This month we begin a new series on natural health from Dr. Sarah Ouano, ND, Lead Practitioner at Pharmaca Madison Park
With spring in full swing, Madison Park residents are enjoying gorgeous blooms and warmer weather. Unfortunately many of us have fallen victim to our allergies, too! For some, this means a constant runny or stuffy nose, sneezing fits, facial headaches, fullness in the ears or deep fatigue. Before buying a never-ending supply of over-the-counter antihistamines, you might consider a more natural approach.
A Bit of Physiology: Why a Natural Antihistamine is Important
“Allergies” is a collective term for a natural reaction that happens when a foreign substance, or “allergen,” causes the release of inflammatory molecules, including histamine. Over-the-counter antihistamines only address histamine, and the other inflammatory complexes remain unchecked. With long-term use, these can contribute to the development of allergic asthma and other allergy-related illnesses.
Quercetin: An Effective Alternative
Natural anti-inflammatory products that are plant- and vitamin-based stabilize all of the receptor sites, which prevents the release of not only histamine, but the whole scope of other inflammatory molecules. The most commonly used natural antihistamine is quercetin, which is often sourced from yellow onions. Quercetin’s absorption into the body is increased when taken with bromelain, an enzyme from pineapples, which breaks up the mucous that has already formed and prevents any further mucous development. As natural compounds originally found in foods, none of these natural substances are able to cross the blood-brain barrier, and therefore do not cause drowsiness, as many over-the-counter options do.
Avoiding Excess Allergic Triggers
A large part of successfully navigating allergy season is decreasing your exposure to allergens in the first place, and it always starts at home. Cleaning bedding at least once a week, airing out the house to prevent mold, using a high-quality air filter or purifier, and effectively dusting each week can be a huge help.
A Few More Ideas
Some of my favorite allergy treatments are simple and inexpensive. First, I recommend using a neti pot every night to gently clean your sinuses (we brush our teeth every night, why not our noses?). Second, consuming local organic honey or homeopathic preparations of common allergens on a regular basis can help the body desensitize itself to the local array of allergens. Drinking nettles tea can also systemically decrease inflammation, so a cup a day can do wonders to keep allergies at bay.
As you can see, there are many options available when it comes to tackling your family’s allergies! Ultimately, and as with any changes to your supplement and medication routine, consult with your primary care doctor to ensure there are no interactions to adding these natural substances. The expert wellness team at Pharmaca Madison Park is always available to discuss which products might be right for you. Have a happy, healthy spring!