Let's talk seasonal allergies 🌾
In the Spring, it seems like everyone is sniffing, rubbing their eyes, and coughing up post nasal drip. Seasonal Allergies (aka Allergic Rhinitis or Hay Fever) are extremely common. They are the body’s response to the influx of pollen.
There are many holistic approaches to dealing with seasonal allergies, including acupuncture, using a netipot to cleanse the sinuses, using probiotic supplements, and herbal remedies. There is also a multi-million dollar pharmaceutical allergy treatment industry that pumps out nose sprays and pills to reduce allergy symptoms. Sometimes these medications are really handy, however, as a long term approach they can do more harm than good.
Conventional allergy medication works by suppressing symptoms rather than addressing root causes. In order to reduce the reaction to seasonal allergens, we focus on creating balance and health in the body. Largely because it doesn’t look like allergens are going to be decreasing in the near future. An article in the scientific journal Environmental Health Perspectives sheds light on interesting data that shows seasonal allergies may worsen as the climate continues to change. The increase in CO2 in the atmosphere and rising temperatures can cause plants to grow more vigorously and produce more pollen then they would otherwise. Additionally, as plants continue to move around the world in response to shifting climates, we may be exposed to pollen that our bodies don’t recognize, triggering an allergic response. Oy vey! With the prospect of allergy season only getting worse, relying on drugs to suppress symptoms doesn’t seem like the best way forward.
To make matters worse, one conventional approach to the increased spread of these deemed ‘noxious weeds’ like Ragweed and Goldenrod is to aggressively douse them in herbicides or genetically modify the species to not produce pollen. These methods effectively pollute water and soil with herbicides and endocrine disrupting chemicals while creating sterile plants. Hello!! Why is that deemed a ‘solution’?! Seems like it further exacerbates the problems that cause allergies to begin with.
So why are our bodies reacting to pollen anyway? An allergic reaction is an immune reaction. The body’s immune system is responding to what it deems a foreign invader and trying to keep you safe by mounting an immune response. Isn’t that sweet. Allergies can suddenly develop throughout ones lifetime and, I believe, we can also reduce allergic sensitivity with the right type of care - read: diet, lifestyle, and key herbals.
Imagine the body as a bucket. Every stressor, adverse environmental factor, adverse socio-economic pressure adds a liter of water. Eventually, that bucket is going to overflow and create a mess. That bucket and its capacity is called the Allostatic Load. Allostatic Load is defined as the cost of chronic exposure to elevated or fluctuating endocrine or neural responses resulting from chronic or repeated challenges that the individual experiences as stressful. As our stress buckets fill up with water (i.e stressors), we are more prone to mishaps (i.e susceptible to developing allergies).
With the use of diet, lifestyle, and herbs, we can manage our allostatic load. Three key factors in helping manage allostatic load are 1. removing food sensitivities from the diet and 2. managing stress in healthy ways (something that herbs like Skullcap, Motherwort, & Milky Oats can help with) and 3. using choice herbs to bring balance to the body. Medicinal plants Nettle, Burdock Root, Turmeric, and Dandelion Root, as well as medicinal foods like Bee Pollen, Raw Honey, and Vinegar are all wonderfully supportive. Healing at the root can take some time and intention, speaking with an herbalist or holistic practitioner can be helpful on the journey.
Schedule an allergy support consultation today to work one on one with The People's Gold herbalist, Lynn to find herbal allergy support for you or your family. Consultations are based on a sliding scale. No one is turned away from lack of funds.