Hello Everyone. The weather has turned warm. All of this sun plus all of the rain has made the plants grow. I’ve heard many people in my office say this is the worse allergy season they have seen. If you suffer from hay fever, I have a few pointers.
Seasonal Advice Avoiding dairy products, unhealthy fats (fast food, fried foods), and sugar can really decrease your mucus production. Massaging your face daily will help flush your sinuses. You can find an explanation of how to do it here. Wearing a face mask outside to prevent exposure to allergens is a great idea. Also, acupuncture and Chinese herbal formulas wonderfully reduce symptoms.
The herbs below are by Health Concerns and can be found on my online store.
Astra C - Treats chronic rhinitis and allergic rhinitis. Helps prevent colds and flu.
Nasal Tabs 2 - Treats sinus congestion with thick, yellow mucus, rhinitis, hay fever, colds and flu. Addresses snoring due to facial congestion. Addresses earache due to sinus blockages. May be used for sinus headache.
Xanthium Relieve Surface - Treats allergic reactions - allergic rhinitis, sinus congestion, sinus headaches, chronic aching muscles. Treats various itching skin rashes - dermatitis, hives, poison oak, psoriasis, eczema. Treats stuffy or runny nose associated with common colds or flu.
When treating a person with allergies, I’ll work a little bit locally on their face and a lot in their gut, where the root cause of the problem mostly starts. Allergies are an overactive immune system attacking a non-harmful substance, like pollen. By regulating your immune system, we reduce allergies. 70-80% of your immune system is in the lining of your gut. Also, per Chinese medicine, when the spleen is weak, dampness (mucus) accumulates. By strengthening your spleen and stomach, we reduce dampness.The congee from the February 2016 newsletter is a textbook Chinese medicine treatment for allergies and strengthening the spleen and stomach. Below is another recipe for congee to help strengthen your digestion. I like my Chinese porridge on the thin side with 1/2 cup of rice but you can adjust the density by increasing to 1 cup of rice. I like to add healthy fats to everything and the coconut oil compliments this nicely. Add honey if you seek sweetness.
Recipe Breakfast Congee
8 cups water 1/2 cup rice to 1 cup rice 1 heaping teaspoon cinnamon or 1 cinnamon stick 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped 2 pears, peeled, cored, and diced Dash of salt Drizzle of coconut oil and/or honey-optional
In a large pot, bring rice and water to a boil then turn down to a very low simmer and cover with lid. Cook for about 90 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent burning. Then add the ginger, cinnamon stick, and pears. Continue to cook for another 1 1/2 hours until rice is dissolving into a porridge. Discard cinnamon stick. Pour into individual bowls and top with coconut oil and honey. Makes 8-10 servings.
Exercise Nasal irrigation (for more info, click here)
Flush at least 1 cup of warm water with dissolved baking soda and salt up each nostril. While the warm fluid is in your nasal passages, snort the fluid further up and spit it out your mouth. This is the only way to flush further into sinus cavity and your adenoids. With the correct balance of water, soda, and salt, it won’t burn. You can adjust the mixture until you find what works for you. Flush your nasal passages once or twice a day for 6 weeks. This works even better by starting before your symptoms begin.
Meditation Being itchy and uncomfortable is a great opportunity to be in your body. Use this opportunity to be very focused on your body. The more curiosity you have about your allergies, the less it is frustrating or overwhelming. Whatever body part is in distress, focus in on that part and become as aware as possible. If it’s your eyes, how bad do they itch or burn or water? When exactly? If your throat is sore, what part of your throat doesn’t hurt? What type of breathing pattern eases the discomfort? What makes it worse? If this is really hard to do for you, set a timer. Give yourself 30 seconds or 5 minutes (whatever you can do) of true focus, then reward yourself with a shower, herbal remedy, or whatever type of relief.
Happy May everybody. I hope you all are thriving and I’ll see you soon at your next appointment.
Dr. Heather Bird