I don’t know if it’s the early warm weather or what, but many people I’ve been talking to have been complaining that themselves or a relative is having a hard time with allergies this year. Other than doping yourself up with the usual antihistamines and cold and sinus medications, there are some alternative strategies that may be even more effective than the meds.
1. Keep the sinuses and nasal passages clean and moist – One of the best methods for this is using a Neti Pot (see image below). The Neti pot is filled with a saline solutions and pour into one nasal passage with the head tilted. The force of the water leaving the pot and gravity flushes the solution through the nose and sinuses and out the other nasal passage. This works on a few different levels. It washes away any potential allergens that you’ve inhaled (dust, dander, pollen, etc.). It also helps wash away any inflammatory chemicals your body has produced. Last, it helps free up the cilia, or tiny hairs that help trap and keep out allergens. Although some people balk at this method, however, an article published in the journal of the American Academy of Family Physicians touts its benefits.
2. Use of natural antihistamines – I won’t go into all of the exciting details of these natural substances, but you’ll want to look up the following as it pertains to their antihistamine properties. Quercetin, vitamin C, chamomile, stinging nettle, eyebright, fennel, ginger, and echinacea.
3. Local, raw honey – If you look around hard enough, you can usually find a local supplier of raw honey. Here in southern Schuylkill County, Twin Oaks from Auburn supplies Healthy Habits Natural Market. Take note that raw doesn’t mean it is never heated or warmed. All honey must be warmed to extract from the comb and bottled. However, it should not be warmed to more than 90 degrees. This keeps all of the enzymes intact and preserves its effectiveness.
Raw, local honey is effective because it contains processed pollen from plants in your area. It’s almost like a bee-made allergy vaccination. By taking in trace amounts of this processed pollen, it can cause the body to either enhance its immune response to these allergens, or act to desensitize your body to the allergens.
But does it really work? In doing research for this post, I came across this study:
Much of the effectiveness of raw honey to help treat respiratory problems has been traced to the bee pollen and propolis suspended within it. According to a research report from Bulgaria, they found the honey has anti-allergic, anti-inflammatory, and expectorant properties that insure the body has an immunobiological defense and give it the capacity to regenerate its attacked cells. Research on using raw honey to treat respiratory problems shows the following results: Of the 17,862 patients treated with honey, 8,836 were men and 9,026 were women. Most of the patients ranged in age from 21 to 60 years old. After treatment the results were: Click Here for Chart of Results
NOTE: Allergic reactions and side effects from raw honey are rare, but they do happen. If you’ve never had raw honey, start with a very small amount. Also, infants, pregnant and breast-feeding women, and anyone else with a potentially compromised immune system should use caution with raw honey. It may contain a trace amount of bacteria that causes botulism. In a health individual, this is not a problem. But in those with a weak immune system, it could be.
4. Diet – The key with this is to remove or reduce consumption of any foods that either stress the body, cause inflammation to add to the allergic reaction, or are otherwise detrimental to good health. Foods not normally tolerated well should also be avoided (for instance, dairy in people who are lactose intolerant). Foods in this category include highly processed foods, refined carbohydrates (bread, pasta, cookies, candy, etc.), caffeine, and alcohol. Additionally, it’s ideal to increase anti-inflammatory foods such as greens, beans, nuts, seeds, and other healthy fruits and vegetables. If you suffer from allergies or chronic sinusitis, do not underestimate the influence of your diet towards these problems.
Well, that should get you started for now. If you have any other tried and true methods to help with allergies, please send them my way or reply to this post. Thanks!
(Dr. Touchinsky is a chiropractor in Orwigsburg, Schuylkill County, PA. He and his wife own Healthy Habits Natural Market located on route 61 just outside of Orwigsburg and within minutes from Schuylkill Haven, Hamburg, Pottsville, St. Clair, Minersville, Tamaqua, and other areas of southern Schuylkill and northern Berks counties. Related to this post, they carry raw, local honey from Auburn and a variety of supplements noted above.)
3 thoughts on “Allergies killing you this year? You’re not alone.”
imo there is too much reliance on medication. there are many things a person can do including nasal rinsing, using humidifiers, changes in diet, etc.
plus even if it becomes necessary to look at surgery there are ways to avoid anything too disruptive. things like balloon sinuplasty work more with the body and involve no cutting.
lots to think about and always good to hear “alternative” approaches being discussed!!