For many people, the start of spring brings more than wild flowers and new beginnings. For allergy sufferers spring usually triggers the onset of nasal congestion, sneezing, and watery, itchy eyes.
Seasonal allergic rhinitis affects 35 million people in the United States. While prescription and over-the counter remedies work for some, an increasing number of people are looking for natural alternatives. Research has confirmed the efficacy of acupuncture and Chinese medicine for the treatment of allergic rhinitis this is a great option without unpleasant side effects.
The Chinese view on allergies is this: the reason that two people can breathe the same allergens in and one person is suffering terribly while the other is not has to do with an imbalance in their system. By correcting the imbalance, the body is better able to handle these allergens. From a more biomedical perspective, acupuncture is essentially working to regulate an over-active immune system. Does this regulation happen in one treatment? No, as with most conditions it takes a series of treatments to attain sustained relief, but the good news is that once your system is regulated you won’t need as many. If you decide to try herbal remedies your symptoms will improve more quickly and you won’t need as frequent acupuncture treatments.
The Chinese discovered long ago that giving everyone the same treatment for similar symptoms just wasn’t the best way to go about things. There are many herbal formulas that have been used for centuries to treat allergy symptoms but yet it is very important to get the formula that is right for you (a licensed herbalist is much better at this than “doctor Google” ). For example, one patient might experience allergies as profuse nasal congestion, edema and post nasal drip and for them a formula with drying herbs would be helpful. Another patient might experience dry itchy eyes, sneezing and a scratchy throat, if they were given the same drying formula their symptoms would not improve and would most likely get worse.
Here are some alternative suggestions for taking care of yourself during allergy season:
-Eat apples and other foods containing Quercitin. Quercitin is a naturally-occurring flavinoid that works as an anti-histamine and reduces inflammation. It is found in many foods including apples, red grapes, red onions, and black tea.
-Try raw local honey. Mix a table spoon of apple cider vinegar and local honey in some warm water and drink it first thing in the morning.
-Buy yourself a Neti pot and use it daily to rinse out the sinus pockets that collect the allergens you are breathing in.
-Cut back on sugar and dairy products. Both of these foods encourage the production of phlegm. Sugar also has a direct effect on the immune system: research shows that eating even one teaspoon of sugar significantly affects the immune system.
-Try Acupressure on the following points: