Spring is supposed to be a time of rejoicing in the warm weather and beautiful blooming flora. For many people in the Portland area, springtime is a miserable nightmare on repeat. Itchy, watery eyes, runny nose, sneezing and recurrent asthma attacks are keynotes for environmental allergies. The Pacific Northwest’s climate not only supports mass amounts of pollen but also mold, allowing environmental allergies to continue year round.
There are numerous pharmaceutical options for anti-histamines, decongestants and nasal sprays. Many natural and effective remedies exist that for some will eliminate all allergy symptoms and for others, significantly reduce the severity of their allergy suffering.
Allergies are your body’s reaction to a harmless substance in the environment that it views as a threat. It releases large amounts of histamine, a compound that triggers an inflammatory response and increases vascular permeability to fight off the invading substance. The end result is itchy, irritated drainage from your eyes and nose.
Treating allergies from a naturopathic perspective is controlling inflammation and reducing or inhibiting histamine release. There are many ways to do this and each person responds differently so try a few and in varying combinations to see what works best for you:
– Eliminate dairy products (or try raw milk): Dairy products generate mucus (a lot of mucus) and inflammation as our dairy products contain large amounts of histamine. Both will aggravate allergies. That said, some people have resolved their allergies with whole, raw milk.
– Honey: Local, raw honey has proven to be a great preventative and treatment for seasonal allergies. Add it to your tea, water or eat it straight off a spoon.
– Nettles: Fresh or dried – research has shown them to be 87% effective in reducing and/or eliminating allergies. You can take it in capsule form, and making nettle tea is easy and allows you to consume them throughout the day. I like to add elderberries to my nettle tea for extra vitamin C.
– Vitamin C: An anti-oxidant that helps to lower inflammation and reduce histamine. It’s a great preventative treatment and while you’re in the midst of an allergy attack.
– Bromelain: An enzyme from pineapples with anti-inflammatory properties. Add this to your vitamin C and quercitin for a stronger response.
– Quercitin: A flavonoid found in sweet potatoes, green beans, onion skins, berries, broccoli and a handful of other foods. Again, capsule form may allow for a therapeutic dose but adding these foods to your diet regimen would also be beneficial and preventative. This combined with bromelain and vitamin C seems to work better then when taken alone.
These are just a few of our favorites. If you have questions or need further allergy support give us a call, as Flow Natural Health Care is conveniently located in the heart of seasonal allergy prone Portland!
By Dr. Marsha Hamilton