It is officially Spring!
And we are well into Spring allergy season. That runny nose and nasal congestion may not be a cold, it could be allergies. Itchy eyes, nose or skin are telltale signs it’s probably allergies. You also might notice your symptoms are worse after you’ve been outside, or better on snowy days, when the moisture tamps down the pollen.
Tree pollen is the main allergen right now, with some trees starting to release pollen as early as February in Denver, and lasting through April or May. It always takes us by surprise, since we are also getting the most snow this time of year!
What is histamine load?
Histamine is the chemical in our body that causes an allergic reaction. It’s there to protect you, but with allergies, it’s gone rogue and overreacts to harmless things from pollen to peanuts. It can get so out of control it can even cause Histamine Intolerance or Mast-Cell Activation, which are systemic allergic responses that affect your whole body. With seasonal allergies, it’s likely causing your annoying post-nasal drip, itchy eyes and making you tired.
So what can we do to minimize our overactive histamine and get some allergy relief?
Luckily, there are lots of safe and effective natural remedies for allergies and minimizing your histamine response. They’re safe to use with conventional allergy meds if needed. If your allergies get really bad, it’s a good idea to take over-the-counter antihistamines as directed by your MD.
But there’s a lot you can do to reduce the histamine load in your body, and to manage and minimize your allergy symptoms, naturally.
1. Rinse out the offending allergens
Every day after you’ve been exposed to allergens like pollen or pet dander, take time to rinse them off!
Start by doing a neti pot/nasal rinse with warm salt water to rinse the offenders out of your nose. Use a half cup of warm distilled water with ¼ teaspoon salt. It can feel a bit tender the first time, but once you start doing it regularly, it will feel so much better. You can do this in the morning, too, if you feel really congested.
Also, take a shower before going to bed, to wash all the pollen/allergens out of your hair and off your body/ Also, wear clean PJs to bed. You don’t want to take those allergens to bed with you!
2. Cut out High-Histamine Foods
Did you know some foods actually contain high amounts of histamine, or can trigger the release of histamine in your body? These add more histamine to your body and make your histamine response, and thus your allergies, worse. It’s helpful to avoid these high-histamine foods when you’re having a lot of allergy issues.
- alcohol and fermented beverages, like kombucha
- fermented foods, like pickles, sauerkraut and yogurt
- dairy, especially aged cheeses
- processed or smoked meats
- alcohol (double whammy with this one)
- food dyes and additives
3. Help your Gut
Eating lots of fresh fruits and veggies (that aren’t histamine producing), lean meats, whole grains, and minimizing sugar is the best bet for a healthy gut. Plus, a good probiotic can do wonders not only for your digestion, but in reducing allergies.
I like to start my patients on MegaSporeBiotic – one pill a day with meals to start, and up to twice a day. Since fermented foods, which happen to be a great source of probiotics, are high-histamine foods, supplementing with pills is much more effective for allergy sufferers.
4. Supplements and Herbs
There are several helpful supplements for treating allergies…
D-Hist: This all-in-one supplement contains Quercetin and Stinging Nettle, along with small doses of NAC, bromelain to add digestion, and Vitamin C, all proven to give allergy relief.
Zinc is important for all immune health, and is anti-allergic. It also helps improve the sense of smell.
NAC is effective at thinning mucus, supporting lung function, and is a powerful antioxidant
Vtamin D important for immune health, reducing and preventing allergies
Chinese herbal formulas are also extremely helpful in treating both allergy symptoms and reducing allergies. These need to be specially prescribed by a qualified herbalist to match your specific body and symptoms at your next acupuncture appointment.
5. Get regular acupuncture during your allergy season
Acupuncture has been proven effective at relieving allergic rhinitis, as well as reducing other allergy symptoms from eczema to asthma. For best results, get weekly acupuncture during your severe allergy seasons, and even better, start getting it a few weeks before your regular allergy season. Book your next visit now.
You can directly order all these helpful supplements for allergy relief here: https://us.fullscript.com/protocols/familytree-allergy-relief
Or book an appointment for acupuncture and herbal medicine tailored to you at https://acusimple.com/access/7870/#/appointments/1016/
Dr. Jennie Luther, DACM, L.Ac
Family Tree Acupuncture & Wellness