Monday, April 21, 2014

'Tis the Season / Seasonal Allergies

Good Afternoon All!

It has been a wonderful week! Thank you all so much for reading, following and sharing our posts. We really didn't think we could get so many views in just one week. Danielle has been wonderful about posting and I am extremely grateful to have her to help me with this project.

It is an absolutely stunning  in Minnesota today! It is it hard to believe that last week we got an inch of snow and now  the grass is green and the sun is bright. I even spotted some early flowers budding on the edge of my lawn. What a fabulous sight! It hasn't reached seventy degrees since October... I have been itching to retire my winter boots and dust off my ballet flats, find my sunglasses and enjoy the great Minnesota outdoors. It sure has been a VERY long winter.

Although I am ecstatic to open my windows and air out my stale heated apartment I quickly remembered 'tis the season for all those lovely seasonal allergies. We have been receiving a lot of direct requests to do some research on some good natural allergy relievers. Since I am also one of those allergy suffers I felt that it would be good if I touched on this subject earlier than later.

Not only can seasonal allergies effect you physically but they can have a pretty extreme effect mentally as well. I know that in the spring my anxiety and fatigue levels tend to grow. I could really feel it this weekend. I felt like for most of the weekend I was practically knocked out and drained of most of my energy. It can be really frustrating especially since these first days of spring are always pretty special and should help relieve cabin fever that has been caused from such a long winter.

Why do allergies cause fatigue?

Allergies, especially those caused by pollens, dust, and other airborne substances, can interfere with breathing and prevent a good night’s rest. When your nose gets stuffy, your tongue starts to fall back, creating a vacuum effect in your throat and this can cause you to wake up because you cannot breath. I know that lately I have been waking up often throughout the night. I have always had some trouble sleeping but in the past week or two I have not had a restful nights sleep and I do believe it has a direct correlation to my allergies.

Why do allergies cause increased anxiety?

Allergies are our immune system’s overreaction to an allergen, commonly causing itching, hives, runny or dry nose, watery or red eyes, fatigue and headache. We know that stress, anxiety and depression are a direct response from running our endocrine system too thin, especially our adrenals. When we go through extreme bouts of being exposed to certain allergens our bodies release histamine. Histamines are chemicals used to transmit signals between neurons in the body. Extra histamine in the system can be responsible for causing that "fight or flight" response that our body has imbedded in us to protect ourselves from outside predators. If our bodies are always in a state of crisis because of the histamines we tend to burn out our adrenals and in turn feel anxious, stressed and worn out.

What are some natural allergen remedies?

All of this being said there is some good news! I have found some really great natural allergen remedies that should allow you to really enjoy this season for all the beauty it provides and not all the grief it might have caused you in the past.

Stinging Nettles

Danielle and I have heard a lot about the stinging nettle plant and its amazing effect on allergies.

"Stinging Nettle" is the name given to the common nettle plant. Everyone knows that this plant can cause an extremely uncomfortable rash if it comes in direct contact with the skin. But few know that the immune response that the nettle plant provides the body can help reduce your allergic reaction to other allergens.

Nettles can be used in many different ways in the kitchen. Nettle soup, tea or puree are just a few of the pretty common preps for the plant. You can also get pretty creative with it, the restaurant I work for uses the leaf for a nettle ravioli that is absolutely delicious.

Nettles can also be found in capsule form at your local co-op or health food store such as Whole Foods.
Brasserie Zentral's Nettle Ravioli

How to brew Nettle tea

One of the most common ways to use nettles is to drink it in tea form. In order to brew it yourself, simply add water to your collected nettle leaves and heat to a near boil. Use about two cups of water for a cup of leaves; there’s no need to measure. You can make the tea stronger by steeping longer, or weaker by adding more water. Once the water is near boiling, reduce heat and simmer for a couple minutes. Pour through a small strainer and the tea is ready to drink. Some people prefer a small bit of sugar added to the tea, but local honey has the most added benefits. You can also purchase organic Nettle Tea at Whole Foods or other local health foods-- it is not only great for allergies but also for anxiety, immune support, and even fertility.

Bee Pollen and Raw Honey

It is pretty amazing how much the local honey bee can aid us through our allergy blues.

Raw local honey and bee pollen contain a lot of the same pollen spores that we are exposed to that can be allergy causing. That is why it is important to buy local honey in your area, because different areas will have different types of pollen spores and allergens. Introducing these spores to our body in small amounts can allow us to help build a tollerance and keep us from inducing a strong allergic response to certain pollens. It has also shown that it can help reduce the high amount of histamine in the blood which would help with that "fight or flight" response our body goes through when fighting an allergen.  Raw honey and bee pollen from your area is a natural relief that will be able to help with the specific allergens in your area. Bee pollen can be found in both the capsule and raw forms. The raw form is really great in smoothies or with your yogurt. Local honey can be found at most farmer's markets and even at your local Whole Foods. Ask one of the counter representatives at whole foods to help you find raw, local, unfiltered honey.

Other natural resources that may help with some of the problems during allergy season are adrenal support supplements, calming essence bach flowers and increased magnesium intake. All three of these can help support the systems that seem to go a bit haywire from repeated exposure to allergens. 

 Please let me know if you have any other questions about allergies.



Disclaimer: PRTLIVING (and all of those feature and interviewed) is limited to providing self-help education in natural health matters and advocating of a healthy lifestyle for the sole purpose of sharing personal experiences and historical information about the traditional use of God-given herbs and natural remedies. This information is not intended to diagnose, prevent, treat, or cure any specific disease. No medical claims are made. If you have a medical problem, please seek the advice of your medical doctor.

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