What exactly is an allergy? Many people are under the impression that they are allergic to dust, pollen, mold, and other things. The simple fact is that your body is over-reacting to these invaders release and causing the sneezing, itching, watery eyes and runny nose. Some people are more sensitive to these air borne allergens than others.
Allergies are simply abnormal reactions to everyday things. The immune system overreacts to the release of histamine and causes the allergic reactions.
Some allergic reactions can be life-threatening and they are in a class by themselves. This type of reaction is known as anaphylaxis. If you are having this type of reaction you should seek medical attention within 30 minutes or it could be fatal. The symptoms of these reactions include difficulty breathing, collapse, and convulsions. It develops suddenly after ingesting a substance that you are severely allergic too. If you call 911, be sure to tell them that it is “suspected anaphylaxis”. Injectable epinephrine may be prescribed by your doctor to carry with you at all times if you have a severe allergy to certain things like foods or insect stings.
The following herbs may help reduce your allergy symptoms instead of using decongestants and antihistamines.
Garlic (Allium sativum) and Onion (A. cepa) contain high concentrations of quercetin that retard inflammatory reactions. These items can be added to your cooking for a tasty herbal remedy.
Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) has several substances called ginkgolides that interfere with the chemicals the body produces called platelet activating factors that trigger allergies, asthma, and inflammation. Ginkgo works best for more severe allergies and its benefits may not be noticeable if you suffer from mild allergies. A daily dose is 60-240 milligrams. Doses higher than that have caused diarrhea, irritability and restlessness.
Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) may be effective in treating nasal symptoms. Many cultures around the world use nettle to treat nasal and respiratory ailments, coughs, runny noses, chest congestion, asthma, whooping cough and tuberculosis.
Camomile1 (Matricaria recutita) is a member of the ragweed family so caution should be taken if you have known allergies to ragweed. It’s best to try a small dose or essential oil and see what your reaction will be. Camomile is good for skin allergies like hives and itching and can be purchased as an essential oil or in creams.
Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium) is effective in treating migraine headaches but can also help relieve allergies. It’s best taken in capsule form or some other commercial preparation because the leaves don’t taste very well.
Pregnant women should avoid feverfew because it may trigger a miscarriage, nor should it be used by nursing mothers because it can be passed to the infant through breast milk.
Some users have reported that it has a mild tranquilizing effect so should be used with caution until you know how you will react to this herb.
Horseradish (Amoracia rusticana) is a spicy herb used mostly as a condiment that has been shown to open and clear sinuses. If you like hot spicy foods you can give horseradish a try. Its Japanese counterpart, wasabi, is even hotter so be careful if you decide to try wasabi.
Vitamin C has long been known for its use during cold and flu season but it is also a natural antihistamine and is very good for allergies. 1000 milligrams taken three times a day is the recommended dose. Note that some people experience diarrhea from that high of a dose.
Foods that contain vitamin C are bell peppers, cayenne pepper, guava and watercress.
1There are several varieties of camomile (Chamaemelum nobile) (Matricaria recutita) (Chamaemelum nobile syn. Anthemis nobilis) and two variants of the spelling; camomile and chamomile.