Spring allergies are a particularly troublesome condition, which significantly degrades the quality of life, especially when accompanied by intense symptoms. Cortisone and nasal sprays with cortisone, are among the most common treatments for allergies. But is there any alternative way to deal with this spring “enemy”?
What is an allergy?
Allergy is defined the over-reaction of body and the activation of the immune system against certain substances (allergens) that are harmless for the majority of the population. The body, by mistake, thinks that the allergen acts as an enemy for health and thus activates the defense system and tries to exterminate it. Thus, after the exposure to the allergen, the production of antigens, such as IgE, and chemicals such as histamine begins.
The most common substance responsible for spring allergies is pollen. Pollen exists in trees, plants, and flowers and is responsible for the reproduction of plants. Histamine secretion is responsible for the symptoms of allergies, which are manifested through the lungs, eyes, gastrointestinal tract and skin. However, allergies can often lead to anaphylactic shock, a situation particularly dangerous for life.
Symptoms may be mild or severe and the most common are:
- Red eyes
- Itching and dryness of nose and eyes
- Black circles
Allergies cannot be cured, but they can be in recession and not adversely affect the quality of life. The first and most important step is to avoid exposure to the allergen, if feasible. Drug therapy and/or vaccines are often recommended, such as antihistamines, decongestants, nasal sprays or steroid drugs that tend to reduce inflammation, but even these are not always effective.
Butterbur (Petasites hybridus)
Dose: 500 mg per day
Petasites is a European herb that relieves allergic symptoms and allergic rhinitis. The main active compound is called petasin and reduces contractions of smooth muscle fibers, thereby reduces vascular contraction and symptoms. You can use it maximum for 12 weeks.
Dose: 400-500 mg per day in small doses
It belongs to the family of flavonoids. It has strong antioxidant properties and is found in onions, apples, and black tea. It helps significantly reduce the symptoms of allergies, blocks histamine secretion and reduces inflammation. It can be combined with bromelain and vitamin C, therefore it usually exists in formulas. Quercetin interacts with various drugs that are metabolized in the liver while people with kidney disease should not use it. Maximum use for 8 weeks.
Chinese skullcap (Scutellaria baicalensis)
It is a herb used in Chinese medicine to treat allergies. It has anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic and antioxidant properties and helps significantly in the treatment of allergic rhinitis. People taking statins, sedatives, lithium or diabetic medication should not take supplements with Scutellariae.
Dose: 1,000 mg, 2 times a day
It is one of the most known and powerful antioxidants. Correspondingly to Quercetin, it reduces the production of histamine and thus helps in the treatment of allergic symptoms. It further enhances the action of the immune system.
Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica)
Dose: 600 mg daily
Nettle is a herb the leaves of which are traditionally used to treat anemia, allergies and allergic rhinitis as it lowers histamine levels and has anti-inflammatory effects. However, there are not many studies confirming the above action. People with diabetes, or those who take anticoagulants, lithium, sedatives, diuretics or antihypertensive medication, should not take nettle supplements.
Dose: 160 mg, twice a day
Astragalus is a plant rich in flavonoids, quercetin, and phytosterols. Some studies have shown that taking astragalus is beneficial, as it reduces the intensity of symptoms such as runny nose, itching, and sneezing. People with autoimmune diseases or those taking lithium or immunosuppressive medication should not receive supplements with astragalus.
It is a herb used to treat chronic or seasonal rhinitis, allergies, and allergic eczema. as it reduces rhinorrhoea and sneezing. It does not have the common undesirable effects of antihistamines (drowsiness) and can be used for a long time. It is usually combined with other herbs for better action.
In Vita4you you can find a great variety of dietary supplements to treat allergies.