Navigating surging Autumn & Spring Allergies with Naturopathic Support. What are seasonal allergies? The immune system is a complex set of cells, organs and tissues that takes responsibility for defending our body against infection and disease . When the immune system is activated in a person, it raises the red flag of a harmful agent coming into contact with the body by causing symptoms such as a runny nose, runny and red eyes, a headache, wheeze and, in some people, raise a response to substances that are not usually harmful to the body such as food, pollen or perfume . When it comes to seasonal allergies, it is the upper respiratory tract that is most affected by airborne particles picked up on seasonal winds .
With allergic rhinitis (upper respiratory allergy symptoms) affecting 20% of the adult population and up to 40% of children worldwide, it is Australia has one of the highest allergy rates in the world. And it really is the perfect storm for those who suffer from allergic symptoms [1,2]. When in drought, the winds raised in autumn and spring lift dust from the interior of the country and deposit it in the already polluted airs of our cities. And when it is time for our crops and natives to bloom, it is this air that transports pollen and plant matter into our suburban streets and towns .
Natural Support for the allergy patient. Naturopathic care for the viral patient involves supporting the immune system to recover from infection with nutritional interventions and herbal medicines to encourage recovery .
Assessment of the allergy patient
- Check for and attend to environmental allergens – when assessing a patient for allergies, a naturopath will ask a range of questions about your environment and lifestyle, as well as, where indicated, order pathology testing for environmental allergies [1, 3]. All with the aim of drafting a personalised care plan to care for, improve and modify your exposure to allergens.
Nutritional interventions for allergy patients
- Zinc. The fight against allergies includes bolstering the immune system and supporting the health of cells in the upper respiratory tract in order to support the patient in having a proportional response to environmental allergens. For this purpose, zinc is vital [1, 3].
- Vitamin C. Supportive for mounting a healthy immune response, as well as a key upper respiratory tract protective and restorative nutrient, Vitamin C is necessary for a healthy upper respiratory tract,[1,3].
Herbal Medicines for allergy patients
- Anti-allergy & recovery herb Albizzia (Albizzia lebek) – used in traditional Indian Ayurvedic medicine as an anti-allergy herb, Albizzia is beneficial for respiratory and skin irritations that can occur result of seasonal allergies .
- Upper respiratory anti-allergy herb Eyebright (Euphrasia officinalis) for a runny eyes & nose – as a tonic and astringent to the eye, Eyebright is known for its actions in attending to increased discharges from the eye, nose and ears, whilst also being employed as an anti-catarrhal herb to assist in reducing the risk of upper respiratory complaints leading to lower respiratory complaints [5, 1].
- Lymphatic recovery herbs Poke (Phytolacca decandra), Calendula (Calendula officinalis) & Golden Seal (Hydrastas canadensis) – traditionally used when lymph glands are swollen as a result of an allergic reaction and subsequent upper respiratory tract inflammation, lymphatic herbs assist the body in fighting the inflammation caused by allergic immune responses .
- Skin support for allergic skin rashes and eruptions Chickweed (Stellaria media) and Calendula (Calendula officinalis) – protective and healing in nature, Chickweed and Calendula are often used as emollients in skin preparations, in order to alleviate the discomfort that occurs in allergic skin conditions [1, 5].
If you would like to know more about assessing and addressing your seasonal allergies with comprehensive testing and personalised natural and complementary medicines, consider a consultation with me or one of our qualified team of Naturopaths at Brisbane Livewell Clinics