Spring Allergy Season: A few good remedies to stave off sneezing and allergy symptoms
Posted Sep 13 2008 11:47pm
Well, spring is in the air, noses are sneezing and it's allergy season. The trees are starting to sprout new leaves and with the new leaves and spring flowers comes the dreaded allergy season. My worst allergy enemy is pollen. In fact, this morning I had to hose down my car because it had yellow layer of pollen on it...despite it being kept in a closed garage.
I've had a few natural remedies that have really worked wonders against seasonal allergies. Ordinarily I would be sneezing, stuffed up and very tired. Instead, I can get the paper without a full on allergy attack all without the use of conventional pharmaceutical drugs.
An allergy is the result of your immune system's over-reaction to pollens, grass, airborne fungi and even certain foods and cosmetics. When an allergen is introduced, the body fights back by producing an excess of inflammatory chemicals, such as histamine, from mast cells. This attempt to seek-and-destroy the allergen brings on the familiar symptoms of runny nose, watery eyes and sneezing.
OTC antihistamines merely block the action of histamine at receptor sites. They only suppress the appearance of physical symptoms but do nothing to redirect the underlying cause. Antihistamines also often produce undesirable side effects, such as dizziness, drowsiness and even depression. Therefore treating allergies naturally gets to the root cause of the symptoms and side effects we detest.
During serious bouts with allergies, you may want to assume an all vegan diet, or at least consider reducing your consumption of meat and dairy products.
ESSENTIAL HERBS TO FIGHT ALLERGIES
Nettle (Urtica dioica): Nettle has enjoyed a long history as a treatment for seasonal allergies. Dr. Andrew Weil, author of Natural Health, Natural Medicine (Houghton Mifflin, 1998) reports success with this herb to treat his own allergies. Be careful not to confuse this herb with another species, U. Urens, which contains high levels of leukotrienes and histamine.
Ephedra (Ephedra sinicia): Also known as mahuang, the generic name of this herb may be familiar since a synthetic version of its primary alkaloid, ephedrine, can be found in many conventional remedies as pseudoephedrine. This herb has been used to treat bronchial and inflammatory disorders in Chinese medicine for more than 5,000 years. In fact, ephedra is often used to treat asthma. Note: Ephedra can raise both systolic and diastolic blood pressure and can cause excitability in some individuals.
Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea): Also known as purple coneflower, this Native American herb is one of the best immune enhancing supplements you can take. Echinacea has been the subject of more than 50 years worth of study and has clearly demonstrated an ability to increase the production of a number of T-cells and their distribution in the blood.
Garlic (Allium sativum): The antiviral properties of garlic have been well examined for many years. In Russia, the herb is known as "Russian penicillin" where it was once used to treat respiratory disorders in hospitals. Recent Japanese studies have found that aged garlic extract stimulates NK activity and a potent antimicrobial action against bacteria and yeasts. Garlic owes its efficacy to allicin, a byproduct derived from the amino acid alliin reacting with the enzyme alliinase. The biosynthesis of these constituents however, can be unstable in their natural state. Raw garlic is certainly good for you and has several health benefits to offer otherwise, but the enzyme necessary to produce allicin is usually destroyed in the stomach before the conversion can take place. For this reason, enteric-coated tablets of dried or powdered garlic tablets is the best form of supplementation to take advantage of this herb's immune-boosting qualities. Note: Garlic, and other alliums can raise or lower blood sugar levels. Consult your health care practitioner if you are diabetic or hypoglycemic.
Honey helps your body build antibodies to the allergens themselves. Using honey in teas or on bread daily can help ward off allergies. The key is to use locally grown, organic honey. The sames bees populating the plants near you will help you build up an immunity to the allergens in your area. (For more info about honey - read our article about the benefits of honey.)
Dosages: Stinging nettle - 250 mg. freeze-dried extract every 2-4 hours or until symptoms subside Ephedra: 12.5 - 25 mg. 3x day Quercetin - 400 mg. 2x day between meals Echinacea - 350 mg 3x day Garlic - tablet equivalent of 10 cloves of garlic Honey- 2 tbs daily
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