocado oil

1. Blend all dressing ingredients in a blender till smooth. Set aside.

2. Mix all salad ingredients together. Dress with as much vinaigrette as you like, and enjoy!

I love how this salad pulses with color! And it’s full of texture, too.



It’s delicious, too. And filling.


This salad is fairly nutrient dense and filling, but I served it, and would probably serve it again, with a slice of my raw bread, spread with hummus. Raw crackers, a little bean dip, or sprouted bread would be nice accompaniments, too.

Hope this post is helpful to all of my readers who are sniffly, sneezy, or sinusy right now! And please, readers: if you have any other brilliant allergy feedback, please, share with the class. And Ela , you may now teach us all about nettles.

Before I go, I wanted to share with you all my latest post for Whole Living Daily . It’s a short post, intended for folks who are very new to raw foods (and a little nervous!) about how to go more raw—easily and without any self-applied pressure. I’d love it if you checked it out! And if my raw or high raw readers have any other tips and ideas, please, feel free to leave them for the Whole Living audience in the comments section!

Till tomorrow,


NB: If your seasonal allergies are severe or constant, please consult your health care provider for relief!

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