It’s no secret that the more medicine we take – over the counter or prescription – the less likely our bodies are able to respond to the medicines. We build a tolerance, which means that when you take ibuprofen on a regular basis for headaches, it will eventually become necessary to up your dosage from one pill to two, and two to three, and so on. With the constant pressure we receive in the media to treat everything from sleeplessness to post-nasal drip (which, by the way, is a media convention … post means after – so if it’s a drip happening after your nose … well, you get the picture), it’s easy to see why we tend to turn immediately to the medicine cabinet for all of our daily “worries”.
As we grow older, our tendency to develop allergies grows with us. Where once we could run through a hay field, tumble around with the dogs, and happily roll in the grass, now those same things can bring an irritating onset of runny nose and itchy eyes. Some acne, in fact, is caused by allergies and it’s a long-known fact that allergies can set off a nasty bout with asthma. If we turn to the medicine chest for every sniffle we get, though, what are we doing for our chances of having the medication we really need work all that well next time?
There are many ways to treat your allergies naturally, without medicine. Unless it’s an allergy that is life-threatening, try one of these methods before you reach for the multi-colored pills. You might find that some of them are even more effective, and you’re boosting your body’s natural defenses while you take care of the irritation.
About Natural Allergy Treatment
By treating your allergies naturally with things like vitamins, minerals, and herbs, you also boost and strengthen your immune system and provide adrenal support. In other words, not only are you fighting your allergy symptoms, you’re also helping your body fight illness down the line.
Right, so there’s actually a name for this approach to fighting allergies – it’s called the “Orthomolecular” approach. What this method does is focus on using nutritional supplements to strengthen the body, which helps you correct nutritional imbalances that can compromise your immune system (leaving you wide open to a case of the sniffles), and it supports the body’s natural functions to let your body itself fight allergies.
So you can look at it this way: Medications, in the long run, weaken the body’s defenses and make it harder for other medicines to come to its aid. Nutrition as an allergy treatment, on the other hand, actually builds up your body’s defenses and prevents the need for other medications to come to your body’s aid. Seems pretty cut and dry.
Nutritional supplements are combined into an allergy relief plan to achieve specific effects. First, herbs and dietary supplements that strengthem the immune system are essential. Then, other nutrients and herbs strengthen the adrenal glands in your body so that you can fight allergens better. The last group of supplements work as natural antihistamines, decongestants, and relieve the inflammation that usually comes with allergies.
Creating an Allergy Relief Plan
As I’ve mentioned over and over, the first step to fighting allergies – and illness – is to make sure that your immune system is ticking in tip-top shape. So the first thing that you should be concerned with in any natural treatment plan is strengthening the immune system with “immune boosters”. If you want a quick place to start doing that, most nutritional literature today shows that the most powerful natural allergy supplement is Vitamin C with Quercitin. It works as an antihistamine, which gives pretty quick allergy relief, and the Vitamin C helps your immune system.
When you develop your plan, after placing immune support at the top of your list, you have a lot of choices to work with. You can combine nutritional supplements (vitamins) with herbs to achieve fast relief, or, if you’re wary of herbs, you can stick with just the supplements. The three categories you need to address are Immune Support, Adrenal Support, and Antihistamine/Decongestant Action. Choose one type of natural supplement for each of these categories, and you’re well on your way to natural relief that will keep you from illness down the line.
Nutritional Supplements for Allergy Relief
Vitamin C w/bioflavonoids This supplement works as a natural antihistamine, and it boosts your immune system while providing adrenal support. All around, it’s a perfect place to start. Take up to 5000 mg daily.
Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) B5 boosts adrenal function and also defends against stress. It is a good addition to other supplements that boost immunity and provide antihistamine action. Take up to 1000 mg 2 times daily.
CoQ10 An all-around good supplement, this one does more than just boost immunity and work as an antihistamine – it also helps you deal with stress, and is often combined with B Vitamins in counter-acting depression symptoms. Take 60 mg 3 times daily.
Vitamin A If your allergies come with nasty coughing and runny nose, it’s a good bet that you have some inflammation going on. Vitamin A will reduce the inflammation, and boost your immune system all in one stroke. Take 10,000 IU 2 times daily.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids Combine this supplement with Vitamin A and CoQ10 for a complete allergy relief plan – it works to generally reduce allergic reactions. Take 1000 mg daily.
Herbal Supplements for Adrenal Support
Licorice Root In almost every bit of herbal literature that deals with allergies and colds, licorice root is touted as an almost-miracle cure. It works so well because it encourages the adrenal glands to produce hormones that fight illness and allergies, as well as reduces inflammation. Licorice root also increases the level of interferon produced by your body, a natural chemical that fights viruses. Try a licorice root tea, available at health food stores, and drink it hot 3 times daily.
Astragalus This herbal helper, usually taken in capsule form, increases your body’s metabolic activity (which can mean a bit of weight loss on the side) and strengthens your immune system. It also helps build a natural resistance to colds and the flu, which may mean fewer sick days. Like licorice root, it increases the body’s production of interferon. Locate astragalus capsules, often available in health food stores, and follow the directions indicated for use.
Capsicum As natural things go, capsicum is a little herb that packs a big punch. It is high in Vitamin C and quercitin, a natural antihistamine. Studies have shown that it may help your respiratory system fight infections, and it has been proven to increase energy and help with allergies and respiratory problems like bronchitis, asthma, and general colds. This is another herb which is better taken in capsule form. Follow the direction included with your bottle.
Herbal Supplements for Antihistamine and Decongestant Actions
Goldenseal Root Do NOT take Goldenseal if you have any kind of heart problems, as this can cause serious complications. Other than that, Goldenseal is extremely effective in soothing inflammation, and it contains berberine that acts as an anti-bacterial and anti-fungal agent, providing antibiotic effects. Most commonly available in capsule form, follow the instructions included with your packaging.
Eyebright Both colds and allergies are aided well with this herbal supplement. It eases congestion, coughs, and hay fever. Many herbalists recommend using eyebright with stinging nettle, but I personally feel it is best used with nutritional supplements that boost the immune system. In all, it is very effective as part of any natural allergy treatment plan. Once again, purchase in capsule form and follow the instructions given for dosage.