Seasonal Allergies Symptoms and Relief

Learn how to treat seasonal allergies with traditional Chinese medicine, natural remedies and treatments in the run-up to Allergy Awareness Week.

Seasonal Allergies

In the countdown to Allergy Awareness Week 23rd – 29th April 2018 we are looking at how to treat them with Traditional Chinese Medicine. It’s currently the height of seasonal allergies and now is the time to combat your symptoms.

Most of the time we learn to live with our allergies – bet you’ve heard people say ‘Oh, it’s just an allergy’. In Chinese medicine, however, every system of the body is interconnected. Allergic flare-ups indicate an inflammatory imbalance somewhere that needs to be addressed.

Chinese medicine puts a lot of weight on prevention. It works to minimise symptoms of seasonal allergies by knowing the body and its sensitivities. It strengthens and re-programs the immune system to be able to respond to any challenges. The best place to start is knowing the signs of allergies.

What Causes Allergies?

Normally, the immune system stands guard and defends your body against intruders that can be dangerous to your health, such as viruses and bacteria. Allergies are the result of the immune system’s mistaken response to a harmless substance.

In some people, however, the immune system has difficulty distinguishing between the harmless and pathogenic substances. A hyper-active immune system pulls out all the stops for substances that won’t do you any actual harm.

These innocuous substances are called allergens. This can include dust, pollen, and animal dander (fur, hair and/or feathers). When people who have allergies encounter an allergen, their immune system produces antibodies. These are called IgE antibodies, which are specific to that substance.

The Immune system is affected by many factors that contribute to its performance. Some of these are stress, nutritional sensitivities and hormonal changes. Relying on conventional allergy suppressors can simply mask the problem and ignore more serious underlying immune and inflammation issues.

During springtime the body changes the way it works giving emphasis to the action of the liver that is greatly connected with allergies.

Stress can also make our response to allergens worse. When people are stressed their immune system is already compromised as well as their energy levels affecting their adrenals and overall health.

The reason for stress making matters worse is the stress hormone cortisol which makes hay fever symptoms worse for longer.

The body normally secretes the highest amount of cortisol in the early morning hours. This is also when pollen counts are generally higher.

Strengthening the immune system and addressing nutritional triggers that should be part of an allergy sufferer’s daily regime. By taking a proactive approach you can mitigate allergic reactions and improve your overall health in the process. Not something to be sniffed at.

Top Tips for Dealing with Seasonal Allergies

1. Adopt Adaptogens

Adaptogenic herbs will help to regulate cortisol ‘stress’ levels, ease allergy reactions and balance the body. Here’s a list to try.

Holy Basil
This cortisol-lowering herb is amazing for the immune system. When the immune system is strong, the body naturally reduces cortisol.

Green Tea
Works to lower cortisol and stress, because it’s extremely high in antioxidants. It also minimises the effects of environmental pollutants, inflammation and other forms of metabolic stress.

Rhodiola
Helps to balance out the body. It’s also great for improving attention span, mood and mental clarity.

Ginseng
Helps to strengthen the immune system and overcome exhaustion due to psychological and physical stresses.

2. Take A Natural Antihistamine

The over-production of histamine is the hallmark of allergies. Antihistamine herbs block the release of histamine. Butterbur (below) and quercetin are two herbal supplements that have antihistamine and anti-inflammatory properties.

Butterbur or Petasites Hybridus is a plant that is part of the daisy family. It is thought to be effective against different types of allergies.

Some preliminary studies have indicated that it may offer the same type of allergy relief as antihistamine medications. The active ingredient called petasin is thought to combat the histamines that lead to an allergic reaction.

Seasonal Allergies

3. Try Anti-Inflammatory Herbs

These herbs are often found in natural Chinese herbal remedies to relieve symptoms. They help to fight inflammation in infected tissues like the nasal passage.

Boswellia (Boswellia Serrata)
Another of the anti-inflammatory adaptogen herbs. Its active ingredients are referred to as boswellic acids.

The boswellic acids have an excellent anti-inflammatory action and are thought to work by stopping inflammatory white cells from entering damaged tissues.

Bromelain
This is a herbal remedy containing enzymes made from the juice and stem of the pineapple plant. This is one of the highly effective anti-inflammatory as it is known to reduce swelling in the mucous membranes.

It also helps with inflammation in the gut, nose and the respiratory system. Sufferers of spring allergies may find it very helpful in dealing with hay fever.

Olive Leaf Extract
An efficient anti-inflammatory that also helps aid the immune system, as well as being antiviral, anti-fungal and antibacterial. This makes it an all-round excellent herb to use if you have any illness where your pain is becoming difficult to cope with. It can help with problems associated with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue and may aid leaky gut syndrome.

Turmeric
An excellent healing herb and powerful anti-inflammatory. It can help many health issues including osteo-arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

It is an potent analgesic, anti-bacterial, antiviral, and creates a state of improved well-being. Take in capsule form, at least a month before any sign of allergy.

4. Breathe in a Natural Decongestant

Mint and eucalyptus are the big herbs in this category. They promote mucous production and help to clear the sinuses. Put a few drops of these oils in a bowl of hot water, lean over it and cover your head with a towel.

5. Try Probiotics To Alleviate Allergy Symptoms

Avoid ‘inflammatory food’ that will trigger a histamine response, making allergies worse. All foods subjected to microbial fermentation in the manufacturing process contain histamine. Examples include cheeses, fermented soy products, alcoholic beverages, and vinegars.

An effective way to control bacteria in the digestive system is to take probiotics (good bacteria, found in yoghurt). These have been documented to be effective in the treatment of allergic conditions. It is possible that probiotic bacteria affect the allergy-related histamine signaling in the gut.

6. Relieve Red Itchy Eyes

Commmon allergy symptoms are a runny nose and sneezing but also red itchy eyes. The most common allergens for watery eyes are airborne irritants like dust, pollen and pet dander. Traditional Chinese herbs can also be used to relieve this symptom.

Stinging Nettle
It combats inflammation and can also help with itchy, red eyes. Seek out stinging nettle leaf capsules or tea in health food stores.

Magnolia Flower
Often combined with other traditional herbs, magnolia can bring about temporary relief from nasal congestion, sneezing, itchiness, and watery eyes. Take a magnolia supplement by itself or in formulations with other herbs. It can be taken in tea or capsules available at health food stores, online, and from acupuncturists and Chinese herbalists.

Seasonal Allergies

7. Cleanse Your Body

Drink at least eight to 10 cups of pure alkaline water daily to support the natural cleansing systems in your body. Research even shows that staying well hydrated helps 38 percent of women relieve allergy symptoms.

8. Book A Professional Treatment

Auricular acupuncture is a very effective way to prevent and treat seasonal allergies. By stimulating specific ear acupuncture points for a period of time, the body responses to allergens will be reduced and manageable.

For more information, contact The John Tsagaris Clinic, Chelsea, London Tel: +44 203 489 9779.