HOLISTIC HEALTH - May 2019
Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis (Hay Fever) and What You Can Do!
by Nancy Russell, M.D
As the seasons change, especially from winter to spring and summer to fall, allergic rhinitis or hay fever can plague many of us. Symptoms include sneezing, stuffed, runny nose, red, itchy eyes, headaches and feeling tired and out of sorts. Medical scientists don’t know why humans have allergies. Your immune system has mistaken pollen from grasses, trees or weeds for a foreign invader and revved up its defenses, triggering these symptoms. Mold, animal dander, microscopic dust mites and dust itself can also cause airborne allergies. Hay fever affects about one in five Americans. Chronic inflammation and nutritional deficiencies can cause allergies to be worse.
Chronic inflammation is caused by the standard American diet (SAD) with processed foods, bad fats and too much sugar and white flour and refined carbs. The first way to start decreasing inflammation in the body is to eat mostly fresh, whole foods, grass-fed and free range meats, cage free eggs, nuts and seeds, omega-3 rich fishes, plenty of vegetables, fruits instead of processed sweets and substitute olive, avocado or grape seed oil for vegetable oils.
Assess for nutritional deficiencies as vitamin D, vitamin C and magnesium deficiency can cause allergies to be worse. When going outside for an extended period of time, such as yard work, when allergens are high, wear a mask to minimize your exposure. Also consider a nasal irrigation when you come in from outside. Nasal irrigation is performed with warm, distilled water with salt and baking powder using a neti pot, a NeilMed or Nasopure device. Nasal irrigation can wash out allergens and pollutants and lessen symptoms of allergy.
There are many different natural approaches to allergy relief. MSM, methylsulfonylmethane is a supplement which calms inflammation, improves circulation, relaxes muscles and eases pain can help decrease allergy symptoms after about 4 weeks of regular use. Studies with MSM supplementation revealed less stuffy and runny nose and fewer sneezes. The dosage is 3000mg to 6000mg per day. Start taking it prior to allergy season for best results. It may also help with joint complaints.
Vitamin C, 500 to 1000 mg daily and Vitamin D, 1000 IU’s to 5000 IU’s strengthens the immune system and helps weaken the symptoms of hay fever. Magnesium 200 mg daily has anti-histamine action resulting in less stuffy and runny noses, fewer sneezes and eyes that were less teary. A combination product called Natural D-Hist by Orthomolecular contains quercetin, stinging nettles, bromelain and N-acetyl L-cysteine and has been shown to be very effective in treating the symptoms of allergic rhinitis.
Homeopathic remedies for allergic rhinitis are found in the form of nasal sprays and under the tongue tablets. Homeopathy uses super diluted compounds that in their undiluted form cause the symptoms they are intended to treat. Think of homeopathic medicine as a kind of vaccine, where a small amount of a disease-causing agent activates the body’s ability to prevent the disease.
The top five essential oils for allergies and allergic rhinitis include peppermint oil, basil oil, eucalyptus oil, lemon oil, and tea tree oil.
Peppermint oil can quickly unclog sinuses and offer relief to scratchy throats. It also acts as an expectorant to help discharge phlegm and reduce inflammation. A good method to use peppermint oil is five drops in a diffuser and inhale the vapors.
Basil oil reduces the inflammatory response to allergens and supports the adrenal glands.
Eucalyptus oil opens the lungs and sinuses, thereby improving circulation, acting as an expectorant and reducing symptoms of allergy.
Lemon oil supports lymphatic drainage, kills bacteria and can eliminate allergy triggers in the air when diffused.
Tea tree oil is also antibacterial and can eliminate allergens in the air.
A combination remedy with lemon and tea tree oil is to add 40 drops of lemon oil and 20 drops of tea tree oil to a 16 ounce spray bottle. Fill the bottle with pure water and a teaspoon of white vinegar and spray the mixture throughout the home to eliminate allergy triggers and cleanse the air and furniture.
Blending the best of both worlds for treatment of allergic rhinitis in effect means, if your usual OTC anti-histamines such as Claritin, Allegra or Xyzal aren’t working for you, it is easy to add on nasal irrigation, herbal remedies or essential oils to feel better. Ask your doctor if you have any chronic health problems or are on prescription medications to be sure you can add these natural remedies to your treatment regime.
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Nancy Russell, M.D. has been a holistic Internal Medicine physician in the Kansas City northland for over 30 years at 5140 N. Antioch Road in Kansas City, MO.
Her phone number is 816-453-5545 and website is www.nancyrussellmd.com where you can get more information. Dr. Russell is board certified in holistic medicine and is a member of the American Holistic Medical Association and a prior board member.