Allergies are the bane of so many people’s life these days making it difficult for them to function well in their everyday life.
Allergies occur when your immune system is hypersensitive. When an allergen comes into contact with any mucous membrane surface – the respiratory tract, digestive tract, the eyes – it sets up an inflammation which causes the symptoms. Food Intolerances are different to allergies and are the result of an inability to digest or absorb foods. But the symptoms of each can be very similar and often confused. Symptoms from allergy usually develop quickly.
The incidence of food allergy is growing. In 2011 an Australian study, the Health Nuts Study, found that 10% out of 5000 infants demonstrated food allergy. This is the highest rate in the world and we should be alarmed about why the incidence is rising so rapidly.
The most common allergic reactions usually fall into four groups.
- Anaphylaxis – a life-threatening reaction where the airways can swell
- Skin symptoms – eczema, dermatitis, welts and hives
- Eye reactions – conjunctivitis, redness, itching and watering
- Hay Fever or Rhinitis
Some asthmas are caused by allergies. Anaphylaxis is a more serious allergic response and is potentially life-threatening. One of my children experienced this on a number of occasions from milk and butter when he was young and beestings later, and it is a very scary situation. It usually occurs very quickly and affects multiple body systems. It needs an immediate dose of adrenalin to reverse it.
There is now evidence which suggests that the increased use of antibiotics may have something to do with the increase in allergies and asthma because it upsets the normal balance of gut flora and leads to confusion within the immune system so that it is unable to tell the difference between harmless substances and bacteria, viruses and parasites. It is also thought that our higher hygiene standards may have contributed, by exposing us to fewer pathogens, which leads to your body attacking harmless antigens instead.
There are many common things to which people develop an allergy. Allergens might be any of the following:
- Foods such as gluten or wheat, milk and dairy foods, seafood and shellfish,alcohol, soy, eggs, peanuts, nuts, seeds, tomatoes, alcohol.
- Environmental factors such as dust, dust mites, pollen, mould, animal fur, grasses
- Man-made substances such as medications, pesticides, latex, nickel
- Insects including cockroaches, bees or wasps
While there are a number of over-the-counter and prescription medications that are regularly used for allergies, they all put lots of strain on your liver as it has to detox the medications. This may actually exacerbate the condition. Most people have used antihistamines to gain relief from the symptoms of hay fever at some time, but the ongoing prospect of having to take loads of pharmaceuticals, to say nothing of the debilitating side effects they cause, is not at all appealing. Western medicine stresses ongoing medications and avoidance of exposure but this is not always possible.
What else can you do to deal with this in more natural way?
The best way to get rid of the problem of allergies is with professional advice from a Natural Medicine Practitioner.
But there are many ways that you can get relief for your allergy symptoms using a host of ‘Kitchen Remedies’. Anaphylaxis must always be regarded as a medical emergency and treated accordingly. But the next time allergy strikes with other symptoms, before you reach for the antihistamine try out some of these tips, until you are ready to seek long-term relief from a Natural Health practitioner.
Please read my disclaimer below before reading on.
For sinuses and nasal congestion put some olive oil in your palm and sprinkle some black pepper into it. Breathe the aroma in. It makes you sneeze and that removes the allergens in your nose.
Many people swear by Neti pots, although I haven’t tried them myself. You fill the Neti pot with a saline solution and use it to flush the allergens and irritation from your sinuses. Use a pre-made saline rinse or make one yourself by dissolving 1 teaspoon of Himalayan salt (or sea salt as a second choice) in 1 litre of boiled distilled water. Allow it to cool completely and put it in the Neti pot. Pour it through one nostril and allow it to drain out the other. Make sure you rinse the irrigation device after you use it with boiled distilled water and leave it to ‘air-dry’.
Herbal teas: Peppermint tea is a great decongestant which can unclog sinuses and improve breathing. It is anti-inflammatory and antibacterial. Chamomile tea is a natural anti-inflammatory and may reduce the duration of hay fever attacks.
Eating food drenched in wasabi will clear out your sinuses in an instant, so head for the sushi bar if you need a quick clear when you are out and about.
Showering as soon as you come back inside after being outdoors can be an easy way to get quick allergy relief. It can help remove allergens from your skin and hair and the steam will help to clear nasal cavities, although it will usually be only temporarily.
Even just inhaling the steam over a bowl of hot water can flush out the mucous just as well as a shower. Add a few drops of Eucalyptus essential oil and carefully inhale the steam for an even better result.
A colloidal oatmeal mask for hives or eczema. You can either add 2 or 3 cups straight to the bathwater where it disperses and stays in suspension rather than settling to the bottom, or make a paste to spread over the affected area. To make the paste you need 1-2 tablespoons of Colloidal Oatmeal. You can make your own if you cannot buy it. Add warm water until you get the desired consistency. Spread on your skin and leave for a few minutes
Apple cider vinegar has long been recognized for its wonderful healing properties. Dilute a little in water and dab onto any itchy area. Great for dry eczema, hives or bed bug bites.
Mixing Bicarbonate of Soda (Baking Soda) with a little water to form a paste which you can spread on the skin will help stop the itching. You can also add it to a warm bath and soak in it for twenty minutes if the reaction area is more widespread.
Nettle is often used to relieve allergies as it is a natural antihistamine which targets the immune system. As well as drinking your nettle tea you can also use it topically. Allow it to cool and then use a cloth or gauze to dab it on the itchy spots where it will give relief. You could also take 300 to 500 mg of stinging nettle capsules each day.
A strong brew of dried anti-inflammatory chamomile flowers steeped for fifteen minutes or more then cooled and strained, can be applied to eczema for about 20 minutes with gauze or a cloth for itchiness relief. You can use it three times a day.
Basil is another herb that contains anti-allergenic components and it will give relief for hives. Boil a couple of leaves in water. Once the tea has cooled down apply it topically on the hives.
Organic cold pressed coconut oil can be applied topically and gives relief to many sufferers.
Aloe vera gel is useful, especially when it comes from freshly cut leaves.
Water that has had thin cucumber slices soaked in it for a few hours and then filtered can be applied to the area with a clean gauze or cloth.
For puffiness place slices of cold raw potato on your eyes
To relieve itchy, dry or watery eyes try making a compress from chamomile or black tea bags that have been steeped in boiling water and allowed to cool. Leave on for five minutes. Choose organic teabags as there are many chemicals used to bleach the material used for the bag that may aggravate already inflamed eyes. Even better if you refrigerate the teabags first.
A wonderful eyewash can be made to soothe itchy eyes by diluting non-alcoholic calendula liquid in water.
And last but not least, don’t forget to drink lots of water which helps with sinus drainage and congestion. It seems as though I say to do this in every post, but almost everybody drinks too little water and dehydration, even when it is mild, contributes to many health problems. With allergies, dehydration makes your mouth and throat dry and your mucous thickens.
Do you have a great “Kitchen Remedy” that you use for your allergies? Share it in the replies below.
Check back again soon as I will write lots more about allergies and food intolerances (lactose and gluten).
All information and opinions presented here are for information only and are not intended as a substitute for professional advice offered during a consultation. Please consult with your health care provider before trying any of the treatment suggested on this site.
- How To Save Yourself From Seasonal Allergies (dangerouslee.biz)
- Guest Blog: Think You Have Allergies? All About Allergies and How to Seek Help (somethingtochew.com)
- Pesticide Exposure Linked To Rising Rate Of Food Allergies Among U.S. Children (medicaldaily.com)
- An Allergy Uprising: The Facts and Statistics (ireport.cnn.com)