Many people feel a sense of relief and well being
upon the arrival of spring. Days are warmer and
longer, flowers are blooming, and many enjoy
wearing lighter clothes and feeling the warm air
against their skin. And in Boulder, opportunities for a
myriad of outdoor activities abound. This makes
many people grateful that winter is finally over. If one
suffers from seasonal pollen allergies, however,
springtime means the discomforts of a runny nose,
sneezing, itchy eyes and/or skin, trouble breathing,
Many factors contribute to the onset
and development of seasonal allergies. Some are
due to heredity and others are due to cumulative
lifestyle factors and stresses on the body.
If one has undetected food allergies and continues to
eat their allergens, an excess burden is placed on
the body's immune system. I often attribute repeated
exposure to food allergens akin to driving your car
with dirty oil. It puts a drag on the whole system so
your organs don't function at an optimal level.
Exposure to extra insults to the body such as grass,
weed, or tree pollens often sends the body "over the
edge" into an acute allergy attack. One of the first
things I do with many of my patients with allergies is
to identify and eliminate food allergens.
ENVIRONMENTAL TOXIC OVERLOAD - People who
have been exposed to toxins repeatedly in their
home and/or workplace often have a higher
susceptibility to allergies due to their liver needing to
work overtime to detoxify. Again this places undue
burden on the body so that pollens can tip the
immune system into reactivity.
Chronic stress can over time wear down the adrenal
glands. Adrenal glands evolved for the purpose of
giving us extra energy in fight or flight situations.
Today we are not generally needing to run so we can
elude a wooly mammoth, however day to day
stresses along with excess caffeine intake will take
their toll on the adrenal glands. Adrenals also
support the immune system and secrete hormones
that inhibit the release of histamine. So if your
adrenals are worn out, your body's natural
antihistamine producers also get worn out,
increasing the likelihood on an allergic reaction.
WHAT TO DO? - Here are some of my favorite
remedies for acute usage during allergy season.
1.Vitamin C - supports the immune system and
inhibits the release of histamine.
2. Quercitin and other bioflavenoids - These
substances, which also include rutin and hesperidan,
stabilize the cellular integrity of mast cells. Mast cells
release histamine which is what causes the
inflammatory reaction which produces allergy
3. Licorice root -supports the adrenal glands (
has a cumulative effect) and also the immune system.
4. Nettles - has a mild astringent (drying and
tonifying) effect on mucous membranes of the
respiratory system so it is helpful with alleviating
respiratory congestion. It is also a good source of
Vitamin C (see above).
5. Eyebright - also helps tonify and strengthen
mucous membranes, so it is helpful in eliminating
respiratory congestion and excess watering of the
6. Nasal saline wash - clears nasal mucous
membranes so can help prevent secondary sinus
infections from developing.
7. Constitutional homeopathy - This 200 year
old form of medicine can strengthen all systems of
the body and over time lessen allergy symptoms. A
practitioner highly skilled in prescribing homeopathic
remedies is recommended.
Allergies are more
often than not able to be treated successfully with
natural medicine. Emergency anaphylactic reactions
do require allopathic (orthodox) medicine as that is a
life threatening situation. Treating allergies as a more
chronic whole body condition rather than dealing
with acute symptoms is preferable in the long run to
eliminate or lessen the severity of an allergy attack,
though nature abounds with acute remedies as well
for non life threatening allergy symptoms. Much of the
basic work of allergy treatment is lifestyle changes to
improve diet, eliminating foods one reacts to, plenty
of fresh air and exercise, and eliminating exposure to
environmental toxins. Once this occurs a previous
allergy sufferer may once again be able to enjoy
springtime's birds and flowers. Be well!
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