Allergy relief for spring

Allergy relief for spring

If you’re one of the unlucky ones that regularly suffer from seasonal respiratory allergies such as hayfever, now is the time to take action. Spring is the peak season for airborne allergens including dust, pollens and grasses, and if you’re susceptible to these allergens, you can expect increased immune activity and symptoms such as sneezing, runny noses, headaches and watery, itchy eyes.

Hayfever & allergies

Hayfever and allergies often run in the family. Airborne allergens typically affect your nose, eyes and lungs. Hayfever can be seasonal, as a result of respiratory allergens or perennial, through contact with a reactive substance eg: pet hair. Cold air, stress, cigarette smoke and environmental pollutants can all make your hayfever symptoms worse.

Immune activation

An allergy is considered an abnormal immune response to a substance that’s harmless to most of us. When you're allergic to something, your immune system mistakenly thinks that this substance is harmful to your body, so establishes a protective defence mechanism by producing large amounts of defence molecules. This in turn triggers the release of histamine and other inflammatory chemicals that create inflammation and irritation, producing your allergy symptoms.

Histamine & anti-histamine

While histamine plays an essential role in your immune response, it’s also responsible for producing the bulk of your allergy symptoms. Histamine is stored around your body, particularly the respiratory tract, so that large amounts can be released quickly when you come into contact with an allergen, promoting inflammation. This increases blood flow to the affected site and allows infection fighting fluids to seep out of the blood vessels into the surrounding areas.

Antihistamines are typically used to relieve allergic conditions. Antihistamines don’t block the production of histamine altogether, they also work by physically blocking the attachment of histamine to special receptors, preventing histamine from reaching its target. This decreases your body's reaction to allergens, helping to reduce the strength of allergy symptoms.

Managing your allergy symptoms involves immune system support, while decreasing the ill-effects of histamine and other inflammatory chemicals. Natural antihistamines and anti-inflammatories include:

1. Quercetin’s natural anti-inflammatory and antihistamine activity inhibits the release of histamine and other inflammatory chemicals, dampening your allergic response and providing relief of allergic symptoms such as runny nose, sneezing and itchy, watery eyes.

2. Vitamin C is a potent natural antihistamine and anti-inflammatory that helps to reduce the severity of symptoms during an allergic response. Vitamin C boosts immune function, helping to protect you from allergen exposure.

3. Horseradish provides antimicrobial support and contains powerful sulphur compounds that help to reduce the thickness of mucus, making it easier to clear congestion from your respiratory tract.

4. Perilla suppresses inflammation and histamine release, providing natural antihistamine support for seasonal allergies. Perilla has traditionally been used to support a healthy respiratory tract and for the relief of hayfever and nasal congestion.

5. Mushrooms (medicinal) support your immune system on many levels and help to relieve symptoms of upper respiratory tract allergies. A combination of mushrooms can have a greater effect on your immune system than a single medicinal mushroom alone.

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References

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  • Chevallier A (2001), Encyclopaedia of Medicinal Plants, Dorsling, Kindersley.
  • http://www.healia.com/healthguide/guides/allergies/what-happens-during-an-allergi
  • Histamine viewed on 28/08/2015 at http://www.rsc.org/chemistryworld/podcast/CIIEcompounds/transcripts/histamine.asp
  • Marieb, EN, 2000, Essentials of Human Anatomy & Physiology, Benjamin/Cummings Science Publishing, California.
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  • Otsuka et al, Histochemical and functional characteristics of metachromatic cells in the nasal epithelium in allergic rhinitis: studies of nasal scrapings and their dispersed cells, Journal of Allergy Clinical Immunology, 96 (4):528-36.
  • Pizzorno, JE & Murray, MT, 2006, Textbook of Natural Medicine, Elsevier, Missouri.
  • Powell M (2010), Medicinal Mushrooms: A Clinical Guide, East Sussex, Mycology Press.
  • Thornhill, SM & Kelly, AM 2000, ‘Natural treatment of perennial allergic rhinitis’, Alternative Medicine Review, vol. 5, no. 5, pp. 448-454.
  • Yu HC (1997), Perilla: The Genus Perilla, Applications & Prescriptions of Perilla in Traditional Chinese Medicine, CRC Press.
1st Aug 2018

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