Many people are plagued with allergies during the winter months. Dust mites, pet dander, pollen from evergreen trees and certain foods can cause symptoms that may be mistaken for colds or flu. Allergic reactions such as over-production of mucus, inflamed sinuses and sinus headaches cause great misery. Inflamed sinuses that go untreated can become infected and filled with pus. As the infection drains into the lungs, pneumonia can develop.
- Stinging nettle: Used for centuries, stinging nettle is an expectorant. It breaks up sinus and chest congestion, making breathing a little easier. Dried leaves can be used as a tea for treatment and to prevent viral infection.
- Eyebright: This herb is best for treating the symptoms related to the eyes, ears and sinuses. Because it can reduce the amount of mucus caused by an allergic reaction, it essentially neutralizes the symptoms.
- Cayenne pepper: Hot peppers cause the mucous in sinuses to thin, making it easier to breathe.
- Butterbur: According to WebMD, Natural Allergy Remedies, "Some research shows that extracts of butterbur root are just as effective at relieving nasal symptoms as prescription drugs like Zyrtec and Allegra." The herb doesn't cause drowsiness the way OTC and prescription medicines with antihistamines do.
- Peppermint: Peppermint tea opens the airway, making breathing easier.
- Garlic, onion and horseradish: These common kitchen seasonings open congested sinuses.
Always consult your physician before using natural remedies when taking prescription medicines. There may be some negative interactions. Pregnant women should never use herbs without discussing them with their gynecologist. Some herbal remedies can cause premature labor.