Natural Allergy Treatments
Why some individuals develop allergies remains a mystery throughout the medical community.
Until the time when we have more research and information about allergies, the first, and best, line of defense is to avoid or eliminate the offending agents. Allergies can manifest a wide range of symptoms including sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes, sinus congestion, hives, and swelling.
What are Allergies?
Nearly any area of the body can be affected by allergies. Substances which irritate the skin, adverse reactions to drugs, detergents, and various other chemicals can all be culprits. Additionally, grass, cow products, house dust, pets, wheat, colorants, additives and preservatives are all on the list of allergens.
- Dust Mites. The dust mite is an nearly microscopic relative of ticks and spiders. But the living mite is not the culprit. It's the fecal material which mites expel in their meanderings about our carpet and furniture—their primary homes —and the bodies of dead mites which cause allergic reactions.
- Mold. Mold can be found growing wherever it's dark and humid—under your rugs or carpeting, in the basement or cellar, behind and around toilets and sinks. It really doesn't matter which mold you encounter. Breathe in any one of them, and if you're allergic to mold, you will begin sneezing.
- Hayfever is an allergic condition which is triggered by inhaled substances (most frequently pollens), which then leads to inflammation of the nose, sneezing and conjunctiva of the eyes.
- Any inflammation of the skin can be considered Dermatitis. Redness, scaling, and thickening of the skin can occur with dermatitis. Identifying the cause of the problem is the first step toward figuring out how to alleviate the symptoms.
- Eczema is a type of dermatitis which is very often allergy related. It manifests as dry, cracking, crusting and red patches on the skin. Frequently there are weeping, swelling blisters. The skin can become itchy and swollen. Various factors can contribute to eczema, of which stress is a major one. Other eczema culprits include exposure to cleaning compounds, perfumes, detergents, household chemicals, soaps, food allergies, and nutrient deficiencies.
- Hives are lumps or weals that are very itchy. Hives can appear quickly and out of the blue. They can be triggered by a particular food or as another symptom of allergies or stress.
- Anaphylactic shock. This is the most serious and life-threatening of all allergic reactions. Anaphylactic shock can kill by suffocation, the result of swelling of the larynx and airway obstruction. Anaphylactic shock can occur as a response to insect stings, ingestion of allergenic foods in sensitive individuals, and injected or swallowed doses of medication. It is a medical emergency which needs immediate medical treatment, but it can be treated effectively. An injection of adrenalin (administered under medical supervision) will normally end the reaction promptly.
White blood cells (also known as lymphocytes) are a basic and important component of the immune system which protects our bodies from invaders. When these white blood cells make a mistake, an allergic response may occur. When a lymphocyte encounters a particle or cell and identifies it as a foreign invader, the lymphocyte then produces antibodies specifically engineered to attack that particular threat.
There are five basic types of antibodies, known as immunoglobulins, or Igs. Each Igs is classified by type with a letter suffix: IgA, IgD, IgE, IgG and IgM. The Ig responsible for most allergic reactions to food is IgE, although IgG is also frequently mentioned.
IgE allergies happen when the immune system, in an effort to fight a particular food or other substance, creates an antibody to that substance or food, immunoglobulin E. In other words, the blood cells of an allergic person are “misinformed' at the genetic level and this causes the production of substantial quantities of IgE antibodies.
The antibody then attaches itself to one side to the food/substance molecule and on the other side to a mast cell (mast cells are a type of cell which contain histamine and other allergy mediators instrumental in the allergic response).
When this occurs, histamines and other chemicals are released from the mast cells, resulting in such immediate responses as runny nose, itchy eyes, skin rashes and indigestion. IgE can also cause anaphylaxis, an extreme, sometimes even life-threatening response in which the airway swells, at times to the point where the person cannot breathe.
The most common tests for food allergies are IgE skin tests, where the skin is scratched or pricked and allergens such as wheat, eggs and milk are applied. Within 15 to 30 minutes, a local reaction to the substances applied to the skin may occur. Other types of tests include blood tests and patch skin tests. However, there are reports that blood tests for food allergies provide more reliable results than skin testing.
Skin tests can be problematic because of their tendency to yield false positives. This means that people may show a positive result but are still able to eat a certain food with an allergic reaction occurring. To summarize this difficult and confusing field, it appears that the efficacy of most, if not all, allergy testing is under suspicion.
Herbal Remedies as Natural Allergy Treatments
Herbs which are beneficial as natural allergy treatments (if you are not allergic to them) are Burdock Root, Dandelion, and Echinacea. These herbs help to purify the blood, boost the immune system and improve organ function.
Bee Pollen is one of the natural allergy treatments which can help strengthen the immune system. Begin with a few drops at a time and work up to a dropperful 2-3 times a day. Coenzyme Q10 improves oxygenation and immunity. A good dose of CoQ10 would 30 mgs, twice daily.
In traditional medicine, many herbs from which their pollen can cause symptoms of hay fever have been used quite effectively as natural allergy treatments to reduce symptoms of hayfever. This is the homeopathic theory of “like cures like”. The most notable of these types of natural allergy treatments is Ragweed (Ambrosia ambrosioides).
Eyebright and Elder both also have a reputation for use as effective remedies for hay fever and natural allergy treatments. However, an individual who is allergic to one of these plants should avoid them unless under the care of a doctor of natural medicine.
- Bee Pollen – has frequently been used to build up the immune system to to fight colds and to combat depression. Bee pollen has also been utilized internally to increase anti-allergenic properties to enhance the immune system against allergies to pollen.
- Burdock Root – Burdock root contains high amounts of inulin and mucilage. This may explain burdock's soothing effects on the gastrointestinal tract. Bitter constituents in the root may also explain the traditional use of burdock to improve digestion. Burdock also contains polyacetylenes which have been shown to have antimicrobial activity.
- Dandelion – Dandelion is a natural diuretic which increases urine production by promoting the excretion of salts and water from the kidneys. Dandelion can be taken for a wide range of conditions requiring mild diuretic treatment such as poor digestion, liver disorders, and high blood pressure.
- Echinacea – Echinacea is another herb which is useful for the relief of allergy symptoms. With a rich and long history of use in Native American traditions, echinacea boasts natural anti-inflammatory properties. Echinacea also helps relieve the symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections and is very useful for sore throats and even acne.
- Green drinks – green drinks are full of antioxidants and other nutrients which help to detoxify the body. Detoxification is one of the natural allergy treatments which can help calm allergy symptoms by helping to flush out toxic build up in the body's systems. Made from spirulina, wheat and barley grasses, these green drinks are some of the best natural allergy treatments.
- Nettle Leaf – Nettle leaf can help reduce the symptoms of hay fever, including sneezing and itchy eyes. For help with relieving hay fever symptoms, consider taking 450 mg of Nettle Leaf capsules or tablets two to three times per day, or a 2–4 ml tincture, three times per day. Do not take nettle if you have high blood pressure.
- Horseradish – The “heating” qualities of horseradish are a major clue to its most popular therapeutic use: clearing up nasal and chest congestion. As well as helping to clear respiratory passages and eliminate excess mucus,horseradish is very effective for the relief of both coughs and sinusitis.
- Garlic – One of the oldest recorded culinary spices, garlic (Allium sativum) is mentioned as a food in the Bible, and is known to have been part of the diet of Egyptian workers as long ago as 2600 BC. It is the dominant flavor in much of Mediterranean cuisine, but garlic is also a more subtle addition to many Asian dishes. But alongside its popularity as a food or in cooking, garlic has a long history of medicinal use – a history that is gaining increased recognition from science. Garlic preparations have long been used as natural allergy treatments to help relieve the congestion of colds and hayfever.
- Reishi Mushrooms, Ganoderma lucidum, (Ling Zhi) is documented to have significant medicinal value. The reishi extract has been shown to be effective in clearing up a wide variety of allergic skin conditions either due to food or airborne allergens. Ganoderma extract has also been found to be effective in detoxifying the kidneys and improving overall kidney function.
- Steam treatments and hot baths have a cleansing effect on allergies and the respiratory system. Instructions for a warm bath: Fill your bathtub with water slightly warmer than body temperature, around 97° to 101°F (You can check the temperature of the water with a regular thermometer. ) As the tub fills with water add 2 spoons of sea salt to the bath water for a soothing, skin cleansing soak. Submerging as much of your body as possible, stay in the bath for at least 20 minutes, adding water as needed to maintain the temperature of the bath.
- Steam Inhalation – First, boiling water. Remove the pot from the stove. Add a few drops of lavender, eucalyptus and tea tree oil or the other oils listed above to the water and then with a towel, make a tent over your head and inhale the steam for 10-15 minutes. Add just a few drops of one – three oils only.
- Consider cleansing the nasal passages with a Neti Pot. This Ayurvedic solution has been used for centuries to keep the nasal passages clear of mucus and congestion and is one of the most effective natural allergy treatments.
Foods and Diet as Natural Allergy Treatments
Consuming water is crucial in any healing process. Spring water is the best, try to drink at least 6-8 eight ounces glasses per day.
Be certain to include anti-inflammatory foods in your diet such as avocados, extra virgin olive oil, ginger, omega fatty acids and tumeric.
Diet can greatly influence allergic responsiveness or lack of it, as can exposure to potentially irritating substances at critical times in one's development. Too much protein may irritate the immune system and keep it in a state of over reactivity.
The protein in cow's milk is a frequent offender, and for people with a genetic predisposition to allergy it may be a hidden cause of many of their allergy problems. Therefore, one effective treatment strategy is to follow a low-protein diet and try to eliminate all milk and milk products from your diet.
Food allergies can play a significant role during childhood – even before the age of 6. You can manipulate an infant's diet and do well in helping their skin. Eggs, orange juice, and milk have been implicated as aggravators in children. Parents should consult with their physicians about trying elimination diets as natural allergy treatments.
In general, these are foods that should not be eliminated without testing them out by first eliminating them and then re-introducing them back into the diet. Such diets seem to work best in infants less than 2 years old. After age 6, it is believed by experts that food plays a minimal role in most people. The child's physician should always oversee any type of food elimination.
Garlic, which is rich in both sulfur and antioxidants, is a terrific choice for combating allergy and asthma symptoms by naturally boosting the immune system. Try one gram or a clove of garlic daily.
For adults, diet manipulation and testing should be undergone by each individual. If you think there's any food you eat which has an adverse effect on your body, avoid it and see what happens. If your problem clears up, you may have found a food allergy.
Natural Help for Allergies, Hayfever
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