Spring is an exciting time; the days get longer, and the weather gets warmer. Though, for some people, this excitement gets intercepted by seasonal pollen. Fortunately, naturopathic doctors can help with allergies, letting you enjoy a sneeze-free summer. Before going into detail about ways we can help, let’s take a look at what causes allergies and why some people’s bodies react negatively.
What Causes Allergies?
When trees and grasses begin to pollinate and release allergens, some people’s immune systems respond by producing antibodies that attach to the allergens. This results in the formation of immune cells, called mast cells, which release histamines. Histamines inflame and irritate the mucus membrane linings of the eyes, throat, nose, and respiratory tract. Typically, those who suffer from allergies experience sneezing, running nose, headaches, itchy/watery eyes, or throat irritation as a result. In some cases, severe allergies can result in wheezing, coughing, loss of appetite, mood disturbance, and sleep disturbance.
A naturopathic doctor can help with allergies by reducing symptoms and helping prevent the reaction from starting in the first place. A preventative approach to seasonal allergies can begin weeks or months ahead of the allergy season. For a more rapid solution, there are a variety of nutritional and herbal strategies available as well.
How Naturopathy Can Help
Depending on the patient’s unique needs, our approach may include the following:
- Herbal medicine
- Therapeutic nutritional supplementation
- Lifestyle and dietary modifications
A naturopathic doctor usually begins by asking about your diet and digestive system. The body’s microbiome plays an essential role in balancing immune function. Probiotic supplements and fermented and cultured foods can help create a stronger microbiome, calming the body’s immune system response to allergens.
Herbs & Nutrition
If you need a short-term solution to your allergy symptoms, several herbs act as a natural antihistamine. Thankfully they don’t come with the side effects often associated with prescription and over-the-counter medicine.
- Stinging Nettles: This herb acts as an anti-inflammatory, reducing symptoms such as running nose, itchy eyes, and sneezing.
- Butterbur: This herb, taken in pill form or as an oil extract, can help treat nasal allergies. A study found that people who took butterbur tablets for a week had smaller amounts of histamines in their bodies.
- Omega 3 Fatty Acids: Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) found in fish oil are known for their anti-inflammatory properties.
- Yarrow: This herb is an effective natural antihistamine.
- Quercetin: This antioxidant occurs naturally in citrus fruits, shallots, capers, broccoli, and onions. It has several anti-allergy properties, such as inhibiting histamine release, decreasing pro-inflammatory compounds, and regulating the immune system.
- N-Acetyl-Cysteine (NAC): This amino acid supplement helps thin mucus, making it easier to clear up congestion.
Acupuncture may help those who suffer from seasonal allergies. A large multi-center study at the University Medical Center in Berlin found that acupuncture could effectively treat seasonal allergies. Participants in the study reported greater allergy relief from acupuncture than those who took antihistamines! Another common method for allergy relief is using a nasal spray or Neti Pot to help clear out the nasal passage where pollen can become easily trapped. While flushing out the nasal passage can help reduce allergy symptoms, it should not be done excessively. You don’t want to wash away the nasal cavity’s healthy flora.
When it comes to naturally preventing and treating seasonal allergies, there are many effective remedies. At Moonstone Naturopathic, we can create an individualized plan to help reduce your symptoms of seasonal allergies. Since natural treatments can take some time to build up, patients may find that it helps to take over-the-counter medication for a short time while the natural remedies take full effect. If you’d like to learn more about how naturopathic doctors can help with allergies, you can contact Dr. Brandy McGill for an appointment directly on our website.
* The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your health provider