Is it just me, or did winter really only get started a short while ago?  Of course, with Los Angeles’s short winter season, mid-January means it’s already time to start thinking springtime thoughts, and with those springtime thoughts comes a sense of dread for the 18 million people, including myself, who suffer from seasonal allergies.

There are plenty of over-the-counter medications that can do the trick, but as we noted in our cold and flu-focused post from last winter, medicine can be heavily processed and not very water-friendly.  While our advice certainly shouldn’t replace that of a doctor, if your allergies are mild enough that you’re open to experimenting, consider switching to virtual water home remedies to do yourself, and your planet, a favor.

Let’s begin with a classic: honey.  Honey may just be a magic ingredient, in that it’s anti inflammatory, antibiotic, and also a natural allergy ease-r.  Best of all, it has virtually no virtual water footprint, given that bees make honey naturally out of pollen that is also naturally present.  No human intervention = a super green source of relief.

Do you like to turn up the heat?  Spicy foods, ranging from hot peppers to wasabi to even mild spices like garlic can help de-congest you.  Peppers only have a virtual water foot print of 270 liters per kilogram of water and garlic’s footprint is negligible.  Sounds green to me!

We’ve recommended before that you take shorter showers or skip them some days, so this might seem counter-intuitive, but one allergy reliever is showering.  The reason?  Steam opens your nasal passages.  So if you’re going to shower anyway, time your shower for when you’re really suffering from your symptoms, or if today is a skip-the-shower day, maybe spend five minutes breathing deeply from a mug or pot of boiling water.

Years ago, a friend taught me an old Russian remedy for itchy and watery eyes: wet tea bags applied directly to the eyes.  The upside of this remedy is that it works like magic, and more quickly than allergy pills.  The downside is that a single cup of tea (and a tea bag is generally designed to produce a single cup) uses 27 liters of water – not a massive amount,  but you can cut back on your footprint by saving used tea bags after your morning cup.  (Just be sure to change-out your saved tea on a regular basis to avoid applying mold or mildew directly to your eyes.)

Allergies can be miserable, but that doesn’t mean we have to take our pains out on the planet around us.  Think green and look to home remedies to ease your seasonal woes.