Allergies can produce a great deal of
suffering. In America alone, around 28 million people suffer from hay fever, and that does not include all the
individuals who are allergic to pet dander, dust, foods, and bee stings.
Allergies are the result of an immune
response gone overboard. Substances like dust, pollen, dust mites, and so forth are not harmful like pathogens. But
in the allergic individual, these substances produce an extreme immune response. From debilitating to a mere
annoyance, allergy symptoms are no fun.
Thankfully, there is a place for natural
remedies in allergy management. Here are some natural approaches that may help reduce allergy symptoms. (Note: the
natural remedies discussed below are not intended to be used to treat or prevent anaphylaxis, a deadly form of
allergic response that is a medical emergency.)
1. Ginkgo: Have you heard of Ginkgo for memory? Interestingly,
Ginkgo contains some substances that inhibit a chemical produced by the body during an allergic response:
platelet-activating factor, or PAF. When your body produces PAF in response to an allergen, the PAF sets off
a chain of events that lead to allergic symptoms and inflammation. Inhibiting the PAF means that the allergic
response does not get to complete its cycle. It's like breaking the link in a chain.
Ginkgo is generally sold in standardized
extract form. Herbalists recommend 60 to 240 milligrams daily, but no more than that. Ginkgo is low in side effects
but high in effectiveness.
2. Garlic: Garlic contains a substance called quercetin, which can
actually be taken as a supplement (more on that below). Other foods contain quercetin, too, but garlic has
high concentrations of this substance. Quercetin is reputed to slow down inflammatory reactions, such as
those found in allergic reactions. Onions, too, contain a significant amount of quercetin.
3. Enzymatic Therapy: Enzymes - or a lack of them - are implicated in the
development of allergies. At their very basic level, allergens are proteins, and certain enzymes are able to
break down proteins before they can incite an allergic reaction. Enzymes can be taken in supplement form, but
they may have digestive effects. However, many allergy sufferers find that the side effects are greatly
reduced when the enzymes are taken with food.
4. Quercetin: Quercetin reduces the release of histamine in our body.
Quercetin supplements are often suggested as a treatment for allergies. As noted above, certain foods contain
quercetin, too. This is another argument for a healthy diet, because the foods that contain the most
quercetin are those foods that are some of the healthiest: garlic, onions, apples, peppers, tomatoes,
berries, red wine (in moderation!), and citrus fruits - to name a few.
5. Anti-inflammatory foods: Inflammation is what also produces many of your common
allergy symptoms. Eating an anti-inflammatory diet by avoiding things that trigger inflammation, and eating
things that reduce inflammation, is an easy option. There is a wide range of tasty foods you can add to your
diet. These include blueberries, oats, green tea, ginger, turmeric, wild-caught salmon, raw honey