Allergies got you down? Natural ways to treat the sniffles

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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

Allergy season is in full swing here in the Valley, and many people are really suffering, with watery eyes, coughing, scratchy throats, and, of course, the sniffles.

On Thursday's Good Morning Arizona, De. Ed Lamadrid joined us with some natural remedies to treat the sniffles.

He says allergies in Arizona are due to mulberry, juniper and ash trees. And while over-the-counter drugs may treat symptoms, they often have side effects such as sleepiness, dryness, headache and sinus pain.

Here are some of his suggestions to try:

Vitamin A: Found in apples, carrots and broccoli, it is necessary for healthy mucous lining.

Vitamin C: Found in citrus fruits, green peppers, strawberries, and broccoli, it is necessary for a healthy immune system.

Quercetin: A natural plant-derived compound called a bioflavonoid, it is found in onions, apples, green tea, black tea, leafy green vegetables and beans. Quercetin helps stabilize mast cells and prevents them from releasing histamine. It helps block the release of histamine that causes inflammation.

Omega-3 fatty acids: They may act to lower the amounts of inflammatory chemicals produced by the body after exposure to an allergen. They're found in walnuts, flaxseed and fish (like salmon). Although additional research is needed, it appears that a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids may help decrease the incidence of hay fever.

Honey: Can serve as vaccine to pollen. Must be local honey.

Ginger tea: Ginger tea with raw honey works to break up chest congestion and loosen phlegm. It strengthens the immune system and acts as a natural antihistamine.

-Peppermint tea: Can relieve nasal and sinus congestion. Drink it cold to soothe coughing associated with hay fever and allergies.

-Special Herbs: (make as a tea or purchase as a supplement or extract.)

Stinging Nettles: behaves in much the same way as many of the drugs sold to treat allergies, but without the unwanted side effects of dry mouth and drowsiness.

Chrysanthemum Flowers: to treat redness, itchy eyes.

Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine: See your acupuncturist for effective treatment strategies.