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Natural Ways to Relieve Allergies

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Dear Natural Choice Journal

What causes allergies? What can I do to relieve them?

Bill J., Charlotteown, PEI

Response from Naturopathic Doctor, Dr. Matt Targett, N.D.

Allergies are an inappropriate immune system reaction to a substance. The body identifies an allergen as a harmful substance and immune cells respond by releasing histamine which causes redness, swelling, itching and increased mucous production. Ideally, we want to find the cause of the allergy and avoid it. We also want to decrease stress and balance immune function so that the immune response to an allergen is not so exaggerated. To do this, we can use natural antihistamines and cell stabilizers such as quercitin, vitamin C and antioxidants such as vitamins A, C, E, selinium and zinc. Calcium, magnesium and the B vitamins are often beneficial to reduce stress on the immune system, and omega 3 fatty acids such as flax seed oil will reduce inflammatory reactions. It is also important to eat as many raw foods and fresh fruit and vegetable juices as possible.

Acupuncture is also very useful for strengthening the immune system. For acute symptoms, steam inhalation of the essential oils eucalyptus and peppermint will often help with any congestion. There are also many effective herbs which can reduce skin, respiratory or digestive symptoms of allergies.

Dr. Matt Targett, N.D. is a Naturopathic Doctor working in Summerside, PEI (902) 436-2674.

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