A Natural Approach To Seasonal Allergies
Spring is such a great time to get outside for some family fun, but sometimes seasonal allergies can get in the way. It is rough when everyone else is playing, but you, or your child, are on the sidelines with a runny nose, watery eyes, or even asthma. Over the counter medications can offer some relief, but they aren’t without their side effects. A natural approach to allergies has proven time and again to be more effective for my patients.
What Causes Seasonal Allergies?
Allergies are caused by a dysregulation of the immune system that causes mast cells to release histamine and other inflammatory chemicals in response to an allergen.
Root causes of seasonal allergies also cause immune dysregulation, difficulty processing histamine, and systemic inflammation. Patterns that I look for include liver and digestive problems, chronic stress, food allergies or sensitivities, unresolved chronic infections, nutrient deficiencies, and past antibiotic use.
Treatment Strategies For Seasonal Allergies
To treat allergies acutely, we look for herbs or drugs that:
- Reduce histamine (antihistamines)
- Stabilize mast cells
- Decongest the upper airways
- Open the airways
- Reduce inflammation
- Reduce exposure to allergens
To treat the root cause of allergies, we look for strategies to:
- Heal the liver and gut
- Reduce stress
- Balance the immune system
- Reduce inflammation
Look for a natural allergy medication containing herbs that help block histamine, stabilize mast cells, thin mucus, reduce inflammation, open airways, and act as decongestants. Such herbs may include Nettle Leaf or Eyebright Herb (histamine modulating herbs), Fresh Yerba Santa Leaf (decongestant), and Fresh Lobelia Herb (thins mucus).
It is ideal to start taking most natural allergy medications 2-4 weeks before allergy season starts to allow time for deeper acting changes to be made. It is always best to consult with a physician before starting a new medication, especially if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
I usually recommend that people have a solid nutritional foundation with an anti-inflammatory diet that focuses on fruits, vegetables, fatty fish, lean protein, and complex carbohydrates, while avoiding processed food, sugar, known food allergies, and dairy. It can be tough to get kids to eat a fully balanced diet, so in most cases a multivitamin and fish oil are recommended along with a probiotic.
Quercetin and vitamin C are complementary therapies that work together to stabilize mast cells. A diet focused on foods high in quercetin will often supply foods high in vitamin C as well. They can be supplemented for even stronger effect. Again, they should ideally be started 2-4 weeks before allergy season.
Root Cause Treatment Of Seasonal Allergies
To treat the root causes of seasonal allergies, I assess stress, diet, food sensitivities, digestion, and liver function and address those on an individual basis. People who routinely get seasonal allergies often do better with a yearly spring liver cleanse.
Allergies are caused by an immune imbalance that causes mast cells to release histamine and other inflammatory chemicals. Anti-inflammatories, antihistamines, decongestants, bronchodilators, and mast cell stabilizers are usually used to treat the symptoms of seasonal allergies. Complementary nutritional therapies include quercetin, vitamin C, multivitamin, fish oil, herbal remedies, and probiotics. Making lifestyle changes to reduce both exposure to allergens and systemic inflammation can be helpful. Root cause treatments that address individual imbalances in diet, stress, digestion, liver health, and immune system are important for long term resolution of allergies.
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