I love helping my patients become allergy free. Spring and summer are once again enjoyable, and travel to exotic places doesn’t cause them problems. They no longer have to take medications; some also no longer have asthma attacks. One patient, who had been unable to spend much time at her in-laws house because of severe cat allergies, was able to enjoy an entire winter holiday with her husband’s family at his parents’ home for the first time ever, and didn’t requite a single dose of medication.
Inflammation in the gut is a root cause of allergies, and a good gut-healing program can go a long way to relieving allergies. This includes doing an elimination diet: cutting out all dairy, gluten, baked flour products, packaged juices, coffee, soda and sugar for three weeks, stopping medication for reflux, NSAIDS, and antibiotics (talk with you doctor about this first) and using herbs and supplements to heal your gut. My favorites for this are aloe, marshmallow root powder, turmeric, and DGL licorice. Any of these can be used alone, or they can be taken in combined capsules. I often also include digestive enzymes and a probiotic as part of the gut-healing plan.
The following herbs and nutritional supplements are specific for preventing and reducing allergy symptoms. They're best taken as part of a total program, and on a daily basis. Taking them before allergy season starts can prevent symptoms altogether, and they can also be used on an as-needed basis to reduce an acute seasonal allergy attack.
1. Freeze Dried Stinging Nettle
Take 3-6 capsules of freeze-dried stinging nettle daily. This is a safe, natural antihistamine that doesn't make you drowsy, and reduces seasonal allergies very effectively. The nettles have to be freeze-dried to do their job. Because they're in capsules, kids will have to be able to swallow them whole. You can purchase these in major natural foods stores or online.
Take 500 mg daily (half that for kids). Quercetin is a plant pigment found in many common herbs and foods, and is a very reliable anti-inflammatory nutritional supplement. It helps with gut repair, boosts the immunity in your mucus membranes reducing reactivity to seasonal allergens, and also helps reduce food allergies. There's conflicting data on whether it's safe in pregnancy, so don't take it during the first trimester and limit your dose to 250 mg/day thereafter if you’d prefer to use this over a conventional pharmaceutical while pregnant.
Take an age-appropriate dose daily.
4. Buffered Ascorbic Acid
Take up to 2000 mg daily. This is an excellent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. Don't exceed this as a total daily dose during pregnancy, including what is in your prenatal vitamin.
Let me know in the comments below how "allergy-free" goes for you!