2005-04-29 / Columnists

Health & Harmony

Allergies
By Dr. Nancy Gahles


DR. nancy gahlesDR. nancy gahles It’s springtime and in this last week, many people are experiencing allergies. Sneezing, itching eyes, running noses, scratchy throats and reactive airways are the common complaints. The more benign are fatigue and headaches. These symptoms are the result of a hypersensitivity to an outside or external influence. The body’s response is a cascade immune release of chemicals called histamines which try to fend off the invader by causing increased mucous production and swelling and congestion of the nasal passages and sinuses.

Conservative approaches to symptomatic relief include some of the old standbys that I favor.

Quercitin. A bioflavinoid that stabilizes mast cell activity reducing swelling and congestion and relieving itching. My favorite products are Quercitin Complex by Solgar and Activated Quercitin Plus by Nutrition Now.

Turmeric is a powerful natural anti-inflammatory probably best known as the bright yellow ingredient in curry foods. Excellent for sinus congestion. My favorite product is Inflavinoid by Metagenics.

On windy days when the pollen is flying, I like to use Simply Saline , a nasal spray that simply irrigates the nasal mucosa and eliminates absorption and irritation of the nasal passages. It is not an inhaled spray, it is a nasal wash. XLear is another nasal wash that is extremely gentle for the most sensitive noses.

Pine bark and grape seed extract have anti-inflammatory properties as well. Nettles can be helpful for drying the sinuses. It is best to consult with a qualified herbalist before using herbs. You can also call or e-mail me.

Diet bears consideration. I don’t need to tell you that excess refined sugars and white flour products lower immunity. I do need to tell you that dairy products can create increased mucous production. So eliminate these foods if you are sensitive.

Nutritionally, supplements can be helpful. Calcium and Magnesium are important nutrients for an overreactive nervous system. Vitamin C and the essential fatty acids like borage oil, evening primrose, flax seed and black currant seed oil all have anti-inflammatory properties.

It makes the most sense to prepare for the upcoming season BEFORE it hits. Two weeks before daylight savings time it is a good idea to be sure that you begin to adjust to the new schedule. Changes in the amount of light affect our immune systems whether it is decreasing amounts of light as in winter or increasing amounts of light as in spring. It is a time of adaptation and people who are hypersensitive have difficulty adapting to changes. They need to be prepared and to move slowly into the transition. This means that when the first warm day arrives you don’t run out in shorts and a tee shirt and take a 10 mile bike ride. Similarly, as the days begin to get longer, you don’t rise earlier than usual and go to bed later than usual all at once. Gradually move into the season. Give yourself time to adapt to the changes.

Whether you are the person who experiences these symptoms on an annual basis or are susceptible all year long the question remains, Why?

No single event can awaken within us a stranger totally unknown to us. To live is to be slowly born. –Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Sensitivity is the word that is the key. What makes a person sensitive to certain external influences is a unique combination of genetic predisposition and life circumstances. The emotional and physical environment in which you live “sensitizes” you. Each of us experiences life events differently and we interpret and store this information in our cells. The exact mechanism for this is as yet unknown. What we do know is that in both clinical trials and patient outcomes an individualized treatment modality works the best. The system that acts the most deeply and effectively is homeopathy.

A consultation with a Certified Classical Homeopath will reveal the underlying “constitution” of the individual and a specific remedy will be given to address the exact symptoms of the allergy as well as other related issues on a physical and emotional level. This allows for a deeper and

longer lasting action.

One thing I know for sure is that you do not have to suffer. A well designed inventory of all your health concerns can yield a portfolio that will give you lifetime benefits.

To live is to be slowly born . Take the time and consideration to birth yourself on a daily basis. If you are suffering, ask yourself what you need to do to free your inner self to be the best person that you can be. Listen in the stillness.

See what develops.

Take time to unfold.

Like the flowers of spring.

Slowly opening to the Light.

Surround yourself with people who champion your creativity. This will surely decrease your hypersensitivity. Increasing sensitivity is a matter of trust. Find a safe place to fall. And rest there. Cultivate a new soil in which to grow.

All this and more awaits the one who makes the choice to change, gracefully.

I am happy to help.

E-consults available at askDrNancy @aol.com

May The Blessings Be!

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