Spring is in the air, and if that has you wheezing and sneezing, this one’s for you. Before you pump yourself full of anti-histamines and countless other meds, consider this: You might be allergic to grass, mold, pollen, dust, or dander, but the reason you’re miserable is due to the level of histamines your body releases when you come in contact with said allergen. Your body is perceiving the allergen is a threat, and that triggers an overactive immune response.
Let’s say you’re allergic to pollen. When you go outside and the trees are mercilessly spraying yellow dust all over you, there is an immune and inflammatory response, and the released histamines inside your body cause increased mucus production to help coat and get rid of the allergen. That’s why you have a stuffy or runny nose and watery eyes.
In holistic medicine, we look at the underlying cause rather than treating the symptoms with medication. So we want to uncover what’s causing your seasonal allergy symptoms. The body has a total load threshold for toxins/allergens/chemicals, and when it is exceeded, you start to experience allergy symptoms. Your liver and other detox organs can only neutralize and filter so much. So if you have an overworked liver from a poor diet, too much alcohol, medications, toxins from urban living, pollution, cleaning products, or cosmetics, you are more likely to have allergies and other unpleasant symptoms. Taking allergy meds will get rid of your symptoms but ultimately adds to your total toxic threshold because your liver must then process the extra meds.
Faulty digestion and leaky gut can worsen allergies too.
Natural Solutions for Seasonal Allergies
For Immediate Relief:
- Try a supplement with nettles and quercetin to support immune balance. I recommend HistaEze.
- Nettles are great to quench allergies. Include 3 cups of nettles tea daily. I make nettles sun tea with nettles from the bulk bins, or you can find it bagged.
- Turmeric milk can work wonders as a blood cleanser. Put a teaspoon in some warmed coconut milk with local honey, which can also introduce small amounts of pollen to your immune system to calm down the over-reaction. Here is my recipe for golden turmeric milk.
- Essential oils work wonders! Try swiping lavender essential oil on the inside of your cheek to relive acute symptoms. Use 1-3 drops of thieves oil daily to boost immune function, and put a few drops of lemon essential oil in your water to help your body detox. Inhaling peppermint works, too. Diffusing lemon, lavender, and peppermint helps ease congestion. NOTE: you can only use therapeutic grade essential oils internally! I only recommend Young Living essential oils. Click here to order.
- Try a neti pot to cleanse the nasal passages.
Long Term Solutions:
- Do a liver cleanse twice yearly to detox and help your liver with the histamine load. My program also provides you with information about how to determine your food allergies, and that will help heal leaky gut and calm and overactive immune system.
- Cut the junk from your diet: sugar, coffee, booze. Replace with anti-inflammatory whole foods, focusing on plenty of leafy greens and omega 3 fats. Gluten & dairy free works best. Gluten (the protein in wheat) causes inflammation, and dairy promotes dampness in the body, making stuffiness, runny nose, etc, worse.
- Take extra vitamin C. It helps with the histamine load.
- B vitamins may help too.
- Uncover your food allergies & avoid those foods to reduce inflammation and lighten your total load. A low histamine diet may help too.
- Correct adrenal fatigue.
- Increase essential fatty acids, mainly omega 3s, from cold water fish or krill oil, walnuts, leafy greens, chia seeds.
- Consumption of probiotics can alter the immune system’s response to common causes of allergies. Read all about probiotics here.
Mary Vance is a Certified Nutrition Consultant and author specializing in digestive health. She combines a science-based approach with natural therapies to rebalance the body. In addition to her 1:1 coaching, she offers courses to help you heal your gut and improve your health. Mary lives in San Francisco and Lake Tahoe in Northern California. Read more about her coaching practice here and her background here.