Manage Your Hay Fever Naturally
By Pam Fischer
For many allergy sufferers lifestyle modifications can reduce or eliminate the necessity of taking medications. Pam Fischer is founding director of Ohlone Herbal Center.
Approximately 60 million people suffer from hay fe-ver, also called allergic rhinitis. The greenhouse effects of global warming are making the pollen season last longer and exacerbating hay fever symptoms. In 2000, hay fever sufferers spent $6 million on prescription medication to treat their symptoms medications that fail to heal the underlying problem.
Herbal medicine and food therapy can be quite effective in treating the underlying issue and helping to reduce, and in some cases, eliminate the problem. Hay fever is caused by a hyper reaction of the immune system that releases histamines and in turn, causes an inflammation of Mast cells found in the mucus membranes. This means that the body reacts to pollen as if it is a virus or bacteria. Sneezing, itchy nose, sinusitis, headache and blocked nasal passages are common symptoms resulting from Mast cell inflammation.
One theory about the cause of hay fever is that our immune system is under constant pressure; environmental toxins are more pervasive than ever, our diets lack essential nutritional elements, we rely on foods that provide short bursts of energy and suppress immunity, and constant stress further lowers immune health. Hay fever is a sign of a depleted immune system that can no longer distinguish between a natural substance and a harmful intruder.
A number of issues can be addressed to relieve the immune system and restore health and vitality. We can also work on toning the digestive tract and liver that are often hidden factors exacerbating hay fever. These approaches can take many years, but they are well worth the effort.
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