By Gregory A. Carey, MAcOM, Dipl. O.M. (NCCAOM), L.Ac.
The change of Season often brings its unique challenges, and for many Seasonal Allergies are an annual rite of passage. As we celebrate the official start of the Spring Season on the Spring Equinox, March 20, 2021, some have already been noticing the onset of Seasonal Allergy symptoms. Allergic Rhinitis is a common presentation, with symptoms such as nasal mucus discharge, sneezing, post nasal drip and irritated, itchy eyes. But why do people suffer Seasonal allergies, and what can be done about them?
Allergic (Atopic) diseases have exploded in Industrialized Nations. Diseases such as Eczema/ Dermatitis, Asthma and Rhinitis often cluster together within individuals and communities. Causes are likely multifactorial, but a key influencer appears to be Gut/ digestive health. Industrial, processed foods, over use of antibiotics in humans and the food chain and reduced vegetable intake have all been linked to increased allergic responses. Even pasteurized dairy has been implicated- some studies have shown that non pasteurized milk is both better tolerated and yields a lower allergic response!
Chinese Medicine has long held that not only is digestive function crucial for overall immunity and immune regulation, but it is also known as the physiological “root” of the Lung Organ! Thus, proper respiratory and Lung function is intimately associated with, and dependent on Gut health! Therefore, in order to treat the “root” of allergic disease – one must consider the gut, and not merely slap a “band aid” on that runny nose symptom! But what are some self care strategies to improve your gut health at home?
Bone Broth is an important element in restoring and regulating Gut Health. Try a warm 12 oz cup of bone broth on an empty stomach once a day for 1-2 weeks and see how you feel. Do you notice improved bowel function? Less bloating? Less GERD? More regular bowel movements? Reduced skin dryness? Reduced respiratory symptoms? Want to learn more, look up the recommend book “The Bone Broth Miracle,” by Ariane Resnick.
Another gut booster is Ginger. Not only can ginger improve appetite, digestion and alleviate nausea, but it also reduces frequent clear nasal discharge! Ginger in Chinese medicine is a warming herb, while profuse clear nasal mucus discharge is a “cold” symptom. Therefore, utilizing a warming herb which also has the function to reduce mucus is a great strategy. Particularly so if you also happen to suffer from cold hands/ feet or are generally sensitive to cold drafts. Brew a cup of ginger tea at home by slicing 1-2 cm of Ginger root (rhizome), add to 3-4 cups water, bring to a boil and simmer for no longer than 10 minutes. Over brewing ginger will reduce its therapeutic/ aromatic effects.
A classic Chinese remedy for dry, itchy, red eyes is Chrysanthemum flower tea. Aerial parts of the Chrysanthemum flower (often yellow) are brewed into a pleasing, fragrant tea. To moisturize dry eyes, Goji berries are also added to Chrysanthemum flower tea. Goji berries are an amazing antioxidant powerhouse, fantastic for the eyes and other internal organs, and can be steeped in hot water and enjoyed. Try out a cup of Chrysanthemum and Goji berry tea. Ingredients may be found at a local Asian grocer, your local supermarket or purveyors online.
If you don’t happen to have Goji berries or Chrysanthemum flowers on hand, and your eyes are driving you nuts, try Mint tea. Mint tea is cooling and may help to temporarily alleviate itchy, red irritated eyes. Mint tea also soothes an irritated throat, and for some sufferers of IBS- is also beneficial to digestion. Ultimately, your Seasonal allergy symptoms may require professional attention.
Try a course of acupuncture and herbal medicine to nip seasonal allergies in the bud. For further information and to connect with our Clinic, please visit us at www.oldbridgeacupuncture.com.