Breathe Freely in the Spring
Do you spend your spring indoors? Do you have to pop a benedryl just to get from the house to the car? Never fear, natural options are here. Allergies are something you don’t have to just live with. Want to live an allergy-free existence? Then listen up... First of all allergies should be separated from true allergies which are serious reactions to foods (shellfish), plants (poison ivy), insects (spiders) or even chemicals (try mixing amonia with bleach!). So the "allergies" that are left are actually intolerances that your body has developed over time. That is why allergies aren’t just for kids. The truth is that many adults actually develop "allergies" that were never the case when they were kids and most kids grow out of their "allergies".
These intolerances produce many irritating symptoms which are not harmful, simply uncomfortable and restrictive. Sinus congestion, hives, watery eyes or vision disturbance, sneezing, breathing difficulty, stuffy nose, scratchy throat and even body fatigue are all typical symptoms of these intolerances. In fact, some cases of Chronic Fatigue can be traced to environmental intolerances like cat fur.
So where to begin? Well, the first thing to recognize is that the liver is the basis for most intolerances. That’s right... the liver which filters the blood and provides the gateway from the digestive system into the blood and body tissues. Even issues like leaky gut syndrome are only possible if the liver’s filtering ability is compromised. As most holistic practitioners will tell you, the liver is the key behind skin issues like hives, eczema and psoriasis as well as chronic breathing issues like asthma and bronchitis. When you begin to put this all together, you can see that addressing the liver can knock out more than half of typical intolerance symptoms.
The second consideration is the immune system. If your immune system is challenged too often or you have a history of bacterial or viral infections, then the chances of developing an intolerance are much higher. Your immune system is trained to be on alert for recurrance of recognized infection. So if you have been subjected to strep throat, sinus infections, bacterial pneumonia or even a good old-fashioned cold, then your immune system is going to bring out the big guns the minute it recognizes ANY bacteria. The foods that contain the highest levels of bacteria, even good bacteria are yogurt and milk products, wheat and grains, raw fruits and vegetables and undercooked meats. Then when you add on top of that stress, overwork or being assaulted by boatloads of pollen, then even a tiny straw will break your immune system’s proverbial back.
So begin with a three-fold approach. First, make sure that your living environment contains very low levels of bacteria, mold or other environmental challenges, including anything that smells bad. Be sure to comb through your refrigerator and dispose of any even slightly spoiled food and clean your refrigerator thoroughly. You can’t control the outside environment, but you can control your inside environment. Clean your pets well, brushing them often and disposing of furballs. I know it’s a pain — I much prefer to ignore the scattered furballs that drift around the corners of my living room than drag out the vacuum every day. But if you can give your body a break for a month while you perform the next two steps, then the OCD cleaning will be worth it.
Next, cleanse the liver. Some of the most effective liver cleansing herbs are Dandelion Root, Rosemary, Turmeric, Schisandra, Globe Artichoke, Greater Celandine and Fringe Tree. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that Milk Thistle (also known as St. Mary’s Thistle or Silymarin) is for liver cleansing. Instead, this amazing herb protects the liver from damage. Liver cleansing should be done for at least three to four weeks and a good cleansing diet can enhance the effects. Including substantial amounts of garlic, broccoli, kale, brussels sprouts, onions, red peppers, egg yolks and strong green tea are great during this period of cleansing.
The last thing is to begin an anti-allergenic treatment of nutritional concentrates and herbal formulas to minimize the immune system over-reaction to challenges. Check out the following products from Standard Process and Mediherb of Australia for your typical allergy symptoms:
- Dessicated Adrenal - this formula is essential when there is chronic congestion, inflammation or breathing problems as part of allergies. The adrenal glands control the inflammatory process and often stress is the culprit here. This formula is essential if you commonly have low blood pressure, have had a recent shock or suffer from long-term stress.
- Albizia Complex — this combination of Baical Skullcap, Albizia and Feverfew is a great herbal formula for headaches, allergy migraines, skin reactions such as hives and psoriasis. It stabilizes the cell wall of mast cells and teaches the body to differentiate foreign cells from inherent cells.
- Allerplex — this formula was designed for all types of intolerances such as food sensitivity and environmental allergies. It is the most comprehensive formula I have found that is food -based.
- Antronex — this formula is a prohistamine formula, which reduces allergic symptoms and accompanying congestion. If there is excessive itching such as hives I will add Calcium Lactate which floods the tissues with Calcium to balance histamine response. This combination works for all food or environmental sensitivity, migraine headaches, toxemia, and all histamine reactions, such as poison ivy or oak. I suggest adding Lactic Acid Yeast or apple cider vinegar both internally and topically to help reduce itching as well.
- Cleavers — this is one of the strongest herbs to flush out the lymphatic system and reduce the toxic load on the skin. If there is any swelling under the jawline or around the eyes, then this is the perfect choice. It is excellent for childhood allergies and also for elderly people with multiple chemical sensitivity.
- DermaCo — this formula is a blood ultrative and depurative restoring the body’s first line of defense. So it is a cleanser for the blood and actually helps to eliminate excessive waste material in both the blood and body tissues. It is a combination of oregon grape, sarsaparilla, cleavers, burdock and yellow dock. I use this formula for all skin-reactive allergies, dermatitis, psoriasis and eczema. I even have had great luck with gout.
- Euphrasia Complex — this is a complex that is great for allergy symptoms from the throat upwards. A combination of eyebright, golden rod, echinacea purpurea, cayenne and golden seal, Ie treat all oral and respiratory mucous membrane problems with this formula. Even conditions such as tonsilitis, sore throats, periodontal disease, conjunctivitis, middle ear infections and especially sinus issues and hayfever, all have improved under the care of this herbal combination.
- Resco Phytosynergist — combining licorice, mullein, euphorbia, grindelia, ginger, fennel and thyme, this formula is for people who wheeze or have a chronic dry cough with their allergy symptoms.
- Fen-Gre - this formula contains fenugreek seed which acts as a mucous solvent, to help the body expel mucous and phlegm from the bronchial tubes more easily. Excellent for post-nasal drip, sinus congestion and thick, stringy mucous secretions.
- Echinacea Purpurea — there are many different species of Echinacea, but we have found this particular species to be great for childhood allergies, respiratory stress and airplane sickness. It is not recommended if you have any allergy or intolerance to daisies.
When treating children, I often want to use a homeopathic in addition to some of the remedies suggested above. My favorite options from Heel Homeopathic of Germany are Histamin, Gallium-Heel and Apis Homaccord. These are amazing for all types of allergy symptoms. They also carry a wonderful combination tablet from BMI called simply Allergy.
By starting early in the season and carrying your treatment through the entire allergy season, you can break the pattern that your body has developed in reacting to the slightest challenge and perhaps for the first time... breathe easy!