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AhhhChew ~ welcome to allergy season
By Tammera J. Karr, MSHN, CNC, CNW, CNH, BCIH
|As I sat down to write more on foods from south of the border, I found my nose dripping, eyes burning and a mild headache persistently interfering with my concentration… No it wasn’t from the pungent smell of chilies or the fragrance of coffee doing me in, it signaled the start of allergy season. Oh goodie.
Approximately 38% of the population of Western nations experience allergies. Mild allergies like hay fever are highly prevalent in the human population and cause symptoms such as allergic conjunctivitis, itchiness, and runny nose. Hay fever involves inflammation of the nose that occurs as a result of an allergic reaction to wind-borne pollens, grasses or weeds. Hay fever is caused primarily by antigens that initiate an allergic response. Some of the many antigens that can initiate hay fever include: house dust, animal hair, dust mites, fungus spores, feathers, powders, pesticides, and tree and grass pollen.
“An Allergy is a disorder of the immune system often referred to as atopy. Allergic reactions occur to normally harmless environmental substances known as allergens; these reactions are acquired, predictable, and rapid. Strictly, allergy is one of four forms of hypersensitivity and is called type I (or immediate) hypersensitivity. It is characterized by excessive activation of certain white blood cells called mast cells and basophils by a type of antibody known as IgE, resulting in an extreme inflammatory response. Common allergic reactions include eczema, hives, hay fever, asthma, food allergies, and reactions to the venom of stinging insects such as wasps and bees.” (Wikipedia)
What to do?
Not everyone can take over the counter antihistamines due to high blood pressure, drug interactions or sensitivities to the chemicals they contain. If you are one of these individuals or you choose to avoid drug use for other reasons here are some suggestions on treating hay fever naturally:
Bee Pollen: Bee pollen has been used for centuries in China for seasonal allergies. It dries up the nasal cavity and slows or stops that annoying post nasal drip that leads to nagging coughing, sore throat and drippy nose. Clinically I have found the pollen does not have to come from local sources to work. The two brands used most by our office are Nature’s Way® and Glory Bee®. Make sure it is straight bee pollen not one with ginseng added.
Chinese Herbs: For years now I have managed the bulk of my allergy symptoms with Chinese herb tea’s blended by Paul C. Robbins. Now, I won’t lie to you and say the stuff tastes great – it doesn’t- but it works and I only have to do between 4 – 8 oz daily to keep my lungs happy and my head clear.
Bioflavonoid Complex from Vitamin Research Products is natures “singular”, the combined benefits of this nutrient product benefit blood pressure, circulation, heart health and the combination of bioflavonoids work as a mast cell inhibitor.
OPC or grape seed extract: All of the antioxidants including Vitamin C and E play a major role in the reduction of inflammation. As we have seen allergies are a form of inflammation and they respond well to antioxidants. OPC stands for “Oligomeric Proanthocyanidin” a very powerful antioxidant found in grape seed and a truck load of other foods. As with all natural health options synergistic combinations require lower doses and provide more bang for your dollar.
Yes with all of these nutrients you will have to take more than one every 24 hours, but the benefits far out weight the inconvenience of taking these nutraceuticals several times daily.
What therapy Options Work?
Acupuncture: Extensive research supports the use of acupuncture for a host of conditions, especially those involving inflammation. Over the last ten years research has proven acupuncture is efficacies in the reduction of sensitivities resulting from allergies.
Manbudripad Allergy Elimination Technique (NAET): is another useful tool for those suffering from allergies. For many it is a cost effective and pain free way to evaluate the allergens causing trouble and what nutritional pathways may be working incorrectly within the body. I have used this tool regularly to reduce my own sensitivities to tree pollens. (Paul Robbins, L.Ac. provides this service as well as several other practitioners in the Douglas County area)
Chiropractic care is also very useful in reducing the inflammation response within the body; these practitioners as a whole have not only adjustments but nutraceuticals available to help clients this time of year.
Advanced BioFeed back can be used to reduce emotional and physical stress responses that drive inflammation and adrenal fatigue. Everyone with adrenal health issues will have problems with stress and increases in seasonal allergies.
Buy a good air filter for your bedroom, living room, or office areas. This investment helps keep the cost of supplements, medications and doctor’s visits down. It is especially important in the bed room where you are lying down and congestion increases. Make sure it is a HEPA filtration system and spend the money for the ultra quiet ones.
To your good Health and a drip free spring.
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