Alternative Approaches: Natural Remedies for Those Bothersome Allergies
Natural Remedies for Those Bothersome Allergies
by Jennifer LB Leese
Living with an allergy is not an easy task, but what is an allergy and what causes them? Well, according to KidsHealth.org, an allergy is an abnormal immune system reaction to things around us that are typically harmless to most people. Allergies affect 1 in every 3 people.
Just about every place we visit may cause a possible allergy breakout. There are some places where allergens cannot be avoided.
"When you're allergic to something, your immune system mistakenly believes that this substance is harmful to your body."..."In an attempt to protect the body, the immune system produces IgE antibodies to that allergen. Those antibodies then cause certain cells in the body to release chemicals into the bloodstream, one of which is histamine (pronounced: his-tuh-meen)."
Medicines, dust, plant pollen, grass, perfumes, and foods such as cheese, milk, eggs, peanuts are just a few things that cause allergic reactions.
Seasonal allergies are typically only present during spring and/or fall. "This type of allergy refers to a pollen allergy, such as trees, weeds and grasses. Perennial allergies are usually present year-round, and include allergens such as pet dander and house dust mite. Molds can be a seasonal or perennial allergy trigger." (Allergies.about.com)
Even though allergies are frustrating at times, they are usually treatable. Runny nose, itchy eyes, scratchy throat, plugged ears, and headaches all mark the things allergy sufferers go through.
* Remember, you can also have an allergy to herb so be careful when attempting a new one. In addition, before treating your allergies with herbs, be sure to contact your doctor.
* Try drying up the house. This'll help with allergies associated with molds and household allergens.
* If you use plastic bags for storage, they can hold in moisture and cause areas they rest upon to get moldy, try wrapping them in foil.
* If the drainage from your house's downspouts is not good, there are extenders that can be placed on them to release rainwater further from your house's foundation.
* Green Tea taken 3 times a day is said to reduce allergies once they begin because the tea helps to shrink swollen membranes.
* Nettles reduces the inflamed, itchy effect of allergies and helps with the mucous membranes of the sinuses.
* Only ventilate your house when it is cooler outside than in because warm air holds more moisture than cooler air.
* Get as much light and sunshine as possible into areas that could be musty. This'll prevent fungal growth.
* In China, acupuncture and herbal remedies have been used to combat symptoms similar to allergic rhinitis (hay fever) successfully for centuries.
* Add nasal irrigation to your morning routine. This process "rids the nasal passages of mucus, bacteria, dust, and other gunk, and it soothes irritated passageways. All that's needed is 1-11/2 cups lukewarm water (do not use softened water), a bulb (ear) syringe (typically found with baby products in the pharmacy) or nose-spray bottle, 1/4-1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4-1/2 teaspoon baking soda. Mix the salt and baking soda into the water and test the temperature to make sure it's not too hot or too cold. (There are also kits available.) To administer, suck the water into the bulb and squirt the saline solution into one nostril while holding the other closed. Lower your head over the sink and gently blow out the water. Repeat this, alternating nostrils until the water is gone.
* A warm (or cold) touch: While washing your face, take a moment to press the warm washcloth on the sinuses and hold it there. Alternatively, if you have time, wrap a washcloth around ice cubes and apply to your face for instant relief and refreshment.
* Sit and sip: Slowly sip a hot beverage, preferably a non-caffeinated citrus tea, to soothe the throat and sinuses. On days when you feel congested, skip that extra-large, whole-milk latte, since dairy products may thicken mucus.
* Don't conserve water: Drink plenty of water in the morning and throughout the day. Eight to ten glasses is recommended." (HowStuffWorks)
Herbs That Are Sure To Help
Schizonepeta is native to China and Japan, and is widely cultivated in the Far East. It is a pleasantly aromatic herb with highly dissected foliage and small, clustered lavender blooms that grow in spikes above the foliage. Schizonepeta belongs to the same family as catnip, but it is an annual with a sweet, pine like aroma. The whole plant is used in herbal medicine.
Chrysanthemum: Ju hua is known in the West as florists' chrysanthemum and is valued for its ornamental qualities. In China, however, chrysanthemum is a popular medicinal herb and is also commonly drunk as a refreshing tisane. Chrysanthemum is used to improve vision and soothe sore eyes, to relieve headaches and to counter infections such as colds and flu.
Cassia seed: come from the cassia, an annual plant that grows in the world's tropical zones. In traditional Chinese medicine, cassia seeds are sweet, bitter and salty in flavor, slightly cold in nature, and are associated with the Liver, Kidney and Large Intestine meridians. Its main functions are to remove heat, improve eyesight, and relax the bowels.
Plantago seed is sweet in flavor, and cold in nature. It acts on the liver, kidney and lung channels. Being sweet and cold for lubricating, clearing, lowering and descending, the herb can clear away damp-heat from the lower-jiao to induce diuresis and treat stranguria. The herb can also clear away heat from the lung and liver, relieve cough, improve vision and treat coughs.
Olive leaf extract is a source of many phytochemicals (plant based enzymes) it has the ability to be antibacterial, antiviral, and even antiparasitic.
The leaf in whole is found to also contain flavinoids (a powerful antioxidant) and esters (precursors to chemical reactions). The olive leaf is said to destroy the protein coating around bacteria and viruses, thereby making them more exposed to our immune system. This extract is recommended for colds, flus, cold sores, ear infections, eye infections, nose and throat infections, impetigo, pink eye, parasites, and most other bacterial and viral and fungal infections. It has also been proven to have helped in cases of chronic fatigue syndrome, AIDS, herpes, bladder infections, yeast infections, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Green tea has been in the orient and used there for many, many years. Did you know that the green tea and the black tea are made from the same tea plant (camellia sinensis)? It is - the difference of the two is that the black tea is dried longer and fermented and the green tea has not been treated at all.
Researchers have found that both teas have strong antioxidants (removing waste from the cells), however, the green tea is the more potent.
The green tea is full of a potent bioflavinoid (just like oranges) called polyphenols. The strongest being EGCG. Research has discovered that this EGCG is 200 times stronger than Vitamin E. It has antibacterial properties and also antihistamine capabilities and could be used for allergies and reducing sinus infections.
"A quantity of 500 ml carrot juice or a combination of carrot juice with beet and cucumber juices, has been found beneficial in the treatment of allergies. In the case of mixed
juices, 100 ml each of beet and cucumber juices should be mixed with 300 mi of carrot juice to prepare 500 ml or half a litter of mixed juice. This should be taken once daily.
One or two bananas a day are useful for those who are allergic to certain foods and who consequently suffer from skin rashes, digestive disorders, or asthma. The fruit does,
however, cause allergic reactions in certain sensitive persons and they should avoid it." (EasyHomeRemedy.com)
Consumerlab.com is building a database of natural remedy brands that it tests and rates. Not all are yet available.
Additionally, the Food and Drug Administration has a program called MEDWATCH for people to report adverse reactions to untested substances, such as herbal remedies and vitamins (800-332-1088).
A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions.
Source: Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, Health.nineMSN, Herbs2000, MotherNature.com, HerbalMusings, Herbal Medicine in Holisticonline.com, and The Complete Illustrated Holistic Herbal by David Hoffmann, MyHerbGuy.com, KidsHealth.org, HowStuffWorks.com, Allergies.about.com