Day 133/365 - On seasonal allergies

5/13/17

Allergies can span from mild to severe, and can be classified into four types of hypersensitivity reactions. Depending on the type, the treatment for them varies. Allergies can also happen sporadically or periodically, and some are chronic if the allergen is unable to be identified or removed from the individual's environment. Most allergies involve a similar mechanism: some foreign (i.e. anything that is not the self) substance is identified by your body as a threat, and thus triggers a hyper-exaggerated cascade of immune responses. Potential allergens can literally be anything that is not part of you (when it is part of you, that's autoimmune and gets even more complex) - pollen, trees, dust mites, and anything you take internally, such as food, drugs or additives/colorants/preservatives...etc.

In the case of seasonal allergies, it’s helpful to start a natural treatment protocol a few months before the start of the season. Some herbs act as antihistamines, which help stop the histamine-mediated watery eyes, itchiness, sneezing and redness, etc. But other herbs are preventative, and act as micro-doses of irritants to get your body used to a certain level of allergens. This works as a desensitization, or a vaccine-like principle.

Useful herbs and supplements I recommend for allergies are:

  1. Nettles: the leaf is helpful for acute treatment as an antihistamine (tea, tincture or capsules), as well as for chronic allergies and as part of prevention protocol - in this case it’s best to preserve stinging nettle part of the plant (freeze-dried works well).
  2. Elderflower: introduces low-dose histamines and helpful to desensitize over time.
  3. Bromelain: enzyme (from pineapple) that reduces inflammation from histamine especially in the sinuses/nasal cavity.
  4. Quercetin: antioxidant (flavonoid) from pigments in many plants that prevents histamine release and reduces inflammation.
  5. Medicinal mushrooms, especially red reishi: balances immune response over time; in case of allergies it makes it less likely to overreact to allergens.

UrbanMoonshine makes a good product I like, called Aller-blast. This contains a blend of herbs to tackle allergens and histamines, and is useful both acutely and preventatively. Other helpful tips would be to have an anti-inflammatory diet, acupuncture and neti-pot rinses. Liver support (bitter herbs) and lymphatics can also be helpful to clear the offending allergens and antigens from the body.