Spring is here, bringing with it flowering plants – and allergies. If you are prone to allergies, the next time you have an allergy attack you might want to try these natural self-healing tips for sinus relief.
Your immune system is designed to identify and combat things that are foreign to your body.
Most of the time, it performs this duty very well, protecting you from bacteria, viruses, and other potentially harmful substances. But during the last century our immune systems have been overwhelmed with chemicals and pesticides, not to mention the stress of modern life.
The result is that our immune systems have become oversensitive. When the immune system overreacts to allergens (pollen, dirt, pollution, animal hair, and mold to name a few) it mobilizes with full force, producing severe allergic symptoms: sinus congestion, itchy, watery eyes, running nose, and an aching head. Sound familiar?
1. Keep an allergy-free home
One of the key factors in treating allergies is to get rid of the substances that over-stimulate the immune system. Dehumidify and air out your home regularly.
Use the air conditioner and central heater sparingly as they tend to permeate the home with dust and particles collected in their ducts. Fungal colonies, dust mites, and pollen collect in the house.
Clean floors regularly and opt for solid wood or stone floors instead of carpeting, which collects tremendous amounts of dust and bacteria. Prevent mold by using vinegar to disinfect any surfaces that often get wet and humid. Also, keep beds, bedrooms, and couches off-limits to pets.
2. Reduce histamines with tea
Most people have heard of histamines through their association with allergies. Histamines are a protein that when released, increase the permeability of blood vessels, which then send a surge of blood flow to the affected area.
This increase leads to inflammation, which is the cause of allergic reactions to substances like pollen.
Both green tea and chamomile tea contain natural antihistamines and can help balance your immune system.
3. Bromelain: nature’s inflammation fighter
Bromelain is an enzyme that helps reduce the inflammatory process, modulate overactive immune responses that cause it, and relieve allergies. Where to find this amazing anti-inflammatory enzyme? Fruits such as papaya, pineapple, and kiwi all contain bromelain. Eat up for relief or look for bromelain in supplement form.
4. Bee free from allergies with herbs and supplements
Eating one teaspoon of local, unfiltered, and unprocessed honey every day can do wonders for your allergies. Bee pollen supplement may also help to alleviate allergies.
Stinging nettle is used in medical traditions worldwide to reduce inflammation and has been successful in relieving allergies. Research shows that nettle blocks the action of inflammation-inducing immune cells. When looking for stinging nettle supplements at your health food store, choose the leaf part of the plant to best fight inflammation.
Magnolia flowers, xanthium, mint, dandelion, Chinese basil, siler root, and schizandra all have allergy-reducing properties. Take in tea form or try in my traditional Chinese herbal formulation called “Allergy Tamer,” which balances the immune system and relieves allergy symptoms.
5. Allergy Eats: Do’s and Don’ts
Again, the name of the game is getting rid of the substances that over-stimulate the immune system, and this includes food. You want to avoid eating any foods that produce mucous and dampness: dairy products, cold and raw foods, corn (including corn syrup), and simple sugars. That means cutting out bleached flour, white pasta, white rice, refined sugar sweets, and soft drinks.
Typically high-allergy grains include wheat, rye and barley, so those are best avoided during an allergy flare-up. Chocolate, shellfish, potatoes, tomatoes, and eggplants may also over-stimulate the immune response.
Opt for papaya, cranberries, pear, pineapple, cherries, mangos, and citrus fruits. Green, leafy vegetables like spinach and kale contain essential nutrients for healthy immunity, as does broccoli. Switch to whole wheat bread, brown rice, whole grain pasta, quinoa, brown rice, and millet. Cook with spices that can unblock your sinus passageways in no time: ginger, scallion, basil, garlic, oregano, cayenne peppers, white pepper, horseradish and turmeric.
Vegetables always need to be thoroughly washed in running water to remove residues of pesticides and chemicals. Even better, eat only locally grown, organic produce. And finally, drink 80 oz. of filtered room-temperature water per day, as water intake is essential for proper lymphatic drainage.
May you live long, live strong, and live happy!
Dr. Mao Shing Ni, best known as Dr. Mao is a bestselling author, doctor of Oriental Medicine, and board certified anti-aging expert. He has recently appeared on “The Ricki Lake Show,” “Dr. Oz,” and contributes to Yahoo Health and The Huffington Post. Dr. Mao practices acupuncture, nutrition, and Chinese medicine with his associates at the Tao of Wellness in Santa Monica, Newport Beach, and Pasadena. Dr. Mao and his brother, Dr. Daoshing Ni, founded the Tao of Wellness more than 25 years ago in addition to founding Yo San University in Marina del Rey. To make an appointment for evaluation and treatment call 310.917.2200 or you can email Dr. Mao at firstname.lastname@example.org. To subscribe to his tip-filled newsletter, visit www.taoofwellness.com.