Spring is a breath of fresh air, especially if you’ve experienced a bitter cold winter. It brings new life, but for many of us the beauty is covered by pesky allergies. Pollen fills the air, animals shed; we can hardly keep up. We rely on allergy medicines like Claritin and Zyrtec, but could we get relief from something as simple as a cup of green tea?
I can hardly remember a time I didn’t suffer from severe allergies. They caused me to hate spring, not be able to spend time with animals or enjoy the outdoors. I have been taking allergy shots for over seven years, to no avail. For better or worse, I know I’m not alone in this seemingly endless fight against allergies. Luckily, research is looking hopeful for the allergy-prone.
Researchers conducting laboratory tests in Japan have discovered epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) blocks a key cell receptor involved in producing an allergic response. While EGCG is the most potent compound, there are others that have been previously shown to be anti-allergic. EGCG is also over 50% of catechins in green tea leaves, thus making it a potential option for those seeing allergy relief
Tea has been believed to fight back against allergy symptoms for many years. Science is beginning to test this belief. New research is finding evidence that tea, especially green tea, does help relieve allergy symptoms. At this stage of research, the theory isn’t completely proven as the amount of green tea needed for allergy relief is currently unknown.
If it is proven to be effective, green tea could be a wonderful alternative or addition to over-the-counter antihistamines. Not only is it loaded with many other health benefits including lowering cholesterol and anti-aging properties, it also does not come with a long list of side effects. Many antihistamines can cause drowsiness, stomach pain, and nosebleed. Some can even be dangerous to pregnant women causing birth defects or premature birth.
While green tea may not be the fix to all our allergies, as someone who has experienced sneezing, watery eyes, and hives nearly their entire life, I’m definitely willing to drink a few more cups of tea to keep them at bay. This spring, I will try to conduct an at-home experiment to see if green tea can help relieve any of my symptoms. Please join me in this experiment!* I think I speak for all of us when I say a spring without allergies would truly be a breath of fresh air.
*If you are taking any medications or have any illnesses, please consult a healthcare professional before consuming green tea.
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EurekAlert “Green tea may fight allergies” by American Chemical Society
Go Ask Alice “Short- and long-term effects of abusing antihistamines” by Alice