Contributed by: Michael Guida
LMT (#19016), BPS, Certified Amma Therapist, Diplomate Asian Bodywork Therapy (NCCAOM), Certified Wholistic Nutritionist, Certified Triathlon Coach
This year in my practice, I have seen a very long and persistent allergy season for both my Portland and my New York patients. Typically, allergy symptoms are limited to sneezing, runny nose, itchy throat, and itchy red eyes. However, this year I’ve seen the list expand to include less typical symptoms such as headaches, muzzy thinking, low energy, body aches and congested ears. Because of this it’s been more difficult to clearly identify seasonal allergies as the issue for my patients, who have been experiencing more of the less typical symptoms. It also seems like my patients have been having challenges managing their allergies effectively with their traditional approaches. With that in mind, I wanted to write this article to share my list of favorite natural remedies in the hopes they might prove helpful!
- Cleanse the Liver: Because an allergic reaction triggers a histamine response, which creates all of the allergy symptoms listed above, being able to get those histamines out of the body is key to reducing/eliminating your individual symptoms. Your liver is the main organ that filters histamines out of the body so anything you do that is kind to your liver will also help with allergies. Here are some of my favorite liver friends: variety of cooked dark green leafy vegetables daily, wheatgrass juice (1-4 oz per day), reducing/eliminating any artificial foods and artificial sweeteners, limiting alcohol (especially beer), proper water intake, nettles tea, and Antronex, which is a supplement I dedicated a previous blog post to that you can read HERE.
- Keep the irritant away: If you can keep the pollen off of your clothes, skin, and mucous membranes you can help stave off your body reacting to them. Here are some tips on how to do that. If you are outside or playing in your garden, you can wear a mask or moist bandana. When you come inside consider changing your clothing, and rinsing off in the shower. You may be surprised at how well simply rinsing your face with cool water helps to not only prevent an allergy attack, but helping to quell it once it starts. Another suggestion is to use a neti pot to clean the sinuses and flush out any pollens. You might neti 1-3 times a day during allergy season, and though typically done with salt water, alternating with regular water can still be very helpful in keeping the pollens away.
- Foods to avoid: These foods tend to contribute to the histamine response in a negative way causing more watery eyes, scratchy throat, sneezing and runny nose. So it is best to reduce and/or eliminate them. Milk & cheese, excessive refined sugars, wheat, orange juice, and concentrated tomato products. Some of these may be hard to eliminate, but it might be a good experiment to try. Eliminate these foods for a week or so to determine for yourself if food is contributing you’re your allergies.
- Stabilize those mast cells: Mast cells are similar to but not the same as white blood cells, which are responsible for generating histamine. In some people these mast cells are more sensitive to pollen than other people. That is part of the reason why some people suffer greatly and others not at all. When we stabilize the mast cells they are not as reactive to the irritants (pollen in the case of seasonal allergies). Quercetin is a supplement that works well in this regard. Often used when someone is experiencing allergies (400-500mg twice a day) it may work better if someone starts taking it leading into allergy season as a preventative (300-400mg twice a day). So if you are suffering this year, plan ahead for next year to start taking before allergy season hits. Rich sources of quercetin are: Capers, onions, apples & pears with skin, green & black tea, citrus fruits, berries, Ginkgo, Eyebright, Stinging Nettles. In addition the supplement Antronex (mentioned above) works well to stabilize the mast cells in addition to helping the Liver filter histamines.
This is by no means a complete list of things you can do, but in my practice, these are the things that seem to help the most.
If you would like more information about any of the above recommendations, please feel free to contact Michael directly at Michael@thewellspring.org. Amma Therapy Student Clinic is also a great way to get some additional assistance with allergies or anything else that ails you. Click HERE to book a $35 treatment at one of our Wednesday student clinics!