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Spring isn’t the only allergy season anymore …
Allergies are now an all-year affliction. We have toxic molds, pests, food allergies, pet allergies … even our genes can trigger reactions to allergens.
New research from the Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development (CHILD) study also shows that when infants are exposed to traffic pollution they are more susceptible to developing allergies.
And these days, what babies aren’t exposed? They all ride in cars, or get walked down streets in a stroller … it’s inevitable.
Of course, springtime is still a severe season for the one out of seven of us who start to have our noses clog with painful sinusitis as plants fill the air with their allergens.
The good news is, help is available: Natural therapies not only offer long-term support for sinuses and against allergies, and they can improve your overall health, too.
While chronic sinus problems may not seem like a serious health threat, they can indicate imbalances in other systems such as digestion and immunity. Sinus infections may also cause symptoms like chronic headaches, abdominal pain and menstrual problems.
Allergies and digestion: Dairy and gluten
It may seem like a stretch to link allergies with digestion, but they are very closely connected.
One common source of allergies is intestinal inflammation which allows large molecules to pass through the gut wall, entering the circulation. When the immune system identifies these foreign molecules, an immune attack is launched.
This allergic reaction initiates an inflammatory process that can significantly affect the sinuses. Two dietary sources known to cause sinus congestion and allergies in many people are dairy products and gluten (found in wheat, rye, barley, spelt and kamut).
By avoiding these two food groups, allergy-prone individuals can find significant relief from acute and chronic sinus problems.
The sinus situation
Sinusitis is a bit different. The warm, moist environment of the nasal passages, is a perfect environment for pathogens to thrive. Often, the progression to chronic sinusitis involves the presence of these bugs, which are usually embedded in their own protective biofilm coating, making treatment even more difficult.
The holistic treatment of chronic sinusitis requires a dynamic approach that addresses allergies, the digestive system, dental health, immune support, circulation and drainage. Key components include gentle detoxification, herbs and botanicals, diet, acupuncture, nutrients, and homeopathic remedies. These natural therapies can offer long-term support for sinuses while improving overall health in the process.
Circulation and drainage
Promoting healthy circulation helps to drain the sinuses and relieve chronic inflammation. Effective therapies that help promote circulation and drainage of the sinuses include:
- Infrared sauna: An infrared sauna gives off therapeutic infrared heat that can be absorbed by the body, promoting blood flow in general, and circulation in the sinuses. Not to mention that sweating is your body’s natural way to expel toxins. A timely sauna can get rid of accumulated environmental toxicant buildup and stave off allergic reactions.
- Neural therapy: For more severe sinus conditions, I often use neural therapy in my clinical practice that involves injecting the tonsils and sinuses with homeopathic remedies and an anesthetic. From my experience as a holistic medical doctor, it is apparent that many emotions are stored in the sinuses. My patients often report a major release of grief, sadness and trauma in conjunction with sinus drainage.
- Cranialsacral therapy: Cranialsacral therapy can help improve sinus conditions by creating more space between the cranial bones, promoting normal drainage and relieving sinus pressure.
- Neti pot: Irrigating the sinuses with a traditional Ayurvedic neti pot is a simple way to promote drainage. A 5 percent salt solution may be used, or tea tree oil may be added to the water. Another option is to add powdered extracts of Hydrastis canadensis, Berberis vulgaris or Berberis aquifolium. These herbs contain berberine, a plant alkaloid with antibacterial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties. For complete instructions on safe use of a Neti pot, go here.
Foods and nutrients to the rescue
Improving diet by emphasizing nutrient-dense, anti-allergy foods — such as brightly colored fruits and vegetables, healthy fats and lean protein — can help reduce allergic reactions while improving other areas of health.
A variety of herbs and supplements can be useful in reducing allergic reactions, decreasing inflammation, boosting immunity and helping to thin and expel mucous in chronic sinusitis.
- Vitamin C has antihistamine, anti-inflammation and immunity-boosting properties.
- Zinc is a nutrient that is necessary for optimal immune function; a deficiency can impair immunity and increase inflammation.
- Quercetin and hesperidin are plant nutrients that inhibit inflammation-producing enzymes and reduce the release of histamine from immune cells.
- Bromelain, a pineapple enzyme, has anti-inflammatory properties and helps thin and expel mucous. Clinical trials have shown that bromelain helps reduce inflammation of the nasal mucosa in acute sinusitis patients.
- Jin Yin Hua and Lian Qiao are two Chinese herbal combinations that can reduce inflammation and increase immune response.
My best advice is not to wait for allergy season to begin your anti-allergy program … because there is no “allergy season” anymore. Allergies can pop up anytime from anywhere in today’s world.
By balancing your system year-round with the right healthy foods, supplements and stress-relief practices, you can optimize immunity and reduce or eliminate allergic reactions for long-term energy and vitality.
For more practical information on all-natural remedies, visit http://www.dreliaz.org/.