If you’ve been living with seasonal allergies for years, you’ve
probably resigned yourself to sniffling and sneezing your way through spring,
but do you understand why your allergies are so bad at this time of year and
why you can’t seem to shake them?
Not to worry because your friendly ANC Naturopath is here to help! As a naturopath, we aim to try and understand and treat the underlying cause of allergic reactions within the body and support the body’s inherent natural healing process. The main approaches used include nutrition, herbal medicine and lifestyle modification.
So here at ANC, we have developed the top five tips for fighting your seasonal allergies this spring!
1. Nutritional Support for Allergy Relief
- Vitamin C contributes to immune defence by supporting the various cellular functions of both the innate and adaptive immune systems
- Zinc is found in many cells throughout the body. It helps the immune system fight off invading bacteria and viruses. Zinc is also crucial for the development and function of cells mediating innate immunity this includes both neutrophils and natural killer cells. Macrophages are also affected by zinc deficiency.
- Quercetin is naturally abundant in onions, shallots and citrus fruits, it is a natural antioxidant with several anti-allergy properties including inhibition of histamine release and decrease of pro-inflammatory messengers.
2. Foods to avoid this allergy season
Food's high in histamine are the main culprits that should be avoided this allergy season. This includes foods such as;
- Alcohol / fermented beverages
- Fermented foods and dairy products i.e yoghurt, aged cheese and sauerkraut
- Dried fruits
- Smoked Meats
3. Herbal Medicine for Immune Support
Several herbs have been shown to help support immune system function, they act as natural anti-histamines, lower inflammation and modulate overactive immune responses.
- Echinacea root (Echinacea spp.) is well known for its role in preventing seasonal allergy symptoms, beyond just reducing symptoms it is best employed as an immune-modulator, reducing the induction of pro and anti-inflammatory cytokines.
- Andrographis (Andrographis paniculata) has been traditionally used to relieve mild fever and relieve mild upper respiratory infections as well as reduce the severity, duration and symptoms associated with the common cold.
- quanAlbizia (Albizia lebbeck) is a traditional Ayurvedic herb that is ideal for allergic conditions due to its affinity for the upper respiratory tract. Albizia is known to alleviate symptoms by suppressing cytokine and histamine signalling.
Our Echinacea 2000 Plus Andrographis would be a perfect fit this allergy season!
4. Lifestyle Treatments
- Neti Pot - A neti pot or other nasal sprays are a good option to flush the nasal passage, where dirt and pollen are easily trapped. Flushing the nasal passages can reduce symptoms (i.e coughing, sneezing, water eyes), though it is important not to flush in excess, as this can wash away the healthy flora in the nasal cavity. With a neti pot, make sure you always use distilled water, not tap water.
- Aromatherapy - For the steam method, you’ll need a bowl of hot water and a towel. Place the bowl on the table and add a few drops of essential oil into the hot water. The best oils to use include; lavender, tea tree, eucalyptus and peppermint oil. Place a towel over your head and the bowl. Close your eyes and inhale the steam deeply for several minutes.
5. Environmental Exposure
We still want you to continue to enjoy the outdoors
- Limit your pollen exposure by checking the weather, there will be local information provided on pollen levels. If the pollen count is high on that particular day then avoid outdoor activity. A pollen count is most commonly high at noon or the afternoon.
- Pollution can affect outdoor activity as chemical pollutants can interact with pollen grains.
- Consider wearing a mask when exercising outdoors.
- Upon returning indoors, take a shower and wash all outdoor clothes to reduce continued exposure.
Childs, C., Calder, P., & Miles, E. (2019). Diet and Immune Function, 11(8), 1933-1996.
Choi, S., & Park, K. (2016). Effect of Inhalation of Aromatherapy Oil on Patients with Perennial Allergic Rhinitis: A Randomized Controlled Trial. DOI:10.1155/2016/7896081
Guo, R. (2007). Herbal medicines for the treatment of allergic rhinitis: a systematic review.
Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK74697/
O’Mahony, L., Akdis, M., & Cezmi, A. (2011). Regulation of the immune response and inflammation by histamine and histamine receptors, 128(6), 1153-1162.
Takano, H., & Inoue, K. (2017).Environmental pollution and allergies, 30(3), 193-199.