Allergies

It's a big, yellow world out there

I was walking in the woods last spring with an allergic friend. She has had allergies as long as I have known her. As we were walking, she started getting congested, and her eyes got red. She paused, took a capsule, and five minutes later her symptoms were completely gone. I was amazed. She said she had gone to an acupuncturist who used acupuncture and herbs to give her allergy relief. I had heard and read that acupuncture (and Eastern Medicine) is effective in treating allergies (by boosting the body's defensive Qi), but I never would

Nettle (stinging nettles) is another helpful substance for treating the symptoms of allergies. Nettle is a vigorous antioxidant known to reduce inflammation in the sinus cavities. Licorice root is also effective at battling the inflammatory response of allergies and mimics the effects of cortisone and prednisone without the nasty side effects. Many natural relief formulas, such as AllerResponse contain these ingredients. Mucolytic products, such as MucoStop, contain natural mucolytic (mucus-eating) enzymes that can also assist in easing congestion and sinus issues. And oddly enough, an extract made from the Chinese mushroom Cordyceps seems to increase breathing capacity in asthmatic situations.

Homeopathy is another place to

Well, it is that time of year again, time for sneezing and wheezing and all the wonderful stuff that goes along with that lovely yellow dusting that coats our cars and runs down the streets in the rain. I remember seeing a photo of a magnified piece of pollen. It was yellow, round and covered in huge, long spikes. It looked like just the sort of thing that could wreak havoc with anyone. Of course, pollen is not the only cause of allergic reactions. Pollution, dust, food, pets, insect bites, chemicals and molds can all act as allergens and manifest allergic reactions such as headaches, nasal congestion, hives, itching and fatigue.

Symptoms we identify as allergies are a defensive response produced by the body's immune system against something that is irritating it. The immune system is the body's fortress against harmful, invading organisms and infections. If the immune system is in a weakened state, it can't protect the body as well. A weakened immune system, when faced with an intruder such as an allergen, goes into overdrive to ward off the intrusion. Allergic reactions are caused by inflammation and the mucus-producing process of the immune system trying to fight off an invasion.

Allergies affect a large percentage of the population throughout the year. For some people, they are just a mildly irritating part of life. But for many others, allergies produce severe symptoms and make life miserable. Luckily, there are several natural ways to combat allergies.

I was walking in the woods last spring with an allergic friend. She has had allergies as long as I have known her. As we were walking, she started getting congested, and her eyes got red. She paused, took a capsule, and five minutes later her symptoms were completely gone. I was amazed. She said she had gone to an acupuncturist who used acupuncture and herbs to give her allergy relief. I had heard and read that acupuncture (and Eastern Medicine) is effective in treating allergies (by boosting the body's defensive Qi), but I never would

The acupuncturist had also prescribed a Chinese herbal product called Xanthium Relief Formula and Nasal Tabs. My friend has been thrilled with the Chinese formula and has not experienced any side effects or drowsiness. Please note that one should not purchase any sort of Chinese herbal formula without first consulting a professional.

However, if acupuncture and Chinese herbs are too esoteric, there are several other options that can reduce the symptoms of allergic reactions. Quercetin is a bioflavinoid found in strawberries and red onions among other foods. It reduces inflammation, which is one of the bodily responses that allergies evoke and which in turn cause problems. Although it's not an antihistamine, it works against histamine (a bodily secretion that causes vascular restriction) by keeping the body's mast cells from releasing this substance. Quercetin seems to be especially effective in combination with bromelain. (Both need to be taken on an empty stomach to be effective.)

Nettle (stinging nettles) is another helpful substance for treating the symptoms of allergies. Nettle is a vigorous antioxidant known to reduce inflammation in the sinus cavities. Licorice root is also effective at battling the inflammatory response of allergies and mimics the effects of cortisone and prednisone without the nasty side effects. Many natural relief formulas, such as AllerResponse contain these ingredients. Mucolytic products, such as MucoStop, contain natural mucolytic (mucus-eating) enzymes that can also assist in easing congestion and sinus issues. And oddly enough, an extract made from the Chinese mushroom Cordyceps seems to increase breathing capacity in asthmatic situations.

Homeopathy is another place to

Additionally, the FDA recognizes homeopathy as a school of medicine, so homeopathic medicines are approved as over-the-counter drugs. Since homeopathic products elicit an immune response to give the body a chance to fight back, they are symptom specific, so care should be taken to assure that the correct products are being used. Homeopathic remedies are also completely safe to use for children.

So get outside and enjoy our yellow-dusted spring. Allergy relief might just be an herb or two away.

© 2005 MetroPulse. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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