"Please manifest my allergies into human form so I can punch them in the face" Thank you someecard for summarizing exactly how I have felt for the past few months and I wish it were that simple. A swift right hook and BAM! gone! But no dice...such is life You can't punch, stomp, bitch your way out of annoying situations I have tried all of those things and then some. So, I decided to finally get my allergies and temper under control. First step was to figure out what was triggering my allergies here in Los Angeles--I am no stranger to seasonal allergies as I have dealt with them all of my life growing up on the East Coast, but since moving to LA I can only count a handful of times where I even had to think about allergy and/or allergy pain.
So what was causing my allergies? I could guess, but I wanted to know so I made an appointment with an allergist. It had been a while since I had seen one and it seemed like a good jump off point. For anyone who has never been to an allergist it's kinda scary and I won't lie itchy! They start off with "scratching" your skin to see what you are allergic to by how your body reacts to the different allergenic that's the itchy part.
Then after when you're all itchy and pissed your allergist comes in and tells you that you have allergies and reads you off a list of things you are allergic too...some I knew about and others I was a little surprised by...soy? what? when? Okay, okay so I am allergic to soy on top of a host of other things....now what? I wanted to have a plan that didn't require tons of allergy medicine to make drowsy and out of it. I also wanted to do it naturally if possible.
The next step was to research natural as well as conventional ways to treat and hopefully control my allergies:
What I tried and have been trying for a few months along with fighting a cough and nasty cold...your welcome peeps.
1. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is an age old remedy that is often recommended for a variety of health conditions. I’ve personally used it for allergy relief (and heartburn relief) with great success. The theory is that its ability to reduce mucous production and cleanse the lymphatic system makes it useful for allergies. It is also said to help digestion, weight loss and more so it is worth a try!
What I did: When allergies hit, I mixed a teaspoon of organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar with “The Mother” (that part is important) into a glass of water and drank this three times a day. (This is the brand I use) This helped me with relief of acute allergy symptoms and seemed to help avoid allergy attacks as well when I do it daily.
2. Neti Pot and Saline Rinse
I haven’t personally tried the Neti pot because I’m a big scaredy cat about pouring things in my nose, but I have friends who swear by it, and I’ve used saline nasal spray before. (If you use one, I’d love to hear your experience in the comments!) The basic theory is that you use a Neti Pot filled with a sterile saline solution to flush out the sinuses of allergens and irritations. Surprisingly, I’ve heard this recommended by conventional and alternative doctors, and it seems that it doesn’t really have a downside.
To use: Either use a pre-made saline rinse or make your own by dissolving 1 teaspoon of
Himalayan or sea salt in a quart of boiled distilled water. Cool completely and put in the Neti Pot. Pour through one nostril and let it drain out the other.
Quercetin is a natural bioflavonoid that is said to help stabilize mast cells to keep them from releasing histamine. It is also a potent antioxidant that is said to help reduce inflammation--which has also helped with my back pain and scoliosis--another matter for another time. It is best used as a long term remedy and many people start taking it about 4-6 weeks before allergy season to help prevent allergy symptoms. As with any herb, you should check with your doctor before using, especially if you have a liver problem, are pregnant, or are on hormonal contraceptives.
To Use: Though Quercetin is naturally found in foods like citrus and broccoli, it is very difficult to get the amount needed to relive allergies from food alone. A supplemental dose can be helpful for preventing allergies or helping acute symptoms. Not recommended during pregnancy or nursing though some practitioners feel it is safe after the first trimester and while nursing.
4. Nettle Leaf
Nettle leaf is another natural antihistamine that can be very effective as it naturally blocks the body’s ability to produce histamine. It grows in many places and can be made in to a tincture or tea, but for allergy relief, capsules made from dried nettle leaves are the easiest and most effective option.
Nettle leaf can also be used in combination with other herbs to make a soothing herbal tea for allergy relief. It is often mixed with peppermint leaf and sometimes red raspberry leaf to make a refreshing allergy relief tea.
What I do: I often include nettle in homemade herbal tea during allergy season (recipe at the bottom of this post) and use capsules for acute relief of allergy symptoms.
Allergies are the result of an imbalance in the immune system that causes the body to react too strongly to a stimuli. New research links the presence of beneficial bacteria in the gut with reduced incidence of allergies.
Evidence is even emerging that a mother’s gut bacteria during pregnancy and nursing can impact a child’s likelihood of getting allergies throughout life. While we can’t do much about our mothers’ diets while they were pregnant, balancing gut bacteria now and consuming enough beneficial bacteria can have a positive effect on allergies now.
What I do: I make sure we consume a varied diet that includes fermented foods and drinks like Kombucha or Kefir, which can hep boost gut bacteria. We also take a high quality probiotic capsule.
6. Diet Changes
If all else fails, sometimes dietary changes can be the answer to allergy problems. In our own experience, the eliminating dairy out of my diet helped relieve many of the allergy symptoms I experienced.
After my experience, I’d definitely encourage this as an option, especially for severe allergies or those in need of gut healing/rebalancing.
All and all the experience has been rather empowering one for me...taking control over my body, learning about my different options and more importantly having some FUN! While doing it. Meeting people, talking with them and trying out these different remedies was fun and also a great way to meet people in LA...another story for another time :)