By Linda Edwards, RN, MSN, Owner, ResilientMe, Inc.
Upon my recent return from a trip to warm, sunny Florida for some work and relaxation, the first thing I noticed when pulling into my driveway was the lilac bushes covered in blooms. One of my favorite and anticipated cut flowers, I was concerned that I had missed some opportunity to grace my kitchen with the beauty and fragrance of the lilacs. I promptly prepared a beautiful bouquet and placed them in a prominent location in my kitchen.
The next morning, I enjoyed the sweet fragrance of the lilacs permeating the air. About an hour later, I felt sluggish and unmotivated, a highly unusual disposition for me. Oh no- the lilacs! Some years I can tolerate the sweet, intense fragrance and some years I cannot; and this is one of those years. Two hours later and the lilacs have been relegated to my patio table where I am able to enjoy them through the window while I begin to feel normal again. In addition to removing the lovely offender, I helped to calm my body’s overactive response with a plant-based agent called quercetin. I learned about natural alternatives to over-the-counter allergy medications from necessity. The side effects of brain fog and drowsiness that come with most OTC allergy medications were not tolerable for me (especially as a professional who helps individuals with brain health)!
It seems that seasonal allergies and all of the suffering that they bring are here once again. Who isn’t talking about it? I overheard a discussion with a gentleman who described his approach as his “four part allergy shield”. It included eye drops, nasal spray, over the counter antihistamine and throat spray. Despite all this, he was clearly still suffering with symptoms including itchy, watery eyes and frequent sneezing.
If your current routine for common, non-severe seasonal allergies is not effective, or if the side effects are not tolerable, there are alternative over-the-counter solutions to consider. They fall into two categories: botanical agents and homeopathic remedies.
Botanical Agents The most frequently used botanical agent is quercetin. Quercetin is considered a plant bioflavonoid and is commonly derived from the skin of onions and apples. According to Dr. Andrew Weil, “quercetin stabilizes mast cells that release histamine, the principal mediator of reactions to pollen and other allergies, making it a natural antihistamine.” Quercetin alone is not very well absorbed, so it is often combined with an enzyme called bromelain which is found in pineapples. Look for products labeled Quercetin with Bromelain, Quercetin phytosome or activated Quercetin.
Homeopathic Remedies There are many homeopathic remedies for seasonal allergies. Working with a homeopathic professional can help to zero in on your specific needs. Three common remedies include Euphrasia officinalis for eye discharge, Galphimia glauca for itchy nose and sneezing due to hay fever and Histaminum hydrochloricum for symptoms including hay fever and hives. Fortunately, the manufacturers make combination products that contain a mixture designed to address multiple allergy symptoms. These combination products are carried by many drugstores, health food stores and grocery chains.
As with any supplement, check with your doctor or pharmacist for any potential interactions with prescription or over the counter drugs or other supplements that you are taking. Severe allergic reactions are considered a medical emergency and immediate care should be sought.
Children on the spectrum can be more sensitive to histamine and any parents observe behavior changes during times of seasonal allergies. In addition to common symptoms, seasonal allergies can also produce some lesser-known symptoms like brain fog, fatigue, poor sleep, problems with ears, headaches and more.
Seasonal allergies are often unpleasant and uncomfortable. What makes spring so beautiful with its flurry of new growth also brings misery to those who suffer from allergic reactions to pollen and other irritants. Relief can sometimes seem out of reach, but a range of options does exist to help ease the discomfort.
Linda Edwards, RN, MSN is the owner of ResilientMe, Inc. in Little Silver, NJ. She has extensive experience in finding solutions to health and wellness challenges from all sources, especially safe and effective products, services and technologies. Linda’s philosophy is simple: she is only interested in things that work.
ResilientMe, Inc offers Microcurrent Neurofeedback services which help optimize brain performance for people who have suffered concussions, endure high levels of stress, athletic and professional performance demands, and experience difficulty with memory, concentration and focus.
Linda’s experience includes not only clinical practice but also managing Human Capital Health Management programs for Fortune 100 companies. www.Resilient-Me.com
Photo credit: winyuu