« Medicine is the art of imitating the
curative processes of nature » - Hippocrate
Runny nose, sneezing, red eyes, itching... For people living with seasonal allergies, also known as allergic rhinitis, every year it's the same thing: we flee the country, swallow decongestants and antihistamines and restock our tissues.
The main culprits: tree pollen, ragweed and grasses. Is there anything to do with naturopathy to prevent but also to calm seasonal allergy attacks when they occur? Absolutely! Here is a range of interesting solutions to survive and, above all, enjoy the beautiful season in complete serenity:
There are several factors that play a role in the appearance of allergies, including genetics, environmental factors and stress. While we cannot control genetics, we can control environmental factors and stress.
To take care of one's immune system is first of all to adopt a healthy and varied diet, rich in vitamins, minerals and trace elements, but also in phytonutrients of all kinds that act as a medicine for our body. This type of diet will contribute to the health of the immune system and reduce inflammatory factors.
First of all, inflammatory and immune-suppressing foods such as sugar, dairy products and gluten should be avoided as much as possible. These foods can cause intolerance, inflammation and be recognized as "antigen" by the immune system. As for sugar, it should be consumed in moderation, except of course, the natural sugar in fruits. Indeed, a higher sugar level slows down the ability of white blood cells to attack the intruder and a too high sugar intake increases inflammation and cortisol levels which is detrimental to the proper functioning of the immune system.
It will be important to avoid deficiencies in these few key nutrients for a good immune response: Vitamin D, vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin E, selenium, zinc and protein.
Quercetin is an organic compound of the flavonoid family. According to some studies, it has properties to reduce allergic rhinitis, asthma and inflammation. Here are some foods rich in quercetin: red onions (especially the peel), capers, lovage, apples, red grapes, berries, figs, beans, broccoli.
The health of the intestinal flora, our magical ecosystem that allows for adequate immunity, will be paramount. Scientific links (and more and more of them) have shown links between the appearance of allergies and gut health. A good probiotic supplement will do the trick over the long term to correct the problem or at least improve it. Other tips will also be beneficial, such as adding lacto-ferments to the diet. Think of adding a little organic sauerkraut to your daily diet for example. In addition, our micro-organisms that make up the intestinal flora love variety and color. This is because it provides a large amount of different phytonutrients. Taking prebiotics (Jerusalem artichoke, inulin, dandelion, chicory, yacon) will also help feed the "friendly" bacteria of a healthy flora. Finally, it is wise to avoid preservatives, overcooked meats, deli meats, nitrites, sugar and sweeteners. These are harmful to our microbiota. And finally, adopting lifestyle habits that allow us to better manage stress and greatly promote intestinal health.
Omega 3 essential fatty acids reduce the risk of developing allergies and have anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce the symptoms of allergic rhinitis.
Dose: 1-2 capsules per day in addition to a diet rich in omega 3 fatty acids: flaxseed, hempseed, walnuts, fish and seafood.
Quercetin is an antioxidant that is part of the flavonoids, which has properties to modulate the immune system. According to some studies, it could help prevent and alleviate seasonal allergy symptoms, especially by reducing congestion and irritation of the eyes. More conclusive studies have yet to be done, but it is worth trying!
Dose: 100-200 mg capsules, 3 times daily. To be combined with vitamin C for an even more antihistaminic effect.
Nettle is a plant with very interesting antihistamine properties thanks to its quercetin content in addition to containing good amounts of vitamin C.
Dose: As a preventive measure, you can drink a large quantity (2-3 cups per day) of nettle tea every day for several months, at least the 3-4 months before the appearance of allergens in the air. If you like the taste, it is even better to take it daily, for a full year! In "crisis" mode, take a dosage of 1ml of tincture in a little water every 30 minutes until symptoms diminish and up to a maximum of 15ml per day.
German chamomile steam baths can alleviate itching, itchy eyes and redness. Indeed, its essential oils, chamazulenes, which are powerful anti-inflammatories, act on the mucous membranes of the nose and bronchi in addition to having an antihistaminic effect against allergic rhinitis and bronchial constrictions involved in asthma.
Preparation: Pour 1-2L of boiling water on a handful of chamomile flowers and breathe for 10-20 minutes over the jar or pot with a towel over your head. Be careful not to burn yourself! It is also possible to prepare a concentrated chamomile tea, let it cool and soak a cotton cloth to make compresses on the eyes. This is very soothing and will help reduce redness and swelling.
Elderberry, being anti-inflammatory and mucolytic, will greatly help regulate mucous membrane secretions. It also reduces inflammation of the respiratory system, caused by allergic rhinitis. It can be combined with nettle for even more effectiveness.
Dose: Infuse 1 teaspoon in 1 cup of water (fresh or dried flowers). In case of crisis, drink 3 cups per day and up to 1 cup per hour.
This small, common-looking plant has many medicinal properties against allergies. Its leaves and medicinal components reduce histamine hyperactivity, tone the lungs and ease nasal congestion.
Use and dosage: Simply chew a little every day to obtain interesting effects. Otherwise, the juice of plantain leaves can be a solution, although the taste is not very tasty. You can also take the tincture (of the fresh plant) at a rate of 10 to 40 drops, 3 to 4 times a day.
Acupuncture has good results in preventing and controlling seasonal allergies. Acupuncturists usually recommend starting sessions early in the season, in early spring. Combined with naturopathy and a healthy lifestyle, acupuncture can be a great way to get rid of allergic rhinitis!
A HEPA air filter could potentially be beneficial. It filters out many of the allergenic particles in the air in your home. There are also vacuum cleaners with a HEPA filter.