seasonal allergies

 

 

Runny nose, itchy eyes, headache, congestions….seasonal allergies and our bodies responses them are No Fun At All.

What’s going on? Our immune system is reacting to the protein in a particular type of pollen and develops antibodies to keep out these ‘foreign invaders’.  Exposure to  them causes a histamine release and then the mucus starts flowing!  It’s uncomfortable, but really it’s our body trying to protect us, flush these substances from our body and protect our tissues.

The problem is our immune system can get overwhelmed, particularly if we are stressed, consume lots of sugar and chemicals and are not well rested (3 factors that greatly influence our immune system)

 

Typical over-the-counter and prescribed antihistamines can leave you feeling dopey, sleepy or fuzzy brained.  They can also make a yeast infection or enlarged prostate worse!

The good news is that there are effective natural ways to ease suffering for seasonal allergy symptoms.  As a bonus, they can also can help with asthma & ongoing chronic allergies!

 

A natural extract from plant foods, quercetin actually calms the immune system to reduce or prevent a histamine release. It’s also being studied for its benefits for circulation and cardiovascular health as well, but you should be cautious using quercetin if you are taking blood thinners.  As a supplement, quercetin is often combined with bromelain, a pineapple extract.  Bromelain also calms the immune system and increases the effectiveness of quercetin.  For seasonal allergies, I’d recommend starting with 1,000mg taken twice a day on an empty stomach.

(note…LEAF, not root)

This also effective because it makes histamine receptors less sensitive. It works great in combination with quercetin for situations where quercetin doesn’t bring sufficient relief on its own.

Butterbur is helpful because it is an anti-spasmodic remedy.  It simply interferes with the molecules that are triggering the inflammation, relaxes swollen nasal membranes and alleviates muscle spasms in the respiratory system.  It has been found to be just as effective as Zyrtec at treating seasonal allergies!  Short term use (3-4 months) is very safe, although long term use has not yet been studied.  Also note that it’s not suitable for women who are pregnant or nursing, or for children younger than 6.  A typical dose is about 200 mg/day (split between morning and evening).  Any side effects can be avoided by taking it on a full stomach.

As a side note, dairy foods stimulate mucus production for many people, so you may want to consider an elimination of dairy during allergy season to see if that eases suffering!

Here’s hoping these tips make this allergy season your most symptom free ever!

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