Allergies? Itchy eyes, scratchy throat, sneezing, coughing, headaches, and most disturbing, the runny nose and congestion that make up the symptoms of allergic rhinitis.
According to the CBC, more than one in six Canadians suffer from seasonal allergic rhinitis and most will rely on some form of antihistamine to control their symptoms. While antihistamines can control allergy symptoms in most cases, there are effective and more natural approaches available. And while treating symptoms is one approach, what about working on the cause of the problem … an over aggressive and confused immune system.
Allergy symptoms result from an immune system that has gone astray. Particularly, a part of the immune system that produces antibodies, called the humoral immune system, starts to produce large amounts of antibodies against the environmental invader … pollen! The problem here lies in that pollen is actually not dangerous at all, however your immune system, at some point during your life just got confused into thinking it was and can’t stop trying to kill the pollen, year after year after year!
Clinically, I have successfully eliminated may peoples allergies and I can confidently say that the actual answer to reversing allergic rhinitis for most people lies in their intestines. The intestinal lining houses the majority of our immune system. Manipulating the immune system to become less confused, in-part involves, manipulating the intestinal bacterial inhabitants of the intestine, known as our microbata. Strain specific probiotics, that are supposed to make up the majority of our intestinal flora, are one of the key areas to start with in treating allergic rhinitis (1,2,3,4). Along with the elimination of individual food allergies and foods that are known to increase allergic symptoms in some pollen allergy sufferers, most peoples allergy symptoms just go away, forever!
Although, specific and specialized testing is used in our office to determine an individuals food allergies, many pollen allergy suffers are also advised to avoid cross-reactive foods, depending on the type of pollen allergy they suffer from. There are many potential combinations of cross-reactive foods that might be triggering or worsening your allergy symptoms, and the best way to determine which ones are affecting you is actually through avoiding all of the know cross-reactive foods connected to your known pollen allergy.
Common Cross-reactant Foods Associated With Birch, Ragweed, Grass And Mugwort Pollens (5)
|Pollen Allergy||Known Potential Cross-reactant Food|
|Birch||Fruits: apple, apricot, cherry, kiwi, nectarine, peach, pear, plum, pruneVegetables:anise, beans, caraway, carrot, celery, coriander, cumin, dill, fennel, green pepper, lentils, parsley, parsnips, peanut, peas, potato, tomatoNuts: almond, hazelnut, walnut
|Grass||Fruits:kiwi, melon, orange, tomato, watermelon|
|Mugwort||Fruits: apple, melon, watermelonVegetables: carrot, celery|
|Ragweed||Fruits: banana, cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelonVegetables: cucumber, zucchini|
I also advise my allergic rhinitis clients to use a nasal lavage or neti pot, to keep the pollens from sitting on the surfaces of the nasopharynx for to long. Regular nasal lavage has been well established in treating allergic rhinitis and is very inexpensive for people to practice.
After we begin to establish a healthy intestinal environment, using probiotics and avoiding specific foods that may be contributing to allergic rhinitis symptoms, in my clients, I might suggest one of the following herbal remedies, as a natural antihistamine to help control symptoms, while the immune system is becoming more tolerant to the vast environment around it!