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Allergies and Hayfever

The Washington area can be a nightmare for allergy sufferers. Spring and summer allergies can be triggered by airborne pollens of different plants and trees. These pollens cause the immune system to react by releasing a substance called histamines which cause typical symptoms like an itching throat, eyes, nose and ears; sneezing; and a runny nose. Medical treatments for allergies are unsatisfactory. Most people use anti-histamines which are toxic and cause side effects like drowsiness, dizziness, dry throat and mouth and interact unfavorably with medication like antibiotics and anti-fungals (the newest anti-histamines have fewer side-effects). The shots often given are expensive, time-consuming and, by and large, ineffective. Oral corticosteroids are very dangerous and should only be used in extreme cases. The long term effects of nasal spray steroids are still unknown.

There are natural alternatives which work well. Stinging nettle (uritic dioica) is a non-toxic herb which gets its name from the presence of stinging hairs on the leaves and stems, which when touched, inject formic acid and histamine unto the skin and cause urticaria, an irritation and inflammation of the skin. Stinging nettles contain many biochemicals which endow it with anti-inflammatory properties. It is supplied in capsules of extract of the leaves.

Another effective treatment is the use of the bioflavinoid called quercetin. This is obtained from foods like citrus fruits and buckwheat. A dose of 400mg twice per day until the season ends is effective. Pregnant women should not take this supplement. Also, take your typical anti-oxidants vitamin C (2000-6000mg per day), beta-carotene (5000I.U. per day) and vitamin E (400I.U. per day). Avoid milk products.

The best way to keep the nasal passages clear is to use a nasal cup, sometimes called a neti pot. Fill the pot with warm water and 1/4 teaspoon of salt to make a saline solution. Tilt your head to the side and pour the solution into one nostril at a time. The solution will travel through the sinus cavity and come out the opposite nostril. This flushes the pollen and any other contaminants off the mucous membranes of the nose.

For more information on using a neti pot see Narial Nasal Cup for more information.

To purchase a nasal cup inexpensively check and search for the Nasal Cup, product number 10871.


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