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Allergies

What are Allergies?
An allergy is an inflammatory immune response triggered by eating certain foods, touching certain substances, or inhaling an irritant such as pollen. When the body encounters a foreign substance, it can react by making antibodies or releasing certain chemicals called histamines.

Food allergy symptoms can include rashes, hives, swelling, among others. Allergies to pollen, spores, mold, and dust (also called hay fever or allergic rhinitis) affect the respiratory system and are usually the most difficult to control.

Symptoms of hay fever are sneezing, runny nose, stuffy nose, watery eyes, itchy eyes and nose, and headache. Hay fever is often seasonal (when pollen is in the air), but if constantly exposed to an offending substance, such as pet dander, symptoms can last year-round.

How Can Naturopathy Help Relieve Allergies?
From a naturopathic viewpoint, allergies are often associated with weak adrenal, immune, and digestive functions. Natural treatments are used to support and improve those functions and to alleviate symptoms.

Which Naturopathic Medicine Treatments Are Recommended for Allergies?
Examples of naturopathic treatments for allergies include counseling and education on lifestyle changes, and nutritional therapy.

Recommended dietary changes may include drinking plenty of water, and recommending some of the following foods:

  • Deep yellow and orange vegetables
  • Dark green, leafy vegetables
  • Cabbage (blood cleansing, can promote production of antioxidants)
  • Beet tops, beets (high in vitamins A and C, magnesium)
  • Onions (good source of vitamins A and C, help to drain mucous and loosen phlegm)
  • Garlic (powerful antioxidant)
  • Ginger (blood cleansing, helps digestive health)
  • Cayenne (high in vitamins A, C, B-Complex)

Any food may be an allergen, particularly if it contains pesticides and has been exposed to chemical sprays. These may affect several body systems, with the gastrointestinal, nervous, respiratory and skin areas most often affected.

Foods frequently eliminated from the diet include:

  • Alcohol (triggers migraines)
  • Caffeine (triggers migraines, promotes hay fever)
  • Dairy products (promote hay fever)
  • Bananas and citrus fruit (can trigger eczema)
  • Food colorings (can bring about childhood allergies)
  • Peanuts (promote hay fever, can trigger hives)
  • Red meat (can bring about childhood allergies)
  • Wheat (can promote gluten allergies if introduced too soon to the body; can trigger asthma, headaches, and hay fever)
  • Vitamins, minerals, and other dietary supplements may include:

  • Bioflavonoids (natural antihistamines and strongly anti-allergenic)
  • Probiotics (improves digestion, which can impact allergic response)
  • Vitamin A (high in betacarotene, which works to boost the immune system, helping to naturally fight off the histamine or allergy response to specific allergens)
  • Vitamin B-Complex (can help to reduce allergy symptoms by half)
  • Vitamin C (acts as a mild antihistamine)
  • Vitamin E (antioxidant that can help boost and increase the effect of the immune system.)
  • Magnesium (helps make breathing easier)
  • Various herbs to use may include Dong quai, eyebright, gingko, milk thistle, red clover, stinging nettles, and yarrow. Hydrotherapy in the form of castor oil packs, hot foot baths, and nasal lavage may be recommended.


    Page Last Updated: October 8, 2009

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