June 1st, 2006Hay Fever
(NOTE: This article is from the old Herbal Legacy Newsletter)
by Yvonne Salcido, MH
Oh spring and summer the seasons looked so forward to especially towards the end of a long winter. Many dread the changing of seasons with a host of discomforts that accompany it. A nose that is runny like someone left the faucet on. Eyes itching so badly that you want to scratch your eyes out. Sleep can be disrupted because of a dripping nose trickling across your face or down the throat. Sounds like I’ve experienced it first hand? You’re right on! There is a happy ending to this story more on that later
What is Hay fever?
Contrary to the name it doesn’t mean you are allergic to hay. In the 1800’s doctors named the symptoms hay fever after noticing rural residents experienced itchy eyes, sneezing, and coughing after exposure to cut hay or grass. One of the old English definitions of “fever” is any time a patient appeared nervous. You might be nervous too if suddenly your nose is dripping and you don’t have a handkerchief. It wasn’t realized at the time the culprit probably was pollen or mold. Hay fever affects about 40 million people in the United States alone making it the most common allergic condition.
When you have hay fever you react to commonly inhaled allergens. Your immune system is confused. It identifies the allergen as an invader and your body starts to produce an antibody to fight called immunoglobulin E or IgE. The next time you are expose to the allergen an attack is order and it’s all out war and you feel miserable. IgE antibodies start the release of an inflammatory chemical – histamine. This causes the mucous membranes to swell in the nose, sinuses and eyes and all those wonderful symptoms proceed to manifest.
You are more likely to have allergies if you have a family history, male (I would debate that!), firstborn, exposed to cigarette smoke in the first year of life, exposed to allergens, dust or pet dander. Left unchecked you may experience secondary infections such as sinus infections and nose bleeds caused by inflammation from blowing constantly. Otitis media, middle ear infections caused from the fluid build up in the middle ear. Respiratory infections may develop. Hay fever may increase the risk of asthma.
What to do?
The first thing Dr. Christopher taught is to get off dairy! Cleanse and nourish the body, use the principles taught by Dr. Christopher. Go to the cause instead of using herbs just to treat the symptoms. Since the immune system is confused we also need to use those herbs that will strengthen and calm the immune system. Immucalm is a wonderful formula. The astragalus root in the formula strengthens the immune system and helps it to start to recognize what cells it really should be attacking. The marshmallow calms the immune system and it is a great anti-inflammatory. In combination with that formula nettle is great anti-histamine. Dr. Andrew Weil doctor at the University of Arizona, and a botanist, suggests two capsules of nettle every 2 hrs until symptoms are relieved. Other helps can include stay in on windy days. Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter. Daily exercise has shown to be very beneficial. Keep windows and doors shut and use the air conditioning with a good clean filter.
When I became a student at the School of Natural Healing and discovered how bad dairy was my first thought was how could I ever give it up. I drank milk with everything. I also had hay fever, at least two sinus infections a year, and laryngitis. Something in what I was learning rang true so I decided to put it to the test. I gave up all dairy products: milk, cheese, ice cream, yogurt, cream cheese, sour cream and butter. It wasn’t as bad as I thought. There are so many transitional products like Rice dream, Better than Sour Cream etc. Gradually my symptoms have gotten better. This year I am happy to report that I have had no symptoms at all. I have had no sinus infections or laryngitis for several years. Of course I have been off of dairy for I think six years now. I started taking Immucalm and Nettle capsules two weeks before I usually get bad. This winter when everyone around me had colds and coughs I felt great.
My daughter has also experienced similar benefits. Her allergies were so bad that at one time we thought she would have to be hospitalized. She couldn’t even play outside for about 2 months of every spring and early summer. Yesterday she was bouncing on the trampoline with her cousins in the sprinklers having a great time in the peak of allergy season. I’m just grateful my reasoning was stronger than my taste buds.