April showers bring May flowers ...and pollen and for nearly eight million Canadians this seasonal shift also brings with it the coughing, sneezing, itchy eyes and runny nose of seasonal allergies which for many can be debilitating. Seasonal allergy symptoms are a direct result of our immune system overreacting to allergens in the environment, triggering an inflammatory process leading to constricted airways, inflamed sinuses and a constantly runny nose.
There are a number of natural ways to reduce the severity of allergies which includes; diet, nasal rinses or neti pots, and natural health products like stinging nettle, quercetin and homeopathic eye drops, nasal sprays and oral remedies that do not produce unwanted side effects.
Omega-3s found in fatty fish provide a boost of the anti-inflammatory long-chain omega-3 EPA, which has been shown to decrease the production of inflammatory compounds. Ginger root is also a good anti-inflammatory and pleasant as a tea (try it chilled with a bit of lemon and stevia for sweetness). Avoid sugar (and white flour products) as sugar suppresses the immune system and causes inflammation. Dairy products are mucous forming and can create more phlegm worsening sinus congestion.
Quercetin is a bioflavonoid found in red onions, apples, broccoli, green tea and berries that has been shown to inhibit the release of histamine and decrease the production of inflammatory signaling molecules in the body, called cytokines. A supplement called EMIQ is a bioactive form of quercetin with 40 times greater absorption than regular quercetin and is an excellent anti-histamine without side effects.
Stinging nettle has long been used to reduce allergy symptoms (but it is used for many other purposes too like to improve hair growth, eczema and prostate health). Research has found that nettle has anti-inflammatory properties and can prevent the activation of the histamine receptor, similar to the way conventional antihistamines work, to reduce allergy symptoms.
This allergy season, you don’t have to suffer in stuffy silence. Whether you opt for an ancient herb like stinging nettle or you find relief through the anti-inflammatory effects of quercetin or a combination of homeopathics, seasonal allergies don’t have to hold you back from the great outdoors. Come in to The Hollow Willow Health Store and talk to me – your friendly neighbourhood Registered Holistic Nutritionist.