Posts Tagged ‘hay fever’

Allergy Assistance, Part 3

April 10, 2013

from the Alliance for Natural Health comes this excellent article on seasonal allergies, which appear to be getting worse:

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Little girl blows her noseHere are some natural ways to stop your body’s reaction and relieve your suffering!

According to the Harvard Health Letter, seasonal allergies are starting earlier every year, and pollen counts are rising. At least 36 million people are affected by seasonal allergies each year in the US.

 Seasonal allergic rhinitis occurs when one’s immune system overreacts to foreign materials and produces an inflammatory response. Grass, weeds, and trees release tiny pollens into the air, and inhaling them triggers a reaction of your immune system. Floating pollutants such as mold spores and dust mite droppings also contribute (though in warmer climates, this can happen year round).

 Uncovering what makes the immune system respond the way it does is important. One theory is that an excessive antigenic stimulus overwhelms the immune system, and this is what leads to an inflammatory response. In other words, a small amount of allergen may not be enough to cause symptoms, but continued exposure—or the exposure of number of antigens—can lead to an overload of the system. This is magnified when one’s immune system is weak (which happens easily when one is tired or stressed or has recently been ill).

There are natural approaches to seasonal allergies that work well:

Calm the allergic response. According to a  study in the Journal of  Alternative and Complementary Medicine, subjects who took 2600 mg of  MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) found their upper and total respiratory  symptoms significantly reduced within seven days, and improvement  continued for all thirty days of the study. Also, as Dr. Mercola notes, MSM is 34% sulfur, which can help maintain optimal health. Sulfur helps the body detoxify itself, and helps produce  glutathione, an important antioxidant. MSM is extremely safe and can be taken at high doses, even if one’s diet is full of raw vegetables and  MSM-rich foods. Some of our staff have found complete relief from allergies with this product, but required higher daily doses than 2600 mg.

  • Another substance that helps calm down the immune system under a pollen attack is the Alpine herb butterbur. In Scotland, researchers found that butterbur is effective. It can also be used in conjunction with MSM—the sulfur to condition the body, and the herb for acute attacks. Petadolex,  a butterbur extract supplement, reduces inflammation so well that it can be used for migraines and other headaches too—it was endorsed as an OTC remedy for migraines by the Academy of Neurology and the American Headache Society after their review of 284 scholarly articles on the subject. Butterbur in the wild contains a potentially toxic substance, but Petadolex has removed it.
  • Freeze-dried nettles and quercetin are also used to reduce allergic response. They both work—the former sooner, and the latter over time—but they typically reduce rather than eliminate symptoms. Antihistamine drugs were initially developed from quercetin. As is often the case, the drugs had serious side effects (such as drowsiness) while the natural product from which it is derived did not.  Another natural product that shows promise is Carnivora, derived from the plant of the same name, although more research needs to be done.
  • Remove food allergens (which lightens the antigenic load). As the Townsend Letter points out, allergic/inflammatory processes may first become active in the gut. Then transportation of food proteins across the intestinal wall becomes altered, resulting in increased permeability and motility of the intestine—Leaky Gut Syndrome. Coupled with other conditions, such as intestinal infections, flora imbalance, and decreased immunoglobulin A antibodies, this may lead to further intestinal compromise and increased antigen-immune interaction.
  • Get acupuncture. Researchers had 442 people with seasonal allergies receive acupuncture treatments. After eight weeks of acupuncture, a 71% patients reported an improvement in their symptoms (according to a scale used to measure allergy symptoms, the severity of these patients’ symptoms decreased by an impressive 37%).

Reduce general inflammation in the body. Eating lots of veggies with deep-water fish will decrease inflammation levels. Omega-3s from all sources can reduce inflammation as well. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, licorice, skullcap, cordyceps, and perilla have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties (though consult a TCM practitioner for      guidance).

  • Strengthen the immune system. At the head of our list is vitamin D3, which reduces the incidence of respiratory infections. Also get plenty of vitamin E and magnesium, and knock off the sugar, which greatly weakens the immune      system. And don’t forget vitamin C: studies indicate it’s a natural antihistamine.
  • Relieve congestion gently. Don’t forget neti pots—saline nasal irrigation—which may provide sinus pain relief for      allergy sufferers. But you probably won’t need them if you have enough sulfur in your system.
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April 27, 2012

Allergy season is early this year, and many folks are heading for the drug store for over the counter anti-histamines, etc. However, these medications have side effects and add to the chemical burden on our bodies. Below is most of an article written by a nutritional scientist who works for Pure Encapsulations, one of the companies in my supplement buying club. He does an excellent job of explaining the process of allergic reaction and gives some great herb and supplement advice. And yes, I can assist you in procuring the mentioned herbs and supplements. {Anyone who wants the footnotes, please email me.}

NewsCaps

From early spring through November, more than 22 million Americans seek comfort as airborne pollens, grasses, weeds and fungi naturally reach their peak.  In the nasal lining and bronchial tubes of sensitive individuals, environmental particles enlist a multi-step process in which resident immune cells, known as mast cells, are activated by accumulation of immunoglobulin E (IgE). Active mast cells release prostaglandins, leukotrienes and other chemical mediators that modify local fluid and inflammatory balance.  Effective nutritional avenues that target multiple points in this process include polyphenols, botanicals and probiotics.*

Polyphenols   

Polyphenols, particularly quercetin, hesperidin and related flavonoids, have been extensively researched for nasal and upper respiratory homeostasis. It is well-established that quercetin and hesperidin maintain the integrity of mast cell membranes and moderate enzymes that direct the synthesis and release of inflammatory mediators.1 Support for mast cell membrane integrity is also an important mechanism of the complex flavonoid spectrum found in apple extracts.2  In contrast to the simple flavonoid structure of quercetin, apple extracts contain flavonoids linked together in chains to form oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs).  Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials have demonstrated that apple polyphenols are highly effective in maintaining healthy vascular permeability and measures of nasal responses.2*

Botanical extracts

Nettle (Urtica dioica), guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia) and butterbur (Petasites hybridus) have an extensive history of clinical and traditional use for maintaining immune balance.  In randomized, double-blind trials, each of these botanicals have provided significant support for immune homeostasis and subjective indices of nasal responsiveness and upper respiratory function.3-5

Spring Allergies

March 31, 2012

Seems like much of the country is experiencing a warm end of March. We’re at least a month ahead where I live. This warmth means earlier blooming, and allergies may be starting sooner….sigh. Here’s some helpful advice:

10 Foods That Fight Spring Allergies

The Daily Fix Newsletter
Is it a Virus or Allergies?
Should You Bother With Neti Pots?

Itchy eyes and runny noses—already? It’s true! Spring allergy season started historically early this year—during winter—rearing its ugly head in early February. Allergists and climate scientists have long warned that allergy seasons are going to be longer and more intense, so now is the perfect time to stock up on the top symptom-relieving foods, including citrus-rich foods and potent allergy-annihilating herbs. Stock up on stinging nettle and these other 9 allergy-fighting powerhouse foods

The Top 5 Allergy Fighters You’re Not Considering