By: Dr. Lauren Beardsley
It’s that time of year again when those nagging, allergy symptoms appear, causing many of us to feel weighed down. If you find yourself surrendering to the common symptoms that accompany the beautiful spring weather, finding answers to bring relief are always welcome.
First, lets discuss WHAT allergies truly are.
Allergies are essentially due to an imbalance of the immune system that causes a more heightened than necessary response to stimuli from the environment. Oftentimes, when the body is in a state of dis-ease or imbalance, there is more likelihood of inappropriate responses to triggers.
HOW can we address this response, you ask?
These are my top 10 natural and effective therapies to help you seek allergy relief:
- Avoid house fans or ceiling fans near open windows.
- This will help prevent the collection of unwanted allergens into your home.
- Invest in an air purifier.
- Cleansing the air you are exposed to in the home or workplace will limit your chronic exposure to allergens.
- Shower at the end of your day.
- Dust and pollens may collect on clothing, hair and skin throughout your day. Showering will help rinse off any of these environmental triggers, therefore limiting your exposure and calming any reactions.
- Use a neti pot or nasal rinse.
- Flushing your nasal passages is a great way to wipe clean any collection of pollens, etc. This will also help astringe mucus membranes, allowing any inflammation and irritation to subside. The standard solution used is saline, though you can add a small amount of essential oils, including Hydrastis (Goldenseal) for added, astringent effects.
- Sleep with a humidifier at night.
- Added moisture in your environment will help nourish and moisten the nasal mucosa, calming any inflammation or irritation. You can add essential oils, such as eucalyptus or lavender to the solution for added benefit.
- Supplement with natural antihistamines.
- Bioflavonoids, including quercitin, hesperidin and catechin, are derived from foods and plants. These compounds help stabilize mast cells in the body that are responsible for producing histamine. Citrus fruits, onions, apples, parsley, tea, tomatoes, broccoli, lettuce and wine are naturally high in quercetin. During seasonal allergy months, patients are encouraged to supplement with high doses of bioflavonoids to help build up levels and prevent allergic episodes. Fun Fact: Taking bromelain or vitamin C can enhance the effects of bioflavonoids.
- NAC (N-acetyl cysteine) is a powerful antioxidant with properties that help to quench free radicals, as well as break up mucus.
- Nettle leaf is an herb that actually inhibits the body’s ability to produce histamine and, therefore, can be an effective, preventative measure.
- Various herbs, including garlic, thyme, fennel, as well as chamomile and green tea, contain compounds that limit the production of histamines and can be helpful in preventing allergic symptoms.
- Consume probiotics.
- Consuming enough beneficial bacteria can have a positive effect on allergies. By simply balancing your gut bacteria, you can help manage your immune response. An encapsulated probiotic, as well as fermented foods and drinks like kombucha or kefir, can help boost good gut bacteria.
- Use honey.
- The principle of honey being effective for the management of allergies is solely related to pollen allergies. You must seek out honey with a good amount of pollen content for these benefits, or you can go straight to the source and use raw pollen in small doses to help desensitize your reaction to regional pollen. Note: Make sure your honey is raw and from your region to provide the utmost benefit.
- Utilize homeopathic preparations.
- Dependent upon your symptoms, a certain homeopathic preparation may be indicated.
- Allium cepa is helpful for sneezing, itchy, runny nose and watery eyes.
- Euphrasia is helpful for itchy, burning, irritated eyes as well as any excess mucus production.
- Consider sublingual immunotherapy.
- For more lasting effects, completing laboratory bloodwork will determine your specific, regional, environmental allergies. With these results, the doctors at IH can help you formulate a sublingual tonic to generate desensitization. SLIT therapy is offered at IH and is a step toward healing.
Now, WHY do some suffer from this madness in the first place?
From a natural health viewpoint, allergies may be a result of disease in the body, ranging from immune dysfunction, adrenal imbalance, digestive issues or hormonal irregularity. To combat allergic symptoms, we must consider what the root cause of this response may be to prevent future misery.
Here are top areas to investigate:
1. What is the status of your microbiome?
Stool tests offered at IH can shed light on how much good and “bad” bacterial growth you have in your gastrointestinal tract.
2. Have you thought about food allergy/food sensitivity testing?
Identifying food triggers can aide in lessening generalized inflammation.
3. Have you evaluated your adrenal health?
Cortisol dysfunction can lead to inappropriate responses to stimuli.
4. Are your hormones in check?
An imbalance in hormones can compromise the body’s ability to respond to the environment appropriately.
Whether your question is what, how or why, these are great topics to bring up with your doctor at IH to determine the next step in your journey toward allergy relief.