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Seasonal allergies relief

Spring Into Natural Ways to Relieve Seasonal Allergies

It’s spring, which is FABULOUS, but it’s also that time of year for seasonal allergies, which is a little less so. (Or a lot less so, if you’re anything like my sweet ten-year-old son, Cooper.)

Booo…

In the last few years, we’ve tried so many ways to relieve his hay fever symptoms naturally, because I seriously loathe giving my kids pharmaceutical drugs.

Some things that have worked to help (but not eliminate) symptoms in the past, include frequent clothe/bedding/body washing, hepa filters, consistent air duct cleaning in our cars and home, and cold compresses on his eyes when it gets bad.

Other than that, nothing but commercial allergy meds seemed to make a difference. In previous years, we’ve gone as far as to try bee pollen, which is supposed to, in theory, introduce pollen slowly to the system and help the allergy sufferer develop an immunity.

This did not work—it was a miserable experience for him.

At this point in this post is where I want to throw in a disclaimer, though: helping to minimalize undesirable symptoms of something is great, but it’s not working at eliminating the root of the problem.

I know this.

At the root of my poor dude’s issue, is (I think) a hefty toxic load—he’s sensitive to wheat and dairy, but I can’t stop him from loving those items and eating them more than he should. (Even though I promise I try hard.)

We also live in a valley that collects environmental pollutants, so our air isn’t stellar. Our home is surrounded by various species of trees and other fauna, so he’s consistently bombarded by pollen and such.

He was that toddler who was covered in eczema and had a nose full of snot at all times. (In fact, when he was three, he had tubes surgically implanted in both ears so they could drain fluid better, and his adenoids and tonsils were removed, too. This helped tremendously.)

BUT: the best discovery I’ve made in awhile for him is a product called TriEase by doTERRA Essential Oils. Typically, around this time of year, I’m feeding my guy 1-2 over-the-counter allergy pills a day, but this year?

1-2 in TOTAL.

This product comes in capsule form and contains essential oils from lemon peel, peppermint, and lavender—herbs that are great for helping relieve symptoms of seasonal allergies.

Which brings me to a list of a few herbs that can really work wonders when it comes to this particular affliction:

Common Herbs for Seasonal Allergies

  • Lemon Balm: Lemon balm can be grown easily in your garden; in fact, it spreads like a weed and comes back year after year! It’s fragrant and lovely and great for seasonal allergies, because it produces natural antihistamines.
  • Lemon Peel: Lemon peel naturally detoxes your body, so those with a lot of built-up toxins can really benefit from incorporating this herb into their daily wellness regime. Swallowing oil of lemon peel can help greatly with seasonal allergies—just make sure it’s oil produced from organic sources. Otherwise, you’re just loading your body up with a whole new problem: herbicides, pesticides, and their associated GMOs, too.
  • Peppermint: Mint works well as a decongestant when the essential oil is diffused or rubbed into the temples and neck. It’s also great for relieving headaches when used in the same way.
  • Lavender: Lavender is lovely when combined with lemon balm and peppermint. It’s a natural reliever of tension headaches, and it’s also calming. *Note: if you’re sensitive to florals, this one is not for you.

Uncommon Herbs for Seasonal Allergies

  • Eyebright: Eyebright is an herb that works well for seasonal allergy and hay fever symptoms when harvested, dried, and made into medicinal tea. It’s also great to use as a cold tea compress for itchy, red eyes.
  • Feverfew: Like lemon balm, feverfew is a natural antihistamine. It also relieves chest congestion, migraines, and headaches, which can also be symptoms of seasonal allergies.

If you’re curious about herbs and their medicinal qualities in general, take a look at The Good Living Guide to Medicinal Tea. It contains 50 herbs and 50 tea remedies to 50 common inflictions. (Good stuff.) If you’re a gardener, you’ll especially love knowing what your herb garden is capable of. It’s AMAZING.

Take care, and herb it up! I hope this helps.

xo

 

 

Food Allergies: New Phenomena or Old News?

Photo courtesy of drievy.ca

Photo courtesy of drievy.ca

Almost everyone I talk to about food (and I talk about food CONSTANTLY) pipes up with the fact that they’re allergic or sensitive to something that should be perfectly edible. Whether it’s nuts, dairy, gluten, wheat, egg, shellfish, berries, or corn, my reaction is always the same: this is RIDICULOUS! 50 years ago, nut allergies were rare, and wheat sensitivities virtually unheard of.

I have not escaped this fate. I am definitely lactose intolerant, and I also have a tough time digesting products with wheat (but maybe it’s the yeast?) like bagels and pound cake. I also can’t process heavy meats, like beef. So I’m currently vegan (but ask me tomorrow– it changes constantly), and also abstain from a large variety of wheat products. This is NOT because I love animals, though I do. It’s because I physically cannot process those foods without alot of pain, bloating, and back ache.

Do I feel ripped off? YES!

I’m also full-on allergic to penicillin and sulfa drugs, something that could easily be attributed to the over-medicating of farm animals, and our subsequent, steady but growing resistance to antibiotics.

*Sigh.

So, what’s up with the food allergies? I guess I should begin this rant (for that’s what it will be now) with supplying you with a distinction between a food allergy and a food sensitivity/intolerance. Here’s what the Mayo Clinic has to say:

Food allergy: A food allergy causes a reaction within the immune system that leads to damage to one or several organs of the body. Food allergies are therefore more serious. They can cause a huge range of symptoms (shortness of breath, hives, vomiting, stomach cramping, etc), and even a miniscule amount of the offending food can cause a reaction worthy of an EpiPen. For example, if I even get my kids’ penicillin on my fingers (or lick my finger after getting a tiny amount on it without thinking about what I’m doing), I get a red rash at the point of contact, and can become itchy. If I were to ingest it myself, I break out into full-body hives, and need an antihistimine, stat.

Food sensitivity/intolerance: These guys come on much more slowly (sometimes you don’t even notice your body protesting), and don’t involve a reaction from the immune system. Often, they are attributed to the bloating you get after eating ice cream, or a bag of potato chips. Some causes of food intolerances are:

1- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) *I was diagnosed with this in 2001.

2- Absence of an enzyme needed for processing certain foods. For example, if your body does not make lactase, you will be lactose (milk sugar) intolerant.

3- Recurring stress. There is a well-known brain-gut connection, and when you’re chronically stressed, so is your entire digestive system. If this might apply to you, try decreasing your stress levels by getting better quallity sleep, exercise, and eat better food. Try yoga!

4- Food poisoning. Disruption to our intestinal tracts via dangerous microbes, such as E.coli, can create sensitivity within our guts.

5- Sensitivity to processed food additives. This one is HUGE. Many people are very sensitive to artificial colours, stabilizers, and preservatives.

6- Genetically modified foods. (GMOs) People are becoming more and more sensitive to corn and soy products, due in large part to their mass genetic modification. The sad part? There is some component of corn and/or soy in almost ALL processed foods. Beware.

7- Chemicals. Pesticides and herbicides that coat our produce is wreaking havok on our digestive systems, making it difficult for many of us to properly process foods. When our bodies are constantly in a state of panic and repair, we cannot possibly absorb all of the nutrients that we intend to. Just because we eat it, doesn’t mean we use it.

So, what’s our current food system have to do with it? Everything.

Today is all about bigger, better, faster, cheaper. So, we eat the cheapest food we can buy, and also the fastest to prepare. Right? Is this way good? Not so much. The bulk of our western diet is made up of sugar, refined starches, and animal products. A very small amount is attributed to fruits and vegetables. We are inundating our bodies (mostly our digestive systems) with acidic, sugary, refined, processed, chemical-laden, genetically modified food. No wonder we have so many intolerances and allergies nowadays!

50 years ago, people ate a much better diet, that did not contain NEARLY the amount of toxins we eat today. Therefore, food sensitivities were few and far between. And we can get back there– we just need to eat mindfully. Fresh, local, organic, and grass-fed. Foods of the earth. That’s what can turn around this mess.

Rant over. Have a great weekend! Don’t forget to love your gut!