Welcome flower buds, greener grass, flowing streams, and more sun! Also welcome tree pollen, flower pollen, grass pollen, and mold spores. If you are really getting into the Spring spirit, then I can probably add dust to the mix too after that deep clean.
Have you started sneezing yet?
What are allergies? "Allergies" are a general term that means your immune system is overreacting to what is usually a benign substance.
Now is the time to get ahead of your allergies!
In order to address the allergy, you need to remove or decrease your exposure. When there is less to react too, there will be less reaction. In other words, any decrease in the overall allergic load will decrease full body symptom expression. The easiest place to begin is in your home.
Step 1 - Decrease your exposure at home.
- Put a fresh pillowcase on your pillow each night.
- Wash your hair before bed. (Think about all of the dust and pollen you collect during the day).
- Avoid your food sensitivities and foods high in histamine, such as cheese, some wines, certain kinds of fish such as tuna and mackerel.
- Use "Free and Clear" laundry detergent, and "Fragrance Free" cleaning products. This will reduce the chemical load in your home. A simple and effective cleaning product to switch too is baking soda and vinegar.
- Get a HEPA filter for your bedroom. Not all HEPA filters are created alike. Its worth doing your research to find the best one for your home and needs.
Step 2 - Eat Foods That Improve Your Immune Response
- Include more anti-oxidants rich foods in your diet, such as green, red, and yellow vegetables.
- Essential fatty acids are also high in anti-oxidants. These include flaxseed oil, borage oil, evening primrose oil, grass fed/grass finished animals, and cold water fish (sardines).
- Oats and Barley contain a fiber called beta-glucan that is an antimicrobial and has antioxidant properties.
- Your skin is a first line of defense, and to keep it healthy the body needs its daily dose of Vitamin A. The best way to give yourself Vitamin A is through food. Some options include - Vegetables: kale, sweet potato, mustard greens, beet greens, carrots, dandelion greens. Fruits: Persimmon. Mango, Papaya.
- Mushrooms increase the production of white blood cells. Shiitake, Maitake, and Reishi pack the biggest immunity punch.
- Onion and garlic are particularly antiallergenic because they inhibit inflammatory enzymes.
Step 3 - Reduce intake of foods that increase your histamine production.
- Foods that are rich in Tryptophan encourage histamine production. When histamine is released, your eyes water, your nose runs, and you start sneezing. These foods include cottage cheese, liver, peanuts, turkey, lamb, tuna, beef, salmon, and cashews.
- Buy (when possible) pasture raised, grass fed and grass finished meats. Animal Fats, especially grain fed beef, pork, and lamb generally increase inflammatory prostaglandins, and should therefore be kept to a minimum.
Formulas and Supplements For Your Medicine Cabinet
- Perilla Pearls, Wind Pearls, and Lightning Pearls by Classical Pearls are Chinese medicine formulas that are superb at managing a wide range of sinus and respiratory conditions. If I don't need to customize a formula for allergies, these are my go to prescriptions in the clinic.
- Jade Windscreen, by Kan Herbs is not as versatile as the Classical Pearls formulas, but it is an effective option to help with basic seasonal allergies.
- Quercenase by Thorne Research is a great product for anyone with seasonal allergies. Taken with Bromelain, it helps the body clean up the debris left by an overactive immune system. Taken with Quercetin, it keeps the mast cells from bursting and releasing histamine.
- T. Asthmatica by Thorne Research is great if your asthma is aggravated during the spring months.
[The links above to the formulas and supplements take you to Emerson Ecologics. I have arranged a 20% discount with the company to help patient's save some money. Go to the link below to connect your account with the discount. Enter the code: RKACUP when prompted. If you don't have an account, you can set one up for free. It's super easy!]
How Can Chinese Medicine Help?
If you feel that you have tried everything under the sun to manage your allergies and seasonal sensitivities, schedule an appointment soon! We will work together to map out the rooted causes that continue to manifest as branch symptoms, such as runny nose, scratchy throat, sneezing, foggy brain, headaches, watery eyes, poor sleep.
The three main organs that play a roll in allergies are the bowels, the liver, and the adrenal glands.
Thus, treatment strategies will include: improving the good gut bacteria in your belly and ensuring your bowel movements are healthy; reducing the load on your liver's filtration process as well as addressing the Chinese medicine pathologies that tax the liver's physiological role; and reducing the amount of cortisol secreted into your system.
Ready to get started? I want you to be able to enjoy the beautiful Spring weather, allergy free!