Relieve Allergies Naturally
If you find yourself sneezing and coughing— with watery eyes and swollen sinuses each spring, you probably know you have allergies. What might surprise you is that your child’s ear infections or your spouse’s digestive problems may stem from allergies, too. Research confirms that allergies can manifest as various common ailments and disorders—from headaches to autism—that can occur any time of the year, in just about any body.
It seems that just about everyone suffers from allergies. More than 20 percent of the US population has an allergic condition, making allergies the sixth leading cause of chronic disease. These include asthma, chronic allergic rhinitis, or its seasonal counterpart, hay fever. In addition, the US Department of Agriculture reports that 15 percent of the population has food allergies or sensitivities.
There are also chemical sensitivities that can cause hives, headaches, muscle pains, and mental impairment— among many others—when exposed to only small amounts.
Even though almost any agent can trigger an allergic reaction, the main culprits tend to be those that you can inhale or eat. The most common environmental culprit is pollen, particularly those from trees, weeds, grasses, and molds. The most common food offenders are yeast, wheat, corn, dairy products, eggs, soy, shellfish, peanuts, chocolates, as well as food dyes and additives.
When these get into your body, the most common symptoms include breathing congestion; inflamed, bloodshot, watery, and scratchy eyes; sneezing; running nose; hives; swelling; stomachache; and intestinal irritation. Not fun!
Stress is a common part of life, but it can be harmful to the body when it is prolonged or chronic. It affects the body in very real, physical ways by hindering the immune and hormone systems. For allergy sufferers, this can mean your allergies get worse. If you are one of the lucky ones that don’t suffer from allergies, stress can also lead to their onset and sensitivity.
Although the concept of stress— being “stressed out” or under constant stress—may be a common perception today, the role stress plays as a contributing factor in many diseases is underestimated. Chronic stress directly affects the immune system, and if not dealt with effectively, can seriously compromise your health.
Allergies are not something that you have to live with. Changes in your lifestyle and environment can allow you to reduce your dependence on drugs. By treating what is actually causing the condition, not only can allergies be relieved, but your overall health will also improve.
For people who suffer from allergies, it is particularly important to remain well hydrated. You should drink eight to 10 glasses of water (8 ounces each) each day. Additional water is needed if you consume coffee, alcohol, or caffeine products.
Water activates all of the nerve endings and sensors in the skin. Water then energizes them so they become more responsive, enhancing the vitality of the skin. Water also acts as an antioxidant by flushing toxins out of our bodies through the kidneys. Dehydration contributes to toxic overload, which in turn, can lead to a hyperactive immune system and allergies. In addition, the sinuses drain better when they are well hydrated, and their mucous membrane becomes more resistant to infection. A lack of water allows toxins to overload the system, and may result in allergic reactions.
The homes that we live in can also play a key role in allergic reactions. Dust mites, molds, smoke, formaldehyde from building products, and high levels of radon are a few of the factors that contribute allergies. Environmental control can be especially helpful in preventing the development of asthma in infants.
Keep a humidifier in the bedroom, especially during the winter months. Sleeping in a room with dry air hurts the sinuses and can cause irritation of the mucous membrane. Dry air can trigger asthma and nasal congestion and contribute to sinusitis and allergies. Indoor air should be between 35 and 45 percent relative humidity for maximum health benefits. But also be sure to clean and maintenance your humidifier periodically to prevent the growth of mold.
A healthy whole-foods diet will help keep your barrier functions in optimal condition. A whole-foods diet is low in unhealthy fats, animal protein, and unprocessed foods, and high in complex carbohydrates (especially whole grains in rich fiber), essential fatty acids, and at least five servings daily of fruits and vegetables.
Eating well-balanced meals at regular times during the day will stabilize your blood sugar, which is particularly important for your support organs. Instead of being concerned with vitamins and minerals, focus on eating a colorful diet. By mixing the colors of vegetables or fruits you will ensure the best exposure to appropriate nutrients.
Various herbal remedies have shown excellent results in reducing allergy and sensitivity symptoms. Particularly effective are anti-inflammatory herbs such as nettle, Ginkgo biloba, and licorice. However, it is important to review each herb and the recommended dosage. Traditional Chinese Medicine also provides many herbs and plants that successfully treat allergies. A trained TCM practitioner can determine whether your symptoms are classified as an excess of heat, cold, dryness, or dampness and may prescribe herbs to balance the excess quality.
Supplements for Allergy Symptom Control
Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) // 60 mg daily; therapeutic dose 500 to 5,000 mg daily
Vitamin E // 30 IU daily; therapeutic dose 200 to 800 IU daily
Vitamin B5 // no recommended dose; therapeutic dose 10 to 2,000 mg daily
Bioflavonoids // no recommended dose; 500 mg twice daily
Quercetin // no recommended dose; therapeutic dose 200 to 1,000 mg daily
Magnesium // 400 mg daily; therapeutic dose 500 to 1,000 mg daily
Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) // less than one cup of flaxseed oil per day
Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica) // 600 mg daily
Ephedra (Epedra sinica or Ma huang) // 15 to 30 drops of tincture, four times daily
Ginkgo biloba // up to six, 400 to 500 mg capsules per day, or 20 to 30 drops of tincture three times per day
Licorice Root (Glycyrrhiza glabra) // up to six, 400 to 500mg capsules per day, or 20 to 30 drops of tincture three times per day
Chinese Skullcap or Scule (Scutellaria baicalensis) // Recommended dosage 10 to 30 drops of tincture daily
Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium) // three, 300 to 400 mg capsules per day or 15 to 30 drops of tincture daily
Chinese Herbal Formulas
Always consult a Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner before taking
herbal supplements. Dosages vary depending on your symptoms, and can
include the following herbs:
Apricot Seed (Pruni armeniacae or Xing Ren)
Astragalus (Astragali or Huang Qi)
Centipede (Centipeda minima or Shi-Hu-Sui)
Corydalis (Corydalis ambigua or Yan Hu Suo)
Chrysanthemum Flower (Chrysanthemi morifolli or Ju Hua)
Ginseng (Panaz ginseng or Ren Shen)
Magnolia Flower (Magnolia liliflorae or Kin Yin Hua)
Perilla Seed (Perillae semen or Tsu Su Tsu)
Xanthium (Xanthii or Can Er Zi)