Botanical Medicine for AllergiesWhen winters are mild, in place of ice and snow comes rain along with unseasonably warm temperatures. This mix can spawn slow bacterial growth causing release of pollen, mold and oth er potential toxins that could cause allergic reactions.

Dr. Clifford Bassett, founder and medical director at Allergy and Asthma Care of New York comments on El Nino, the complex climate change phenomenon that emerges every few years,

“…when the season starts kicking in, the root systems are primed and they’re going to release pollen earlier….[Climate change] is causing more carbon dioxide in our environment, which in turn tells a lot of plants to produce more pollen, and the pollen itself is more supercharged and more powerful.” (

Botanical medicine for upcoming allergies offers preventative measures that could have you sailing through a potentially difficult allergy season, especially if your winter is balmy. Herbs and other plant extracts just may strengthen your system before allergens can weaken it.

The Q Factor
Quercetin (kware-seh-ten) is a member of the food pigment family known for its antioxidant ability to scour the body for free radical scavengers looking to do damage. Free radicals are capable of altering DNA, causing cell death, and creating overall systemic upheaval.

When quercetin is taken to address allergy symptoms it delivers natural compounds that prevent immune cells from responding with histamine release. It shows that this anti-histamine response is the same, if not better, than over-the-counter meds without the side effects.

In laboratory tests, quercetin has been linked to relieving:

  • Watery eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Hives
  • Facial swelling

Dr. David Nieman, a professor in Appalachian’s Department of Health, Leisure and Exercise Science comments of significant results of quercetin’s affect on viral cells, the most difficult organisms to be able to eradicate,

“These are ground-breaking results, because this is the first clinical, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study that has found a natural plant compound [quercetin] to prevent viral illness,”

The X Factor
Xylitol (zigh-li-tall) is a sugar alcohol derived from certain fruits, vegetables and even birch tree sap. It has shown to prevent oral bacteria making it an effective tool against developing caries (tooth decay). However, researchers from Turkey decided to try its effect on compromised sinuses.

In a study published in the International Forum of Allergy and Rhinology (6/14), xylitol was used in a nasal spray which brought significant relief to people suffering with congestion, a common allergy symptom.

It was stated that,

“Xlear Nasal Spray® is an effective modality in the treatment of nasal congestion and has positive effect on the QoL [quality of life] of patients.”

The C Factor
Vitamin C has been the go-to remedy for shoring up the body’s immune system. It strengthens white blood cell function, encourages healthy iron absorption and when it comes to allergies, vitamin C has exhibited the ability to stabilize interferon functioning. Interferon is a natural protein released in response to virus cell infiltration and is capable of inhibiting replication.

Even though an allergy is usually not due to a virus, vitamin C works to engage and deactivate allergy causes in similar ways it would react to a virus. Some may not consider vitamin C a botanical medicine but when you look at the long list of plant life that contains vitamin C, ‘botanical’ is the perfect description.

The University of Maryland Medical Center considers 2,000 mg of vitamin C per day to also act as an antihistamine which may reduce allergy symptoms.

The B Factor
Bromelain is derived from that hard tube-like structure found in the middle of a pineapple. It holds special compounds that act as an excellent anti-inflammatory for joint pain, muscle aches and allergy symptoms. Because allergies often cause swelling, particularly in the airway, bromelain could be an additional tool in keeping allergy season at bay.

Not only does bromelain add to immune system strength but it has been shown in laboratory studies to assist in a reduction of suffering from AAD (allergic airway disease).

A study by researchers at the Department of Immunology, University of Connecticut School of Medicine, CT, concluded that,

“The results suggest that bromelain has a therapeutic effect in established AAD, which may translate into an effective adjunctive therapy in patients with similar conditions, such as allergic asthma, who have chosen to initiate treatment after the onset of symptoms.”

As allergy season seems to always be around the corner, botanical medicine supplementation could be your best play. Even better, utilizing an allergy daily supplement package that combines quercetin, vitamin C, xylitol and bromelain enables your body to accumulate important allergy fighting compounds. Having these compounds in your system before allergy season hits could very well act as a veritable forcefield to environmental toxins.

At Integrative Med Solutions, we will design an acupuncture and naturopathic treatment program that works for you. In many cases, insurance covers portions of the acupuncture treatment. Allow us to support you to achieve optimal health.  To make an appointment or find out more about how acupuncture and naturopathic medicine can benefit you, please call our office at 914.337.2980 or CLICK HERE to schedule an online appointment.

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