Sneezing, a running or blocked nose, itching, watery eyes all the signs spring has arrived for a large number of people who suffer from allergic rhinitis also known as hayfever. Allergic Rhinitis is a skewed immune reaction to common antigens in the nasal mucosa causing mast cells to release histamine and other pro – inflammatory mediators that cause your nose to run and itch, eyes to water and to feel generally unwell.
There are over the counter medications that some people will need to use depending upon the severity of the symptoms, but some of you with milder symptoms might like to try a natural alternative and treat the body naturopathically with herbs, foods and supplements to bring relief.
STAY HYDRATED, It is very important to stay hydrated drink plenty of water throughout the day, if your tap water is chemically treated get a filter or find a water source alternative that is not treated chemically, add a little citrus juice if you don’t like the taste of water.
Nettle, Albizia, and Chamomile
- Nettle leaf – Urtica dioica, contains compounds that have a negative agonist activity against the histamine receptor which inhibits the release of pro-inflammatory mediators that cause the symptoms of hayfever.
- German chamomile – Matricaria recutita , also exhibits anti allergic effects by inhibiting histamine release from the mast cell.
- Albizia lebbeck is an ayurvedic herb traditionally used to treat allergic rhinitis, it has a stabilizing effect on mast cells and protects against the effects of antigen challenge.
These HERBS can be taken as tea, capsule or tincture
Follow a anti- inflammatory diet rich in vegetables, whole grains, fruits, nuts, seeds, omega 3 essential fatty acids and legumes. No processed foods, white flour or sugar.
Consume foods that are rich in flavonoids, as they have the potential to treat allergic inflammatory disease by inhibiting the down regulation of mast cell activation, foods rich in flavonoids are berries, chocolate,red wine, tea, onion family, apples, citrus and legumes.
The addition of ginger and turmeric to your diet will also help reduce the pro- inflammatory effect of mast cell chemical mediators, these two spices can reduce inflammation, relief congestion and reduce headaches. Ginger can be used in cooking or drink as a tea with a little honey and turmeric can be added to cooking with a little black pepper to enhance absorption or simply add it to your ginger tea.
Foods that are rich in omega 3 maybe helpful because of their anti inflammatory effects, add more chia and flax seeds to your diet or eat fish such as salmon or sardines, if you don’t like fish you can supplement with capsule or liquid omega 3 ( keep in fridge once opened)
Green Tea ,the bioactive compound epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) a major component of green tea has been shown to target histamine producing cells and a potent inhibitor of histamine producing enzymes.
Quercetin is a polyphenol found in tea, turmeric, pomegranate, onions, red lettuce, citrus fruit, dark berries and red wine. Quercetin has anti allergic properties, it has a direct effect on allergic cells such as mast cells by inhibiting the release of chemical mediators such as histamine, resulting in the alleviation of symptoms, polyphenols such as quercetin also inhibit histamine release from human basophils. A recommended dose daily is generally 500mg 2 x daily. Quercetin supplement is often combined with bromelain a proteolytic enzymes found in pineapple that also has anti inflammatory effects.
Probiotics means ‘for life’ and is defined as a ‘live microorganisms which, when administered in adequate amounts as part of food, confers a beneficial health effect by producing gut microflora on the host. Some research on the effects of probiotics on allergic rhinitis has been done and are promising one of these strains is Lactobacillus paracasei as it can down regulating systemic immune markers.
By including plant rich fiber foods and fermented foods in the diet you will can increase your gut microbiome diversity and have a healthier immune system.
THE NASAL RINSE
The nasal rinse, rinsing the nose with salt water and baking soda mixture can wash crusts, allergens and other debris from your nose. It can soothe the lining of the nose, reduce inflammation and improve your ability to clear mucus and specific herbal preparations can be added to further benefit such as thyme or calendula infusions. Plan to do a nasal rinse 1 – 2 times per day until symptoms improve, then 2-3 times/ week for maintenance. Do not force nasal rinse, Stop if any pain happens.
Try also to limit outdoor activity when pollen count is high and it is a dry and windy day, wash your face and hands this can help can remove pollen particles from you skin.
There are a lot of things you can do to help you get through allergy season, different things work for different people, figure out what works for you and share your experience with me I would love to hear!
Albizia lebbeck suppresses histamine signaling by the inhibition of histamine H1 receptor and histidine decarboxylase gene transcriptions.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21782040Treatment of Allergic Rhinitis with Probiotics: An Alternative Approach
Anti-allergic activity of German chamomile (Matricaria recutita L.) in mast cell mediated allergy model.
Quercetin and Its Anti-Allergic Immune Response
Nettle extract (Urtica dioica) affects key receptors