With spring’s latent arrival to the Upper Valley comes the deluge of pollens and spores from our local trees and grasses. To many this is the time to take Allegra, Claritin, or one of the numerous other allergy drugs being pushed today. Now don’t get me wrong; I’m not against these drugs since they are often quite effective for temporary relief. But often people are told to take them indefinitely or for weeks at a time. To me “temporary” is a few days or a week for symptomatic relief. Anything longer and I’d have to argue that the “cause” should be addressed and air borne particles are not the cause! They are merely the irritants that your body can’t handle. The sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes and scratchy throat symptoms can also be eliminated by finding and correcting what it is within your system that is not performing properly. A wholistic approach of addressing nutritional excesses and deficiencies while balancing hormones and the nervous system will result in your allergic symptoms never having the opportunity to manifest. The idea is to bring your physiology back to normal as it once was. This is the best solution for persistent allergies or when you just don’t want to take drugs and be subjected to the side effects they inherently cause.
The basic idea is to strengthen your sinus tissues so that the particles of pollen, dust, or mold will no longer cause you to have a histamine reaction. In other words the cells themselves need to be sufficiently strong in order to not be damaged and release histamine as a protective measure.
The sequence of reactions goes something like this: irritant to mucous membranes, histamine release, walling off of area by congestion so as to protect further perceived attack by the body. Then a reduction of the inflammation via adrenal hormones and a lessening of congestion can occur. If this doesn’t happen, the immune system will get involved and treats the sinuses as it would an infection. If that occurs, more congestion ensues along with creating an environment that is ripe for a secondary bacterial infection.
Acidification of the tissues actually helps prevent the histamine reaction. Old remedies such as “apple cider vinegar” do help as does tablets that acidify the tissues. Taking a tablespoon or two of apple cider vinegar and a dash of honey in a cup of water makes a reasonably pleasant drink too.
Very often the adrenal glands are too stressed to produce enough of the hormone that reduces inflammation. So they must be supported nutritionally and dietetically as well. The body’s response to other “stressors” can play a key role in fatiguing the adrenals too. The most common factor is dietary glucose stress, followed by physiological stress.
Nutrition for adrenal support is often necessary but my first choice is to strengthen the mucous membranes as I mentioned earlier. So, very often this can be done with the addition of calcium, magnesium, vitamin C, bioflavonoids and “B” vitamins.
Stimulating the nervous system via chiropractic adjustments can remarkably alleviate many allergic symptoms. Cranial therapy (gentle corrections for the bones of the skull to continue in rhythmic motions) does affect the nervous system by balancing both the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system.
Stress plays an important role in allergies of all types. The mind dictates your chemistry and habits. The adrenal glands are directly affected by positive and negative stress. Handling the stress in you life goes a long way keeping your systems balanced and functioning normally.
I had seasonal allergies once myself and they can be corrected. You do not have to rely on drugs that do nothing to correct the cause and have adverse side effects.
Randy Schaetzke, D.C., D.I.B.A.K.