Seasonal Allergies: addressing the root cause and support for acute cases
I am frequently asked how to alleviate seasonal allergy symptoms with perhaps one or two days of sneezing or itchy eyes. I previously suffered with non-stop allergy symptoms to the extent that I took OTC antihistamines daily for several years. My allergies got better over time using natural remedies and lifestyle changes I share below.
Determine The Cause
Addressing the root cause of seasonal allergies such as food sensitivities, a congested liver, a fungal infection or overactive mast-cells would be a top priority in reducing symptoms. The supplement recommendations below are for acute cases, while chronic cases may require further testing and protocols.
Dietary Changes for Allergy Prevention
First and foremost, diet is my foundation therapy to overcome allergies. Regularly eating foods high in vitamin C and quercetin can lessen symptoms, but what you eat can be just as important as what you DON’T eat.
During allergy season I found that avoiding dairy completely was the only way to entirely shut down any tendency towards inflamed sinuses and congested nasal passages. Wheat and sugar—cane, brown, or white—are inflammatory, so I tend to avoid them as much as possible, especially during allergy season. Sugar has a negative effect on the immune system and will only promote infections, which can exacerbate allergy symptoms (1).
Foods to Avoid
( especially if you’re constantly clearing your throat after removing dairy)
Foods to Eat (high in Vitamin C and quercetin)
Dark leafy greens
Papaya (also rich in inflammation-fighting enzymes)
Raw cultured vegetables (kimchi, saukraut, pickles etc)
Yellow bell peppers
Liver congestion may be to blame
In the year 2012 alone, a total 206 million pounds of toxic chemicals were released into the environment we eat, breathe, and live in (2). The liver is responsible for not only processing those environmental chemicals, but also our food, hormones, body products, medications, and supplements. The liver removes toxins through a three phase enzyme detoxification system called, biotransformation (3). This detox system allows us to process toxins by either neutralizing, transforming, or eliminating them. If we don’t receive the correct nutrients from our diet or supplements we can see how easy it would be for an overworked liver to become congested.
Bring Life back to Your Liver
Here are a few indicators of liver stagnation that mirror seasonal allergy symptoms: itchy nose, cough, frequent colds, wheezing, irritated eyes, sore throat, immune weakness, environmental sensitivity, sinus congestion, skin rashes, and runny nose. A congested liver can be supported through:
-emotional release work, especially anger
-bitter herbs (nettle, dandelion, burdock)
-hepa-protective supplements such as milk thistle.
Balance your inner ecosystem
Candida infections are caused by a group of microscopic fungi or yeast and with more than 20 different species there can be multiple infections occurring simultaneously. Candida Albicans, is a fungus that normally colonizes the mouth, gut, and birth canal (4). In the right places, and in minor communities, candida is not harmful, but if given the opportunity Candida can go rogue and quickly take over its environment if given the chance. Candida infections can be caused by:
-A toxic liver (5)
-A diet high in refined carbs and sugar
– An inflamed leaky gut (6)
-Excessive use of antibiotics, steroids, or antacids (7,8)
This type of infection encourages inflammation in the body generally in moist areas and that includes the sinus’ and nasal passages.
Diet and Herbs that keep Candida in Line
When Candida is causing your sinus and allergy symptoms a total body approach is best to bring your body’s inner eco system back in balance. Start by starving the yeast with a sugar-free diet, this includes all refined carbs, white sugar, and white potatoes. Focus on consuming cultured probiotic-rich vegetables daily such as raw kimchi or sauerkraut. Bone broth can drastically lower the heat on an inflamed gut. Why not drink a cup daily? Taking powerful herbs such as oil of oregano, pau’d arco, and wormwood strip away at candida’s protective matrix making it difficult for it to build up resistance.
Mast Cells — Allergy Symptom Promoters
Mast cells line nasal passages, sinuses, and the airways that secrete histamine in response to airborne allergens. Antihistamines are the most common OTC allergy medications, but they come with unwanted side effects. They can cause dry mouth, drowsiness, fatigue, restlessness, mental fog, and blurred vision. They are what I consider a band-aid approach that doesn’t correct the underlying problem but only addresses the symptoms.
Take a Mast Cell Stabilizer
One of the best ways to prevent allergy symptoms is to take a mast cell stabilizer when allergy symptoms first manifest, or even before they start. At the first signs of sneezing, take vitamin C 1000 mg, and repeat every 4 – 6 hours. To this, you can add quercetin 500 mg 2 – 3 times per day. This combination works great for quieting unruly mast cells.
If you have a runny nose with lots of sneezing, I find that nettle leaf can provide immediate relief with its antihistamine properties that lack the unpleasant side effects of OTC remedies. You can drink it as a tea from the dried leaves of the stinging nettle plant. As a supplement, take nettle leaf 500 mg 2-3 times daily.
Neti Pot using essential oils
Don’t forget the use of a neti pot or saline wash to simply wash out all the airborne allergens sticking to the insides of your nasal passages. I add a drop of rosemary essential oil to my netipot water along with ½ tsp Himalayan, Celtic, or Real salt.
When all else fails, pick up Airborne Allersode
Lastly, the one homeopathic I always keep on hand for all allergy symptoms is Airborne Allersode, a safe blend of homeopathic ingredients that mitigate hypersensitivity to the most common inhalant/airborne allergens from trees, flowers, grass and weeds, dusts, molds and animals. It can be used daily during allergy season, 15 drops twice per day. Hold the drops under the tongue for 30 seconds then swallow with water.
Addressing the root cause of allergy symptoms such as food sensitivities and candida is always the best first approach followed by using natural remedies to conquer acute cases. If problems persist or you need further guidance, don’t hesitate to make an appointment to see me.
Queen, Sam. “Toxic Footprints.” Health Realities Journal 19 (2003): 1-8. Print
Wächtler, B., Citiulo, F., Jablonowski, N., Förster, S., Dalle, F., Schaller, M., … & Hube, B. (2012). Candida albicans-epithelial interactions: dissecting the roles of active penetration, induced endocytosis and host factors on the infection process. PloS one, 7(5), e36952.
Ou, T. M., Huang, H. H., Hsieh, T. Y., Chang, W. K., Chu, H. C., Hsu, C. H., … & Lin, H. H. (2014). Liver cirrhosis as a predisposing factor for esophageal candidiasis. Advances in Digestive Medicine, 1(3), 86-91.
Kumamoto, C. A. (2011). Inflammation and gastrointestinal Candida colonization. Current opinion in microbiology, 14(4), 386-391.
Eggimann, P., Garbino, J., & Pittet, D. (2003). Epidemiology of Candida species infections in critically ill non-immunosuppressed patients. The Lancet infectious diseases, 3(11), 685-702.
Peters, B. M., Yano, J., Noverr, M. C., & Fidel Jr, P. L. (2014). Candida vaginitis: when opportunism knocks, the host responds.PLoS pathogens, 10(4), e1003965.