6 Tips to Manage Allergies

For those that suffer from allergies, there is mixed emotion seeing the trees bloom. While it’s so exciting after a long winter to see the buds on the trees, there is also dread for the myriad of symptoms and suffering to come.

An allergic response is an exaggerated response of the body’s immune system to a substance that is normally harmless to the body such as pollen, weeds, animals and foods. When your body encounters an “allergy pathogen” mast cells release histamine which is involved in an inflammatory response. This sets in motion any number of responses in our body- making us feel miserable. There are many ways we can improve allergy symptoms by thinking about all of the components to a reaction. These six ideas can help!

  1. Nasal Cleansing (with a Neti pot). Don't worry, you won't feel like you're drowning! The Neti pot is the best way to flush out allergens, decrease swelling in the nasal passages, and rid your sinuses of phlegm and bacteria. This Ancient technique involves using a small pot of warm water and salt, tilting your head to the side and pouring the solution into one side of your nose. The solution will pass through your sinus and come out the other side. If you’ve never done it, take a look at youtube for a visual!

  2. Supplements. Quercetin, Vitamin C, Nettles, Bromelain, Boswellia, Astragalus: These are just a few ideas for what can help decrease inflammation and improve and regulate the immune response. In Chinese Herbalism, we use more specific Chinese Herbs for a customized approach based on your symptoms and diagnosis. Herbs are also beneficial to strengthen your resistance to allergens.

  3. Acupuncture. In Chinese Medicine, specific points are used to help symptoms such as stuffy nose, foggy head, low energy and itchy eyes as well as treat the underlying cause by regulating the liver and immune system. Your acupuncturist will do a full assessment to determine your diagnosis and then use Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine suited for you specifically.

  4. Detox liver. The liver removes toxins from our blood. Having a overloaded toxic liver can affect how quickly your body clears histamine. Eating a consistently healthy, chemical free diet will do more for the health of your liver than a fad-based, quick-fix, weekend type liver detox. Antioxidants and vitamins found in fresh fruits and vegetables will reduce liver inflammation and boost immune function, while Brussels sprouts will increase the activity of important liver enzymes. To gently detoxify the liver every day, a glass of water containing freshly squeezed lemon each morning will help.

  5. Stress reduction. Adrenalin affects mast cells and causes allergy symptoms to be worse. Allergies alone can be anxiety provoking, so working on a comprehensive plan to reduce stress is highly beneficial. Think 8 hrs sleep, mindfulness meditation, and gentle exercise.

  6. Balance the Gut. Start by reducing sugar and other inflammatory foods such as dairy and processed foods. Adding raw, fermented foods is one of the best ways you can naturally balance your gut flora. Most Whole Foods markets carry them in jars in the refrigerated section. I’m personally loving the Real Pickles brand beets! In addition, a good probiotic with proven technology to deliver what the label says is great as well. Look for the following strains: l. casei, l. rhamnosus, b. longum.

Allergies make many people miserable this time of year, but they don’t have to! By regulating your bodies response, you can better adapt to the changing seasons.

Eczema and the Gut

Did you know that eczema affects 30 million Americans? Eczema literally refers to several types of skin swelling, but the most common type is Atopic Dermatitis. It makes skin red, very dry and itchy and often affects babies and children. It can even cause blisters ti form under the skin in certain types of Eczema.

What causes Eczema? It’s cause is not known in western medicine but some suggest it could be an immune disorder. In Chinese Medicine we know this disorder can be a combination of factors such as heat, wind, and dampness. Heat makes the skin red, wind causes it to itch, and dampness can be present if there is oozing or blisters. When we recommend Chinese Herbs to treat this disorder, we aim to treat the root cause so that the symptoms do not return. Chinese medicine has been treating Eczema for hundreds of years using both internal herbs and external herbs.

Another factor to consider is diet. Evidence suggests that improving the gut “microbiome” can positively affect eczema symptoms. Nourishing all of the beneficial bacteria in our digestive tract through diet helps to regulate the immune system. This in turn can keep our skin healthy. Avoiding sugar, increasing intake of fiber and adding probiotic rich foods like raw pickled vegetables are a few ways to improve the gut flora. A high quality probiotic can also be useful. The strain Lactobacillus rhamnosus is one to look for on the label. This one has shown to have immunomodulatory effects and lower the incidence of eczema in children by 44%.

Inflammation of the lining of the intestine due to stress, inflammatory foods, preservatives and chemicals in food can create a condition known as Leaky Gut syndrome. This leads to a situation of increased intestinal permeability where intestinal contents can then leak into the system. When this happens our bodies mount an immune response, creating more sensitivities and inflammation. Leaky Gut is suggested to be the cause of many diseases including eczema, so healing the gut is crucial. For more information about leaky gut, check out this article written by Leo Galland, MD. http://huff.to/1ib3ooZ

Topical treatments can be very helpful either on their own or in combination with internal herbs. Dermatologists often prescribe topical steroids. These can cause PERMANENT thinning of your skin, so extreme caution should be taken when using these. There are many options out there, and some products work for some but not others.

Pearl Apothecary by emerging energy offers 3 different creams for eczema. I formulated these to be very simple creams with high concentrations of natural oils and healing botanicals. All of these creams use an ECO CERT preservative system that is free from harsh chemicals and Parabens. No fragrance is used, and the color of the cream is all natural, from the herbs used to make it. These are safe to use on children and adults.

Calming Cream with Zi Cao uses one herb, Zi Cao, which is known for centuries to treat red rashes. It imparts a dark pink color to this cream. Shea and Kokum butters deeply moisturize and help the skin barrier, while Evening Primrose Oil provides a rich dose of GLA which has been shown in studies to be very effective for Eczema.

Ultra Moisture Cream with Gan Cao uses Gan Cao, or licorice. Many of the other ingredients are the same, except for the main herb. Licorice has shown to have an action similar to a steroid, so this makes it a great substitute to the harsher prescription creams. Traditionally it is said to moisten the skin.

Yellow Frost Skin Cream is a Chinese topical formula that is especially useful for itching. It can be used for pustular eczema, more active eczema, rashes in folds of skin such as groin, or in combination with Calming or Ultra Moisture Creams. This one can leave a temporary yellow color to the skin due to one very yellow herb! No fragrance is added to this highly effective cream.

All of these are available at our office or on emerging energy’s etsy shop. Share this with any one you know who suffers with eczema!