Ah yes, it is here at last. And with a vengeance. Just when you think it might not happen, here it is. I’ve heard lots of sneezing, sniffing, and “Dr. Levy, I think I have a cold” in my office over the past two weeks, which always tells me it’s here. And we will be offering 10% off all allergy products for the month of May. May the sneezes be gone!!
1. Neti pot or Saline rinsing. Rinse out those sinuses and nasal passages! Clean out the pollen and other allergens to reduce irritation to the mucus membranes. Be sure to use salt or saline solution in the water, to avoid irritating the membranes.
2. Herbs. Nettles have a long history of use for allergies, especially as a tea or encapsulation. Nettles have been shown to act by reducing inflammation, and ease symptoms of sneezing, itching, and congestion. Butterbur, or Petasites, is another herb that has been used for allergies. In one study Butterbur was as effective as the pharmaceutical Allegra in reducing allergy symptoms.
3. Essential oils. Oils such as eucalyptus, thyme, and peppermind help open and decongest the sinus passages. This is very helpful for reducing the most common secondary effect of allergies, sinus infections. Essential oils are best used in a steam — putting 3-5 drops of oil in a bowl with boiled water and breathing in the vapors. A few drops can also be put on a cotton ball or cloth and passed under the nose several times a day, for an instant opening effect.
4. Rose Hips, Quercetin, and other Bio-Flavanoids. Bio-flavanoids support the stability of the mast cells, which are the cells responsible for the release of histamine. When the mast cells are stabilized, histamine is not released, thus preventing allergy symptoms from even starting. In our office we carry Rose Hips as a solid extract (like a syrup) in tea, and quercetin in both powder and capsules. Vitamin C works together with these bioflavanoids to support their action.
5. Homeopathy. There are a number of homeopathic remedies that are well indicated for allergic symptoms. Some remedies commonly chosen for allergies include the following: Allium cepa, Arsenicum album, Euphrasia, and Histaminum. Homeopathic remedies are safe for children and do not interact with the effects of any supplements, herbs, or pharmaceuticals that you may be taking. We are particularly fond of combination formulas that cover a variety of symptoms. We also have products that, like allergy desensitization shots or drops, contain homeopathic levels of the pollen and grasses most common to this area. Dr. Drouin also does a technique called NAET, which is a very effective treatment for allergies.
6. Detox. Yes, I know it seem we’re always talking about detox around here, but detoxification of the body really helps reduce allergy symptoms! By reducing the overall burden of stressors on the system, people find they are able to handle seasonal allergies much better. Of course, this works best when done BEFORE allergy season starts, so this may be one to tuck away for next year.
We have several wonderful formulas for allergies, combining several of the ingredients discussed above, for both children and adults. Contact your doctor to determine if any of these formulas might help you during this allergy season.