Many individuals with allergies turn to using nasal decongestant sprays in combination with an antihistamine. However, nasal decongestants sprays are not recommended in the treatment of allergies because the response to the drug rapidly decreases after only three to seven days. Continued use of the decongestant initiates a vicious cycle of rebound nasal congestion.
Some natural allergy relief products contain natural decongestants. Many of them originally used ephedra, a natural source of ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, till it was banned in 2004 due to serious safety concerns. Some of these products now use bitter orange instead.
Bitter orange contains synephrine, a compound related to ephedrine that has decongestant activity. Similar to ephedra’s tainted past, bitter orange supplements have been linked to reports of stroke, heart attack and death in otherwise healthy patients who have taken bitter orange extract alone or in combination with caffeine.
The use of bitter orange is also contraindicated for individuals taking certain prescription medications. Always make a habit of reading the information provided with your prescriptions drugs. If you are not allowed to drink grapefruit juice with any of your medications, then you should stay away from bitter orange as well.
Watch for labels that list bitter orange under other names:
Fortunately, there are numerous safer alternatives to herbal nasal decongestants as reviewed here: http://9mp.com/natural-decongestants.