It’s the height of allergy season right now- the Spring flowers and trees are in full bloom. Patients are suffering with runny nose, congestion, headaches, watery eyes, itchy eyes, increased phlegm, sore throat, cough, and asthma may be triggered.
Chinese Medicine offers a natural approach to help alleviate these allergy symptoms. Even better, with continued treatments, many patients can significantly decrease the severity and occurrence of allergies.
Today, I am sharing three steps that you can take to support your immune system and decrease your seasonal allergies.
Eat organic fresh whole foods and take the processed foods out of your diet.
Packaged and processed foods burden the body and deplete the immune system. Foods that are treated with pesticides overwork your immune system and can create inflammation.
Instead, eat fresh, organic foods! Your body needs nutrients to heal and have a healthy immune system. Eat fresh, whole foods to experience optimal health: fresh fruits and vegetables, pasture-raised meat and chicken, wild-caught fish, pasture-raised eggs, whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, legumes, and healthy fats like ghee, olive oil and coconut oil.
Eat healing foods to boost your immune system.
Local, raw honey is a super-food that powerfully boosts the immune system because you are ingesting small amounts of local pollens. Local raw honey can be purchased at your neighborhood farmer’s market. Start by eating a 1/4 teaspoon per day. It’s best to not heat the honey when you are using it for medicinal purposes; instead eat it right off the spoon. If you experience a worsening of symptoms, cut back to a smaller amount. If you don’t notice any reaction you can increase the dose to 1/2 teaspoon per day. (If you are allergic to bees, raw honey may cause a reaction, so it is best to avoid honey in this case).
Add immune-boosting foods in your diet like shitake mushrooms and raw fermented foods.
Shitake mushrooms have a long history of use in Chinese Medicine to boost immune health. You can find shitake mushrooms at your farmer’s market or local health food store, either fresh or dried. Add it to soup or chop it up into a stir-fry.
Raw fermented foods are full of beneficial bacteria (known as probiotics). These beneficial bacteria help benefit your digestive and immune system . Examples of fermented foods include raw sauerkraut, raw pickles (fermented only in salt, not vinegar), other fermented vegetables, kim chi, miso, kombucha, kefir soda, whey soda, etc. Choose fermented foods that haven’t been pasteurized (since heat will kill the beneficial bacteria) and that are truly fermented instead of pickled. You can make fermented foods at home or purchase them in the refrigerated section at your health food store.
Try the healing power of water .
The neti pot is an ayurvedic healing method to wash out the sinuses with a salt water solution. You can also use nasal saline rinse sprays. These methods are effective by washing the nasal passages of allergens as well as decreasing inflammation in the mucous membranes.
I also recommend showering and changing your clothes after being outdoors. Your clothes, skin and hair will collect pollens and bring them in your home. Washing these off of your body will help alleviate constant exposure to allergens.
Finally, stay hydrated by drinking fresh filtered water.