Dr.Tara Skye Goldin's Newsletter Natural Medicine That Gets Results!
February/ March 2008


Happy late winter! So much has been happening this month and time has been flying by so quickly that I thought I'd focus this month on allergies. For those who suffer from seasonal allergies , that time is right around the corner. The time to address those issues is now so I thought it relevant. Ideally 6 - 8 weeks before you really develop your symptoms is the best time to start a prevention regimen.

On the other hand one can also begin to appreciate the lengthening days and the beginnings of tulips and irises poking through the dirt promising spring radiance soon. Last week when we had a warm day I was sure I saw some leaf buds swelling up on a bush ( or maybe that was wishful thinking on my part!) Either way spring is inevitable. Winter eventually ends, although I am personally enjoying a bit of late winter skiing with my family this year. Take care and enjoy the changing of the seasons and spring's impending renewal!

in this issue
Natural Help for Allergies Stinging Nettle as an Allergy Remedy Boswellia Reduces Inflammation The Immune Support Breakfast!

Stinging Nettle as an Allergy Remedy

Stinging nettle ( Urtica dioica and the closely related Urtica urens ) has a long medicinal history. In medieval Europe, diuretics and remedies for joint problems were made from stinging nettle. Healers in several traditions used the branches of stinging nettle to strike the arms or legs of paralyzed patients in order to activate their muscles. This whipping technique is also used in some healing traditions to stimulate the organs and relieve the pain of sore muscles. From the University of Maryland Medical Center

Boswellia Reduces Inflammation

The ancient herb boswellia (Boswellia serrata) has been used for thousands of years to treat conditions that, in recent years, have been found to be caused by inflammation. Originating in Africa, China, and the Middle East, boswellia herbal extract is derived from the sappy resin of the boswellia tree. In the 1970s, German scientists discovered that boswellia produces therapeutic effects similar to those of the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) compounds ibuprofen and aspirin. Unlike boswellia, however, NSAIDs work by inhibiting the cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) enzymes. Unfortunately, medications that inhibit COX-2 often inhibit COX-1, which is needed to maintain a healthy stomach lining and common side effects include gastrointestinal bleeding. From Suite 101.com

The Immune Support Breakfast!

This is one of those pearls of wisdom that I received as a naturopathic student from my alma mater, Bastyr University (class of 1990!) Regular use of this breakfast will over time help improve your immune system and also your allergies. It is also portable and can be taken to work in a Pyrex container (or "Tupperware" though I recommend to avoid food - plastic contact with your food for a variety of reasons). This can be mixed together in a large quantity ahead of time so breakfast is quick and easy for our frenetic on the go lifestyle. Enjoy! From the Bastyr Center for Natural Health

Natural Help for Allergies

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, and fatigue.

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.

FOOD ALLERGIES - 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.

STRESS - 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 symptoms.

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 eyes.

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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