Seasonal Allergy Support
The beauty of spring and summer in the Willamette Valley seems to have just one drawback: the abundance of airborne allergens thanks to the profusion of grasses, shrubs, and trees here. Many people suffer from a large variety of symptoms, whether from one particular source or a combination. Some of these symptoms can be quite severe, leading to misery of a kind during certain months. Trees are among the earliest pollen producers, reaching their peak during spring. Grasses begin releasing their pollen in May, and weeds last in late summer.
What are Allergies?
The allergic symptoms one gets result from an antigen (toxin or foreign substance), whether house dust, animal hair, or grass or flower pollen, initiating an immune response by the body, trying to defend the body against the invader. Part of this includes immune mast cells releasing histamine and serotonin in response to the antigen. Histamine is an inflammatory chemical here, causing the symptoms associated with allergies. Ailments and symptoms due to this response include eye inflammation, conjunctivitis, inflammation of the nasal mucosa, rhinitis, and sinusitis. Other allergy season symptoms include sneezing, runny or clogged nose, headaches, unexplained fatigue, coughing/postnasal drip, and irritability and restlessness.
Healthy Tips to Avoid Pollen
Most pollen is emitted in the early morning between 5:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. Minimize activity at that time, if possible. Stay indoors on humid and windy days when pollen is especially mobile. Use air conditioning and keep windows closed. If contact lenses are worn, remove them and clean frequently as pollen may coat them. Shower and shampoo at night to remove and reduce the amount of pollen exposed to while sleeping. Take shoes off when entering the house. Avoid rubbing your eyes and touching your nose and transferring pollen. Avoid parking cars under trees as pollen can collect in the intake vents and ducts. Wash hands after gardening or handling animals to avoid rubbing allergens into the eyes. Clean air conditioners, ducts, humidifiers, and dehumidifiers and change filters often. Do not hang clothing or bedding out to dry as pollens may collect on them.
Herbal support for seasonal allergies can be extremely effective, more so than OTC anti-histamines, which only reduce the amount of histamine in the tissues. Herbs can support multiple body systems that are over-burdened by allergies, as well as reduce inflammation. These include the respiratory and immune systems, the liver, and the nervous system. One of the most popular allergy support herbs is Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica). It provides powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-histamine actions and is also a great source of vitamins and minerals. It is specific for allergic rhinitis (classic hay fever). Researchers at the National College of Naturopathic Medicine in Portland found that 58% of 69 patients suffering from allergic rhinitis experienced moderate or very significant relief using the freeze-dried herb. Taking 400-800 mg of Nettle leaf every four hours may alleviate symptoms.
Goldenrod (Solidago spp), especially as a tea, may help in eliminating allergens through the urinary tract by virtue of its diuretic properties. A study in the British Journal of Medicine reported that Butterbur (Petasites officinalis) was as effective as the antihistamine drug cetrizine in treating symptoms of seasonal allergic rhinitis. The bioflavonoid Quercetin, found in foods such as apples and onions, exerts a powerful antihistamine effect, and is particularly effective when combined with Nettles. A dose of 900-1,200 mg per day is suggested. The enzyme Bromelain, derived from pineapple, also is a potent anti-inflammatory that enhances the absorption of Quercetin. Aller-Aid, by Oregon's Wild Harvest, is a blend of organic Stinging Nettle with Quercetin and N-acetyl-cysteine, a triple whammy for allergy support!
Another method of combating allergic symptoms is that of homeopathy. Homeopathic blends of the most offending grasses, weeds, and trees in a specific region may be extremely effective in assuaging the body's symptomatic response. One of the perennial best-sellers in Evergreen's Allergy Section is Northwest Mix, a liquid homeopathic formula which is taken 3 times a day (10 drops under the tongue).
Availability & Selection
As well as the above-mentioned products, we carry several shelves-worth of other allergy support, including nasal sprays and neti pots. Don't let the allergens get you down this season. Help is on the way.
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The information provided here is for educational purposes only. None of the research or evidence presented here is intended as a substitute for consulting an appropriate healthcare professional. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The products offered here are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. If you believe that you may have a disease condition, please consult your healthcare practitioner before using this or any other dietary supplement.
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