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.
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
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
Vitamin C – supports the immune system
and inhibits the release of histamine.
Quercitan 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.
Licorice root –supports the adrenal glands
( has a cumulative effect) and also the immune system.
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).
Eyebright - also helps tonify and strengthen
mucous membranes, so it is helpful in eliminating respiratory
congestion and excess watering of the eyes.
Nasal saline wash – clears nasal mucous
membranes so can help prevent secondary sinus infections from
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 anaphalactic 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.