Have I mentioned that one of my all time favorite books is Gorgeously Green by Sophie Uliano? It’s funny, easy to read, super informative, and ultra inspiring. I’ve followed tons of tips and tricks from my eco tome to make greening things up around our house a little easier. And one of the more unexpected mentions that grabbed my attention was a paragraph about salt lamps. Of course Sophie is honest and funny as she makes her case:
“Just to clear the ion thing up- negative ions are the ones we want around us. They give off a fresh, clean smell and charge the air with great energy. Consider getting a salt lamp. Okay, I know it sounds weird, but they are really pretty to look at. A salt lamp looks like a large glowing stone and is supposed to balance out the positive/negative ions so that you can maintain some kind of natural air quality. There have been scientific studies (I love scientific studies!) that demonstrate a salt lamp can increase the negative ion count by up to 300 percent. Some people put them by their televisions or computers. The bedroom will do for me.”
I had actually seen some at the state fair of all places a while back. And Sophie is right. They are pretty to look at! We’re always big fans of a natural object or five, and looks alone were reason enough to linger among the glowing amber stones lined up on wooden shelves at the fair. I was hypnotized, but John pointed out that carrying a big rock around wouldn’t exactly be convenient. So off we went to meet the goats and my love of salt lamps fell right out of my head.
Until Sophie’s mention of them…
That’s right, I fired up the ol’ laptop and hunted down the most affordable salt lamp I could find (those things can get pretty expensive if you’re not careful). And guess where it was from? Target! I made that gorgeous hunk of stone mine for just $19.99. Not bad for a 250 million year old natural salt crystal hand-chipped from the foothills of the Himalayan mountains.
And Target’s description also mentioned a few of the selling points that Sophie brought up: “acts as an air purifier,” “ideal for reducing stress,” and “releases negative ions into the air.” I don’t know if it’s all in my head, but I definitely feel more calm when my new salt lamp is on. It’s like lighting a candle except instead of flickering, it glows like a giant amber hunk of quartz. It’s sheer bliss I tell ya. And even when it’s not on, it’s definitely a gorgeous home accessory.
Here’s a shot of the whole media cabinet with my happy little salt lamp now living at the end. I figure since I spend 99% of my day in the den (where I work and also hang out with John when he gets home) it’s the best place to benefit from a little salt lamp therapy:
And I’m certainly crossing my fingers that its air-purifying effect will help with the impending allergy season (I get hammered for about two months and I’m hoping my new salt lick- er lamp- will soften the blow).
While we’re on the subject of allergies, do you guys have any helpful hints to share? I’ve heard everything from local honey (the theory is that bees work a bit of pollen into the honey which you eat and gain immunity) to stinging nettle supplements (which are said to act as a natural antihistamine). I’m someone who has dutifully tried Claritin and Allegra and have experienced zero relief from either of them, so I’m desperate! Hook a soon-to-be-itchy-eyed-sniffly-nosed girl up.
Wanna learn more about everything from better air-quality to non-toxic makeup and hair dye? Check out “Gorgeously Green” and take notes all over the margins (my copy has more tabs than some of my old Domino magazines).
Love it on the media cabinet! Perfect as always:)
What size TV do you have?
It’s a 26″ Magnavox (another Target find) that actually measures 32″ from end to end with the speakers. It’s the only TV in the house, and it’s a great size for our den since our sofa is only about 6 feet away. John also loves that he can actually watch TV while he whips up a meal in the kitchen thanks to our super wide doorway between the kitch and the den. Hope it helps!
Oh and thanks for the Neti Pot suggestions! I actually already have one so I’ll just have to use it more often to hopefully reap the benefits!
That is so cool! I had never heard of what they did before, even though I’ve always seen them around. I’m definetly going to check this out.
If your salt lamp doesn’t help with the allergies, you might want to try a Neti Pot or Sinus Rinse. I have a friend who swears by them. They’re basically used to rinse out the sinus cavity with a saline solution. Here’s an article about them. http://chealth.canoe.ca/channel_section_details.asp?text_id=4233&channel_id=40&relation_id=25176
Love your site. It’s the first thing I check every day.
I second the Neti Pot idea. My husband and his family have horrible sinus problems and they all swear by it. I’ve even tried it a few times when I was congested and it does work wonders. We got one for my mother for Christmas.
My suggestion is to avoid the saline packets that come with it and use a pinch of regular sea salt that you dissolve in warm water inside the pot. Just make sure you don’t use table salt. I’ve heard that is not a pleasant experience.
I’ve heard that acupuncture really works well for allergies, but I agree, the sinus rinse stuff that is like $2 at Target also helps.
Sam & Jacci says
Guess I’ve been hiding in a hole or something – I’ve never heard of a salt lamp before today! Yeesh. What’s funny is that my husband is was a geological engineering major, and he’d probably *love* a little halite hanging around (if it’s actually halite – dunno).
I hear you on the allergies. The Black Locust pollen is what really gets me with *migraines* every spring. We’ve just moved into a new home and guess what? Yup – a big ole Black Locust tree right in the front yard. I’m bracing myself, too.
Thanks for the tip on the lamps!!
Bailey Baker says
Your Salt Lamp idea is great. What better way to style in some decor as well. What size did you end up getting from target? I never realized there were so many options for Salt lamps. Target does seem to have it all! :)
We went with the medium size for $19.99. Here’s the link. Hope it helps!
And thanks everyone for the allergy advice. Keep it comin’!
My husband and I have bad allergies, me in spring and he in summer/fall. We’ve found the best product that works for us that relieves symptoms without any drowsiness is Chlortabs. It’s made by Equate (Walmart’s store brand) and you can find it in the allergy section of any Walmart. It’s super cheap too, which is just an added bonus!
Allergy Queen here! Local Honey and Netti Pots never did anything at all for me. The one piece of advice that I have is that not all allergy meds are equal…Claritin is NOT equal to Allegra or Zyrtec at all. When I started getting allergy shots this year (the only thing that has worked thus far), I had to take TWO Claritin versus one Zyrtec. My allergist recommends the huge Costco bottle of Zyrtec supplemented by a nasal spray like Omnaris.
I guess my best recommendation is to go see an allergist if you haven’t already to find out exactly what you’re allergic to–which will also help you be able to avoid or decrease exposure in the first place!
Local honey really does work. I live in Goochland and can find honey harvested a few a miles from my house at the farmer’s market. I have to eat it almost everyday to notice a change, but who doesn’t love honey? I also always wash my face (including eyelashes) and hair after I’ve been outside for awhile during the spring. That way I don’t wake up puffy the next morning from all the pollen I’ve breathed in during the night.
I have seasonal allergies and suffered from recurring sinus infections. I was finally sent to see an ENT. He suggested Neil Med Sinus Rinse (and discontinuing the steroid nasal sprays). It’s available at most major drug stores. Basically, you use it to clean the allergens from your sinuses. The package design makes this easy to use. Nope, I’m not a PR person for the company. I have just been really happy with how much it helped my sinuses.
heather s. says
Oooh…I must get a lamp now. I saw that book at Anthropologie a while ago and promptly went home and read about it at Borders.com. She is also coming out with a new book: The Gorgeously Green Diet that I’m really excited to check out.
As a fellow sinus & allergy sufferer, I felt no relief until I moved from Indiana to Savannah, GA –near the ocean. It was wonderful!! Now we are back in the midwest, and every year just about to the day I get a sinus infection. (So I recommend trying to identify what plants, pollen, etc. are causing your allergies) As one who isn’t going to rush to the Dr. and request antibiotics, I try to stick it out for a couple weeks, only to have to go in and get antibiotics. Same date every year. I began using a neti pot–I was desperate to find anything that worked since the drugs didn’t. I have not had a sinus infection in 2 years, since i have started using it-knock on wood! It does not cure the itchy eyes, but it sure does help me breathe better and I am up for trying anything that prevent smy use of antibiotics!! Good luck!
freckles chick says
Three words: prescription nasal spray. Esp. Veramyst. A couple squirts b/f bed (laying down for a few hrs makes it work better) and you will wonder how you got along w/out it. And it doesn’t make you all jumpy either.
I have terrible allergies like you and I have tried every medicine over the counter and through a prescription. The neti pot idea is just gross, in my opinion, so it’s not an option. I finally found something that worked…Alavert D 12 hour. It has stopped my allergies completely. We just got two kitties and even though I am horribly allergic to cats, I’ve had absolutely no problems at all. The stuff works like a charm!
You do know that the health benefits of the salt lamps are a scam don’t you? Salt has postive and negative ions but it doesn’t give them off into the atmosphere. You have to question what “scientific studies” have been done to prove these claims.
Whether it’s all in my head or actually ion-related, the salt lamp makes me happy and calm… just like lighting a candle. And the lamp itself is such a gorgeous little hunk of glittering rock that even the appearance alone is enough to win me over. Because Target is such a big company and would definitely do their best to avoid a false advertising lawsuit, I doubt that they would use claims like “acts as an air purifier,” “ideal for reducing stress,” and “releases negative ions into the air” if they didn’t have some pretty reliable sources and studies to back up those statements. Hope it helps!
What type of plant is in the picture? It is too cute. Thanks!
It’s a burro tail (a super easy to care for succulent) from Home Depot in a cheap Ikea pot. Hope it helps! Happy plant hunting…
And thanks again for all the allergy suggestions! I’m taking notes and getting ready to tackle the pollen head on.
I love this! I used to have a white-onyx stone lamp and in a moment of stupidity, gave it away last summer. I’ve been searching for a suitable replacement for the last few months, and this will be perfect for my desk! Thanks for the link :)
We both have terrible allergies, and in addition to allergy shots (mine were long ago, DH is doing them now) here’s our list:
1. Netti Pot – it’s not as gross as it sounds, and my stepdad (who is a physician) recommends 1/2 tsp of baking soda in the water to neutralize the chlorine. Baking soda also thins mucous secretions (gross) so stuff doesn’t gunk up in your head. I do it 2x day normally, and then more if I’m sick or have done something dusty or allergeny (like mow the grass or rake leaves or clean house)
2. Singular – I was still having symptoms even though I was taking Allegra and Zyrtec, so my doc put me on Singular. He said it will either work well or not at all, but there are no funky side effects. I’ve found this to be true, and it works well for me. I don’t have to take anything else!!
3. Miele hepa vac – We have a lot of indoor allergens, so this helps us immensely.
4. Whitewing Steam Cleaner – I know I listed this for my favorite cleaning product, but we use it to kill dustmites and mold too!!
ZYRTEC! Its now sold over the counter. While it is not cheap it is the most effective allergy medication I have ever tried! I used to live on dimeatap, claritin, sudafed, everything! Just to relieve the congestion, stuffy nose, sneezing, itchy eyes! Ugh! Then my MD told me that I should try zyrtec and since then (about 6 years now) zyrtec has been my best friend. Sadly for me I get allergies all year long, winter, spring, summer, and fall. Although Fall and Spring are the worst! Good luck!!
Try accupuncture for allergies. But do your research to find a really good practitioner, I prefer those with a medical background.
Your newest fan here. Love all your work!! Just a quick q, where is your media cabinet from? Thanks :)
The media cabinet is also from Target (it’s very similar to this one that they’re selling now) and you can actually see where we got almost every item in our house by checking out our room by room source list which we link to on our House Tour page. Hope it helps!
And Jill, I totally licked the lamp as soon as I got it. That sucker is salty!
I didn’t have allergies other than dust until I spent spring in Illinios for college – my allergist said that this type of tolerance will happen (and all the new trees/grasses were making me ill–oh the headaches!)
We’ll see how it goes here in grad school in Boston.
So — who was the first one to give the lamp a lick? :)
You can cop to it. It’d probably be the first thing I try. *laugh*
Local honey has worked for at least 5 people I know. This next method is extremely gross but in HS a friend of mine insisted that ‘farmer’ blowing her nose in the shower every morning cured her of her allergies. I tried it back then (I was in HS and thought it was cool not gross) and believe it or not it worked and I have never had allergies again.
Here are the only three things that have ever worked for me with noticeable results (I am a year-round sufferer):
1. Singulair – If prescription-strength Zyrtec, Allegra, etc. don’t work, ask for Singulair. It is noticeably better! I used it for years!
2. The Neti-pot – You’ve got to use it regularly. When my allergies act up, I use it 1-2 times a day… right after you get out of the shower is best thanks to all the steam.
3. Surgery – I went to see an ENT to try to get some relief from the chronic sinus infections (due to allergy problems), and lo and behold, at age 25, the doctor told me I needed surgery to correct everything… surgery I could’ve had as a child! It was a pain to go through, but the result? I haven’t taken my allergy medication a single day since then, and I have only had the allergies flare up once. If you like, I can pass along my ENT’s info (in Richmond)–he was fantastic!
Feel free to pass me your ENT’s digits. I have a feeling I’m gonna need all the help I can get! I’ve actually already had sinus surgery (I had a tumor in my breathing passages when I was 12- strange, huh?) but I suspect scar tissue from that operation has made it even harder to breathe come allergy season. Ugh! Hopefully I won’t have to go under the knife again…
I take Ester-C (Vitamin C with Bioflavanoids). I used to be able to get it at CVS, but now I have to go to GNC or Vitamin world for it. I totally didn’t believe that it could be working, so I once got lazy picking up more, and promptly had an allergy attack. When taking it regularly, I’m fine unless I shove my face in a cat (I can be in the same room as one, and I’m also allergic to dust mites and pollen, so I’m not hurting for triggers).
OoOo I love the glow that the lamp gives off! I might have to grab one for my bedroom :)
pearllinds (Lindsay C.) says
Another great green resource (that I have bookmarked WITH my domino tags, about as much as my domino mags) is The Complete Organic Pregnancy. It is a well written, easy to read, well organized book with helpful green hints for everything from bathroom products to mattresses to asthma to food, etc., etc. I recommend it to everyone, even if you’re not pregnant or planning on getting pregnant any time soon. But it’s also handy just in case! :) They might have some good allergy info but fortunately for me, I wouldn’t have checked it out! Good luck, though!!
The authors also have a great blog at thedailygreen.com/living-green/blogs/organic-parenting/
I went to an allergist and am allergic to just about everything! ha
I use a prescription nose spray and love it! I hardly ever get sinus infections
anymore. If you ever have a sinus infection though try to eat or juice a pineapple. I know this sounds weird but it REALLY reduces inflammation in your sinuses. It has kept me from taking antibiotics several times. Just don’t drink sugary pineapple juice, it just makes it worse!
While I don’t have allergies, the bf develops a couple new ones each year (usually a food), so thanfully his dust and pollen ones are pretty minimal. However, as we have pets and lots of friends who are allergic, I keep Reactine in the house for guests, and the bf takes it if needed. We’ve had no complaints, and our friends are able to stay a while….
MaryB in Richmond says
I have spring/fall allergies and I learned something really surprising several years ago from a doctor who was trying to help me figure out what to do. She said first that all allergy medicines are not the same medicine, so while Claritin doesn’t do a thing for me, a Zyrtec will clear me up literally in minutes. I personallly favor those OTC with “Clemastine,” which includes “Day-Hist” and all generic clones.
The really important thing the doctor told me is that your body can build up an immunity TO THE MEDICINE, so even though Day-Hist has worked well for me for five or six years now, there may come a time when it doesn’t work and I should try CLaritin again, or something else with a different formulation.
Hope this is helpful!
The Tiny Homestead says
love the lamp!
for allergies I am much less likely to get flare ups when I’m eating lots of fresh fruits and veggies. I mean lots, they do so much for your immune system. Have something fresh at every meal and snack on fruit- I dare you to tell me you don’t feel better :)
Also, taking a fish oil supplement/omega-3 oils seems to help as well. Fish oil is known to decrease inflammation, so that’s probably why it helps my allergies.
Good luck this year. Oh, and I also see my acupuncturist.
I have to agree with Wendy on this one – the lamp is nice but don’t buy it for any reason other than its appearance. If you remember high school and/or college chemistry, positive and negative ions are attracted to each other. In order to give off negative ions, the lamp somehow would have to break down the bonds that hold the sodium and chlorine (salt) atoms together and release the negative chloride ions into the air. That would leave the salt with extra positively charged sodium ions that would attract those chloride ions back to them. That won’t work.
I must own one of these salt lamps! Sooo pretty – thanks for the deal tip at Target! Also I’m so glad that you’ve read Gorgeously Green! I lovelove that book – and her website, and I like hearing what other people get out of it. This was a great post!
I didn’t read ALL the comments but I kind of skimmed them oven so I hope this isn’t too repetitive ;)
My two cents: As major allergy sufferer myself. Indoor and outdoor stuff. Even to my cat (but I didn’t let that stop me from adopting her!). Zyrtec is the only one that has helped me with the sneezing, and all the nose and breathing symptoms that come with allergies. I take it every day with my vitamins. I also get the skin itching, red/itchy face, runny and itchy eyes stuff too, but Zyrtec doesn’t really help me there. I find that a cool shower and tea tree help the skin a lot. Derma-e makes good stuff for those kinds of symptoms (and covered by FSA!) Also, the antihistamine eye drops are super helpful when I absolutely have to go out of the house. The Neti-pot helps my husband’s allergy symptoms but I don’t like it at all. I’m going to an allergist this year to see what else I can do to alleviate my misery every spring and fall. Good luck, and please share what works for you!
I’m also a Zyrtec convert. Claritin and the others never did it for me either. Watery, itchy eyes are no more!
Thanks for the tip! I had no idea salt lamps had a use beyond decoration – I may have to keep my eye out now.
Thanks for sharing that goregous salt lamp…so pretty when it’s all lit up.
I’m down here in Australia and thankfully the allergy season is 6months away…but I had moved to Sydney at the begining of last year and when spring came I thought I was going to die…all those new plants to attack my poor little sinuses. Cut a long story short…acupuncture + perscription nasal spray + once a day Zyrtec and everything was a whole lot better.
Hope you survive the coming Spring :)
My husband has terrible allergies as well. Last year he started eating local pollen. We buy it at our farmers market. It did seem to help. Good luck!
I have terrible allergies too and Allegra and Claritin don’t work for me either. Zyrtec, however, — and especially Zyrtec D — is a god send! And fortunately, it’s now available over the counter and in brand z!
…Oh and Singular + Zyrtec combo is the best — I take it daily. And oddly enough, I had a tumor in my sinuses removed at the age of 12, too!
I have one and I LOVE it!
Oh I LOVE salt lamps! I’m so happy to see they are more reasonably priced, too! I first saw them years ago when on vacation in Lake Tahoe. They were $100+ and as much as I wanted one, couldn’t do it.
Now that I know how much they have dropped in price,I am all over it!
Thanks again, Sherry!
As a fellow allergy sufferer and an *almost doctor (73 days to go) here are my tips:
1) allergy testing and shots – cons: expensive (depending on your insurance) and painful. Pros: easier to avoid because then you know what you are allergic to, biggest decrease in symptoms for me at least.
2) Zyrtec/Claritin/etc: pros – systemic relief (eyes too, hypothetically); cons – you really need to take them EVERY DAY, starting at least a week or two before the “season” for whatever you are allergic to starts.
3) Nasal steroids (flonase, nasonex): pros – relatively easy to use, no systemic absorption of the steroids; cons – you have to put something in your nose.
4) Nasal irrigation (neti pot or NeilMed sinus rinse): con – kind of gross; pro – relieves sinus headaches better than pills (for me at least), gets allergens out of your sinus passages temporarily, moisturizes mucosa (fewer nosebleeds).
5) Environment: if pollen gets you, then no open windows in allergy season, use a hepa filter in your vacuum and change/clean the air return filters after allergy season. If it’s dust, then only dust with something damp, wash bedding in hot water, remove all rugs/carpet that can’t be washed from your bedroom, and consider allergen covers for the mattress (the ones that go all the way around and zip) and pillows.
Sorry for the delayed response! I went to see Dr. Perlman at Virginia ENT. It’s a large practice with several offices, but you can specifically request a doctor. They have a couple locations, but for you, the easiest to reach (I think you’re near Forest Hill/Midlo area) would be either St. Mary’s or the office on Midlothian Turnpike. Google them, give them a call, and good luck!
OK, I really want a salt lamp! Does any one know where I can get one in Australia?
Amanda Z. says
I am so so not lucky to live in St. Louis, allergy capital of the U.S. Due to my year round allergies I have been getting shots for the last 4 years, plus singular, zyrtec, nasal spray, AND because my allergies led to asthma – a daily inhaler too. BUT!!!!! no sneeze attacks for the last year and half!!! Except now on high mold count days I feel achy like I’m getting the flu. Any good affordable cities out there hiring graphic designers that we can move too????? (Preferably near an IKEA)
Kate W. says
Allergies…I’ve been fortunate enough to get adequate relief from oral meds, but know several people (and recommended by my doctor) that ONLY use nasal spray. They swear by it. Personally I can’t stand the snorting action and hence have continued to manage with pills and eye drops.
Some other tips that you’ve probably heard, but always good reminders…Avoid gardening/working in the yard during your “peak” time (if grasses get you, avoid early season outside work); if you have to get some stuff done outside, shower right when you’re done (rid yourself of any pollen or what not you have carried in); use your central air consistenly and keep air filters clean (obviously not the most cost/energy efficient idea, but so nice to have relief from the outdoors in your own home!).
Take care and good luck, love the blog!
Kate W. says
Few other quick thoughts (of course they came to me after I posted…)- I always start taking my meds as soon as it gets warm out. I find it best to try to get ahead of them vs waiting for symptoms to start and then trying to play catch-up; check with your doc, but mine has always okayed me to take otc drugs with my Allerga. So if a certain week I’m extra congested I’ll take Allegra and a sudafed (or any generic); lastly, play with the time of day you take meds. For example I find it best to take my 24hr pill at night vs in the a.m. I like it better as I would always feel like crap in the morning and start the day out sluggish b/c the drug had essentially worn off and next one hadn’t kicked in yet. Also a good strategy to take one 24hr one in the a.m. and the additional otc in the p.m.
Allergist allergist allergist. I had nasty allergies for a looong time…Claritin D kind of worked but I still had problems. I went to an allergist and lo and behold, I don’t actually have allergies, just a super-sensitive sinus lining that gets irritated really easily (non-allergic rhinitis). So, using the neti pot or something else like that to clear the sinuses is good, and Rhinocort Aqua works for me, as does Flonase. But really, see an allergist, they can tell you what’s really up.