Seasonal allergies and their symptoms are caused by the immune response your body has when exposed to pollens in the air. Pollen is very fine and can be carried far distances making it easy for it to come in contact with your body through the mouth or nasal passages. When your body senses a foreign substance (in this case pollen) it releases Immunoglobulin E (IgE), an antibody that defends the body in two key ways. It first wants to prevent the allergens from further entering the body and does this by traveling to cells in the nose, lungs, sinuses, and ears and on the lining of the skin to release chemicals that cause an allergic reaction. This causes the side effects you get from allergies that include itchy eyes, nose, throat, and ears, sneezing, nasal congestion, watery eyes, runny nose, hives, fatigue and irritability. The second way it defends the body is by the release of histamine. Histamine causes an immune response in your body by dilating blood vessels so white blood cells can find, attack and detox the allergen out of your body. Histamine can also cause your airways to constrict, leading to allergy-induced asthma. In reality your allergies are a result of your body’s immune system over-reacting to pollen, which truly is not dangerous. Currently in Idaho because of warm air and wind we are experiencing high pollen levels from Poplar Trees, Juniper Trees, and Ash.
A build up of histamine in the body also comes with its own symptoms and complications. Histamine travels through your blood stream and can affect your digestive system, lungs, skin, brain, and heart. Symptoms of excess histamine or histamine intolerance include headaches/migraines, vertigo or dizziness, hypertension and arrhythmia, difficulty regulating body temperature, flushing, abdominal cramps, hives, and fatigue. Besides allergies, a bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), leaky gut, and a deficiency in diamine oxidase can cause elevated histamine levels. Diamine oxidase (DAO) is the enzyme in your digestive system responsible for breaking down excess histamine. The same causes that raise histamine levels also destroy DAO. The best ways to restore DAO is to take a probiotic high in Lactobacillus, Leuconostoc or Escherichia faecium strains, avoid alcohol, eat protein at every meal, and eat fats in high oleic acid such as olive oil or coconut oil. Keeping excess histamine from building up in your body can significantly reduce the symptoms of seasonal allergies.
There are amazing herbs and nutrients that help kick your seasonal allergies to the curb. Many do this by reducing inflammation in your body, which prevents the over-reaction caused by the release of histamine. Treating allergies requires a well-rounded, versatile approach that requires you to optimize nutrients and avoid triggers.
Yerba Santa Leaf: Yerba Santa Leaf supports immune health on the cellular level, making it excellent for treating infections caused by allergic reactions. Primarily used as a decongestant it is optimal for treating mucus build up in the lungs or sinus cavaties as it slows down the production of mucus by the body. Yerba Santa reduces inflammation in the lungs, sinuses and bronchial tubes.
Nettle Leaf or Stinging Nettle: The best time to start taking nettle is about a month or two before allergy season begins, as it greatly reduces the amount of inflammation directly associated with an allergic response. Nettle helps your body release excess histamine meaning you have less stored in cells to respond to an allergen. It also stimulates the lymphatic system to boost immunity and significantly reduces the symptoms and occurrence of allergy-induced asthma.
Quercetin: A natural antioxidant, Quercetin is a potent antihistamine and can significantly reduce inflammation. It is found in high concentrations in apples, red onions and green tea and may also be found in red grapes, citrus fruits, tomato, broccoli, leafy greens, and many berries. It helps to stabilize the mast cells that release histamine and other immune responses making it very effective at preventing and reducing allergic reactions.
Butterbur: This flowering herb has been clinically shown to be as effective as leading allergy drugs Zyrtec and Allegra, but without the negative and damaging side effects. Butterbur contains rosmarinic acid that reduces inflammation and normalizes the immune response reducing and preventing allergic reactions. Phytochemicals in butterbur relax swollen nasal membranes to clear nasal congestions and improve breathing while reducing all other effects of histamine. It is also effective at treating allergy-induced asthma and other respiratory conditions. Butterbur is a member of the ragweed family so if you are allergic to ragweed, marigold, daisy or chrysanthemum do not use. It also is toxic if used raw. Alkaloids that damage the liver and kidneys must be removed.
Osha Root: This sacred Native American root will be life changing for those with allergic bronchitis, chronic allergy-induced asthma, and all types of allergic coughs. It significantly reduces inflammation in the tissues and membranes of the respiratory system. Osha Root increases circulation to the lungs which increases dilation and prevents constriction due to an allergic reaction. This helps significantly increase lung function and the amount of oxygen that is available to the body. This helps you take deeper breaths. Osha Root has a numbing effect that can soothe a sore throat. It is a more effective cough syrup than Echinacea and Goldenseal.
Goldenseal: The anti-inflammatory properties of goldenseal reduce swelling and irritation in the mucous membranes helping to prevent allergy symptoms. As a natural antibiotic it prevents secondary infections caused by an allergic reaction that often occur in the lungs. Goldenseal is also a great source of Berberine.
Berberine: Berberine in an alkaloid found predominately in Goldenseal, Oregon Grape and Barberry. It helps prevent the overgrowth of bad bacteria (SIBO) that deplete the body of DAO needed to digest histamine. It has a powerful anti-inflammatory effect on the lungs helping to reduce allergic reactions and allergy symptoms.
Bromelain: Derived from pineapple, Bromelain addresses the root cause of seasonal allergies and sinus infections by regulating the entire immune system and reducing mast cells that release histamine. Bromelain will help you build a natural defense to effectively prevent and reduce symptoms of allergies and sinus infections.
Hot Peppers: Chili peppers, horseradish, and hot mustards are excellent, and quick to work, natural decongestants.
Vitamin C: A natural anti-histamine, Vitamin C is able to destroy the molecular structure of histamine and decrease the amount you have in your blood. Taking bioflavonoids with Vitamin C enhances its ability to relieve and prevent allergy symptoms.
Locally Produced Honey: Raw honey contains bee pollen, which helps to fight infection, prevent allergies and boost the immune system. Ingesting pollen from the area in which you are suffering helps you build a natural immunity to the air-borne pollen you are exposed to.
Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV): ACV contains fermented enzymes that help fight infection, balance PH, and prevent allergies. Mix with 1 Tbsp. ACV with 1 Tbsp. lemon juice and ½ Tbsp. of raw honey in your water and drink at least 3 times a day to build a natural immunity to all types of allergies.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids: A potent anti-inflammatory, studies have shown that people who have diets rich in Omega 3’s have fewer allergy symptoms. They also help to prevent the onset of allergies in children.
Probiotics: There are fermented probiotic strains that help reduce levels of the antibody that induce an allergic reaction. Studies have shown that giving probiotics to mothers and newborns may help to prevent childhood allergies.
Chaga, Reishi & Cordyceps: These mushrooms each have potent nutrients that significantly increase the function of the immune system. Chaga has been used in Eastern Europe, Russia and Siberia to support respiratory health, and strengthen lung function. Reishi has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for centuries to promote easier breathing, treat chronic asthama, and build endurance. Cordyceps is a potent lung tonic used in Tibet and Nepal and to support breathing and energy in those that climb Mt. Everest.
Echinacea Root: Echinacea helps treat seasonal allergies by boosting and balancing the immune system. Echinacea stimulates the lymphatic system, promoting drainage and elimination of toxins, and helps to prevent and fight potential infections by stimulating phagocytosis (the consumption of invading organisms by white blood cells).
Orange Peel: Orange peels are rich in flavonones, powerful antioxidants that help reduce oxidative damage and fight free radicals. Orange peel is also loaded with natural histamine suppressing compounds. Orange peel provides effective support against respiratory distress. It helps to cleanse the lungs and reduce irritation caused by an allergic reaction. Orange peel is a great source of Vitamin C.
Eyebright: With both astringent and anti-inflammatory properties, Eyebright reduces the degree to which the mucous membranes in the eyes, nose, throat and ears react and become irritated due to an allergic response.
Red Clover: Red Clover gives your immune system an immediate boost. For people who have suffered from allergies for many years, Red Clover improves your resistance to allergens and prevents your immune system from reacting strongly when exposed to pollens. It can be used in ointments to topically treat rashes or hives that accompany seasonal allergies.
Horehound: Horehound can quickly clear up mucus and remedy post-nasal drip. Rich in Vitamin C it has been used to help colds, chronic cough, asthma, bronchitis and allergies. The tea relaxes the muscles of your lungs while promoting mucus production and phlegm expulsion. The active ingredient in Horehound is marrubium, a throat expectorant. Marrubium is released when horehound is cooked or steeped in tea.
Mullein: Mullein is an excellent respiratory tonic, acting as an expectorant and decongestant. It can have a mild sedative effect on the lungs, helping to soothe a cough. It reduces inflammation and increases the moisture needed in the tiny air sacs in the lungs, which helps to alleviate and treat long-term allergy-induced asthma. By encouraging mucus production, Mullein protects the membranes from absorbing allergens and helps detox them out of the body. The leaves and flowers activate lymph circulation in the neck and chest.
Elecampane: During constricted breathing the lining of the bronchial tubes become swollen and red making it harder to breath. Inulin, an active component of Elecampane, coats and soothes the lining of the bronchial passages and also acts as an expectorant to clear congestion from the lungs. It has antibacterial properties that prevent secondary infections from allergic reactions.
Plantain Leaf: Known as a body purifier, it helps reduce congestion and eliminate toxins from the body. It produces mucilage that helps protect the respiratory system and the mucus linings in the sinus and nasal cavities from inflammation. Plantain helps to calm muscles contractions that induce asthma attacks and chronic, brutal coughs. Plantain soothes topical allergic reactions and rashes, including poison ivy, eczema and mosquito bites. Consumed as a tea, plantain provides natural relief for allergies, bronchitis, asthma and emphysema.
Marshmallow Root: Marshmallow Root helps form a soothing film over mucous membranes to relieve pain and reduce inflammation. It helps to eliminate toxins from the body, shortening the duration of an allergy reaction.
Dandelion: By supporting liver function, it helps the liver break down histamine and prevents it from circulating in the blood stream. Drink in tea form to help prevent unnecessary allergic reactions.
Peppermint & Spearmint: These cooling herbs contain menthol that help open up airways, reduce congestion, and promote better breathing. In tea form or as an essential oil just the aroma will help you breathe more easily.
Garlic: Garlic is one of the most potent antibacterial herbs and protects the body from allergies and chronic sinus infections. Garlic helps to break up mucus, easing congestion. Eat or juice raw garlic for maximum and immediate benefits.
Sage: The leaves of sage help to sooth a sore throat and treat chronic sinus infections. It has drying and antibacterial properties that make it very effective when used as a nasal rinse in a neti-pot. Burning white sage helps to reduce mucus and reduce bacteria or virus that may be in the air.
Nasal Sprays & Neti Pots: Medicated nasal sprays are made to treat symptoms. They block histamine, interfere with mucus production, and constrict blood vessels to help decrease inflammation. However, they go against your body’s natural defense system to ward off allergies. They allow allergens to stay in your system so that when the medication quits working the side effects come back. This can make your allergic reactions more severe, chronic, and you can start to experience secondary infections. They are also habit forming. Use nasal sprays that contain xylitol, grapefruit seed extract and saline. These nutrients help create moisture on the surface of tissue and in the throat and lungs, which helps build mucus and trap allergens. Xylitol also can pull extra moisture from the sinus tissues to reduce congestion and swelling. Grapefruit seed extract is nature’s most potent antibiotic and helps to fight and prevent infection.
Neti Pots help clean and protect the nasal passages from allergens and have been used for thousands of years in Ayurvedic medicine to alleviate sinus and allergy symptoms. Neti Pots help keep the mucosal lining in the nasal passages moist and clean and help to keep allergens out of the body.
Homeopathic Remedies for Allergies
Allium cepa: Use for hay fever, headache and cough; Eyes that burn, sting, are swollen and stream watery discharge; Frequent sneezes; Nasal discharge that burns and makes nose and upper lip sore; Post-nasal drainage that makes the throat raw.
Arsenicum Album: Use for allergy induced asthma; Eyes that tear and tears are hot and sting the face; Extreme sneezing; Heavy watery mucus drainage that alternates with nasal blockage; Upper lip irritated from discharge; Labored breathing; Chills
Arseniucum lodatum: Use for constant desire to sneeze with irritated and tickling nose; Watery, irritating discharge from nose and also runs down back of the throat; Feeling of blockage in the head and ears.
Euphrasia officianalis: Use for hay fever and inflammation of the mucous membranes; Eyes watery constantly, causing itching and burning and can be accompanied by a sticky mucus removed by winking or wiping the eye; Eye discharge is burning and often thick; Nasal discharge is profuse and water but does not irritate the nose or upper lip; Frontal headache; Frequent sneezing that gets worse at night.
Nux vomica: Use for prolonged sneezing spells, especially upon waking; Nasal discharge is runny during the day but the nose is stuffed up at night; Throat itches through to the larynx and trachea; Chilly and irritable.
Sabadilla: Use for excessive sneezing with a runny nose that can cause nosebleeds and severe headaches; Severe front sinus pain; Eyes have water discharge and nose itches; Eyelids are hot, red and burning; Ears are blocked; Chilliness and sensitive to cold air.
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