An allergy can be termed as a disorder associated with the immune system, where the immune system becomes hypersensitive to certain substances called allergens. Usually, the immune system protects the body from the possible invasion of harmful foreign substances, such as bacteria, viruses, and parasites by producing antibodies against them.
However, if you have an allergy, the immune system can react even when you come in contact with some harmless substances, like pollen, dust, certain foods, medications, and insect bites. An allergy is usually an inherited disorder, though sometimes, environmental factors like pollution, changes in diet, and exposure to infectious diseases at an early age can also cause this disorder.
Treating Allergies the Natural Way
Hay fever, asthma, food allergies, and eczema are some common types of allergies. An allergy can produce several symptoms, such as sneezing, redness of the eyes, respiratory problems, hives, itching, bloating, diarrhea, and vomiting. Allergies are usually treated with antihistamine medicines, and topical, nasal, and oral corticosteroids. However, some herbs can also help reduce the frequency of allergic reactions by building up resistance against allergens.
Chamomile is known for its anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, and antihistamine properties. It is an excellent herbal remedy for allergies, especially for hay fever. Being an antihistamine, it counteracts the effects of histamine (a compound released by the immune system during an allergic reaction), and thereby reduces hypersensitivity.
Vitamin C also has antihistamine properties, and so, the consumption of fruits that contain this vitamin can prove effective in reducing the severity of an allergic reaction. Fruits like lemon, orange, grapes, peppers, berries, and plums, which contain vitamin C, can help you prevent allergic reactions. Spinach and broccoli are some other important dietary sources of vitamin C.
Eucalyptus oil has expectorant properties. It can be used topically on the chest to clear congestion. It can help clear nasal congestion as well. Nettle is a herb that facilitates the expulsion of phlegm and reduces inflammation. The roots of this herb are used in the treatment of hay fever. Another effective medicine for hay fever is angelica.
Licorice is another wonderful herb that can be used for treating allergies and asthma. The root of this plant contains glycyrrhizic acid, which has anti-allergic and anti-inflammatory properties. It can be effective in treating hay fever, allergic rhinitis, bronchial asthma, and conjunctivitis. Being a strong expectorant, it can provide relief in cough and congestion as well.
Ginger is known for its antimicrobial properties. It inhibits the activity of platelet-activating factor and clotting agents, which are responsible for producing inflammatory reactions. Ginger also prevents the excess secretion of histamine, and thereby reduces allergic symptoms.
Honey can help you build up resistance against allergens. Garlic is a decongestant that can be used for relieving the congestion caused by allergies. Thyme can also be used for clearing congestion. It is an effective medicine for cough, nasal congestion, and sinus problems. Even green tea can reduce the release of histamine.
To summarize, nature has provided a number of medicinal herbs to cure various ailments, including allergies. However, it is equally important to avoid the specific allergens to manage this condition. But a severe allergic reaction to certain medications and foods can give rise to a serious condition, known as anaphylaxis. This condition requires immediate medical intervention. Otherwise, it can lead to life-threatening complications.
Disclaimer: This HolisticZine article is for informative purposes only, and should not be replaced for the advice of a medical professional.