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Search Term: " Hayfever "

  Messages 1-7 from 7 matching the search criteria.
Hay Fever Darrell Miller 2/19/09
Bio-Allers – All Natural Allergy Relief Darrell Miller 3/12/07
Fight Hay Fever - Help Your Sinus... Darrell Miller 7/11/05
Hayfever & Allergies - Herbs To Help You Breathe Easier Darrell Miller 6/30/05
Breathe Easy Darrell Miller 6/14/05
Breathe Easy - Don't underestimate the danger of asthma. Darrell Miller 6/12/05
Allergy Alleviation Darrell Miller 6/10/05



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Hay Fever
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Date: February 19, 2009 05:14 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Hay Fever

Hay fever, which is an allergy to proteins in the pollen of trees, grasses, some plants, or mold, affects the mucous membranes of the nose, eyes, and air passages. Symptoms of hay fever include itchy, red eyes; watery discharge from the nose and eyes; sneezing; fatigue; and nervous irritability. Many of the symptoms of hay fever can be confused with those symptoms of the common cold. However, allergies cause a distinctive clear, thin nasal discharge, whereas secretions that come from colds are usually thick and yellow-greenish as the illness progresses. Colds are also associated with mild fever and are usually gone within a week. On the other hand, allergy sufferers often feel wiped out for many weeks.

At least 50 million Americans suffer from seasonal sneezes, runny nose, and itchy eyes that come with hay fever. There happen to be three seasons of hay fever which are distinguished by the different pollen present at these different times of the year. Tree pollen appears first, usually between February and May, depending on the climate. When trees, weeds, grass pollens, and people are out at the same time, the biggest problems arise. This usually occurs later in spring and in summer. The fall is the season for ragweed pollen. Depending on which pollen or pollens an individual is allergic to, hay fever may be present at any or all of these times.

In more detail, the following is a summary of the types of plants according to the times of year they are most likely to cause problems. Alder, hazelnut, and elm trees cause the most problems in February through May, while birch, maple, and oak trees are problematic in March through June. Beech and spruce trees bring about issues in April through June, while horse chestnut trees are responsible for causing problems in April through August. In April through September, Asters, pine trees, plantain, sorrel, stinging nettle, and various grasses are responsible for bringing about allergies. Buttercups are problematic in May through July and Goosefoot is an issue in June through September. In July through September, mugwort seems to pose a problem.

Those people who suffer from hay fever also often suffer from other atopic disorders like asthma and dermatitis. Those people who suffer from hay fever symptoms throughout the year are said to have perennial rhinitis, which can be caused by animal hair, dust, feathers, fungus spores, molds, and/or some other environmental agent. It should be noted that a susceptibility to hay fever tends to be an inherited condition. Those people who are most prone to allergies are often aware of the time of year and conditions under which they are most sensitive. A RAST test can easily be done and provide reliable results for a definitive diagnosis.

The following nutrients are beneficial for hay fever: bromelain, coenzyme Q10, Quercetin, raw thymus, vitamin A, vitamin B complex, vitamin C with bioflavonoids, proteolytic enzymes, zinc, calcium, magnesium, garlic, kelp, manganese, Pycnogenol, SOD, and vitamin E. Additionally, the following herbs have been noted to be helpful: alfalfa, chlorophyll, vitamin K, eucalyptus oil, eyebright, lady’s mantle, goldenseal extract, horehound, mullein leaf, stinging nettle, wild cherry bark, turmeric, nettle leaf, and noni juice.

In conclusion, discovering your allergic substance is the first step to recovery. When you can narrow down what is the cause then you can combat the problem with vitamins, herbs, and dietary changes. Your local or internet health food store has a large selection of herbal and homeopathic remedies for hay fever symptoms.



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Bio-Allers – All Natural Allergy Relief
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Date: March 12, 2007 02:50 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Bio-Allers – All Natural Allergy Relief

VitaNet is pleased to offer you the bio-allers ling of homeopathic allergy remedies. For over 15 years, bioAllers advanced allergy medicine has provided relief to allergy sufferers everywhere.

Allergies have become a common condition for a growing number of adults and children, affecting an estimated 50 million people in the United States. Every year, approximately 5.4 million unattended school and work days are lost due to allergies. Everything from the air we breathe to the food we eat can cause an allergic reaction, resulting in a number of annoying and often debilitating symptoms.

Approximately 35 million people suffer from seasonal allergic rhinitis, commonly known as hay fever, which is triggered by such allergens as week, tree, and grass pollens. Approximately 16.7 million office visits to health care providers each year are attributed to allergic rhinitis.

In addition to seasonal allergies, a growing number of people suffer from household allergies, including mold spores, yeast and dust mites. Avoidance of these reaction-causing substances is the most effective treatment for these allergies. However, that is not always easy or possible to do.

In four double-blind clinical trials, homeopathic allergen preparations allersodes were shown to relieve symptoms and reduce allergic reactions. Treatment groups were shown to have from 33% to 83% greater symptoms improvement than the placebo group. The most recent study showed that those patients who had been taking the allersodes continued to show reduced allergy symptoms for up to five weeks after the last does was taken.

bioAllers is a leader in the research and development of allergy relief and is the #1 homeopathic allergy relief brand. bioAllers also delivers specific allersodes that work with the body to deliver targeted symptom relief. bioAllers relieves allergy symptoms of sneezing, runny nose, itchy and watery eyes, congestion and headache without side effects or drowsiness.

References:

Janet zand, L.Ac., OMD, Allen N. Spreen, MD CNC, James B LaValle, RPH, ND, Smart Medicine for Healthier Living, 1999, P. 291-293.

Reilly D.T., Tylor M.A., McSharry C., Aitchisin T.C., Is Homeopathy a Placeby Response? Controlled Trial of Homeopathic Potency with Pollens in Hayfever as Model, The Lancet, October 18, 1986, 881-886.

Poitevin B., Review of Experimental Studies in Allergy, British Homeopathic Journal, April 1998, Vol. 87, PP. 89-99.



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Fight Hay Fever - Help Your Sinus...
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Date: July 11, 2005 09:15 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Fight Hay Fever - Help Your Sinus...

HANDLING SPRING(HAY)

The National Institute of Health’s branch of Allergy and Infectious Diseases re p o rt that 40 to 50 million Americans suffer from allergies in one form or another. Many experience food allergies that a re treated somewhat diff e rently from hay fever allergies. Hay fever comes from airborne allergens, generally from pollen or pollutants.

The symptoms of allergy occur when an immune system is overactive. The immune system often recognizes something as foreign and treats it as foreign by attacking it, when in fact it really isn’t a substance the body should be concern e d with. This over-activity of the immune system leads to the release of substances including histamine that cause the symptoms of hay fever.

The most common symptoms include a runny nose and itching eyes and scratchy throat. Sometimes, an allergy will precede a sinus infection by causing swelling in the nasal membranes preventing fluids f rom exiting the sinus passages. An infection then ensues. However, most people who feel pressure over their sinuses, never develop an infection and so can be adequately treated with the supplements mentioned here. Many people experience a tickle or a shallow cough that comes from the throat rather than the lungs. They may also experience a change in emotions, becoming quite irritable or moody.

These airborne allergies can often be g rouped by season. Those people sensitive to tree pollens usually have more severe allergies in the springtime. Those sensitive to grasses are often worse in mid-summer. Those allergic to weeds have their symptoms peak in the fall. There are some unfortunate people who have allergies all summer long who may be allergic to a few plants in each group. Those who have symptoms of allerg i e s all winter long probably are allergic to molds and mildew or household animals and dust mites. On occasion, it takes a real detective to determine from where the allergies come.

There are several methods used to diagnose a cause of an allergy. In a scratch test, drops of an allergen are put on small scratches on the arm or the back. Are action is considered positive if swelling or redness occur around the scratch. A blood sample can also be used to meas ure antibody response to certain allergens. It is often helpful to determine the allergen which cause the Hayfever to reduce the symptoms. There are also practitioners who use kinesiology or electronic devices to determine the cause of allergies.

The most common treatment of allergies is with antihistamines. Their side effects include drowsiness and drying of the mucous membranes of the nose and mouth. Many of the newer prescription antihistamines don’t cause drying but often have serious drug interactions and the consumer must be very careful in combining the prescription antihistamines with antifungal drugs, and blood thinning as well as asthma medication. There are some natural products that can be taken to decrease allergy symptoms. They are often equally effective without the side effects of antihistamines.

QUERCETIN

One of the more popular is quercetin. Quercetin is a bioflavonoid found in red apples, red onions, brussels sprouts, kale, peas, bell peppers, pears and asparagus. It is also found in bee pollen and propolis, two plant materials found in the beehive. It is possible to consume a fair amount of quercetin through your diet. If you have allergies, however, diet is often not enough and you may need a supplement to get enough quercetin to ontrol your symptoms. It appears quercetin decreases allergic symptoms by stopping the release of histamine. If you start taking quercetin and other nutritional supplements I will mention below before an allergy attack, they are likely to be more effective. However, don’t let that discourage you from taking them even after the symptoms have started. A common dose is 300mg to 600mg per day.

BROMELAIN

Bromelain is a nutrient often extracted f rom pineapple. Found in many digestive formulas, it is an enzyme that helps absorption. If it is found in a combination formula, chances are, it is there to help with the absorption of the other nutrients such as quercetin. Bromelain also has an anti-inflammatory effect. When someone develops allergy symptoms, part of the reason is due to the inflammatory response to substances such as histamine that are released as the allergy takes hold. This causes inflammation in the tissues which then manifests with redness and swelling.

VITAMIN C

Vitamin C is useful in many conditions including hay fever. Higher doses are often required in the treatment of allergies: 2,000mg is beneficial and you can take up to 4,000mg or more during acute symptoms. It also stabilizes capillaries, reducing the swelling in the throat, nasal passages and around the eyes. If you are taking a multi-vitamin or a combination product that contains Vitamin C, I still recommend additional supplementation.

NETTLE (URTICA DIOICA)

Stinging nettle is probably a plant many a re familiar with, especially if it has come into contact with your skin, but it also has an historical use in the treatment of allergy. In fact, in double blind studies it was shown to decrease the symptoms of allergy, specifically runny nose.

EPHEDRA (MA HUANG)

The active component of the ephedra herb is ephedrine, an alkaloid. It is used in OTC asthma medication. As a natural herb, ephedra in small doses can be v e ry useful in decreasing the symptoms of colds, asthma, cough and in this case, hay fever. It is in many Chinese and American formulas that I use and I feel v e ry comfortable using 100mg to 200mg of ephedra that contain small doses of 2.5mg to 8mg of ephedra alkaloids per day. I feel comfortable using dosages of up to 15mg of ephedra alkaloids .

FEVERFEW

Feverfew is another herb with a variety of uses. You will find it in headache formulas, in fever reducing formulas, and many hay fever formulas. Like bromelain, it has an anti-inflammatory effect and reduces the swelling that occurs during a hay fever attack.

Homeopathic formulas can also be useful to reduce hay fever. There is no re ason why the herbs I’ve mentioned cannot be combined with homeopathic formulas. You may want to take them at separate times of the day.

So, if you suffer from hay fever, don’t give up. You can use these nutrients singly or in combination. You can take a formula that contains all of them and then add to that additional vitamin C for instance, or additional nettle. It may require trial and error to find the right amounts in combination that will work for you.



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Hayfever & Allergies - Herbs To Help You Breathe Easier
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Date: June 30, 2005 09:36 AM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Hayfever & Allergies - Herbs To Help You Breathe Easier

Hayfever & Allergies By Ellen J. Kamhi, Ph. D. with Dorie Greenblatt Runny nose, watery eyes, itchy skin...oh no, it's that time of year again! Are you one of the 30 million Americans who suffer from Hayfever? If so, breath easier and let the herbal world replace your antihistamines and steroids with both preventative and therapeutic remedies.

Allergies and Hayfever are abnormal reactions to everyday substances such as pollen, dust, dander, etc. and involve many different organ systems of the body, primarily the respiratory, liver and adrenal glands. Using herbs to strengthen these systems will give your body a preventative edge over allergic reactions, and will further help decrease the severity of uncomfortable symptoms.

Licorice is a wonderful ally to the adrenal glands and is probably the most widely studied adrenal herb. Licorice has anti-inflammatory actions similar to the glucocorticoids (which are produced by healthy adrenals) and are involved with resolving allergic reactions. It also preserves the effects of cortisol, and adrenal hormone involved in clearing allergies.

A second well-known herb used to strengthen the adrenals is Ginseng. Often times, the onset of allergies can be attributed to stress. The adaptogenic properties of Ginseng allow the glands to balance stress and energy while creating an overall resistance to allergic reactions, colds, flus and infections.

A strong liver is also vital to a healthy balanced body, acting as a protective factor against allergies. Dandelion is one of the most nutritive and strengthening herbs to the liver. It helps clear toxins and stimulates the energy of the liver to work towards the resolution of the allergic reaction. Milk Thistle acts as both a protector and regenerator of the liver. This herb helps repair damaged tissue and support the actions necessary for dealing with allergens and their accompanying symptoms.

When confronted with the copious secretions commonly experienced by allergy sufferers, Nettles and Eyebright are two of the best herbs to choose to control the "drip". Both work well for short-term relief, but may be taken before the season begins as a means of prevention. For those people who become congested and need a remedy which allows them to breathe while draining occurs, Ma Huang is a good choice. Due to its stimulating nature, use Ma Huang with caution if you have high blood pressure, heart disease, etc. Additional herbs suitable for allergy relief include Red Clover, Elder Flower and Bayberry.

For a potent synergistic formula, try Allertone. This outstanding product featrues a blend of the well-known Echinacea and Goldenseal, along with Red Clover, Bayberry and Mullein to combat both the discomfort of allergies as well as reduce excess mucous from the nasal and respiratory tract.

  • These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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    Breathe Easy
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    Date: June 14, 2005 06:19 PM
    Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
    Subject: Breathe Easy

    Breathe Easy

    by Edward Bullard, III Energy Times, March 1, 1998

    Don't underestimate the danger of asthma. When an asthmatic attack chokes the passageways to your lungs, cutting off your air supply, the consequences can prove frightening and disastrous.

    Although asthma is the leading chronic illness among children, most sufferers are adults. The condition ranks as the 7th most common chronic affliction nationwide affecting 14 to 20 million people; about 11 million of these are over the age of 18.

    The American Lung Association estimates that between 1982 and 1992 the total number of asthma cases jumped by more than 57%. Researchers can't pinpoint the reasons for this rise, but they have found that urban dwellers suffer a higher asthma risk.

    Despite the gloomy statistics, those who suffer asthma can take reassurance from the progressive development of complementary and conventional treatments that control this condition. Anyone who suffers asthma should consult with a knowledgeable health practitioner.

    How does asthma start? This airway problem may originate with allergies and sinus or bronchial infections (the bronchi are the tubes leading to the lungs). Some experts believe that air pollution, dust mites, cockroach remains and other environmental toxins may exacerbate the condition.

    A family history of allergies and asthma also increases your asthmatic vulnerability since your genes may make you more prone to the airway inflammation that leads to breathing constraints.

    Allergic reactions to food have been implicated in causing restricted breathing. Food found to most frequently instigate immediate lung difficulties include nuts, peanuts (which are, technically, legumes not nuts), eggs, shellfish and fish. Foods that do not cause immediate wheezing but may produce a delayed respiratory effect include artificial food colorings, wheat, citrus fruits, milk, chocolate and wheat products.

    Since an allergic reaction to particular foods can apparently play a role in asthma, some people find relief by systematically eliminating foods from their diets, identifying troublesome items and then permanently avoiding those foods.

    Asthma's Nutrition Gap

    According to Richard N. Firshein, D.O., director of the Firshein Center for Comprehensive Medicine in New York City, asthma stems from cells' "disordered metabolism." In these circumstances, the body's immune system often mistakes allergens (normally benign substances) for infectious agents. In strenuously defending itself against allergens, the body goes on "red alert," says Dr. Firshein in his book Reversing Asthma (Warner), "exhausting itself in the process." This creates a need for extra vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. Too often, he believes, this nutritional need is not met and asthma ensues.

    In the presence of asthma, magnesium can help restore free breathing. Dr. Firshein reports that about 50 years ago, medical researchers discovered that treating asthma victims with magnesium sulfate opened up breathing passageways. Although magnesium by itself does not completely alleviate asthma attacks, many emergency room doctors still use it in conjunction with other treatments to restore breathing.

    In explaining magnesium's usefulness in alleviating asthma, Dr. Firshein notes that magnesium competes with calcium in each cell to influence asthmatic reactions. For instance, calcium stimulates mast cells (reactive immune cells) to release histamine, a chemical that foments allergic reactions that hinder breathing. Conversely, magnesium "stabilizes" mast cells, quieting their activity so that they retain their histamine instead of flooding breathing passages.

    In addition, calcium takes part in muscle contractions that can constrict breathing tube muscles. Magnesium can help relax those same muscles.

    Although intravenous treatment with magnesium for acute asthma attacks must be carried out by a trained health professional, taking magnesium supplements over a period of time, may gradually help assuage asthma's wheezes.

    How do you tell if you're short of magnesium? Standard blood tests of magnesium levels may be inadequate. As Dr. Firshein points out, normal blood tests only examine the amount of magnesium floating in the blood's plasma. That level can apparently appear sufficient even if red blood cells are magnesium-deficient. (Dr. Firshein recommends asking your health practitioner for a special red blood cell test.)

    Ephedra for Asthma

    Ever since about 3,000 BC, Chinese health practitioners have been giving the herb ma huang (Ephedra sinica) to asthma sufferers. In the 1920s, western medical researchers extracted a chemical called ephedrine from ma huang and soon synthesized this substance for use as a pharmaceutical. However, herbal experts believe that there are other beneficial substances in ma huang besides ephedrine that can ease breathing.

    Although ephedra has been used successfully to ward off the allergies of Hayfever as well as mild asthma, when this herb is taken over a long period its benefits may lessen. The reason: eventually the herb's ephedrine weakens the adrenal glands, according to Michael Murray, ND, and Joseph Pizzorno, ND, in the Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine (Prima). To offset this effect, they recommend supporting the use of ephedra with licorice (Glycerrhiza glabra) as well as ginseng (Panax ginseng) which support the adrenals. In addition, vitamins C and B6 and zinc and magnesium plus pantothenic acid also boost adrenal function.

    Licking Asthma with Licorice

    Since much of asthma's deleterious effects on health stem from the fact it inflames breathing passageways, licorice root, which acts to squelch inflammation and which calms allergies, can be helpful in restoring normal breathing. Licorice, according to Drs. Murray and Pizzorno, promulgates the persistence of cortisol in our body, a hormone that acts as an anti-inflammatory agent.

    As an extra benefit, licorice can also forestall the side effects of cortisone, one of the most widely prescribed medicines for asthma. Licorice also boosts cortisone's desirable anti-inflammatory action while inhibiting the action of enzymes that would otherwise increase unwanted inflammation.

    Onions + Garlic = Better Breath

    Despite their reputation for giving you bad breath, both onion and garlic can improve the breath of those afflicted with asthma. The reason: both of these plants restrict the action of an enzyme with the tongue twisting name of lipoxygenase, a chemical that helps produce inflammation.

    Studies with animals showed that when they were fed onion extract, their induced asthmatic problems decreased. Part of onion's benefit may be due to its quercetin content. (Quercetin is a bioflavonoid available as a supplement.) Onion also contains mustard oils, which are believed to slow the body's production of leukotrienes (substances that also increase inflammation).

    Vitamin C

    Vitamin C, the most abundant antioxidant nutrient in the lungs' inner lining, apparently protects against respiratory problems. Studies of people with asthma show that they possess less vitamin C both in their circulating blood and in white blood cells. When researchers induced bronchial constriction in people who volunteered for respiratory studies, they found that those given vitamin C didn't have as hard a time breathing. Experts recommend healthy doses of vitamin C plus other antioxidant nutrients such as vitamin E, carotenoids and selenium to lower the risk of allergic reactions and ease breathing. Antioxidant nutrients restrict the action of free radicals, molecules that attack the lungs and other parts of the cardiovascular system.

    Chinese skullcap (Scutellaria baicalensis) also effectively fights inflammation without causing serious side effects. Experts believe its bioflavonoids stop the body from making biochemicals that inflame tissues. Aside from restricting inflammation, these bioflavonoids also act as antioxidants.

    Strength in Numbers

    Asthma support organizations can provide vital information: Organizations American Lung Association 1740 Broadway, New York, NY 10019-43741 (800) LUNG-USA llergy & Asthma Network/Mothers of Asthmatics Inc., 3554 Chain Bridge Road, Suite 200, Fairfax, VA 22030 (703) 385-4403, (800) 878-4403 th/aanma Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America,1125 15th Street, N.W., Suite 502 Washington, DC 20005 (800) 727-8462

    --
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    Breathe Easy - Don't underestimate the danger of asthma.
    TopPreviousNext

    Date: June 12, 2005 05:57 PM
    Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
    Subject: Breathe Easy - Don't underestimate the danger of asthma.

    Breathe Easy by Edward Bullard, III Energy Times, March 1, 1998

    Don't underestimate the danger of asthma. When an asthmatic attack chokes the passageways to your lungs, cutting off your air supply, the consequences can prove frightening and disastrous.

    Although asthma is the leading chronic illness among children, most sufferers are adults. The condition ranks as the 7th most common chronic affliction nationwide affecting 14 to 20 million people; about 11 million of these are over the age of 18.

    The American Lung Association estimates that between 1982 and 1992 the total number of asthma cases jumped by more than 57%. Researchers can't pinpoint the reasons for this rise, but they have found that urban dwellers suffer a higher asthma risk.

    Despite the gloomy statistics, those who suffer asthma can take reassurance from the progressive development of complementary and conventional treatments that control this condition. Anyone who suffers asthma should consult with a knowledgeable health practitioner.

    How does asthma start? This airway problem may originate with allergies and sinus or bronchial infections (the bronchi are the tubes leading to the lungs). Some experts believe that air pollution, dust mites, cockroach remains and other environmental toxins may exacerbate the condition.

    A family history of allergies and asthma also increases your asthmatic vulnerability since your genes may make you more prone to the airway inflammation that leads to breathing constraints.

    Allergic reactions to food have been implicated in causing restricted breathing. Food found to most frequently instigate immediate lung difficulties include nuts, peanuts (which are, technically, legumes not nuts), eggs, shellfish and fish. Foods that do not cause immediate wheezing but may produce a delayed respiratory effect include artificial food colorings, wheat, citrus fruits, milk, chocolate and wheat products.

    Since an allergic reaction to particular foods can apparently play a role in asthma, some people find relief by systematically eliminating foods from their diets, identifying troublesome items and then permanently avoiding those foods.

    Asthma's Nutrition Gap

    According to Richard N. Firshein, D.O., director of the Firshein Center for Comprehensive Medicine in New York City, asthma stems from cells' "disordered metabolism." In these circumstances, the body's immune system often mistakes allergens (normally benign substances) for infectious agents. In strenuously defending itself against allergens, the body goes on "red alert," says Dr. Firshein in his book Reversing Asthma (Warner), "exhausting itself in the process." This creates a need for extra vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. Too often, he believes, this nutritional need is not met and asthma ensues.

    In the presence of asthma, magnesium can help restore free breathing. Dr. Firshein reports that about 50 years ago, medical researchers discovered that treating asthma victims with magnesium sulfate opened up breathing passageways. Although magnesium by itself does not completely alleviate asthma attacks, many emergency room doctors still use it in conjunction with other treatments to restore breathing.

    In explaining magnesium's usefulness in alleviating asthma, Dr. Firshein notes that magnesium competes with calcium in each cell to influence asthmatic reactions. For instance, calcium stimulates mast cells (reactive immune cells) to release histamine, a chemical that foments allergic reactions that hinder breathing. Conversely, magnesium "stabilizes" mast cells, quieting their activity so that they retain their histamine instead of flooding breathing passages.

    In addition, calcium takes part in muscle contractions that can constrict breathing tube muscles. Magnesium can help relax those same muscles.

    Although intravenous treatment with magnesium for acute asthma attacks must be carried out by a trained health professional, taking magnesium supplements over a period of time, may gradually help assuage asthma's wheezes.

    How do you tell if you're short of magnesium? Standard blood tests of magnesium levels may be inadequate. As Dr. Firshein points out, normal blood tests only examine the amount of magnesium floating in the blood's plasma. That level can apparently appear sufficient even if red blood cells are magnesium-deficient. (Dr. Firshein recommends asking your health practitioner for a special red blood cell test.)

    Ephedra for Asthma

    Ever since about 3,000 BC, Chinese health practitioners have been giving the herb ma huang (Ephedra sinica) to asthma sufferers. In the 1920s, western medical researchers extracted a chemical called ephedrine from ma huang and soon synthesized this substance for use as a pharmaceutical. However, herbal experts believe that there are other beneficial substances in ma huang besides ephedrine that can ease breathing.

    Although ephedra has been used successfully to ward off the allergies of Hayfever as well as mild asthma, when this herb is taken over a long period its benefits may lessen. The reason: eventually the herb's ephedrine weakens the adrenal glands, according to Michael Murray, ND, and Joseph Pizzorno, ND, in the Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine (Prima). To offset this effect, they recommend supporting the use of ephedra with licorice (Glycerrhiza glabra) as well as ginseng (Panax ginseng) which support the adrenals. In addition, vitamins C and B6 and zinc and magnesium plus pantothenic acid also boost adrenal function.

    Licking Asthma with Licorice

    Since much of asthma's deleterious effects on health stem from the fact it inflames breathing passageways, licorice root, which acts to squelch inflammation and which calms allergies, can be helpful in restoring normal breathing. Licorice, according to Drs. Murray and Pizzorno, promulgates the persistence of cortisol in our body, a hormone that acts as an anti-inflammatory agent.

    As an extra benefit, licorice can also forestall the side effects of cortisone, one of the most widely prescribed medicines for asthma. Licorice also boosts cortisone's desirable anti-inflammatory action while inhibiting the action of enzymes that would otherwise increase unwanted inflammation.

    Onions + Garlic = Better Breath

    Despite their reputation for giving you bad breath, both onion and garlic can improve the breath of those afflicted with asthma. The reason: both of these plants restrict the action of an enzyme with the tongue twisting name of lipoxygenase, a chemical that helps produce inflammation.

    Studies with animals showed that when they were fed onion extract, their induced asthmatic problems decreased. Part of onion's benefit may be due to its quercetin content. (Quercetin is a bioflavonoid available as a supplement.) Onion also contains mustard oils, which are believed to slow the body's production of leukotrienes (substances that also increase inflammation).

    Vitamin C

    Vitamin C, the most abundant antioxidant nutrient in the lungs' inner lining, apparently protects against respiratory problems. Studies of people with asthma show that they possess less vitamin C both in their circulating blood and in white blood cells. When researchers induced bronchial constriction in people who volunteered for respiratory studies, they found that those given vitamin C didn't have as hard a time breathing. Experts recommend healthy doses of vitamin C plus other antioxidant nutrients such as vitamin E, carotenoids and selenium to lower the risk of allergic reactions and ease breathing. Antioxidant nutrients restrict the action of free radicals, molecules that attack the lungs and other parts of the cardiovascular system.

    Chinese skullcap (Scutellaria baicalensis) also effectively fights inflammation without causing serious side effects. Experts believe its bioflavonoids stop the body from making biochemicals that inflame tissues. Aside from restricting inflammation, these bioflavonoids also act as antioxidants.



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    Allergy Alleviation
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    Date: June 10, 2005 05:32 PM
    Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
    Subject: Allergy Alleviation

    Allergy Alleviation by Cal Orey , February 2, 2002

    Allergy Alleviation By Cal Orey

    Welcome to the stuffed up world of seasonal allergic rhinitis: the wheezing, sneezing "inhalant allergies" that torment 35 million Americans. Adding insult to sinus pain, other allergens attack year-round. Air pollution, dust mites (microscopic gremlins that infest bedding, upholstery and rugs) and animal dander trigger allergies-or other respiratory ailments-in any season. Urban air is full of rubber tire particles, a true blowout for those with latex sensitivity. Altogether, roughly 50 million Americans-about one in five-suffer from some form of allergy, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI). Tired of cross-pollinating with plants or being bowled over by dust balls? Vitamins, herbs and other nutrients can help you nip allergy discomfort in the bud.

    The Allergy Response

    Your immune system triggers an allergic response when it overreacts to otherwise harmless substances or antigens (we're talking dust, pollen and mold).The alarmed immune system then launches a defensive chemical reaction, releasing potent chemicals (antibodies) supposed to destroy the "invaders." The antibodies, called IgE, carry the invading substances to special cells, which zap them with more biochemicals. Among these protective cells are mast cells: they release histamine, the substance that causes swelling and inflammation to the linings of the nose, sinuses and eyelids, resulting in sneezing, upper respiratory congestion and itchy, watery eyes.

    Just Blame The Folks

    Most allergies are determined by your genes. If your Mom or Dad sneeze and scratch, there's a good chance you will, too. "That is not to say that we directly inherit an allergy to any specific substance. Rather, it seems as if we might inherit some kind of immune system defect or weakness that leaves us more vulnerable to allergies," explain co-authors Glenn S. Rothfeld, MD, and Suzanne LeVert in their book Natural Medicine for Allergies: The Best Alternative Methods for Quick Relief (Rodale). For some people, allergies lurk in food, throwing the immune system into overdrive. "Many natural medicine practitioners believe that a diet high in animal fats will contribute to the development of allergy and asthma, as does a diet high in food additives, such as preservatives and dyes," says Gary McLain, PhD, in his book The Natural Way of Healing: Asthma and Allergies (Dell). Worse, allergies can up the risk of asthma, which afflicts 15 million Americans. Most people afflicted with asthma also suffer allergies: the two are linked, according to the AAAAI. Allergy triggers of asthma include pollen, mold spores and house dust mites. Remember Helen Hunt's asthmatic son in the movie As Good As It Gets? His character endured allergies to dust, and living in New York (and watching his mom date Jack Nicholson) didn't help his immune system. Coughs, ear infections, fevers and visits to hospital emergency rooms curtailed his social life (and limited his close-ups as well). That kind of routine happens in real life, too. (Well, maybe close encounters with Jack N. are not included for most.) But when we breathe substances such as molds, they can induce swelling and inflammation of the bronchial airways which narrow and restrict air flow. This, in turn, causes wheezing and shortness of breath and can trigger an asthma "attack," according to Andrew Engler, MD, who specializes in allergy and asthma in San Mateo, California.

    The Nose Knows: Chemical Sensitivities

    Imagine a picture-perfect, crisp, clear Saturday morning. You make a final stop on your weekly errand run to the dry cleaner, where you drop off your laundry and spend a moment chatting up the owner. Back in your car, your eyes tear and you feel a bit woozy. Kenneth Bock, MD, and Nellie Sabin, writing in The Road to Immunity: How To Survive and Thrive in a Toxic World (Pocket Books) sense that your reaction could be chemical sensitivity, a difficult to diagnose but, in their opinion, very real malady. (Of course, a clinician can test you for immune responses to certain chemicals.) Reactions to chemicals produce the typical allergic responses: puffy or red-rimmed eyes; swelling; aching or stiff joints and muscles; irritability or dizziness; respiratory inflammations; headaches and the like. Villains include aerosol sprays, tobacco smoke, glues, insecticides and herbicides, household chemicals and fragrances. Identification and avoidance are key, say the authors. Vitamin C, which binds with chemicals, is one of the best nutritional defenses.

    Breathing Problems Expand

    Americans now freely take lifesaving medicines such as antibiotics and insulin but, in some people, "they have the potential to alter the immune system, which is where allergies begin," says Dr. McLain. (Consult your pharmacist if you have questions about your prescription medication.) We, as a nation, are also eating more chemicals, from the pesticides drenched on plants to the preservatives poured on prepared foods. We're breathing polluted air, which can lead to or exacerbate asthma, and then we choke on recycled air in sealed buildings. And while a century ago you were likely to have spent much of your time close to home, you can now hop on a supersonic plane and be taken to the other side of the globe within a matter of hours. With travel comes exposure to even more exotic allergens that can drive your immune system to distraction.

    The All-Natural Gesundheit

    Certain allergy-relief nutrients and herbs can help make life more bearable. Here's how they work: n Vitamin C for the lungs. According to experts, when vitamin C is low, asthma is high. Vitamin C carries the major antioxidant load in the airways and therefore contributes mightily to the health of the lungs. A study in the Annals of Allergy (73(1994):89-96) reported that in seven of 11 clinical trials since 1973, vitamin C supplementation provided "significant improvements" in respiratory function and asthma symptoms. n Vitamin E and carotene to suppress allergic reactions. These antioxidants may also help protect the respiratory tract from caustic pollutants. Vitamin E is reputed to be one of the most important nutrients for antioxidant protection in the lungs. In addition, these two substances decrease production of allergy-related compounds called leukotrienes. n Zinc for the immune system. Research shows that a deficiency in this trace mineral can weaken your immune system, setting you up as a target for allergies and infections. (Some vegetarians may not store sufficient amounts of this mineral and should take supplements.) Zinc comes to the body's rescue by taking part in the production of IgA, the gastrointestinal antibody that lines the digestive tract. "When IgA binds to an allergen, it keeps it from being absorbed into the bloodstream and thus from causing an allergic reaction," report Rothfeld and Levert. Also, zinc protects mucous membranes and helps convert beta carotene to vitamin A, another anti-allergy, immune-boosting nutrient. In a study of 100 participants at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, half took a zinc-based lozenge, while the other half received a dummy preparation. The participants taking zinc experienced a 42% reduction in the duration and severity of their common colds (Annals of Internal Medicine, 7/96). n Quercetin as an antihistamine. A valuable, anti-allergic flavonoid (plant coloring agent that is a powerful antioxidant), quercetin shines as a potent weapon against allergies and asthma. Believed to inhibit histamine release from mast cells and slow the production of other allergy-related compounds, it stabilizes mast cell membranes. Other flavonoid-rich extracts include grape seed, pine bark, green tea and Ginkgo biloba. n Additional helpful nutrients: Vitamin B-12, particularly to combat sensitivity to sulfites (The Nutrition Desk Reference [Keats]); selenium, an antioxidant that breaks down leukotrienes (Clinical Science 77, 1989: 495-500); and magnesium to relax bronchial tissues (Journal of the American Medical Association, 262 [1989]: 1210-3).

    Herbal Remedies To The Rescue

    n Nettles for hay fever relief. Research at the National College of Naturopathic Medicine in Portland, Oregon, showed that 40 of 69 folks suffering from hay fever found moderate to extreme relief from taking freeze-dried stinging nettles (Planta Medica, [1990] 44-47). "It is nontoxic, cheap and preferable to antihistamines, which I think are significantly toxic," reports Andrew Weil, MD, in his book Natural Health, Natural Medicine: A Comprehensive Manual for Wellness and Self-Care (Houghton Mifflin). n Cayenne to reduce inflammation. Cayenne, known as hot red pepper, is rich in capsaicin, a potent flavonoid "counter-irritant" that dilates and soothes inflamed nasal and bronchial tissues, according to experts. A bonus: Cayenne also contains a rich amount of antioxidant vitamin C, which can help enhance your immune system. n Echinacea for allergy prevention. This popular Native American herb provides cold and allergy protection, particularly when you take it before encountering allergens. Studies reveal that echinacea aids your body's tissues and protects you from germs and allergens. In fact, German studies have found it possesses valuable antiviral, antibacterial and immunity-boosting properties.

    Make Your World Allergy-Free

    For the most effective allergy relief, make sure you stay clear of allergens that wreak allergy havoc. Visit an allergy-savvy health practitioner and get tested to find out which substances rock your respiratory world. Plus, allergy experts recommend: n Banish dust mites: sweep out clutter and have your house power-vacuumed, if necessary; wash bedding and linens in very hot water. n De-pollinate your environment: flip on the air conditioner to sift out pollen (keep its filter and any forced air registers clean); exercise indoors; machine dry, rather than line dry, your clothes. n Buy a home air filter, especially if you experience dust, pollen or pet dander allergies. n Avoid allergy triggers that dog your days: cats and canines (or consider the hairless or shed-less breeds), mold and tobacco smoke. No matter what you do or actions you take, allergies may always remain an annoyance in your life. But attention to the foods you eat, the places where you exercise and the right combination of anti-allergy nutrients can limit your discomfort.

    Leveling The Leukotrine Playing Field

    On a microscopic level, a series of biochemicals implicated in allergic reactions are leukotrienes, substances that may constrict the bronchial tubes (breathing passages). In some people, consuming the food additive tartrazine can cause severe asthmatic breathing difficulties by boosting leukotrine release. In turn, this can interfere with the body's use of vitamin B-6. The process in which lack of B-6 or "errors" in how your body uses B-6 causes allergic reactions and is complex. According to Michael Murray, ND and Joseph Pizzorno, ND in the revised edition of the Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine (Prima), breathing problems may begin when the metabolism of tryptophan (an amino acid) goes awry: "Tryptophan is converted to serotonin, a compound that, among other things, can cause the airways of asthmatics to constrict...Vitamin B-6 is required for the proper metabolism of tryptophan." Accordingly, a study of vitamin B-6, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, shows that people with compromised breathing may possess less B-6 in their blood than others who breathe normally. When people with asthma were given B-6, their wheezing and asthmatic attacks dropped.

    Fat Fix For Allergies

    The fat in your diet or supplements can also influence your susceptibility to allergies and asthma linked to allergies. Epidemiologists have found that countries where children eat fish at least four times a month cut their risk of asthma by 67% compared to other parts of the world where they consume fewer fish. Research on omega-3 fatty acids, the kind of fat found in fish, flax and hemp oil, demonstrates that some of these substances can improve breathing. In particular, fatty acids called eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) can help open up bronchial tubes. Studies in the American Review of Respiratory Disease and the International Archives of Allergy and Applied Immunology show that breathing passageways may not react so negatively to the presence of allergens when you eat more fish or take supplements containing these types of fats. Many of the scientists who study the kinds of fats we eat believe that the increase in allergies and asthma in the US during the twentieth century may be due to both increasing air pollution (which irritates our lungs) plus a simultaneous increase in our consumption of what are called omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-6 oils are contained in most of the vegetable oils Americans eat, including sunflower and peanut oils. While experts believe that we would be better off consuming a diet containing about five times as many omega-6 fatty acids as omega-3s, today we eat about 40 times as much omega-6s. The chemistry of how these fats influence our allergy susceptibility is complex. It begins in our cell membranes which consist mostly of fat. When we consume omega-3 fatty acids, in our diet or in supplements, and these fats enter cell membranes, the change in structure cuts the availability of arachidonic acid, a fatty acid your body can make and which is found in meat, eggs and dairy products. Eventually, it is thought that this change in cellular metabolism and reduction in arachidonic acid forces the body to make less 4-series leukotrienes, substances which are quite prone to provoking allergic inflammation and, instead, produce 5-series leukotrienes, leukotrienes which don't cause nearly as much trouble. This process requires patience. According to Pizzorno and Murray. "It may take as long as one year before the benefits are apparent, as it appears to take time to turn over cellular membranes in favor of the omega-3 fatty acids."

    Chinese Medicine Versus Allergies

    Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) views allergies as an imbalance of the liver, says Jason Elias, co-author with Katherine Ketcham of The Five Elements of Self-Healing (Harmony Books). "The average American's (liver) deals with about fourteen pounds of chemicals a year. What would normally be a minor irritant becomes major because the liver can't process them anymore," explains Elias. Licorice root (Glycyrrhiza glabra) has traditionally been used to fight allergies since this herb battles inflammation as evidenced by Japanese research and a study published in the journal Allergy. Much of this anti-allergy action is thought to proceed from licorice's interaction with a biochemical called cortisol, a hormone secreted by the adrenal glands. Cortisol (along with epinephrine, another adrenal hormone) relaxes the muscles controlling airways. By slowing the liver's breakdown of cortisol, licorice prolongs circulation of this hormone which, in turn, can help breathing passages stay clear. In addition, glycyrrhetinic acid, a compound in licorice, slows the body's manufacture of prostaglandins and leukotrienes, substances which exacerbate allergic inflammatory reactions. Ma Huang (Ephedra sinica) has been employed for thousands of years to aid breathing since chemicals in this plant widen breathing passages.

    Homeopathic Remedies for Allergy

    Homeopathic treatments consist of highly diluted substances designed to coax the body into healing itself. The effectiveness of homeopathy for Hayfever has been demonstrated by research published in Lancet performed at the University of Glasgow, Scotland. There, scientists showed that homeopathically-prepared medicines produced statistically significant improvements in allergy sufferers. The appropriate homeopathic remedy for any illness depends on the personality type of the person suffering an allergy. These treatments are among those recommended by Dana Ullman: n Allium cepa: appropriate for burning nasal discharge that grows worse in warm rooms and improves outdoors. Relieves non-burning tearing from eyes, raw feeling in the nose with tingling sensation and violent sneezing. n Nux vomica: used when feeling irritable and chilled, with daytime fluent nasal discharge and night congestion that grows worse indoors. Also for those sensitive to cold and to being uncovered. n Pulsatilla: best for women and children with daytime nasal discharge and night congestion who are gentle, yielding, mild, impressionable and emotional. Used when congestion is worse in warm rooms, hot weather or while lying down.

    Food Allergy Conundrum Food allergies can prove to be the toughest allergies to identify and eliminate. Jason Elias believes that people may develop food sensitivities from eating the same foods too often. "If someone has an allergy, I might say 'Let's get you off dairy for three weeks,'" he says, noting that some people have limited their hay fever problems by ceasing to consume dairy products. Many have also found relief by maintaining a food diary, keeping track of which foods are associated with allergy attacks and then eliminating those foods. So the next time you sneeze, don't just reach for your hanky, think back to the meal that you just ate. Your allergy problem may be sitting in your stomach as well as making you sneeze and stuffing your sinuses. Taking these kinds of anti-allergy preventive measures can provide life-enhancing relief that feels like a godsend. That lets you attain your healthy best.

    This article included reporting by Judy Pokras.



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