Step Into the Growing Trend of Holistic Medicine
Spring allergies come around every year like clockwork. Many people make their annual trip to the pharmacy for their generic meds and go about their business. But what if you could do better for your body? What if you could boost your body’s own ability to fight those allergies? What if you could heal your body with holistic medicine, the natural way?
Definition of Allergies
The definition of an allergy is a damaging response to an immunological response to a particular substance. This allergy can illicit several different types of responses from the body such as abdominal pain, digestive issues, respiratory (breathing) problems, nasal congestion or itching to skin reactions. Other symptoms are behavioral such as irritation or lack of ability to concentrate.
Allergies are not something you are necessarily born with; they can develop over time with repeated exposure to an item that has caused a reaction. You have an allergic reaction by the body sending out a response to an item which sends out b cells which creates antibodies that go to mast cells and they shoot out histamines which then goes out to the area in the body which responds. Antibodies are a blood protein produced in response to a specific antigen. Antibodies mix chemically with materials that the body recognizes as alien.
Difference Between a Colds and an Allergy
Symptoms include eczema, itchiness, psoriasis, coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, watery itchy eyes, swelling in the roof of the mouth, clogged ears, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain or bloating. Some of these symptoms seem so common that you become used to it and won’t recognize it as being an allergic reaction. This is due to the fact most people think of allergies as being an anaphylactic type response.
It is a little known fact that allergies can actually take up to 72 hours to evoke a response. The allergic response builds slowly in the body and what you may find is you will suddenly feel fatigued.
During spring, there can be confusion as to what is a “cold” versus and allergy. Broken down, here is an easy way to tell the difference; colds are caused by a virus or bacteria, while allergies are caused by an irritation of any given mucus membrane that is being affected. Common symptoms with colds will come with a fever, sore throat, aches and pains along with a thick discharge from the nose. In deference with allergies the discharge will be clear and watery along with bags under the eyes (allergic shiners). Another major difference between colds and allergies would be the length of time the symptoms present themselves. Colds will generally last approximately 7 days whereas allergies will last longer and also come and go.
Common pharmaceutical treatments include antihistamines, decongestants, allergy shots, steroidal nasal inhalers and oral inhalers. Anyone who has taken these medications knows some of the common side effects include drowsiness, insomnia and rebound of the original symptoms (which often come on twice as bad as the initial ones). Pharmaceuticals are necessary to stop any immediate symptoms such as shortness of breath or anaphylaxis however it is important to find the underlying reasons for the response and not use medications as a Band-Aid.
When using natural treatment you want to find out when you normally start with symptoms and start to treat those 8 weeks before onset by building up the immune system. Vitamin C with bioflavonoids is a good start to any treatment plan. Vitamin C must have the bioflavonoids attached as they are a natural anti-inflammatory (they come from the peel of fruit). When taken together, they act as an antihistamine. When taken on a regular basis, this will reduce help the mast cells and histamine response. Quercetin is another commonly used natural medication, however it is important to note that you must start using it prior to allergy season (it only works for seasonal allergies not for food) as it takes time to build up in our system. Dosing is variable and discussed in the podcast in greater detail. Calcium/Magnesium also helps by supporting the immune system through decreasing the stress response as it calms you and kicks up the parasympathetic system. Fish oils are also considered to be an excellent anti-inflammatory, and in essence due to this fact, also valuable as an antihistamine. When using fish oils as an allergy support, there must be twice as much EPA as DHA.
Herbs used to help with allergies would be Astragalus and Echinacea. Echinacea is an often misunderstood herb. People believe if you take it continually it becomes less effective or that your body will become immune to the effect. However, it can be taken all year around without any adverse effects.
Learn more about this intriguing topic with the informative 60 minute podcast by Dr. Seema Kanwal.
Dr. Seema Kanwal, a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine, can help you understand what exactly an allergy is and how holistic treatments can help you win the fight against them. Combat allergies this year with effective and natural medicines made from the earth.