As many as 50 million people in the United States, or about one in five people, have allergies. If you or someone you know is constantly coughing and sneezing, chances are they have allergies. In fact, allergies are a leading cause of illness in the U.S. These allergies exist in many different forms. Allergies, including allergic rhinitis, may interfere with day-to-day activities or lessen the quality of life.
Symptoms can arise from something that is usually harmless, including plant pollen, dust mites, molds, insect stings or food in those suffering from allergies. According to the Centers of Disease Control, food related allergies are estimated to effect 4-6% of children and 4% of adults. These symptoms are most common in babies and children, but can appear at any age. Even when eating foods you have had for years without any problems.
Your immune system keeps your body healthy by fighting off infections and other foreign dangers to your good health. A allergy reaction occurs when your immune system overreacts to an allergen, identifying it as a danger and triggering a protective response. This response can result in many different reactions and symptoms, including sneezing, runny or stuffy nose, wheezing, shortness of breath, cough, rashes, fatigue, headache, nausea and vomiting, and fever.
These symptoms typically depend on the type of allergy you are suffering from, for this article we are going to focus on seasonal allergy causes, symptoms, and natural treatments. For many, each and every year spring brings along warmth, sunshine and a few allergy symptoms. These symptoms can include congested sinuses, headaches, and watery or itchy eyes. Millions of Americans find there relief from these symptoms with over-the-counter medications like Benadryl, Claritin and others.
These medications may not be needed and should probably be avoided after the report published in JAMA Internal Medicine, where researchers offer compelling evidence linking long-term use of anticholinergic medications like Benadryl to dementia. These drugs block the action of acetylcholine, the substance that transmits messages in the nervous system. Acetylcholine is also involved in learning and memory functions of the brain.
The results of the research done by a team lead by Shelley Gray, a pharmacist at the University of Washington’s School of Pharmacy, found that taking an anticholinergic for the equivalent of three years or more was associated with a 54% higher dementia risk than taking the same dose for three months or less. Luckily, these potentially dangers medications may not be needed with a little help from mother nature.
First up is a naturally sweet savior for your allergies in the form of "Local Raw Honey." Believe it or not, taking raw honey is an ancient remedy for allergies that shouldn't be discounted. Eating at least one tablespoon of local, raw honey every day will help build up your tolerance to the local pollen that might be causing your allergy symptoms.
In fact, an article published in 2011 by The International Archives of Allergy and Immunology discovered that patients taking local honey “reported a 60 percent lower total symptom score, twice as many asymptomatic days, and 70 percent fewer days with severe symptoms.” And they used 50 percent less antihistamines compared to the control group that took conventional meds.
Stinging nettle is another natural, herbal medicine that has been used since the times of medieval Europe. Now, recent studies from the University of Maryland Medical Center suggest that stinging nettle can effectively treat a wide range of health concerns including urinary problems like tract infections, benign prostatic hyperplasia, hay fever or allergic rhinitis, as well as joint pain, sprain and strains.
Research has specifically shown that stinging nettle leaf naturally controls histamines, which is why a growing number of doctors recommend taking a freeze-dried preparation before hay fever season begins. It can also be used as a tea or in tincture form. I steep a bag of nettle tea in my morning coffee, which works great for me!
The blue-green algae spirulina has also been shown to have positive effects on allergy symptoms. This is a superfood that we have featured in many articles and continues to prove itself as one of the healthiest, most nutrient dense foods on the planet! If the idea of eating algae doesn't sound to appetizing, don't worry! We have you covered with our 14-in-1 Superfood Greens that features spirulina in a great tasting drink mix.
Those are not all of the natural allergy relievers out there! It's becoming well-known that a strong immune system starts with a healthy gut. After all, with 80% of our immune function being stored in the your gastrointestinal or GI tract, it should be a no brainer that probiotic use is linked to reduced risk of allergies. Probiotics are the beneficial or good bacteria that live inside your GI tract and help defend your body against infections, viruses, allergies and more.
These bacterium are so effective that a study published in the journal Pediatrics discovered that women who regularly take probiotics during pregnancy significantly reduce their child’s risk of developing allergies. They can be found in a wide variety of foods and drinks like sauerkraut, kimchi, yogurt, and kombucha or in health supplements like our Organic Superfood Greens. It's best to use a combination of foods and supplementation to really ensure the effectiveness of probiotics for allergy symptom relief.
So the next time it's "that time of year" again and you start sneezing and coughing, don't keep reaching for the Benadryl until you forgot where you put them. Look down the natural path of allergy relief and see what mother nature has to offer!