Dealing with Allergies, Naturally!

While most of us look forward to the ending of the winter season we dread the overwhelming allergies that accompany the onset of spring. As the trees and flowers start  to bloom, and the pollen gets airborne, us allergy suffers begin our annual ritual of sniffling and sneezing. These symptoms that manipulate our immune systems can make us miserable and lose out on the beauty of spring.
In this article we present some tips for reducing physical contact with allergens, combating symptoms with TCM, and building your immune system through the foods you eat.

Here are a few tips for bettering your chances of reducing allergy symptoms:

Close your windows and turn on the air conditioner to recirculate and fan-only mode if it is too cold outside. Do this in your car and your house. Using an air conditioner in your car can cut the amount of pollen you breathe by as much as 30 percent, says Myngoc Nguyen, M.D., chief of allergy at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, Northern California.
Stay current on your allergy meds and try to anticipate when you will need them. Most allergy meds work better at preventing symptoms than treating them.
Check out and stay ahead of the count!
Exercise in the late afternoon or evening and avoid the late morning and early afternoon pollen release peaks.
Room air purifiers and filters can be very effective at removing pollen and other allergens from the air, IF you keep your doors and windows closed and the filter cleaned regularly.
If you carry an EpiPen, make sure it is not expired and don’t leave it in your car where it can be exposed to temperature extremes.
Donate those cuddly, cute stuffed animals, all of which are dust magnets and allergen hogs. If you really need to keep your favorite, the keep it washed regularly.
Don’t ignore allergy symptoms if you have “never been allergic to anything in my life”. Allergies can develop over time, whether to your pet or local plants or house dust.Down got you down?
Feathers can be very allergenic and get worse over time as the feathers break down. Replace down-filled comforters and pillows with synthetic stuffing and get dust-mite proof covers for everything.
I love my dog and yes, I let her in the bed with me. Bad news! Even if you are not allergic to your pets, they can bring in pollen and dust from outdoors. So… no sleeping with the pets!
You want your sleeping area to be your safe haven for a good night’s rest… bare floors, or perhaps a washable carpet, closed windows with air conditioner or filter running, no animals, no down/feather anything, no stuffed animals… wow… this sounds awful, but… it can mean a good night’s sleep!
Sorry, there is no such thing as a hypoallergenic pet! Even hairless cats and dogs bring dust, dander, and allergens in from outdoors; not to mention their own body fluids, flakey skin cells, and normal secretions.


Now…I did all of the above, or I didn’t but I still want some symptomatic relief! What can I do? These two well-known remedies offer a few options to control these unwanted symptoms.
biyanpianThe first, Bi Yan Pian: tablets that assist with seasonal hay fever, allergies, common cold, and sinus infection. By dispelling pathogenic wind, eliminating heat, resolving toxin, and transforming phlegm, it benefits the eyes and opens the nasal passages. This formula is effective for pollen and dust allergies marked by sneezing, runny nose, and watery itchy eyes. Pe Min Kan WanIf nasal congestion is a primary target symptom, Pe Min Kan Wan is a preferred route of symptom relief. This formula offered in pill form is used to treat acute and chronic sinus congestion marked by thick yellow nasal discharge, heat and redness around the sinus cavities, and sinus pain or headache. It is also useful for ear ache or congestion and the common cold marked by nasal congestion.

Another way to deal with these pesky allergies is to try preventative measures. The Mother Nature Network suggests this 10 food item list to help fight spring allergies!

1. Broccoliveg This precious piece of produce serves two purposes in annihilating your allergy symptoms. It’s high in allergy-relieving vitamin C and it’s a member of the crucifer family, plants that have been shown to clear out blocked-up sinuses. Researchers have found about 500 milligrams (mg) of Vitamin C a day can ease allergy symptoms, and just one cup of raw broccoli packs about 80 mg.
2. Citrus fruits To hit that 500-milligram vitamin C level from whole food sources, you can also turn to oranges, grapefruit, lemons, and limes. A large orange contains nearly 100 mg of C, while half of a large grapefruit contains about 60 mg.
3. Kale Don’t just admire kale as a garnish. Eat it! This superfood packs a one-two punch against allergies; like broccoli, it’s a member of the crucifer family, but it’s also rich in the carotenoid department, pigments believed to aid in fighting allergy symptoms.
4. Collard greens Highjacked by hay fever? Put collard greens on the menu for the same reason as kale. Their phytochemical content, mainly, carotenoids, eases allergy issues. To increase the amount of carotenoids your body absorbs, eat the veggie with some sort of fat source. One idea? Lightly cook it in olive oil.
5. Stinging nettle You can’t discuss natural allergy remedies without hailing stinging nettle. It helps stifle inflammation that occurs when you’re experiencing allergy symptoms. Stinging nettle contains histamine, the chemical your body produces during an allergic reaction, so it helps you acquire tolerance. Look for 500-mg freeze-dried nettle capsules in your natural health store, and take three times a day. That’s the best form for allergy relief; it won’t sting because it’s freeze-dried. Long-term use of the herb is not recommended, since it can deplete your potassium stores.
6. Butterbur Leaves and roots of the butterbur shrub contain compounds called petasines, which can block some reactions that spark allergies. Does this plant really work? Science says yes, though its use is not generally recommended for young children, people older than 65, or those with ragweed allergies. A large British meta-analysis of six studies looking at butterbur as an allergy reliever found five studies supported the claim. The roots of the perennial shrub generally contain high levels of pyrrolizidine alkaloids, which can damage the liver, so herbalists recommend looking for butterbur products that specify no pyrrolizidines, or ones that use a CO2 extracting process, which limits the amount of pyrrolizidine alkaloids. Swiss and German researchers found that butterbur was just as effective as the prescription antihistamine cetirizine (Zyrtec) after two weeks of treatment. It’s also been shown to relieve sneezing, itching, runny nose, stuffiness, and watery eyes in just five days.
7. Elderberries Immune-strengthening elderberries are often hailed as a natural flu treatment, but the berries serve a purpose in natural allergy relief, too. Try elderberry wine, juice, or jam to tap the fruit’s beneficial flavonoids that reduce inflammation.
8. Onions and garlic Quercetin is another secret weapon that helps fight allergies by acting like an antihistamine. Onions and garlic are packed with quercetin, as are apples. (If you go with eating apples, just make sure they don’t stimulate oral allergy syndrome.)
9. Parsley According to Michael Castleman, author of “The New Healing Herbs” (Rodale, 2009), parsley inhibits the secretion of allergy-inducing histamine. (Parsley is a diuretic, so talk to your doctor before taking supplements or eating large amounts of it.)
10. Anti-allergy soup! There’s nothing like a warm bowl of soup when you’re feeling sick, and while this usually pertains to chicken soup for the flu, an expert on herbs developed this soup to naturally battle allergies. In “The Green Pharmacy Guide to Healing Foods: Proven Natural Remedies to Treat and Prevent More Than 80 Common Health Concerns” (Rodale, 2008), herb expert James Duke, PhD, recommends this allergy-fighting soup recipe: Boil an onion (with skin) and a clove of garlic. Add half a cup chopped leaves and diced taproots of evening primrose. After boiling for about 5 minutes, add a cup of nettle leaves and a cup of diced celery stalks, and boil gently for another 3 to 10 minutes. Before eating, remove the onion skins and eat the soup while it’s still warm. Season with wine vinegar, black pepper, hot pepper, turmeric, curry powder or celery seed and enjoy!

We want you to celebrate the arrival of spring and we hope that if allergies do effect you, that these suggestions will calm or alleviate your symptoms!

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