Fall is the season of change. It is really beautiful to see the leaves go from a healthy green to a lively orange before the dead of winter claim them. I used to always look forward for fall when I used to live in upstate New York. However the changing weather, from summer to fall or from winter to spring find me at my most miserable time. You see, I suffer from various allergies and it is absolutely horrible with the running nose, the itchy and watery eyes and finally the marathon sneezing, as if my body is trying to break the world record for longest continuous sneezes. These are the worst of all symptoms because they leave me lifeless and exhausted.
To alleviate the symptoms, I left New York State, heck, I left the entire northeast section of the United States and moved to Florida to escape the changing whims of the weather to no avail. Do not get me wrong, it was alleviated but I still suffered from time to time with allergies and the fall season seemed to be the worst.
There are several ways to deal with allergies. You can move from one state to the other (like I did) or you can take one of the several classes of drugs available on the market: antihistamines, decongestants, mast cells stabilizers or leukotrienes modifiers or even steroids. Drugs such as diphenhydramine, loratadine (Claritin, Alavert), cetirizine (Zyrtec) or clemastine (Tavist), montelukast (Singulair) ,. These are highly effective at alleviating the symptoms of allergies, especially the runny nose and watery eyes symptoms. However, they come with the side effects of drowsiness and the feeling that you are having an out of body experience. If you have tried these to no avail or you want to try something different, there is still hope for allergy sufferers in the form of natural remedies:
Antihistamines: These drugs block histamine, a chemical released by our immune system during an allergic reaction.
Grape Seed Extract, unique flavanoids, with very powerful antioxidant properties. Laboratory studies have shown that grape seed can be up to 20 times more powerful than vitamin C and 50 times more powerful than vitamin E in antioxidant capacity.
Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid), probably best known for its effects as an antioxidant and its role in maintaining proper immune function.
Leukotriene Modifiers: These drugs block the effects of leukotrienes, inflammatory chemicals released by your immune system during an allergic reaction. Such medications have proved most effective in treating allergic asthma, but they also treat hay fever.
Butterbur, seems to significantly reduce the othersome allergic symptoms (1). The doctors concluded that it is effective and well tolerated. In some cases doctors even recommended butterbur as first line therapy for seasonal allergies along such accepted conventional treatment as Zyrtec (cetirizine) (2). Petadolex is a patented form of butterbur extracted from the root and standardized to contain a minimum of 15% of petasin and isopetasin.
Mast Cell Stabilizers: Mast cell stabilizers prevent the release of histamine, the same inflammatory chemical that antihistamines stop. They may also reduce the inflammation associated with hay fever and allergic rhinitis.
Quercetin, may be useful in relieving hay fever and sinusitis as a result of its ability to reduce inflammation in the airways and the release of histamine. It appears to block allergic reactions to pollen as well. (3)
Stinging Nettles , preliminary evidence is showing that stinging nettle above ground parts may improve symptoms of allergic rhinitis. Starting stinging nettle at the first sign of symptoms seems to provide subjective improvement (4).
Natural D-Hist contains vitamin C, Quercetin, Stinging Nettles, Bromelain and N-Acetyl cysteine. So you get all the benefits of an antihistamine without taking too many pills.
In this allergy season, know your natural therapies options so that you do not have to suffer through this othersome disease and enjoy the fall foliage and the arrival of winter. I know I will.
1. Schapowal A; Petasites Study Group. Butterbur Ze339 for the treatment of intermittent allergic rhinitis: dose-dependent efficiency in a prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2004 Dec; 130 (12): 1381-6
2. Schapowal A; Petasites Study Group. Randomised controlled trial of butterbur and cetirizine for treating seasonal allergic rhinitis. BMJ. 2002 Jan 19; 324 (7330): 144-6.
3. Anon. Quercetin. Alt Med Rev 1998; 3: 140-3
4. Mittman P. Randomized, double-blind study of freeze-dried Urtica dioica in the treatment of allergic rhinitis. Planta Med 1990; 56: 44-7
By Marie-Elsie Ade