Ah, spring: that season which is supposed to be a pleasantly warm and sunny break from the bitter cold instead makes millions of allergy sufferers feel like they have invisible daddy longlegs of fire crawling across their faces 24/7.

From masks to medicine, there are plenty of products on the market to combat the symptoms and reduce exposure to the evil, evil pollen, but they all encumber your freedoms by blocking your vision or clouding your mind. However, a new, all-natural method of subduing allergic reactions was presented at a meeting of the Japan Society for Bioscience, Biotechnology and Agrochemistry, and best of all it uses easy to find ingredients: Yogurt and mikan (tangerine) peels.

The research team from Ehime University headed by professor Takuya Sugawara made the discovery while trying to find food products that could reduce the effects of hay fever. In the study they created a drinkable yogurt with ground-up mikan peels mixed in.

Twenty-six sufferers of cedar pollen allergies (a major culprit of hay fever in Japan) were each given 150mL (5oz) of the mixture once a day for two weeks. Both before and after they were also subjected to eye-drops which would trigger an allergic reaction.

The study found that all subjects had reported that symptoms such as itchiness were greatly reduced. Although those are subjective results, the researchers also measured the temperature on the surface of their eyes and found it to be 50% lower than before drinking the mixture, suggesting less inflammation occurred.

▼ Allergic reactions can cause inflammation known as conjunctivitis or, in layman’s terms, yucky eyes.

It is thought that the combination of the chemicals nobiletin in the peels and beta-lactoglobulin in the yogurt weakens the body’s immune system so that the chemicals like histamine which cause allergic reactions are not as readily released.

It should be noted that not all citrus fruits and yogurts are created equal. You’ll have to make sure that the key components are there. However, asking your local grocer if their oranges have nobiletin may lead to a blank stare, so here’s a picture of it you can show them.

▼ If they can’t identify this flavonoid, it might be time to switch grocery stores.

I, for one, will pass on this home remedy. It reminds me too much of when my older brother gave me a cup of mayonnaise, black pepper, and lemon juice squeezed from his gym sock, because it would “alleviate the chronic cooties” from which he insisted I suffered.

Source: Yomiruri Online (Japanese)
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