This week is Allergy Awareness Week and most people either suffer form or know others who suffer from allergies. There's an estimated 21 million people in the UK alone suffering from allergies and this number is growing by 5% every year. For some it can be a mild food or environmental allergy and for others its life threatening and something to be considered when making simple daily decisions. We seem to have grown used to the fact that allergies have increased and learnt to accept the challenges they bring. We've also become used to reaching for pharmaceutical drugs to help us control the symptoms.
This is a perfect example of where I think we should make decisions about managing our medicine choices according to need and then think about alternative options to assist us. People who are highly allergic to a substance and may need to carry an adrenaline pen due to risk of anaphylactic shock, carry with them a potentially life saving pharma. However many people reach automatically for antihistamines for mild symptoms however and this begs the question of whether introducing a potent chemical substance is better than using natural medicines which can gently ease symptoms without dramatically changing body chemistry.
There are many Herbal Medicines which can lessen symptoms of allergies such as Hay Fever, Asthma, Eczema, they can also be of assistance to decrease the severity of food allergies and other forms of reaction. Nettle leaf for example contains a natural antihistamine and helps reduce inflammation by inhibiting the release of pro-inflammatory mediators thereby helping to reduce or negate symptoms of allergy. Plantain helps to keep mucous membrane tissue healthy and has a lining effect to help provide a barrier to allergens. Feverfew can be taken for asthma, eczema, hay fever and particularly migraines associated with allergies or food sensitivities. Other Herbs I often use include Elderflower, Peppermint, Ginkgo and Chamomile.
You can try some of these herbs by buying good quality tea or wild harvesting herbs from clean spaces and tinctures can be easily obtained from good health shops or your local Herbalist. I always recommend people with seasonal allergies to take herbs before and during their allergic season and for non seasonal allergies herbs can be easily introduced into your daily routine. In all cases you can help your body fight back and make a more informed selection of when to use medcation to restore balance and reduce symptoms.
It doesn't have to be complicated but you do need to take herbs regularly to have a good therapeutic affect. Most Herbalists are always happy to advise and if you require a consultation or personal prescription go and see a professional, but in the meantime, try for yourself and lets see what we can achieve by thinking about allergies and how we can tackle them at home.
I want to share what I know about natural medicine with you. I also love stories and articles about food and nature so in this blog I will be looking at all these subjects and how they come together in our daily lives.