Having a constantly running nose, despite not having a cold, could not only be annoying but it could also hinder your daily activities. This condition is known as Perennial Allergic Rhinitis. People with this condition experience symptoms year-round—unrelated to the season.
Common Cold Vs Perennial Allergic Rhinitis
While a common cold is a very common illness, it usually clears up on its own within a week or two. Perennial allergic rhinitis, on the other hand, continues long-term and is experienced for periods longer than 4 days/week and for more than 4 consecutive weeks.
Causes Of Common Cold
Common cold is caused by a viral infection in the nasal passage. Its symptoms are caused mainly due to the body’s response to the infection. When a nasal cell is infected by a cold virus, the body responds by activating parts of the immune system and some nervous system reflexes. 1
Symptoms of a cold include sneezing, runny nose, nasal obstruction, sore or scratchy throat, cough, hoarseness, and mild general symptoms like headache, feverishness, chilliness, and not feeling well in general.2
Causes Of Perennial Allergic Rhinitis
The most common cause of Perennial allergic rhinitis, however, is an allergic reaction to airborne substances such as pollen that get into the upper respiratory passages – the nose, sinus, throat and also the eyes. It is caused by dust mites, pet hair or dander, cockroaches or mold, smoke, and smog. This condition may also be caused due to food sensitivities, structural abnormalities, metabolic conditions, or synthetic drugs.3
Herbs And Vitamins That Can Help
Before reaching for medications it would be wise to try some natural herbal remedies that can be effective in not just relieving symptoms but also healing the root cause of the infection.
Urtica dioica (Stinging Nettle)
While there is no known botanical substance whose mechanism is inherently the same as that of antihistamines for treating allergic rhinitis, the recent development of biomechanical preservation by freeze-drying, allows Urtica dioica to work in similar ways to its allopathic antihistamine counterparts.
Dosage: A dose of 300 mg/day of freeze-dried Urtica dioica is recommended for the treatment of allergic rhinitis.4
Quercetin is a flavonoid (plant pigment) that gives fruits and vegetables their color. In a Japanese study of individuals with perennial allergic rhinitis, quercetin significantly inhibited antigen-stimulated histamine release and helped to alleviate the symptoms of allergic rhinitis.5
Dosage: The recommended dosage for allergic rhinitis ranges from 250-600 mg, three times daily, five to ten minutes before meals.6
Vitamin C has antihistamine properties and preliminary research suggests it might help reduce allergy symptoms. Vitamin C is non-toxic and virtually free of side effects.
Dosage: For allergic rhinitis, a dosage of at least 2 grams per day should be administered.7
Certain herbs can trigger side effects and interact with other herbs, supplements, or medications. For these reasons, you should take herbs only under the supervision of a licensed health care practitioner.
How Can Yoga Help With Perennial Allergic Rhinitis?
Yoga and Pranayama can help to clear the nasal passages and strengthen the sinuses.
Jala neti kriya, more commonly referred to simply as neti is a simple procedure for maintaining nasal hygiene by means of irrigating the nostrils with warm salty water using a neti pot. Neti effectively removes dirt, allergens and bacteria filled mucus from the nasal passages. It decreases swelling of the nasal mucosa and also helps to remove certain inflammatory substances such as histamines.8
Pranayama detoxifies and provides a good amount of oxygen to the entire body, especially the respiratory system. Regular practice of pranayama may have beneficial effects on allergies as it can help to remove the allergens from the respiratory system, purify and invigorate the lungs, windpipe, and nasal chambers.
A study was conducted on the effects of specific breathing patterns such as anulome and velome and kapal bhaati on respiratory tract allergic disorders. The study results showed an improvement in the clinical manifestations of nasobronchial allergies and infections.9
Non Allergic Rhinitis
A running nose all year round can also be caused due to Nonallergic Rhinitis which involves a set of symptoms that resemble an allergy but that occur without a known cause and there’s no identified allergic reaction involved.10 Environmental irritants are common triggers of nonallergic rhinitis. Hormonal changes during pregnancy and puberty, an overactive thyroid gland and sensitivity to certain food colorings or preservatives may also be a cause.
|↑1||Gwaltney, J.M.Jr., and R.R. Ruckert. 1997. Rhinovirus. In Clinical Virology. D.D. Richman, R.J. Whitley, and F.G. Hayden, editors. Churchill Livingstone, New York. 1025-1047.|
|↑2||Gwaltney, J.M.Jr. 2000. The Common Cold. In Principles and Practices of Infectious Diseases, 5th ed. G.L. Mandell, J.E. Bennett, and R. Dolin, editors. Churchill Livingstone, New York. 651-656.|
|↑3||Allergic Rhinitis, Medical Center, University of Maryland.|
|↑4||Mittman P. Randomized, double-blind study of freeze-dried urtica dioica in the treatment of allergic rhinitis. Planta Med 1990;56:44-47.|
|↑5||Otsuka H, Inaba M, Fujikura T, Kunitomo M. Histochemical and functional characteristics of metachromic cells in the nasal epithelium in allergic rhinitis: studies of nasal scrapings and their dispersed cells. J Allergy Clin Immunol 1995;96:528-536.|
|↑6||Murray MT. Natural Alternatives to Over-TheCounter and Prescription Drugs. New York, NY:William Morrow and Co., Inc.; 1994:83-99.|
|↑7||Bucca C, Rolla G, Oliva A, Farina JC. Effect of vitamin C on histamine bronchial responsiveness of patients with allergic rhinitis. Ann Allergy 1990;65:311-314.|
|↑8||Georgitis, JW. Nasal Hyperthermia and Simple Irrigation for Perennial Rhinitis: Changes in Inflammatory Mediators. Chest 1994;106:1487-1492.|
|↑9||Ram Bahadur Singh et al.Int J Disabil Hum Dev 2009;8(2):141-153-Pranayama: The power of breath.|
|↑10||Joaquim Mullol et al.Ther Clin Risk Manag-2005 Dec; 1(4): 265–271. Management of persistent allergic rhinitis: evidence-based treatment with levocetirizine.|