How I Cured My Allergies Without Taking Pills

Victoria Hoff
PHOTO:

Wildfox

I made it through 24 allergy seasons on the pollen-heavy East Coast without so much as a sniffle. Can you blame me for thinking I had officially dodged that genetic bullet? I watched year after year as my older brother sneezed and suffered, choking back Claritin to appease his symptoms, sympathising with his apparent misery but nonetheless thankful that I could spend spring outdoors and breathe easy. That is, until I moved to L.A. and woke up one morning this past April with a debilitating pain radiating through my sinuses. 

I figured it was just a cold, because hell-o, I don't have allergies. But after two weeks went by with no relief—and then noticing that my symptoms got worse whenever I spent more than a few minutes outside—I grumpily began to accept my fate. And then a fellow ex-New Yorker confirmed it: She too had gone allergy-free for most of her life, until she swapped coasts. Perhaps it was just a coincidence and it's really a matter of age; my working theory is that California has bionic pollen that our respiratory systems hadn't been conditioned to handle. No matter the cause, the conclusion remains the same: I now suffer from seasonal allergies. What a joy.

Here's the thing: Barring serious illness, I'm not big on taking any kind of meds—not even Advil. I've had plenty of success treating minor symptoms and ailments with natural remedies, Eastern medicine, and a healthy lifestyle. This has been my M.O. for about six years, which is why it was a huge deal—and indicative of just how crummy I was feeling—that I began to consider getting a prescription for allergy pills. But in spite of my itchy eyes and the distinct sensation that a truck was repeatedly backing into my sinus cavity, I made myself a deal: I'd go the natural route first, and if nothing improved in a week's time, I would then hit my local pharmacy. I got to researching, and the next day (love you, Amazon Prime) I had an arsenal of holistic remedies on my doorstep, ready for testing.

That was a Monday. By Wednesday of that week, I could breathe out of one of my nostrils. By that weekend, the achiness was finally beginning to subside, and on the following Saturday I was back out on my favourite hiking trail with few complaints. At this point, I figured it was safe to declare my methods a success.

So, how did I do it? While I wish I could say that I took a magical, all-natural pill that did the work, it really involved a bit of a lifestyle overhaul bolstered by a few specific remedies. Keep reading for the prescription.

Have any tips for fighting allergies without pills? Call them out in the comments below.

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