‘Tis the season for allergy sufferers out there… both in adults and children.
What causes allergies, anyway?
Allergies are caused by an overactive immune response to substances in the environment that are generally harmless to most people. When the immune system recognizes something as harmful it creates an inflammatory response in the body that often drives the histamine pathway. Symptoms in allergy sufferers can be exacerbated by inhaling irritants, consuming certain foods, and / or touching substances that cause irritation. Allergic reactions to mold, spores, pollen, dust and dander can cause symptoms such as itchy, watery eyes, chest tightness, sneezing, runny nose, congestion, and headaches, which are heightened during the change of seasons.
What are some natural approaches that can help alleviate symptoms.
1) Diet: EAT CLEAN!!! Avoid mucus forming, high histamine, and inflammatory foods, such as dairy products, bananas, mangoes, citrus fruits, chocolate, peanuts, eggs, red meat, food dyes and additives, sugar, and gluten to name a few… Personal food sensitivities also play a role in the inflammatory response and thereby further contribute to immune dysregulation. Local honey and bone broth may be beneficial, in addition to plenty of leafy greens, seasonal vegetables, wild caught fish, and fermented foods.
2) Essential oils: There are numerous single oils and blends that naturally support body systems involved in both the allergic (histamine) and inflammatory response in the body. Essential oils are excellent at alleviating symptoms. The following oils are well-known and have natural antihistamine properties: Lemon, Lavender, Peppermint
3) Nutritional supplements: Vitamin C, bromelain, and bioflavonoids such as quercitin and hesperidin help stabilize mast cells that release histamine in the body (antihistamine effects).
Probiotics support GI microflora; a healthy microflora is crucial to proper immune function and modulation. Magnesium deficiency has been shown to heighten allergic response.
4) Herbs: there are many options depending on treatment goals, but some of the most common allergy supporting herbs are: Stinging Nettles (Urtica dioica), Eyebright (Euphrasia), Butterbur (Petisides hybridus), Reishi, Astragalus membranaceous
5) Hydrotherapy: stimulates the immune and lymphatic systems, balances nervous system, and decreases congestion. Some of the best at home hydrotherapy treatments: constitutional hydrotherapy, contrast showers, warming socks, castor oil packs
6) Homeopathy: depending on symptoms, some top remedies to combat allergies are:
Allium cepa- bland discharge from eyes, burning discharge from nose
Euphrasia- swollen eyes with profuse burning discharge, bland discharge from nose
Sabadilla- violent sneezing, red, swollen eyelids, itchy nose
Pulsatilla- bland yellow discharge from nose, eyes; weepy, tearful disposition
Arsenicum album- burning tears, tightness in lungs, burning throat; restless worry
Nux vomica- evening congestion, blocked breathing, burning eyes with sensitivity to light, itchy ears, irritable and chilly
It is also important to support organ systems involved in the allergic response, such as the adrenal glands, immune system, and digestive tract to treat the root cause of dysfunction. Please consult a naturopath prior to initiating the above treatment strategies.
Dr. Julia Liebich is one of our Naturopathic Doctors practicing in Woodbury and Edina Minnesota, servicing the twin cities and Wisconsin. Specializing in treating the underlying cause using natural medicine, Dr. Julia creates customized treatment plans for each patient. Whether you have allergies, digestive issues, hormone imbalance, or cardiovascular problems, Dr. Julia can help. You can schedule an appointment by calling 612-564-2218 or scheduling online here.