By Dr. Angelina Riopel, ND
Moulds, pollens and dust are some of the common culprits leading to hay fever and seasonal allergies. Allergens stimulate an immune reaction causing levels of histamine to rise, which leads to typical allergy symptoms such as itchy, swollen eyes, runny nose, sneezing and sinus congestion. Seasonal allergies make the onset of spring very unpleasant for a large number of the population.
So what is the solution?
Prepare for Allergy Season
Begin preparing 4-6 weeks before the typical onset of your symptoms. In the naturopathic world this means cleansing your body and liver, balancing your immune system and increasing phytonutrients, or nutrients from plants and whole foods. Fruit and vegetables, and other whole foods are rich in vitamins, antioxidants and bioflavonoids, which provide your body with the tools to over come allergies and decrease your histamine response relieving allergy symptoms. Two cups of nettle tea preventatively leading up to the allergy will also help to reduce allergy symptoms.
Address the Histamine
Common over the counter anti-allergy medications are anti-histamines, which include Claritin or Zyrtec. These drugs block histamine receptor sites, preventing histamine from triggering symptoms, but do not decrease histamine levels and often have unpleasant side effects. Natural alternatives are as effective and do not have the side effects of drowsiness and muscosal dryness.
Alternatives to anti-histamine drugs
- Homeopathics remedies offer both prevention and acute treatment of allergies. Single remedies like Apis, Allium, Euphrasia and Urtica can offer relief of acute symptoms.
- Vitamin C and Bioflavonoids are natural anti-histamines and taken in a moderate dose frequently throughout the day can significantly lower histamine levels.
- Zinc lozenges improve local immune response and can help dry up mucous
- ½ tsp of bee pollen 1-2 times per day may help to decrease sensitivity to pollen allergens
- Avoid the over consumption of dairy and bananas as they are both mucus forming and can lead to the worsening of congestion
- Eat a diet rich in a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables. They are rich in phytonutrients that will help support the immune system and naturally lower the histamine levels.