Spring has sprung…and there is a lot of pollen out there! If you are suffering from allergies, you are not alone. Runny nose, watery eyes and itchy skin - it’s enough to make you run for the nearest Zyrtec. Natural allergy remedies are a great alternative. Here are a few of my favorites…

1. Use a Neti pot to cleanse the nasal passages of pollens and other particulates. See a how-to video here  Note:  You don’t need special Neti pot salt. You can get food-grade sea salt to use. You also don’t need to heat the water, but it does make the salt dissolve faster and is nice-feeling for your nose.

2. Do a deep spring cleaning. The best way is to hire someone else to do this for you. If you do the cleaning yourself, wear a face mask, and use a HEPA vacuum filter. Wash throw rugs, linens and pillowcase covers in hot water. If dust mites are a problem for you, consider getting dust-mite covers on your bedding. Do not store books and papers in your bedroom – they are otherwise known as dust collection sites.

3. Wash your clothes after hiking outside and always leave your shoes at the door. This is not only a good idea to reduce pollen and particulate counts indoors, but also a good habit for leaving other contaminants from the street at your door.

4. Freeze-dried nettles or cooked nettles in soups or sautees , 1-3tsp of local honey daily, quercetin powder with vitamin C, antioxidant-rich foods (i.e. colorful fruits and vegetables, omega-3s from wild-caught, low-mercury fish, or walnuts, chia or hemp seeds).

5. Avoid inflammatory foods like sugar, conventional dairy and meats, refined vegetable oils, and processed foods. Eat organic animal products, whole grains and fruits and veggies. Stick to the Clean 15 and Avoid the Dirty Dozen – see the Environmental Working Group’s website for this list of fruits and vegetables.

6. Get some sleep. Adequate rest is essential for healthy immune function. Lack of sleep does not help allergy sufferers.

7. See an acupuncturist. This is a great one to do 2-4 weeks ahead of allergy season to get your system prepared, but acupuncture also provides excellent symptom-relief.

For more information on how to get and stay healthy with natural medicine, make an appointment with Dr. Claire Graser at Senspa 415-441-1777 or visit