Hold the pollen please: Tips to support your allergies naturally!

This allergy sea­son has come really quickly in Southern Ontario — from cold to beau­ti­ful sum­mer-like tem­per­at­ures in a 2 week peri­od. What does that mean for allergy suf­fer­ers? A ton of tree pol­len and flower pol­len — and fast! Many of your your poor bod­ies (mine included) have been shocked with the rap­id trans­ition, and I know they are going to need much TLC — stat!

Step 1: Decongest your sinuses

Your sinuses are plugged and it’s hard to hear/​blow your nose or it’s impossible to stop blow­ing your nose — regard­less, the mucous that’s being made against the “for­eign invader” or aller­gen is not needed!

TAKE

Stinging Nettle (freeze-dried cap­sules) are my go-to for sinus decon­ges­tion. Nettle pre­vents the release of fur­ther histam­ine in the body, and decreases the pro­duc­tion of leuk­o­trienes, chem­ic­als that are made in the pres­ence of an aller­gic response (and inflam­ma­tion).

Eyebright is a fab­ulous herb­al decon­gest­ant that is great for those watery, irrit­ated eyes and runny nose. That puffy, sore feel­ing in your cheeks and face is well-sup­por­ted with eye­bright tinc­ture.

Chinese Skullcap is an amaz­ing herb at decreas­ing immune system’s tend­ency for allergy. It helps to shift the immune sys­tem into a less react­ive place. See my blog post for more inform­a­tion on this cool herb.

DO

If you want to feel bet­ter faster, get your­self a NetiPot. A NetiPot is a sinus rinse that has been used tra­di­tion­ally in Ayurvedic medi­cine for allergy and sinus sup­port. Salt water is run through the sinuses with a little teapot.

Important tips to remem­ber here:

  • The water that is used in a NetiPot Sinus Rinse must be dis­tilled or boiled and cooled to room tem­per­at­ure before using. It can­not come from your tap water because it is not tech­nic­ally sterile, and we want sterile water in the body, and not to add unknown par­tic­u­lates that can be in tap water (metals, hor­mones, some­times micro­scop­ic amoeba and oth­er friends) to your sinuses
  • Using the sinus rinse facil­it­ates cir­cu­la­tion to the sinuses, but does not address inflam­ma­tion of the sinuses, so if you’re using this only to relieve your aller­gies it will not be enough, but it will give you a great deal of relief.
  • See the link above for how to use a Neti-Pot. Remember to tilt your head for­ward!

Step 2: Reduce your histamine foods

I’m aware that some of you don’t know that you might be aller­gic to foods that you are eat­ing. That’s okay. Did you know how­ever that cer­tain foods can be more histam­ine-pro­mot­ing than oth­er foods, even if you are not in fact aller­gic? Do you know what histam­ine is?

Histamine is a chem­ic­al released from a lovely cell called a mast cell. Mast cells release histam­ine which brings blood flow and immune cells to an area, basic­ally to flood the area so that the immune sys­tem can get in, clean up, and get out. That how­ever is what is respons­ible for those swollen sinuses, watery eyes, and mucous pro­duc­tion.

Here’s a small list of foods that cre­ate inflam­ma­tion by pro­du­cing or con­tain­ing histam­ine. Who wants to add wood to the fire and get things mov­ing? Not this girl. I would make sure that redu­cing these foods is a pri­or­ity for you in allergy sea­son, in a rota­tion of these foods so your body can get a break from histam­ine.

Histamine-rich foods

  • Alcohol
  • Avocados
  • Anchovies
  • Cheese
  • Eggplant
  • Fermented foods (smoked meats, sauerkraut, sour cream, yogurt) and pro­cessed meats
  • Mackarel and Sardines, and any smoked fish
  • Mushrooms
  • Spinach
  • Tomatoes

Histamine-releasing foods

  • Alcohol
  • Bananas
  • Chocolate
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Milk
  • Papaya
  • Pineapple
  • Shellfish (Shrimp)
  • Strawberries
  • Tomatoes

Another fun fact to con­sider if you know you have envir­on­ment­al aller­gies, that there are foods that can be asso­ci­ated with cer­tain plants and trees that you may be react­ing to for example birch tree aller­gies can share react­iv­ity with oranges, apples, peach, straw­berry, lychee, zuc­chini, and car­rot. Latex allergy indi­vidu­als can also react to avo­cado and banana, as well as buck­wheat, coconut, wheat, peaches, pears and many oth­er foods. If the irrit­a­tion is mild, you may nev­er notice the reac­tion until allergy sea­son comes upon you!

Tracking your diet dur­ing allergy sea­son can be a game-changer. Maybe you have unlikely cul­prits that you are unaware of, and track­ing might help you see your trends. It may be as simple as sub­sti­tut­ing out one food for anoth­er.

**Additional tip: Please reduce your sug­ar over­all — this includes fruit, honey, can­dies etc. Sugar increases inflam­ma­tion in many dis­orders, and will make aller­gies much worse.

Step 3: Support your stress hormones

Allergies are very tir­ing for the body as there is some­thing it is fight­ing fiercely. You will need a lot more sleep and water dur­ing this time.

Adaptogens are herbs that sup­port the body’s stress in the allergy fight, by either get­ting it to calm down or to be more bal­anced. Great adap­to­gen­ic herbs for allergy sea­son include:

Licorice (aka gly­cer­rhiza glabra, the herb, not Nibs or Twizzlers!) — a potent anti-inflam­mat­ory

Schisandra — helps with energy without being too stim­u­lat­ing

Ashwaganha (aka Withania som­ni­fera) — for a very tired, depleted indi­vidu­al (burn­ing the candle at both ends)

Step 4: Close your windows

Sleeping with the win­dows open is great, but pol­lens can then migrate into your fur­niture and cloth­ing, and so you nev­er really escape the great out­doors.

Step 5: Be prepared

Bring your allergy ‘kit’ with you, and check the pol­len counts in your area before you leave your house.

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