Be Symptom-Free this Allergy Season, Naturally!
The beauty of Spring can be bitter-sweet for those who experience itchy eyes, runny nose and congestion while smelling the cherry-blossoms. If you find yourself dreading the first signs of blossoming flowers and budding trees, have no fear! I am here to show you how you can actually enjoy this allergy season.
First, knowledge is power. Finding out what your body is reacting to can help you avoid common triggers. An allergy is an abnormal reaction to substances that your immune system recognizes as foreign invaders. These substances commonly include pollens from trees, grasses and weeds, as well as animal danders, mold, dust and dust mites, foods, chemicals, drugs, air pollution, and perfumes. By identifying your triggers through IgE blood testing or skin-scratch and skin-prick testing, you have the power to do your best to avoid them.
Although avoidance is helpful in cases of pet dander or food allergies, it is not as practical for environmental allergens. To help reduce your body’s reactions to these allergens, try the following tips:
- Heal the Gut: A healthy microbiome promotes a healthy immune system. Certain strains of probiotics, such as lactobacillus casei, can alter the balance of pollen-specific immune proteins in seasonal allergic rhinitis to reduce immune reactivity.3 I recommend starting a multi-strain probiotic a few weeks before your allergy season begins to help calm your immune system and support your digestive health.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Eating a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids has been shown to reduce the risk of developing seasonal allergies.5 Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in cold-water fish, hemp seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds and walnuts, or can be taken in supplement form.
- Antioxidants: Vitamin E is a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory for the mucus membranes that line our respiratory passages.1,6 Vitamin C, quercetin and N-acetyl-cysteine are also potent antioxidants that help to balance your immune system. These nutrients help to calm inflammation of your nasal passage and sinuses, reduce mucous production, and provide relief from congestion and pain. Foods that are high in vitamin E include nuts (walnuts), seeds, unprocessed vegetable oils, whole grains, egg yolks, and leafy greens. Foods that are high in vitamin C include citrus fruits, cantaloupe, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kiwi, potatoes, and green peppers, and quercetin is naturally found in onions, citrus fruit and apples.
- Herbal Medicine: There are a number of herbs that can help reduce your body’s reaction to environmental allergens. Below is a list of just a few of the wonderful herbs that can help:
- Nettle Leaf (Urtica dioica): Eating steamed nettle tops, drinking nettle tea or taking freeze-dried nettle capsules can reduce sneezing and itching associated with seasonal allergies.4
- Chamomile Flower (Matricaria recutita): Drinking chamomile tea or taking it in tincture form can help stabilize mast cells and reduce the release of histamine (the chemical responsible for the symptoms of seasonal allergies).
- Butterbur (Petasites hybridus): Taking an extract in capsule or tincture form can help reduce sneezing, nasal congestion, itchy nose and eyes, and red eyes associated with seasonal allergies.2 Caution should be taken with this herb due to its potential hepatotoxic effect from its pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PA). PA-free extracts are available.
You can also pick up a jar of our Allergy-relief tea from the Local Health clinic available for purchase starting this Wednesday, April 12th 🙂
I welcome you to incorporate these recommendations into your daily routine this allergy season and experience what it’s like to be allergy-free this Spring! If you would like more support and an individualized allergy-relief treatment plan to kick your allergy symptoms for good, you can book an appointment with me at Local Health Integrative Clinic.
Yours in Health,
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Kaufeler R, Polasek W, Brattstrom A, Koetter U. Efficacy and safety of butterbur herbal extract Ze339 in seasonal allergic rhinitis: postmarketing surveillance study. Adv Ther. 2006;23(2):373-384.
Kirjavainen PV, Gibson GR. Healthy gut microflora and allergy: factors influencing development of the microflora. Ann Med. 1999;31(4):288-292.
Mittman P. Randomized, double-blind study of freeze-dried Urtica dioica in the treatment of allergic rhinitis. Planta Med. 1990;56(1):44-47.
Nagel G, Nieters A, Becker N, Linseisen J. The influence of the dietary intake of fatty acids and antioxidants on hay fever in adults. Allergy. 2003;58(12):1277-1284.
Shahar E, Hassoun G, Pollack S. Effect of vitamin E supplementation on the regular treatment of seasonal allergic rhinitis. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2004;92(6):654-658.