April is here! They say that April showers bring May flowers, but flowers do not bloom by rains alone. April’s pollen has a lot to do with it. As the trees, weeds, and grasses around us come to life, carpets of yellow appear on our lawns and driveways. Pollen prompts some immune systems to work overtime. People with allergies are exhausted by their bodies’ futile fight against harmless Springtime circumstance.

The best way to prevent and treat allergies is to support our immune systems naturally. Priming the body for the effects of allergens means something a little different for each person. Have a look at these alternatives to traditional drug therapies. As you read, you’ll get a feel for what combination approach can aid in restoring your balance.

Behavioral and Environmental Adjustments

1. Sleep early and wake with time to spare. Reduce the stress on your body by extending your time for rest and repair. When you wake up, take it slow. Give your body and mind time to focus for a healthy day.

2. Minimize pollen exposure. Dust surfaces to keep them pollen free, especially in the bedroom. Don’t take let allergens take you for a ride or visa versa. Clear pollen from your personal space by rinsing your face and wiping off your hair a few times a day. Try to stay indoors when the pollen is at its peak between 5-10am and keep windows closed to keep allergens out.

Balancing Food and Drink

1. Avoid an excess of foods that trigger your body to release histamine and/or are histamine-rich. This list is organized by significance: Eggs, shellfish, deep sea fish and small fish, berries, tomatoes, chocolate, fermented food and drink (i.e. wine, beer, sour cream, ciders, vinegars), cheeses, yogurt, avocados, spinach, eggplant, nuts, seaweed, wheat, and processed, dried, or preserved foods.

2. Avoid sugar. It suppresses the immune system and burdens the bowels. During digestion, sugar prevents your body from absorbing important vitamins and minerals you need to be well.

3. Seek hot and spicy foods. Onion, garlic, cayenne pepper, hot ginger, and fenugreek will thin mucus to ease congestion.

4. Seek citrus fruits. Vitamin C is a natural antihistamine.

5. Drink Plenty of Water. I love this tip. You can regulate your histamine production by simply drinking 8 – 8 oz. glasses of water each day. When you’re dehydrated your immune system panics and histamine production goes up. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty! Maintain balance by drinking water regularly throughout the day.

6. Drink Green Tea. It’s rich in a certain kind of anti-oxidant (methylated epigallocatechin gallate or EGCG) that stops histamine production. Five cups a day should help you breath easier.

Herbal Medicines

1. Chrysanthemum flowers have been used by Chinese medical practitioners for centuries. When the dried flowers are steeped in hot water their herbal tea relieves head congestion and strengthen the lungs. The flowers can be saved. Remove them from the tea water and allow them to cool. Placing the flowers on your eyes will relieve redness and itching. Chrysanthemum tea bags can be used in the same way. Store them in the fridge and they’ll be on hand for immediate relief.

2. Butterbur has been found to reduce allergy symptoms as well as Zyrtec with very little drowsiness. This herb acts as an anti-inflammatory by decreasing the release of histamine and leukotrienes (chemicals that trigger allergic reaction). Supplements can be found in health food stores. Be sure that your brand is labeled “PA-free,” as the pyrrolizidine alkaloids naturally found in butterbur are potentially harmful toxins and must be processed out.

3. Chinese Skullcap contains bioflavonoids that deter the production of leukotrines. fresh Fruits and vegetables are the most common source of bioflavonoids. Chinese skullcap’s potent dose of them can relieve hay fever, especially in combination with stinging nettle.

4. Grape seed extract is a super strong anti-oxidant made from the liquid inside grape seeds. This liquid is dried and shaped into tablets that relieve allergies by blocking histamine and inhibiting prostaglandin.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture needles are like circuit switches for your body’s energy flow. Rather than introducing external chemicals to the body, an acupuncturist can stimulate specific points on your body to balance your internal pharmacy. The depth, direction, and placement of needles are tailored to individuals’ symptoms and physical makeup. For allergies, target areas are around the sinuses, on the hands and arms. Hand and arm placements target the lung and large intestines, which are both associated with good sinus health.

Children suffering from allergies are very responsive to acupuncture treatment. Some prefer acupuncture sessions to taking pills everyday.

Homeopathic Solutions

Rather than suppressing your reaction to allergens, homeopathic treatments alter your body’s response to them by employing the principle “like cures like.” These solutions cultivate a normalized response to irritants by stimulating symptoms slowly, over time, until a resistance is achieved. Here, I’m including some simple solutions you can use at home and other more specific remedies you’ll want to talk over with a homeopath.

Honey may help your body build a resistance to pollens. Start eating small amounts of honey before allergy season, gradually increasing to 1 teaspoon a day and continuing throughout the season.

Freeze-dried Stinging Nettles are really good for itching eyes and sneezing. They’re actually very high in histamine themselves, but studies show they follow the “like cures like” rule. Be sure that you use freeze-dried stinging nettles, so that medicinal properties are active. The herb has no side effects, and can be taken as symptoms occur every two to four hours.

Discuss other homeopathic medicines with your doctor. Allium cepa, arsenicum euphrasia histaminium, kali bic, natrum mur, nux vomicz, pulsatilla, sabadilla, solidago, and wyethia are all natural alternatives. Each targets a specific type of allergic reaction, so do some research and consult with your homeopath before taking these powerful medicines.

How Hypnosis Helps

Hypnotherapy brings awareness to the process through which allergies effect you emotionally and physically. Allergy attacks can be traumatic experiences. For some people, the severity of their allergies is linked to unconscious emotional response. A hypnotherapist can guide you through the feelings you associate with allergy attack to see if repressed emotions aren’t at the root of your immune system’s over-reaction. If this is the case, awareness will allow your mind and body to focus on a balanced response to allergens.

Self-hypnosis. Sit quietly as if to meditate and imagine an allergen-free environment. Snowy scenes work well for this: ski slopes,
ice crystals, sledding at the park, etc. Give your mind and body about five minutes to synch-up responses to this exercise and see what happens. Researchers at the University Hospital Basil, Switzerland found that self-hypnosis can reduce allergy symptoms by a third.

Your Sinuses Will Smile

Saline spray is great for loosening mucus and flushing irritants. It’s sold OTC at most drug stores, but check that the brand you choose is additive/preservative free! Nasal sprays with Benzalkonium are addictive. This antibacterial preservative will leave you stuffy whenever you’re not using the nasal spray. To breathe easy and avoid a viscous cycle use a simple salt and water formula.

A Nasal Lavaging thoroughly rinses and moisturize nasal passages. You can purchase an instrument specifically designed for the job or use a sterile bulb syringe. A 1/4 teaspoon of salt dissolved in 2 cups of warm water creates a balanced saline solution. When you inject the solution into a nostril lean over a basin or sink. The saline will travel through your sinuses and drip out of your other nostril or mouth. The solution cleanses breathing passages, while keeping them moist and ready to regulate future irritation.

Visit with your Community Naturopathic Doctor

Schedule your seasonal naturopathic or acupuncture appointment with Dr. Lisanti of Integrative Med Solutions (IMS). It’s with the intention of inspiration and integrity that our highly trained doctor creates customized health plans that synergize the best of healing arts with contemporary natural medical science. We are excited to be at the leading edge of an emerging world view that accepts nature as a health ally. At IMS, our mission seeks to generate the kinds of balanced internal environments that leads your being into an optimum state of aliveness which only then can attract a more balanced external environment in one’s life. Please call us at 914.337.2980 to make an appointment. Please feel free to email appointment queries to info@intmedsolutions.com.

Leave a Reply