Allergies are adverse immune system reactions to a substance that would normally be considered harmless. Allergic reactions are caused by exposure to allergens. An allergen is a protein that the body judges to be foreign and dangerous. Possible allergens include specific foods, environmental toxins, pollens, moulds, mites, animal dander and a host of other irritants. Once exposed to an allergen, the immune system releases specific antibodies to destroy the enemy allergen, setting in motion a complex series of events involving many bio-chemicals. These chemicals then produce inflammation or other symptoms of an allergy response. Allergic responses can range from mild to severe, where prompt professional medical advice may be required. Overall, the underlying causes of allergy and sensitivity are dietary and lifestyle factors specifically titled as imbalanced immune function, barrier function default (such as “leaky gut” syndrome), and toxic overload. Each of these is, in varying degrees, responsible for the development and continuation of allergy and sensitivity. There are natural cures for allergies that do not involve the use of pharmaceutical drugs. The Natural Cures website will show you how you can treat your allergies naturally, and well as to show you how you can make lifestyle changes that will improve your general health.
Common symptoms of a typical allergic reaction include:
- breathing congestion
- inflamed, bloodshot or scratchy eyes
- watery eye, tears
- puffy face
- flushing of the cheeks
- dark circles under the eyes
- runny nose
- Stomach ache
- Intestinal irritation or swelling.
More severe reactions include:
- constriction of the bronchial tubes
- (asthma) and difficulty breathing
- anaphylactic shock – which can be fatal if not treated in time.
Allergies can also result in:
- digestive stress,
Sensitive people may feel irritation on their tongue or mouth.
The underlying causes of allergy and sensitivity are dietary and lifestyle factors that break down the immune system and barrier defences – specifically Imbalanced Immune Function and Barrier Function Default. Imbalanced Immune Function A number of factors have a negative impact on the immune system including increased toxic burden due to pollution, repeated childhood and adulthood vaccinations and immunizations and damage to healthy intestinal flora due to over-reliance on antibiotic and steroids (especially birth control pills.) The immune system can also be weakened by hereditary factors – usually these are reflected in the gastrointestinal tract so that nutrients are not absorbed properly. These can then set you up for food allergies. Other causes of immune dysfunction and good allergies include nutritional deficiencies, a repetitive and monotonous diet, chemicals in the food chain due to pesticides and preservatives and chronic intestinal yeast overgrowth (candidiasis.) Barrier Function Default Barrier functions are what keep us from becoming sensitized (experiencing a negative body response) to substances. The barrier function for food sensitivity is digestion. Inadequate digestion for any reason (infection, inflammation, malabsorption) may result in digestive barrier default, where undigested food particles are absorbed into the bloodstream leading to allergies. The second barrier, for inhaled substances (dust, pollens, dander, moulds) is the mucus that covers the membranes of the sinuses and respiratory passages. The purpose of the mucus is to trap any irritants and particulates so that they do not come into contact with the membranes and can be removed. Lack of humidity and environmental irritants can damage the mucous membranes and allow foreign particles into the bloodstream. The third barrier is the skin and any break in the skin (cut, scrape, rash, burn or other skin defect) compromises the barrier and sensitization may occur. What people sensitize to the most through their skin is what touches damaged skin most frequently – clothing, fabric chemicals and dyes, laundry products, perfume, aftershave lotion, creams, sunscreens – even topical medications. Perspiration increases the likelihood of sensitization since perspiration occurs when the skin is hot and the blood vessels to the skin are dilated, which promotes absorption. Deficiencies in water and essential fatty acids, ultraviolet radiation, hormonal irregularities and stress can impair the skin’s repair process, leading the way to allergy and sensitivity. Leaky Gut Syndrome Leaky Gut Syndrome or excessive permeability in the digestive tract can lead to allergies because the immune system reacts to the particles of partially digested foodstuffs (macromolecules) which leak into the bloodstream through the gut as if they were foreign bodies. Causes of leaky gut syndrome can include poor digestion, alcohol consumption, the use of steroidal or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), viral, fungal and bacterial infections, parasites, nutrient deficiencies, excessive stress, antibiotics and radiation. Toxic Overload As our food and environment become increasingly saturated with pollutants and chemicals, the body’s mechanisms for elimination of toxins cannot keep up with the chemical deluge and as a result, our organs – including intestines, skin and respiratory tract – can become overloaded. Studies have shown that pollutants play a major role in the creation of allergies and auto-immnune diseases and illnesses. The constant circulation of toxins in the body taxes the immune system and an overburdened system ultimately becomes hypersensitive to food, airborne agents and chemicals, which results in allergies. The top triggers for allergic reactions are: Inhalants
- Plant pollens (including ragweed, grasses)
- Animal dander (cat, dog and other pets)
- Cockroach casings
- House dust mite casings
- Mould spores
- Tobacco smoke
- Vehicle exhaust
- Chemical products (paint and cleaning solution fumes)
Ingestants Foods (especially in children)
- Tree nuts
Food (especially in adults)
- Tree nuts
- Antibiotics (penicillin, amoxicillin etc)
- Non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs (aspirin etc)
- Plant poisons (poison ivy, oak, sumac)
- Jewellery (nickel, copper, chromates etc)
- Latex gloves
- Beauty products (hair dyes, cosmetics etc)
- Insect stings/bites
- Some medications
Once you have identified the foods you are allergic to, the next step is to eliminate them from your diet. Initially you should completely refrain from eating all allergenic foods for 60 – 90 days. After this period, you can begin to slowly reintroduce them into your diet. You should also vary the foods that you eat on a daily basis to avoid developing new allergies. Adopt a diet that includes a wide variety of non-allergenic fresh fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, and low-fat non-dairy animal protein. For people with allergies and sensitivities it is important to keep well hydrated. Most alternative medicine physicians generally recommend eight to twelve 8oz glasses of pure water daily. Foods play a dual role in allergies and sensitivities, as both triggers of and contributors to adverse reactions. The problem with food allergies and sensitivities is that 85% of them involve delayed reactions, manifesting up to 72 hours after consumption of the offending food. You may not realize that the wheat bread you ate two days ago is responsible for your headache today. And the symptoms may shape-shift; that is, change over time and with repeated exposure. “Proper diet is the foundation from which to deal with allergies of all types” says dentist and naturopathic physician Dr Dick Thom ND. DDS. “If the body is continually being stressed by the foods that are meant to nourish it, there will be fewer reserves left over for the immune system to deal with other ‘foreign’ substances”. Elimination Diet: Once you have identified the foods you are allergic to, the next step is to eliminate them form your diet. Initially, you should completely refrain from eating all allergenic foods for 60 – 90 days. After this period, you can begin to slowly reintroduce them into your diet. You should also vary the foods that you eat on a daily basis to avoid developing new allergies (see “Rotation Diet”). In most cases, this diet allows the body to repair intestinal barrier function, enabling patients to reintroduce the reactive foods into their diets. Dr James Braly, MD, who is regarded as a leading authority on gluten sensitivity and food allergies, estimates that only about 5% of delayed food allergies will not subside using the elimination and rotation diets, necessitating the use of other alternative therapies. Remember that eliminating an allergenic food can cause withdrawal phase, lasting one to five days, while the body detoxifies itself”, says Dr. Braly. Allergic symptoms may get worse during this period and cravings can be intense. Dr. Braly explains that “once the withdrawal phase has passed, the cravings also abate, and the allergy sufferer is free of dependence on that food, free of both the physiological and psychological desire to consume it so frequently and in such great quantities”. Rotation Diet: One way to ensure that the body is receiving a greater supply of nutrients from food, while at the same time minimizing the risk of exposure to allergenic foods, is to increase the variety of foods eaten and rotate them so that they aren’t eaten too frequently. This is known as a rotation diet. According to Dr. Braly, a rotation diet one of the simplest and most effective measures anyone can take to both prevent and deal with the problems of food allergies. “Normally, I would rotate the foods every four days”, he advises “This means that you are not eating any one food more often than every four days. You might be able to have the same food more than once a day, but then you wouldn’t have it again until four days later. Some people may need to go longer than that, but usually four days is ideal”. Dr. Braly also suggests adopting a diet that indulges a wide variety of non-allergenic fresh fruits and vegetables, seeds and nuts, and low-fate, non-dairy animal protein. “Grains are important too” he says. “Although, I make it a general policy to avoid the gluten grains such as wheat, rye, barley, and oats which many people are not able to tolerate. I would stick to grains like brown rice, millet and amaranth”. Stone Age Diet: The “Stone Age” diet is another potentially useful diet plan for allergy sufferers. The theory behind this diet is that our bodies are not genetically adapted to the synthetic, processed foods that constitute much of our modern eating practices. Therefore, we are unable to digest many foods properly, and they become allergenic as our body tries to defend against them. According to MD Abram Hoffer, due to the slow course of evolution, our digestive apparatus has remained the same for 10,000years. Thus, we are best suited for the foods prevalent during the Paleolithic era – meat, fish, vegetables, fruit and a few seeds. “You ate different foods in the spring, summer, fall and water and never had too much. You also did not load up on any one item” says Dr. Hoffer. Now, we eat an abundance of the same foods, especially grains, every day of the year. “If you overload the gut with one particular item, for instance bread three times a day, then eventually the body breaks down” explains Dr. Hoffer. Malnourishment and a leaky gut are elements of this breakdown. Food combining: If your food allergies are caused by poor digestion, which allows food molecules to escape the gut barrier, proper food combining may help restore healthy digestion. The general rule, according to Patrick Donovan, is that proteins and starchy carbohydrates are never eaten at the same time. Proteins may be eaten with non-starchy vegetables. Carbohydrates (grains, potatoes etc.) may be eaten with all vegetables. Fruits may be eaten alone, usually as a snack; the same is true with dairy products. “Digestion is optimal if foods eaten together have roughly the same digestion time”. Many alternative medicine practitioners have found that food combining helps patients avoid gas, belching and bloating, which is often caused when sugars from fruits or starchy carbohydrates ferment in the guy because the stomach is busy processing fats. Once again the efficacy of this diet depends on individual response and how severely digestion is impaired. Supplemental enzymes with food may also help.
- Do not consume any artificial sweeteners, such as Splenda, NutraSweet or Aspartame
- Do not consume high fructose corn syrup or mono-sodium glutamate.
- Do not drink any carbonated beverages.
- Avoid all fast food restaurants.
- Avoid all canned food.
- Eliminate conventional dairy products. The best dairy products are raw, unpasteurised and homogenised dairy from grass fed cows. If this is unavailable, then buy organic dairy.
- Avoid conventional beef. The best beef is organic grass fed beef.
www.grasslandbeef.com The second best is organic meat; this includes beef, veal, lamb, chicken and turkey.
Probiotics: Imbalances of intestinal flora are common among allergy sufferers. To normalize this situation, naturopath, osteopath and acupuncturist, Dr Leon Chaitow stresses the need to restore bowel flora balance with a daily program of probiotics, or the use of friendly bacteria that inhabit the intestines under healthy conditions. Lactobacillus acidophilus, L. bulgaricus, and the Bifidobacteria are the key players in this process. To be effective, probiotic supplements should be freeze-dried, contain only the declared and desirable strains of the species and have concentrations of the friendly bacteria of about one billion parts per gram. They should also be kept refrigerated.
- Vitamin D has been shown to be a key factor in treatment. Take Vitamin D3 50,000-100,000 International Units a day nc.vitaminstrength.com for (how long?)
- Wholefood supplements are the best way of ensuring your nutritional needs are met.
- Omega 3s
Apple Cider Vinegar: Drinking apple cider vinegar upon onset of allergy symptoms or as a daily regimen has allowed many people to completely stop the histamine response and prevent their allergies. You can mix 1/8 cup of apple cider vinegar with 16 oz. of water and sip it throughout the day, or drink the entire mixture all at once. Often one dose of this will stop the allergy symptoms, but others need to take it up to 3 times a day to see results. If you drink this mixture when your allergies begin, you can usually see your symptoms disappear within 1-3 hours. It may taste disgusting at first, but you get used to it and benefits greatly outweigh the flavor! Bioflavonoids such as Quercetin taken orally along with bromelain, vitamin C and glutamine, are effective anti-allergy nutrients. For non food related allergies add:-
- Raw organic locally grown honey – 1 tablespoon one to three times a day
Nutritional Supplements: If digestive disorders are compounding an allergy, which is usually the case, they will need to be corrected before any significant improvements can occur. “I find that many people with such complaints suffer from deficiencies in vitamin A, certain B vitamins, zinc, magnesium and essential oils.” Dr. Braly says. “Some people, especially as they get older or if their allergies are severe, also require digestive assistance in the form of pancreatic enzymes and hydrochloric acid, so supplementing each meal with them can be helpful as well”. Alternatively, plant-derived enzymes like bromelain (from pineapple) or papain (from papaya) may be helpful. Both zinc and vitamin A play an important role in the production of IgA, an antibody secreted from the salivary glands in the mouth and from cells that line the digestive tract. If you are zinc and vitamin A deficient you produce less IgA and therefore you susceptibility to food allergies increase. Zinc also plays a role in the production of hydrochloric acid (HCI) which the body needs for digestion. Another group of nutrients that Dr. Braly employs to treat allergies is vitamin P or certain bioflavonoids. “Bioflavonoids are some of the most effective anti-allergy nutrients that I’ve come across” he says. “Many of my patients who are allergy prone, both to their diet and their environment, over time stop having allergic reactions once these bioflavonoids start taking effect. Quercetin taken orally along with bromelain, vitamin C and glutamine has produced wonderful results”. Finally, vitamin C in high doses can have a dramatic effect in improving allergy symptoms, particularly hay fever and asthma, due to its ability to counteract the inflammation responses that are part of such conditions. Robert Cathcart III MD, who pioneered the technique of taking vitamin C to bowel tolerance, recommends its use for allergies. In cases of more severe exposure he advises that the dose of vitamin C be increased as well.
Prescription and non-prescription medication:
What non-prescription and prescription drugs are you taking? Your non-prescription and prescription are partially the reason that you have this illness or disease – you need to get off these medications but do so only under the guidance of a licensed health care practitioner.
Visit a qualified aromatherapist who may recommend the following oils which are known to help relieve allergic symptoms:
- Amni Visnaga: It has been used in the Arabic materia medica to treat asthma and heart problems since the time of the Pharaohs. It stabilizes mast cell response to allergens, prevents histamine release, decreases allergic reactions.
- Hyssop Decumbens: Antiseptic, antispasmodic, traditionally used for respiratory and digestive complaints. Useful for allergic rhynitis.
- Chamomile, German: Analgesic, anti-allergenic, anti-spasmodic, antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, antihistamine. Reduces inflammation of breathing passages.
- Lavender: Antiseptic, analgesic, anti-spasmodic, anti-inflammatory, antiviral. Also calms stress and soothes.
- Niaouli: Balsamic, decongestant.
- Palo Santo: Helpful in all chronic respiratory conditions.
- Melissa: Helps with allergies affecting the skin
With homeopathy, minute diluted doses of the substance a person is allergic to can be prepared as a homeopathic solution that triggers the body’s natural ability to heal itself. Homeopathy has widespread applications for the treatment of allergens. In many situations, minute diluted doses of the substance a person is allergic to can be prepared as a homeopathic solution that triggers the body’s natural ability to heal itself. Dr. Chaitow confirms that hay fever sufferers have been shown to reduce or prevent their reactions by beginning a course of homeopathic pollen supplements a few months before the pollen count rises. Homeopathic remedies are best prescribed by a competent homeopath. “You have to take an overview of the entire patient and can’t afford to overlook anything” – Homeopath, Dr Daniel F. Royal. If the eyes are affected because of allergies, the following can help:
- Argentum nitricum (for yellow discharges)
- Arsenicum album (for burning, watery conditions)
- Euphrasia (for a watery discharge that burns, for irritation and soreness to the eye)
Or sensitized skin, the following are recommended:
- Argentum nitricum (when the skin is blotchy
- Calcarea carbonica (when the skin feels better when scratched)
- Mercurius solubilis (hen the skin itches and is worse when hot)
- Sulphur (when the skin itches an begins to burn)
Many allergies respond well to homeopathy and the following remedies can help to alleviate symptoms:
- Allium cepa (used for episodic sneezing and tears. Cold compresses can help to improve symptoms)
- Arsenicum album (sneezing and burning in the nose, eyes and throat. symptom’s improve with hot compresses and hot drinks)
- Hydrasis (for allergies that have a thick yellow discharge from the nose)
- Pulsatilla (for stuffed up noses with green discharge. Good for sinus infections an stuffy ears caused by flying0
- Silica (an excellent allergy remedy especially when the patient is allergic to grasses and wheat. Good also for digestive disturbances caused by food allergies.)
There are a variety of herbs that offer relief from allergies, according to Dr. Thom. Among those he employs are anticatarrhals, ( which help eliminate mucus) such as:
- red sage
Astringents help to contract inflamed tissues and reduce secretions and discharges and include:
Paul Yanick Jr, PhDof Woodbridge, New Jersey, recommends:
- astragalus root
- goldenseal root
- Pfaffia paniculata (Brazilian ginseng), a Brazilian herb that numerous studies prove is effective and safe for treating weakened immune systems.
Although herbal remedies have shown excellent results in reducing allergy symptoms, using herbs to treat allergies involves an individual approach, according to Dr. Thom “ No one herb will work for all allergy sufferers” he says, although some particularly effective anti-inflammatory herbs are:
- stinging nettle
- Ginkgo biloba
Others to consider for treating allergy symptoms are:
- Chinese skullcap
Patients whose conditions are severe should consult with a trained herbalist or naturopath. A major symptom of allergies is gastrointestinal upset, including gas, bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea and nausea. These symptoms can be alleviated by demulcent herbs such as:
- slippery elm bark
- cabbage juice
- Aloe vera.
Cayenne Pepper: One of Dr. Braly’s favorite herbs is cayenne pepper. Dr. Braly has reversed allergies, including asthma, simply by instructing his patients to sprinkle liberal amounts of cayenne pepper on their meals.
Neti Pot: A neti pot can be used to clear out the sinus cavities, this helps to reduce allergy symptoms as many of the causes can be directly linked to the material that gets trapped in the sinuses and causes irritation. While it may seem strange to do this technique at first, it looks worse than it is and can dramatically decrease if not eliminate allergy symptoms when done on a regular basis. Juice Therapy: Recommendations: Carrot, beet and cucumber and carrot and celery. Many allergy and environmentally sensitive patients will find that they require desensitization treatments, such as enzyme-potentiated desensitization (EPD) a Nambudripad’s Allergy Elimination Technique, to experience complete and possibly permanent remission of their symptoms. Professional Care: The following therapies should only be provided by a qualified health professional: Acupuncture, Applied Kinesiology, Ayurvedic Medicine, Biofeedback training and Neurotherapy, Chelation Therapy, Environmental Medicine, Hypnotherapy, Mind/Body Medicine, NAET, Orthomolecular Medicine, Osteopathic Medicine, Biological Dentistry, Bodywork, Craniosacral Therapy, Magnetic Field Therapy and Oxygen Therapy. Biological Dentistry: It is believed that food allergies can be caused by the absorption of mercury by food as it is digested. Hal A Huggins reports the improvement or disappearance of food allergies after removing toxic dental mercury amalgams. Bodywork: therapies include reflexology and shiatsu Craniosacral Therapy: Used to treat nasal allergies Magnetic Field Therapy: Exposure to a negative magnetic field helps to neutralize the acidity of the blood associated with allergies. Oxygen Therapy: Hydrogen peroxide therapy. Desensitization Techniques: Many people with allergies will find that they require desensitization treatments to experience complete and possibly permanent remission of their symptoms. Enzyme-Potentiated Desensitization (EPD): According to Stephen B. Edelson MD, EPD is the most effective therapy for all allergies ever developed. This therapy trains the immune system to be nonreactive to substances that usually provoke allergic symptoms and is used in at least 12 countries. An allergic patient is given a series of tiny injections of a wide variety of allergens from a single category. EPD has successfully been used to treat about 50 conditions and significantly reduces one’s intolerance to allergenic foods; it does not necessarily eliminate all possibility of reacting to them. Nambudripad’s Allergy Elimination Technique (NAET): This therapy relies on altering energy flow through the body to treat symptoms of allergy and sensitivity. By examining the energy pathways, also called acupuncture meridians, practitioners are able to diagnose allergy/sensitivity triggers. Applied kinesiology, acupressure, acupuncture and chiropractic are then used to alter the energy flow in an allergic body. The secret to NAET is to retrain your brain and nervous system to no longer to react to the offending substance. “We can reprogram our brains to perceive unsuitable energies as suitable ones and use them for our benefit rather than allow them to cause energy blockages and imbalances”. Dr. Nambudripad reports that NAET alone has entirely relieved allergy symptoms or produced satisfactory improvements in 80-90% of her patients. Allergy prevention strategies for children: Breast Feeding According to most alternative medicine practitioners, one of the best ways to decrease the likelihood of developing allergies later in life is to feed an infant on mother’s milk. Postponing the introduction of solid foods and prolonging breast-feeding gives an infant’s immune system enough to time adequately mature. Food substitutes: Research shows that the vast majority of kids with chronic earaches & sinus infections are allergic to wheat, dairy, and beef. So eliminating or reducing these foods will help bring healing. Alternative food choices are yogurt, soymilk, lactaid milk, rice, oats, and etc. Limiting or eliminating proteins from cow products and replacing them with easily digestible proteins such as yogurt, and beans. Also, protein powder drinks chock full of essential and nonessential amino acids that do not need to be digested only absorbed, are very important. For instance, the amino acids Lysine, methionine, Tryptophan, and phenylalanine are needed by the immune system to produce antibodies. Since amino acids are the basic building blocks of all cells, then lack thereof equals lower T-Cell count and the end result is chronic ear aches, sinusitis and allergies. Avoid Early Immunization: Currently in the United States, conventional doctors require that a series of immunization shots be started when an infant is two months old. The first vaccines given are hepatitis B, DPT, influenza type B and polio. In total, an average American child is vaccinated against ten childhood diseases and receives up to 21 shots over a course of the first 15months of life. It is well documented that certain vaccines cause immediate allergic reactions in some children; these range from temporary discomfort to death. If you choose not to have your child vaccinated you should obtain a medical, religious or philosophical exemption since immunization is compulsory in many states. Allergy Proof Your House:
- Keep windows closed, especially during “allergy season”
- Avoid tobacco smoke
- Achieve ideal relative humidity: use air conditioning and dehumidification to help reduce mould production, if your home is too damp; if your home is too dry use a humidifier.
- Use air filters (electrostatic precipitators and high-efficiency particular air or HEPA) and ionizing air purifiers to remove particulate matter and odours from the air
- An ozone air purifier can be used in a room where there are no people, animals or plants while the purifier is running.
- Use low-toxicity mite-specific exterminating chemicals such as tannic acid.
- Wash pillows, blankets and other bedding monthly in hot water
- Use washable, organic cotton pillows and enclose mattress in a plasti, mite-proof cover.
- Remove stuffed animals from the bed
- Remove bedroom carpeting or treat carpet with tannic acid, which denatures allergens
- Eliminate exposure to pets or at least restrict pets’ access to the bedroom.