Allergies • Natural home remedies
Allergies are your body’s reaction to a foreign substance and may cause your nose to drip, your eyes to itch and your lungs to burn.
Most allergens are food, inhalant allergies (things you breathe in) or other substances we come in contact with. Your immune system considers something dangerous and responds by releasing histamine. Histamine causes the symptoms.
Allergies can appear at any stage of your life or you may outgrow allergies you’ve had for years. Following are some common triggers for allergies.
Some common allergens, or triggers, are:
- Animal dander
- Cockroach urine and excrement
- Dust mites
- Grass pollen
- Insect stings
- Mustard seeds
- Peanuts (which are legumes)
- Sesame seeds
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
Some or all of these may be present:
- Burning sensation in lungs
- Itchy eyes
- Runny nose
- Shortness of breath
- Skin color may change
- Skin rash or hives
- Weak pulse
It is estimated that 8% of Americans have food allergies and slightly less than 8% of people over 18 have hay fever.
An allergist will perform blood or skin tests to find out if you have an allergy and what it is. You may be treated with medications or immunotherapy (allergy shots). Allopathic medicine will offer allergy shots or antihistamines, both of which can treat your symptoms reasonably well. Allergy shots are usually not given to people with heart problems, lung disease, severe asthma or those who take beta-blockers or monoamine oxidase inhibitors.
There currently is some experimentation with patches that put a small amount of an allergen into the skin daily to decrease your sensitivity, or with oral consumption of allergens in increasing doses. These are trials and not yet available to the general public.
As for antihistamines, there are two “generations” on the market and the first-generation drugs are still the most commonly OTC antihistaime used. It has been recommended to replace first-generation drugs with second-generation drugs because the former interact with unintended receptor sites, crossing the blood-brain barrier. They have a sedating effect and alter the circadian cycle, interfering with the body’s recovery time when the brain is also storing memories and retaining learning. They can lead to impaired psychomotor performance and memory and cognitive functions.
In Europe, allergy sufferers often are treated with sub-lingual immunotherapy (SLIT), which has been reported to be effective in reducing the likelihood of runny noses by seven times and sneezing by three times.
Of course, you can make some changes to your environment and habits to lessen your discomfort.
The first diet adjustment to make is to eliminate all offending foods, even if they are considered healthy for others. Aside from that, a healthy immune system is always the first line of defense against disease. To promote a healthy immune system, it is important to eat a balanced diet, with as much variety as you can manage, with lots of whole, fresh vegetables and fruits, quality protein and healthy sources of monounsaturated fat. Some recommend an anti-inflammation/alkaline diet. The Zone is an excellent starting point.
FOODS THAT MAY PROMOTE HEALING
- Alkaline foods
- Anti—inflammatory foods
- Applies contain quercetin.
- Bone Broth
- GAPS diet
- Onions. Quercetin is a chemical compound found in onions. It is said to reduce the amount of histamine produced in your body and inhibits inflammation as well as opening up airways and helping you breathe more easily. Infuse a few cups of fresh water with a red onion, sliced, for several hours. Add organic, raw honey and drink some a couple times a day. It will kep in the fridge for 3-4 days.
- Spicy food, like Wasabi, will help clear your nasal passages.
- Take a tablespoon of flaxseed oil daily.
- Walnuts are high in magnesium and may help surpress coughing.
FOODS AND OTHER SUBSTANCES TO AVOID
- Food colorings
- Foods with trans oleic acid in them (found in meat and dairy products)
- Processed sugars
- Smoking/cigarette smoke
- Trans fats
- Artificial sweeteners
- Processed foods of any kind
TEAS AND OTHER LIQUIDS
- ACV: mix a little organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar with water and drink 3x per day.
- Nettle Leaf is a natural antihistamine. Make a tea from nettle leaves or buy in capsule form or make your own from dried nettle leaves.
- Peppermint: hold your face over a steaming bowl of peppermint tea, or green tea.
HERBS AND SPICES
Some of the herbs below may also make good teas.
- Butterbur plant extract (member of the ragweed family so if you are allergic to ragweed, find a different treatment)
- Dong quai
- Guduchi, popular Ayurevedic herb
- Milk thistle
- Red clover
Administer oils via a diffuser for inhalation, topically in a carrier oil like coconut or add drops to a hot bath.
- Eucalyptus oil in steaming water to clear nasal pasages (breathe it in)
- Tea tree
OTHER SUBSTANCES AND SUPPLEMENTS
- If your Vitamin D levels are low, take a supplement
- Supplement with fish oil
- Vitamin C is a natural antihistamine: one gram 3-5 times a day
Water is essential and a main nutrient for the human body. Without it, you cannot survive for many days. Staying hydrated is fundamental for a healthy body, so how much is enough? There are so many differences in people (i.e., how much we sweat), as well as the diets we consume (a lot of water comes from healthy, whole foods), but a general rule is to consume enough water that your urine is clear, but not so much that you dilute your nutrients. If you are taking certain supplements that make your urine yellow, then you can start out with the formula of drinking ½ ounce to 1 ounce of water for each pound you weigh. If you weigh 130 pounds, drink 65 to 130 ounces of water a day. Definitely drink when you are thirsty.
That exercise is beneficial is undisputed. If you are ill, you will want to take it easy, of course, but there is always something you can do to support your body. Do what you can do without making yourself feel worse. Be sensible. Exercising in fresh air is healthy, but if you have allergies, exercise in the evening to minimize exposure to pollen.
Stay calm. Anxiety undermines health. Practice relaxation exercises, talk to a friend. Do what works for you to keep mellow. You might try one of the following relaxation methods.
- Art therapy
- Biofeedback (for help with controlling muscle tension, heart rate, blood pressure)
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Massage (which will increase blood flow and lower blood pressure)
- Music Therapy
- Qi Gong
- Tai Chi
OTHER THINGS YOU CAN DO
- Air-condition your bedroom.
- Air-condition your car.
- Avoid chlorinated pools and hot tubs.
- Avoid window fans which pull pollen indoors.
- Before allergy season, start taking a spoonful of local natural honey each day. Raw, unprocessed honey that is made locally. If that doesn’t work, try bee pollen substitute (if you know you are not allergic to bees!) If you take bee pollen, start taking it 5 months before allergy season. Start with a couple granules under the tongue. Do this for a few weeks to be sure you won’t have a reaction and then you can take up to a tablespoon each day. If you have any doubts, check with your doctor. Beware: There is pollen in honey, and could contain other contaminants like mold and bee parts, all of which could make your woes worse.
- Bleach to kill mold. Use 3/4 cup per gallon of water, let stand several minutes and rinse.
- Buy synthetic pillows that you can wash in hot water.
- Diatomaceous earth or Edible Clay
- Dust mites: if you are allergic encase your pillows and mattress in plastic.
- Exercise in the evening to minimize exposure to pollen.
- Face mask–wear when vacuuming and get a HEPA filter for your vacuum.
- Flush nasal passages with a neti pot (saline solution inside). When I first started using a neti pot, I found it helpful, but eventually it began to cause a burning sensation and I had to stop. It won’t happen to everyone, but it has happened to others.
- Get rid of carpets to help control dust, dander and mold.
- Install an air cleaner in your home (industrial quality)
- Keep windows closed when driving.
- Pets—if you cannot or will not leave them outdoors, at least make your bedroom off limits..
- Saline spray to wash away pollen from your nasal passages.
- Take a shower and shampoo after being outside to keep allergens from spreading to clothes, furniture, etc. Put your clothes into the wash, too. The steam will help clear your nasal passages.
- Wash mattress pads often in hot water.
- Wear sunglasses to keep pollen out of your eyes.
- Acupressure (https://health.clevelandclinic.org/2015/04/try-this-easy-6-minute-acupressure-exercise-for-allergy-relief-video/)
- Chinese Medicine – https://www.pacificcollege.edu/news/blog/2014/09/01/chinese-herbs-spring-allergies
- Earthing – https://www.earthinginstitute.net/allergies-2/
- Facial massage – https://www.zeel.com/blog/lifestyle/massage-for-allergies/ for symptom relief
- Homeopathy (https://yogainternational.com/article/view/6-homeopathic-remedies-for-seasonal-allergies)
- Hydrotherapy – https://www.coloncleansetoronto.ca/blog/general-category/colon-hydrotherapy-for-asthma-allergies-gerd-acid-reflux/
The severest form of allergic reaction is Anaphylaxis, which can impair breathing and cause shock. This is potentially life-threatening and will require a doctor’s care .
- Avoid triggers.
- Promote a strong immune system with a wholesome diet.
- Regular exercise
- See entries under “Other things you can do.”
- Use natural household products rather than chemicals.
- Wash your hands regularly with soap and water.