Seasonal allergies can be a real downer in the glory of spring. Why do pollen and other airborne particles only affect some people and not others? Because there’s nothing intrinsically harmful about pollen; it’s the body’s reaction to it that creates an issue. Instead of hiding out indoors while the seasons change, try instead to
support your body’s internal balance so it’s less reactive to its environment.
Diet and Allergies: The Link
It seems a little strange, but there’s a very close link between diet and seasonal allergies. Our bodies are exceptionally good at dealing with low-grade food allergies and irritants – perhaps for years. Maybe it’s dairy, wheat, or something else, but our bodies work hard to keep on keeping on without sending out too many red flags.
Little do we know that the digestive system and the liver (the first ones on the scene to interrogate outside invaders) are constantly working overtime. They begin to be a little sensitive, a little irritated – but hey, life goes on. Over time, though, the body in its slightly elevated state of irritation is feeling so over-worked it gets frustrated, so frustrated that any little thing will set it off.
Spring blooms, the air fills with yummy pollen, and the body says, that’s it! I quit! The additional foreign invaders end up being the straw that breaks the camel’s back: the floodgates open and the body goes into high alert. sending in all its troops – mucus, sneezing, watery eyes.
Keep An Eye on the Red Flags
As a culture, we tend to just want the Band-Aid, the pill, or the shot that will stop our symptoms; but getting to the root of the problem will provide a much deeper sense of overall health and vitality. It’s important to see the red flags your body puts out, and don’t underestimate the message that is being sent. Indeed, it’s a true gift that our bodies are such great communicators.; we just need to quiet our monkey minds and listen.
So if your body has been sending you a few irritated text messages, here are a few things to try. If you’re lucky, you and your body will be BFF again in no time! (And remember: Always check with your physician before beginning a new regimen, especially if you're on medication.)
Cut out dairy and anything else you’re suspicious of being sensitive to for the weeks that you experience your seasonal allergies. Dairy especially creates a lot of extra mucus in the body and is a very common irritant. The less irritation in the gut, the less work for the liver, and the less inflammation for the whole system!
Allergies are a state of overreaction by the immune system, so it’s important to tone, strengthen and balance the immune system before and during allergy season. Red reishi mushroom is a superior immune modulator; it helps keep everything in balance and helps the immune system know what fights to pick and what to leave alone.
Red reishi has a long history of use in traditional Chinese medicine and is available at any health food store in capsules or as a liquid extract. It’s important to be committed to taking it for a week or a month or more. Change takes time. A lifetime of allergies is not going to disappear overnight, and the goal is getting to the root of the problem, not just treating the symptoms.
Nettle is another fantastic herb for allergies that many people swear by. Try making a tea and drinking it throughout the day during your allergic season, or buy the freeze-dried capsules for a more convenient but also very effective option.
Bitters are very helpful for allergies because they help relieve much of the inflammation in the gut and liver as well as helping juice up those organs so they can more easily flush out all the old irritation and stagnation and begin the journey to a non-stressed-out internal environment. Take a bitters formula before or after your meals or increase your intake of bitter greens. Bitter green salad before dinner, yum!
Last but not least: buy some local raw honey and enjoy it on a daily basis. The idea is that by eating honey from your area your body will become more familiar with the local pollen in a less threatening way. One spoonful at a time, you will get acquainted with all the sexy flowers that grow around you. Instead of being a threat, your body will say, “I remember you!”
To your health!