People are often complaining about seasonal allergies. Many people seem to think that pollen is the cause of seasonal allergies and fail to realize that underlying their reaction to pollen is a dysfunctional immune system. Of course, there is also something causing the immune system dysfunction. Illness tends to be multifaceted and a wide variety of strategies can be applied to resolve anyone issue.
Often times people ask me what they can take for allergies. This is an excellent question. It also blows my mind a little.
The simple answer it to take something like CounterAct Allergy, an over-the-counter loratadine antihistamine. However, when people ask me this question they are usually wanting an alternative to the mainstream drugstore solutions.
This is where my mind gets blown. I am trained in a classical, constitutional approach to herbal medicine. To “treat” allergies I would need to know more about the person to find out what is contributing to the problem. My goal would be to eliminate the issue, not just treat the symptoms of the allergy.
Yet, when someone stops me on the street with an allergy question, they are expecting a one word answer, not a half-hour of questions. Luckily, herbal medicine has several anti-histamines. The best one is ambrosia. However, I rarely recommend this one, because while the plant is ubiquitous, the one place you won’t find it is at the store. In addition, I have found the indications to be quite specific to allergies characterized by copious fluids. With watery eyes and runny nose it can dry things up within 5 minutes. However, to find out the characteristics of the person’s allergies would require questions and, well, here we are trying to avoid getting into a long health discussion.
The herb I most recommend is nettles (Urtica dioica). It is a general anti-histamine and is great for the itchy part of allergies. Since I use ambrosia when things are runny, I cannot say if it is as effective for that. The preparation you use needs to be fresh freeze-dried capsules, fresh juice, or fresh plant tincture. I recommend about 3-6 capsules, or 1 to 3 dropperfuls tincture for acute symptoms. You should notice results in about 15 to 30 minutes. If not, then take some more. You may have to repeat every hour or so to keep the symptoms at bay.
Now lets talk about cost. One 24-hour allergy tablet is going to run about 35 cents ($10.39 for 30 tablets). If nettles is your only treatment, you could end up using four tablets every hour initially. That would be 48 tablets a day. Cost? About $6.70 ($13.39 for 90 capsules on Amazon). I know people that used more than 1000 tablets during their first season. That would be close to $150. Quite a bit more than the $20 that the CounterAct Allergy would cost. However, since herbs actually support change in the body, it is not unusual to find that they people use less herbs the next season. Indeed, if you start with a wholistic approach right away, not only will the allergies improve, you will reduce you chances of developing cancer, heart disease, arthritis, and more. Nettles costs more, but is priceless, even as a stand alone treatment.
Now, many times people confuse a low grade chronic sinusitis for allergies, or perhaps they have a chronic nasal infection and allergies with it. The strategy for this is going to be different. Nasal washes with anemopsis and peppermint are useful. To stimulate the immune system to clear the infection, baptisia is the herb of choice. The treatment plan in these cases need to be more specific. Tissue healing and elimination of pathogens are critical
Stress is actually a major underlying contributor to allergies. Many people’s bodies switch from Th1 mediated immune responses to Th2 when they are under chronic stress. Th1 simply refers to T helper cells that activate macrophages and a cell mediated response when a problem occurs in the body. This is the response we want happening to avoid allergies and encourage the immune system to kill any cancerous cells. In contrast, Th2 refers to the immune response where T helper cells activate the B cells that make antibodies. This is great if you are attacked by a virus, but Th2 response is really bad to do long term. A hyperactive antibody system (Th2) can contribute to allergies and auto-immune diseases.
The strategy for supporting the elimination of allergies would be to reduce stress in order to get a more appropriate immune response. Stress to the body can manifest as worry, heavy metal and toxin exposure, PTSD, and over exercise. Sources of stress need to be eliminated and the ability to relax and restore cultivated. There are lots of ways to reduce body stressors:
- Indoor air quality can be improved by switching to green cleaning products
- Heavy metals can be removed from the body using fiber, pectins and cilantro
- Mindfulness based practices can create greater internal ease
- Counseling, ThetaHealing® and Access Bars® can reduce/eliminate PTSD and other stress triggers
- Adequate nutritional supplements, ideally with Oligo® technology to ensure absorption, will support the body’s natural healing ability
- Eleutherococcus (Siberian ginseng) is something I take everyday to help reset my stress reaction. I consider it a must in today’s hyper society or if you suffer from PTSD.
- Follow exercise with full body relaxation.
For ThetaHealers or people trained in changing beliefs: Check for the belief, “I am offended by the allergen’s name here.” Many people gain instantaneous relief once the belief is removed. Note, sometimes people affirm their negative relationship to allergen by stating something like, “I hate pollen.” Eliminating such negative affirmations can be helpful, but better yet, ask the following questions:
- Hey body, what could we be doing if we weren’t doing this allergy thing?
- What would it take to change this?
- What am I allergic to?
- How does this allergy serve me?
- What am I offended by?
- Can I change this?
- Can I change this now?
- What would it take for me to be free of allergies?
- What energy, space and consciousness are me and body capable of being allergy free?
- Is this allergy mine?
Here are the products I personally use and recommend. I take two capsules of the Siberian Sport everyday along with Peak Performance – a clinically tested multi-mineral, multi-vitamin, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, probiotic supplement pack.