How to Fight Allergies the Natural Way
If it's spring, it has to be allergy season. And when over-the-counter remedies cause side effects or don't work for you, try natural alternatives. Rob Ivker, author of the best seller Sinus Survival: The Holistic Medical Treatment for Allergies, Asthma, Colds and Sinusitis, offers some remedies.
Ephedra contains ephedrine and pseudoephedrine. The latter is a commonly used over-the-counter decongestant. Though the whole herb is safer than the drug, at higher doses, ephedra can produce similar side effects: elevated blood pressure, palpitations, nervousness, insomnia and appetite suppression.
Licorice soothes irritated membranes and acts as an expectorant. It also has anti-inflammatory and anti-allergy actions similar to those of corticosteroids, but with far fewer side effects. Because it can cause retention of water and sodium and loss of potassium, don't take licorice for more than a month without medical supervision. Avoid it if you're pregnant, have high blood pressure or any disease of the thyroid, kidney, liver or heart.
Reishi mushroom strengthens immunity and, some say, has anti-allergy action. Chinese doctors use it to treat asthma and other allergic disease. It's available in capsules, tablets, syrups and teas.