Tag Archives: Allergy

Armed and Immune Part II: Allergies… Really?

Last week I wasn’t sure if my sniffling and scratching was due to allergies or the onset of a cold. This week, as I awake to puffy eyes and eagerly await the afternoon to see my face restored to its usual size and shape, I’m leaning more toward allergies as the culprit. And as I watched my dear friend rapidly progress from itchy eyes to a full-blown sneeze attack, any remaining doubt disappeared. Wait a minute though, allergies seem unlikely because the seasons for pollination have passed. Right?

Actually, not quite. I did a little more research, and sure enough, fall allergies are not just figments of our imaginations. Ragweed, which begins to pollinate in August, is considered the greatest trigger of the coming season.
And mold, another offender, will get a tremendous breeding boost when its spores take up residence in the piles of fallen damp leaves soon to decorate our streets and yards.  Both of these irritants can take flight, travel hundreds of miles, and share their joy with unsuspecting victims in faraway places. Nature- got to love it.

But our immune systems sure don’t. They are equally agitated and confused by these bullies-identifying them as harmful threats and
striking back with the same vengeance they would a bacterial or viral
infection. Although last week’s VitaTrio is a wonderful foundation for the immune system, enabling it to protect and sustain us, some assistance from more trigger ready nutrients can offer the immediate relief most desired when up against  inflamed sinuses, watery eyes, runny noses and fatigue.

MSM, or methylsulfonylmethane, is mostly regarded for its ability to heal body tissue and is consequently included in many hair, skin, nail and joint formulas. As a dancer, I’ve used it for years to help care for my overstressed knees and hips, and I was surprised to learn that it “has antiallergic properties equal to or better than those of antihistamines,” helping to detoxify the cells, relieve inflammation and alleviate pain.*

MSM is contained in fresh fish, meats, fruits and milk but is sensitive to food processing procedures like heating and drying and is therefore usually eliminated from our diets before the food can make it to our
plates. Thankfully, supplemental MSM is available in liquid and pill forms and can safely be used in high doses for extended periods of time, without side effects or adverse interactions with other medications.

Combining MSM with a Vitamin C supplement will increase its benefits, as will taking the supplement on a consistent basis to avail a constant supply to our systems. The recommended starting point is 1000 mgs per day, taken in divided doses, twice daily, with meals. Benefits may be experienced in as soon as two days.

Quercetin is one of the bioflavonoid nutrients that are essential to our bodies’ absorption of Vitamin C. Peppers, grapefruits, lemons, apricots, blackberries, elderberries, rosehips and the white material beneath the peels of citrus fruits all contain bioflavonoids. And many Vitamin C supplements are formulated with them for enhanced absorption.

In medical studies, quercetin reduced allergy sufferers’ histamine release by as much as 96%. It decreases the immune system’s response to pollen, certain foods and other allergens such as dust and has also shown potential in treating and preventing asthma symptoms. Quercetin’s absorption
and effectiveness within the body is enhanced by the enzyme bromelain, found in pineapples. Bromelain also reduces inflammation, the root cause of much allergy induced sinus pressure and head pain. Start with 500 mgs of quercetin, 100 mgs of bromelain and 500 mgs of vitamin C together, twice per day, and gradually increase as needed.

Just a Spoon Full of Honey…

Once, out of desperation, I tried an over the counter antihistamine for relief, but I found it to be too drying to my nose and throat and that was almost as uncomfortable as the actual allergy symptoms.
Surprisingly, and luckily, a recommendation of state produced honey panned out and did the trick. You want the honey produced within the state because it contains the pollen you are having the allergic reaction to. This is similar to receiving a vaccine to increase your body’s defenses against a particular virus. Take about one tablespoon, as needed, to provide immediate relief of mild to moderate symptoms and increase overall immunity. I find that the honey works best when taken straight, but it may be easier for some to swallow in a tea. Using it to sweeten lemon, elderberry or rosehips tea will provide a double dose of protection due the quercetin contained in these foods. Until next week…

Arm Yourself and BeWell!


*Phyllis A. Balch, CNC, Prescription for Nutritional Healing 4th Edition. New York, NY: The Penguin Group, 2006

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Keep Cool Kit

Welcome  to BeWellWarrior!

Those who know me personally know that I am  very, very sensitive to heat and humidity. I often joke that a deep thought can cause my forehead to bead up with moisture. And because breaking a sweat for no good reason at all (like merely blinking or changing my facial expression) puts me in a really bad mood, I’ve gathered a few tips and created a brief Keep Cool Kit.

Enjoy and Be Well!

  • Start your day with a cooling shower courtesy of Dr. Bonner’s 18:1  Hemp Peppermint Castile Soap. An organic blend of coconut, olive, hemp, jojoba and peppermint oils allows even the hottest showers to finish with a refreshing sensation. It rinses clean. So, fragrances can been worn without any interference. It is also made in both liquid and bar forms. Those with more sensitive skin can easily dilute the liquid , which incidentally works great in a cold compress for the face.
  • Adding Watermelon to your diet is a great way to stay hydrated and nourished. Containing Vitamins A, C and B6,  it is praised for its antioxidant value, immunity boosting power and energizing capability. It also has the highest levels of lycopene-great benefit to men, and the rind contains the amino acid citrulline which helps our muscles resist fatigue.
  • Treating yourself to an iced Hibiscus tea provides a wonderful pick-me-up as well as helps to reduce heat induced swelling. Sorrel, as it is known in Jamaica, is an  antihypertensive. So if the morning workload was unusually stressful, Hibiscus tea can help bring the blood pressure back down.
  • End your day with the healing touch of Aloe Vera. The gel of this plant can be used topically to repair sun and environmental damage  and internally as a mild laxative. Those looking to ingest the gel or juice may want to opt for the pre-prepared versions. Lily of the Desert makes both the gel and the juice. Go organic to avoid allergic reactions to pesticides and herbicides.

As always, please speak with your doctor if you are taking medications you think may be complicated by any of the suggestions provided.