Jini's Gut Guide
What Is Allergies - Seasonal*
Seasonal allergies affect those who are allergic to pollen. They may be allergic to pollen from grasses, trees or weeds, or to a combination of pollens. Seasonal allergies are also commonly referred to as hay fever or allergic rhinitis. Allergy symptoms flare when the allergen in question is pollinating – trees in the early spring, followed by grasses in late spring/early summer, and weeds in late summer or early fall. The specific time of year when each pollen is at its peak will vary according to your local climate. Pollen counts will also vary depending on whether you are in an urban or rural setting.
Typically, seasonal allergies affect the sinuses, causing symptoms like a runny nose, nasal congestion, post-nasal drip, nasal itch and sneezing. Allergies often impact the eyes, causing itching and tearing. Asthma is associated with allergies in some people. Allergic asthma symptoms include wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath.
Allergies are an overreaction of the body’s immune system when it mistakes a normally harmless substance like pollen, dust or dander as a potentially harmful invader. White blood cells are key players in the immune system. They are the body’s defenders, mounting a defense against invaders such as viruses and “bad” bacteria, producing a specific antibody to help recognize the invader if it comes back.
This antibody is stored in the body’s mast cells to identify the invader should it return. In the future when you are exposed to that same allergen, the antibody will “remember” it, and trigger the mast cells to release “chemical weapons”, including histamine. Histamine is the cause of many common allergy symptoms like sneezing, itchy eyes and a runny nose.
This is why repeated exposures to an allergen can lead to more serious allergic reactions. Once an antibody exists and the body is sensitized to the allergen, even a small amount can trigger a severe reaction.
Natural Treatment For Allergies - Seasonal*
I grew up in the country surrounded by horses, hay, grass, trees and never had any symptoms of allergies - not even a sniffle. Then I moved to Tokyo for two years (a very polluted city) and when I returned home in the summer I was struck with hay fever - which plagued me from then on.
Until I discovered these effective natural remedies for allergy.
If you want complete relief, you really need to do ALL of these at the same time, but even just taking the high dose quercetin for allergies and reducing sugar as much as possible should provide noticeable relief:
1. Take 1000 mg of Quercetin 1 - 2x/ day. Quercetin is a unique bioflavonoid shown to inhibit the release of histamines from immune cells (in cell cultures). It stabilizes mast cells and prevents them from releasing histamine. BUT it does not cause the side-effects of drug anti-histamines; no drowsiness, dry mouth, etc. The key though, is to take it in a high enough dose - otherwise you won't see the effect. That's why I specifically sourced a high quality brand of quercetin for allergies where each capsule is 500 mg, specifically for use as an allergy remedy - otherwise, most brands contain only 100 to 200 mg and you'll be taking a handful of pills every day! For many people, it works best to take 500 mg of Quercetin three times per day (with food). For others, they prefer to take 1000 mg in one dose, once or twice per day. You may need to experiment a bit to find the best supplementation schedule for you.
Contraindications: Avoid taking quercetin with any medication which indicates you shouldn't consume the following foods while using it: onions, apples, apple juice, grapefruit juice, orange juice, pomegranate juice; white, green & black teas. These foods naturally contain higher concentrations of quercetin, so if a medication conflicts with them, you should also stay clear of a quercetin supplement whilst taking that medication. The following medications are known to either be suppressed or enhanced if taken in conjunction with quercetin: Cyclosporine, Estradiol, Felodipine.
2. Stop eating sugar until allergy season is over. I know, I know, this is very hard to do. And I mean ALL sugar. Don't eat more than 1 piece of fruit per day. Sweeten things with Xylitol or stevia. Once your allergy symptoms have disappeared, experiment with how much sugar you can add back in without them flaring again. Of course, if you don't miss it, don't go back to it!
3. Use Similasan Allergy Eye Relief eye drops if your eyes get itchy, runny, or irritated. I always got severe reactions in my eyes before using these remedies. Sometimes I would even get prescription eye drops from my Dad (who is an optometrist). But this homeopathic allergy remedy (or any drops containing Euphrasia) work so well they are all you need for all but the most severe days. On the really bad days, I found the over-the-counter drug eyedrops called Cromlyn worked best - but I only needed these maybe twice in the entire season, and sometimes for only one application. The Similasan homeopathic eye drops handled the eye allergies just fine the rest of the time.
4. Flush your sinuses with a neti pot and salt. This is a very common practice in India and it only feels strange until you've done it once or twice. As soon as my kids learned how to use a neti pot, they use it at the first sign of a cold - cause it just feels so darn good. And it clears your sinuses so you can breathe at night. With seasonal allergies, you can use it two or three times a day to keep your nose and sinuses clear of prickly pollen grains. An Italian study published in the International Archives of Allergy and Immunology found that using a neti pot to flush the sinuses was an effective way to treat seasonal allergies in children, and markedly reduced their use of antihistamines. Here my 9-year-old daughter Zara and I show you exactly how to use a neti pot for allergy relief:
5. Take immune system boosters. If your immune system is run down, or if you just can't stop eating sugar (which depresses your immune system) then you can help to counter this by taking immune boosting herbs and vitamins. Vitamin C (take as much as your bowels will tolerate - if your stools get loose, then cut back) is an easy way to boost your immune system and also works synergistically together with quercetin. You can either get it as capsules, or crystals that you can stir into any drink, or you can get Emergen-C naturally flavored drink packets - my kids love these and I take 2 packets at a time (2,000 mg). Just sip slowly to increase absorption.
My other favorite way to boost my immune system is to put medicinal mushrooms and/or astragalus into my tea (or a little bit of hot water). The astragalus has a slightly bitter taste, but not so much that my kids refuse it. The medicinal mushroom blend or the maitake (my kids favorite) are very mild tasting (and also available as capsules if you prefer). Take these immune boosters up to 4 times a day, or as needed.
To help yourself be able to breathe more easily during the night, you can apply Olbas Salve.
You can rub some on your chest and then a small amount on the sides of your nose (do not apply under the nose, or inside the nose - it is too strong) and then along the bony ridge under your eyes. This bony ridge is where some of the most congested sinus cavities are - but keep application to the middle of the bone, don't go too close to the eyes. Do the same thing for children. If you have a sinus headeache, also apply the Olbas Salve to your temples and across your forehead, along with application to the sides of your nose and along the bony ridge under your eyes (keep well away from eyes).
If you do the neti pot first, then olbas salve like this, you will sleep well, even though congested.
How Well Does It Work?
I have seen this protocol work brilliantly over and over again. For example, a friend of mine came over once with terribly painful sinus congestion from seasonal allergies. Plus her eyes were watery and itchy and she was really afraid it would progress to a sinus infection - as it has done every allergy season. From day one on this protocol she experienced substantial relief and by day three she had no sinus issues and only had to take the quercetin once per day to control the rest of the allergy symptoms. She continued to avoid sugar, take the immune boosters and occasionally use the neti pot.
My daughter also came home from school the same week with itchy eyes and sneezing. I applied the eyedrops and Olbas salve for the next two days and nights for her and by day three she decided to take the quercetin. She doesn't like to swallow capsules, so in the morning before school I opened the capsule (I only gave her 250 mg) and poured it into her mouth, she took a sip of chocolate milk (raw, grass-fed milk), swished it around and swallowed. That was it! No more allergies, no more itchy, red, runny eyes, nothing. I could go on. I have many stories like these.