by Sara Baille,
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watery eyes? Sneezes that just won't stop? Welcome to spring!
For those who suffer from seasonal allergies, spring brings with
it not only beauty and relief from the cold of winter, but also
an onslaught of symptoms that can leave you frustrated, tired
grasses, hay, mould, trees…for some it means the whole of
the spring, summer and fall are miserable, while others suffer
for only a couple of weeks while certain plants are in bloom.
Symptoms include itchy eyes, nose, ears and throat, watery, burning
eyes, sneezing, congestion, runny nose, post-nasal drip, coughing,
sinus pain, headaches, foggy thinking and fatigue.
symptoms are due to a release of histamine from cells in the body
called MAST cells. One approach to preventing allergic responses
is to strengthen the MAST cell walls to prevent them from breaking
and releasing histamine into the system. Vitamin C (2-3 grams)
and bioflavinoids such as Quercitin (600 mg) are good choices
symptoms can also be the result of adrenal fatigue. The adrenal
glands become taxed from chronic emotional, environmental and
physical stress. Life in the modern world tends to result in some
degree of adrenal stress for most of us. The adrenals respond
well to treatment with the B vitamins (particularly B5), trace
minerals and herbs such as Licorice root ( not to be used for
those with high blood pressure) and Borage. Some practitioners
use adrenal tissue extracts to revitalize these glands though
I would recommend seeking the help of a naturopathic doctor to
decide the appropriate treatment for you.
the immune system with nutrients such as Vitamin A (10,000 IU
max.) and zinc (30 mg), and herbs such as Astragalus can also
go a long way to reducing allergy symptoms. Working on the adrenals
and the immune system can take time though, so start a protocol
well in advance of allergy season to get the best results.
essential fatty acids found in Evening Primrose Oil and fish oils
can reduce both allergic and inflammatory response. Common homeopathic
remedies used for the control of allergies include Allium cepa,
Sabadilla and Histaminium. For chronic sinus symptoms, the combination
remedy Sinusallia or the homeopathic nasal spray Similasen both
work well. Itchy eyes can often be relieved by the remedy Eyebright.
a case of chronic allergies is often a system that is overloaded.
Spring is a time when the body needs to cleanse, to detoxify from
the slower metabolic phase of the winter. The earth provides us
with some of the best cleansing herbs such as dandelion at this
time. In order to approach allergy season with the most optimally
functioning immune system, a spring cleanse may be in order. Taking
a week to reduce the burden on the body and give it a chance to
‘start fresh' is a great way to ease into the warmer months.
The week you choose should be one where you have an opportunity
to rest, exercise lightly and cook all your own meals. Heavy foods
such as breads, pastas, dairy products, red meats, sugars, caffeine
and alcohol should be eliminated in favour of vegetables, whole
grains (brown rice, millet, quinoa), beans and legumes, lemon,
garlic, onions, fresh vegetable and fruit juices (from a juicer
or health food store), and fresh fruit. Lots of water and herbal
teas should be consumed. The liver can be stimulated to cleanse
by consuming lemon in water, beets and dandelion greens. When
the cleanse is over, take your time introducing the other foods
and watch closely to see how your body reacts. If something does
not agree with you, continue to avoid it, as it may be contributing
to your allergy symptoms.
responses are usually a result of a combination of the above factors
and possibly others that will be specific to you and your history.
It is best to seek the care of a qualified practitioner to help
you determine what combination of treatments is appropriate to
your set of symptoms. Whatever the cause, it is best to start
working toward health well before the occurrence of symptoms.
Baille practices Naturopathic Medicine in Halifax, Nova Scotia
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