By Richard Firshein, DO, Physician Practicing complementary medicine in New York. Author of A Guide to Nutrititional Therapies.
More than 20 million Americans suffer from springtime allergies. Over-the-counter and prescription antihistamines, decongestants and steroid nasal sprays may help but they can cause drowsiness and nasal bleeding and may have other yet unknown effects.
Here are some natural remedies that can often be used instead of or in conjunction with medications. Consult a doctor before trying any of these, especially if you are pregnant, planning surgery or taking other medications.
*Quercetin. This supplement is a bioflavonoid; the component in fruits and vegetables that gives them their vibrant color. It has natural antihistamine and anti-inflammatory effects.
Typical dosage: Start taking quercetin when spring weather begins, and continue through the end of June. Take 300 milligrams (mg) twice a day for one week. If that doesn't work, increase to 600 mg.
If you also suffer from fall allergies, begin again in mid-August and continue through the first frost. In hot climates, you may need to take quercetin year-round.
*Stinging Nettles. Like quercetin, this plant extract is an excellent antihistamine and anti-inflammatory. It can be used in conjunction with quercetin or on its own.
Typical dosage: 400 mg twice a day during allergy season.
On-the-spot treatment: If you find yourself in the throes of an allergy attack despite taking quercetin and/or stinging nettle regularly, take an extra dose. I tell my patients to reach for these remedies whenever they would take an antihistamine.
Most allergy sufferers find quercetin and/or stinging nettle highly effective. But if they don't work for you, one of the following natural antihistamines and anti-inflammatories may help either in conjunction with each other or alone. Try them in this order, but, of course, talking with your doctor first.
*Vitamin C. Take 1,000 mg once or twice a day during allergy season. This should be reduced or eliminated during the off-season. Recent studies suggest vitamin C in high doses may cause thickening of arteries and interfere with certain cancer therapy. Caution is advised for patients with these conditions.
*Pycnogenol, an antioxidant derived from the bark of pine trees. Take 50 mg twice a day.
*Ginkgo biloba. Take 60 mg twice a day. Once symptoms subside, stop taking this herb. Used in excess (more than 200 mg per day), it can cause diarrhea or sleeplessness.
Caution: People using blood thinners should avoid ginkgo biloba.
*Feverfew. Buy a product standardized to contain at least 0.7% parthenolide. That is the component of this herb that reduces swelling in the sinuses. Take 500 mg two or three times a day.
What are herbal infusions?
This ordeal involves another performance to extract water soluble plant nutrients and medicinal properties from herbs.
An herbal infusion is very much like a tea, but an
infusion is a large amount of herbs brewed or simmered for a long time and are of full strength. A tea contains a very small amount of the herbs brewed or simmered for a short time.
An infusion is much more affective, pulling out more of the minerals and vitamins in the plant. Herbal infusions are very nutritious giving the body what it needs to help maintain the body over time.
Infusions are always made with dried herbs.
How long should I take these infusions?
Infusions should be apart of your daily regimen.
Should I mix my infusions?
Herbal infusions should be taken one herb at a time.
Some of the best Nourishing herbs for an herbal infusion are:
Has more Chlorophyll than any other herb.
Filled with vitamins and minerals known necessary for human health and growth.
It contains 500 milligrams of calcium plus generous amounts of bone-building magnesium, potassium, silicon, boron, zinc, vitamins A, C, D and K, calcium, phosphorous, iron and sulphur are particularly abundant in nettles.
*Builds energy providing healthy radiant skin, strong health hair. Aiding the kidneys, Increases fertility in women and men. Nourishing the fetus and mother, Increasing the richness and amount of breast milk.
Reducing hemorrhoids. Nettle's nourishing action tightens and strengthens blood vessels, helps maintain arterial elasticity.
Red Clover Blossom: #1 Anti cancer preventative. Red Clover is therefore used for hot flashes/flushes, PMS, breast enhancement and breast health as well as lowering cholesterol, improving urine production and improving circulation of the blood, to help prevent osteoporosis, reduce the possibility of blood clots and arterial plaques. Makes a burgundy color infusion.
Linden Flower: Relieves Anxiety, mood swings, PMS, anti-flu,
anti-cold, soothes lungs and guts.
Comfrey Leaf: Helps build bones, increase memory cells, aids with flexibility in joint, eyes, vagina and lungs. Help body heal.
The Leaf is free of the toxin that is found in the roots that may cause liver damage if eaten in high amounts.
A "super food" some call it! The Moringa will give aid to:
Malnutrition, HIV/AIDS, balance blood sugar levels, cardiovascular benefits, enhances circulation, antibiotic properties, anti-fungal properties, reduces inflammation, combat different cancers, eliminates free radicals, enhances the heart, reverses the aging process, increases your energy, sharpens your mental, deter allergies, assist cholesterol levels, improves liver function, promotes hair growth, clears acne, appetite enhancer, natural aphrodisiac, builds immune system, produces 40% more breast milk in pregnant woman and livestock, also is very effective against glaucoma according to several scholars.
Stinging Nettles are some of the most nutritious of green vegetables. They are rich in calcium, iron, magnesium. Along with other minerals, provided also are vitamins C, A, and B complex.
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