Beat Spring Allergies

Spring is a time for buds bursting forth and excitement that the long winter is ending. It's also a time for a great amount of pollen in the air as all of the trees begin to try to reproduce. Simple natural therapies can assist you in decreasing your allergy symptoms.

Eat whole foods and drink lots of water.

Sugar and processed foods destabilize fragile cells and make the histamine reaction worse when one is exposed to an allergen.

Being dehydrated worsens the reaction. As the weather warms, it's easy to forget that we need more fluids. Most of us are more active in the spring and summer, spending time out doors to enjoy the warmer temperatures or to clean up our gardens. Not only are we then exposed to more pollens, dust and wind, but we are also utilizing more water in our bodies from the increased activity. When your body and all of your cells are dehydrated, they are more fragile and more prone to mast cell degranulation — the allergy symptoms rear their heads. Be sure to have a water bottle handy when you are outdoors and have plenty to drink all day. Adding some lemon can make it taste better and also keep your liver happy as it tries to detoxify everything you are exposed to.

An air filter in your home may also help to rid your immediate surroundings of pollen and any other allergens. A filter labeled "HEPA" is usually most effective.

Natural therapies that work!

Nettles — a plant that grows prolifically in the wild, particularly in the northwest, is a great herb for allergy symptoms. You can find nettles and make a tea or use dried herb capsules if that is easier for you. They both work. Some will do a combination — making a tea when they have time and want to also increase the fluid intake, and then the capsules when they are busier and need more immediate relief.

Vitamin C — helps to stabilize mast cells so that the release of histamines is decreased. I love the "EmergenC" packets found in health food stores and at Trader Joe's. Each packet contains 1000mg of Vitamin C and also some B vitamins and minerals. When added to water they make a tasty fizzing drink. Taking 2-4 of those/day dramatically decreases allergy symptoms. The only downside to lots of Vitamin C is possible loose stools, so if this occurs, just decrease the dose. Using capsules or chewable Vitamin C also works well.

Quercetin — is a bioflavonoid extracted from plants. It has the same effect on mast cells that Vitamin C does. I often use the two in combination to help with allergy symptoms. The bottle in the health food store may just be labeled "Bioflavonoids." This is also acceptable. Read on the back to see how much Quercetin it contains. I usually use 200-300 mg, taken 3-4 times/day.

If your spring allergies persist, you may want to make an appointment for a more specialized treatment plan to assist you in combating symptoms.

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