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Desperate for allergy relief!

 
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I have a question, and please don't act on it without looking into it because I may be wrong.  I am rarely wrong, but it has happened once or twice.

I theorize that part of our exploding allergies problem is simply because our immune systems are designed to work under a parasite load and for many, the immune system gets overreactive in the absence of that load.  I don't claim this is the entire story, but I think maybe it is a large part.

Through all of human history except the last couple of generations, most people carried intestinal parasites (mostly worms of various types) from early childhood on.  The first thing any parasite has to do is calm down your immune system so your body doesn't attack it.  I've read several articles about small studies (no one will fund a large study because you can't patent a parasite), where the researchers have given people with multiple schlerosis intestinal parasites (tape worms in many, although at least one other was mentioned, but I don't remember it's name).  In all cases I've seen, the patients MS completely stopped progressing over the course of years (damage already done was not repaired).   In at least one study I read, at the end the patients were given the option of keeping the parasites or taking meds to kill them.  100% of the patients opted to keep the worms.

Much of the apparent increase in allergies may be due to increased recognition.  (I had a dr. who grew up on a farm tell me that at certain seasons they were all sneezing, hacking, red eyed and plugged up sinuses, but his folks didn't know to call it hayfever.  I don't think that recognition is all of it though.  

I wonder if maybe part of our 'permaculture' should include our own gut biota (that's actually a pretty fashionable idea now), including worms (which is a decidedly unfashionable idea).
 
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Location: Rigby, ID
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I am an allergy sufferer, too, and have had great success using local bee pollen. I mix it into a little applesauce each morning. If you're just starting out, ease into it in very small increments. Start with a couple granules each day, then add a few granules more after about a week. Gradually (like over the next couple of months) build up to a teaspoon of be pollen daily. I hope this helps.
 
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Location: Philippines
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from what I understand allergy is the action or more precisely mis action of immune system. If this is correct then it would be logical to start from the immune system. Perhaps this is the reason why honey works. Honey is a natural immune booster. So perhaps take other immune system  fixer/booster such as ganoderma mushroom.
 
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I just read about goldenrod being used for seasonal allergies.
I react horribly to grass pollen and I'm going to give this a try.
Dry the whole stalk when flowering begins, use in teas.
 
pollinator
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Dale Hodgins wrote:

Don't waste a penny on homeopathy. A treatment should have at least some plausible means by which it could work. The idea that vaccines cause your allergies is also unsubstantiated. Allergies existed long before there were vaccines. It's your body reacting to the pollen and chemicals that plants naturally produce.



I had similar opinion too, but then I got stung by a bee. I was visiting my friend a day after, and sting area was getting worse, not better - it was super itchy, swollen and redness started developing around the area. My friend brought me Apis homeopathic remedy and also homeopathic sting ointment. No kidding, in 5 minutes I had zero itching, and in 1-2 hours no more swelling or redness. And that is despite me not believing in the stuff. Apis is actually made from the bee sting material, so remedy was very well matched.  I started testing homeopathics for other things, and noticed, that lower potencies (30 and less) do not do anything for me. But 200C and higher work very well. But remedy has to be matched quite well. And to do that -read homeopathic Materia Medica and homeopathic repertories, not popular homeopathy books. Popular books now approach homeopathy as current medical system does - specific remedy or drug for specific disease, and that is like a shot in the dark. Remedy has to match personality and specific symptoms, not the disease. Healing a person, not the disease. First aid homeopathics are generally okay to use, that most people use, since one doesn't have an hour or two to read during emergency. but other stuff is individual.
 
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Location: Vermont
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My husband has had allergies, chemical sensitivities (neighbor's clothes dryer and hot tub chemical smells) and sinus congestion for the last 14 years.  It would hurt me to see him come back from a walk, all stuffed up with a sinus headache that would linger for days.  He would netty pot and press his head and wait for it to let up.  Then, he fell and bruised a rib and was in pain from lung congestion, so after addressing the rib injury, I suggested he take a fenugreek/thyme tincture I had made for him.  It was amazing.  Within two days his congestion was cleared and then he found over the next few weeks that he was not reacting to the usual smells and his sinuses were clear.  He missed a day and it came back, but was stopped when he resumed taking the tincture.  My understanding is that a person's constitution...his is wet and cold/mine is hot and dry...is important when taking herbs.  Both fenugreek and thyme are warming and drying so they wouldn't do me that much good, but for him they connected the right dots.  He even finds he doesn't get chilled as easily and his nose isn't running all the time.  Everyone is different, but this was such a game changer for him (and me too) that I wanted to pass it along.
 
Joy Oasis
pollinator
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Bee Dee, how much of the tincture your husband is taking a day?
 
BeeDee marshall
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He takes 5 drops twice a day now.  The first week he took it 4 or 5 times a day. The tincture is a glycerite, but an alcohol tincture might work as well. It is half fenugreek and half thyme. Lemon thyme, to be exact, from our garden, but regular thyme should work.  I posted a video showing how to make a glycerite at https://permies.com/t/99351/kitchen/Elderberry-toxicity-tinctures#1047725  about 2/3 down the page.  
 
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I like using eucalyptus oil for my allergies, it helps me to breathe easier when I have my allergies.
 
pollinator
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I thought the establishment 'cure' was to take pollen all year.
 
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As I have not seen this mentioned yet, Mark Boyle (author of moneyless manifesto and the way home) says he is using a plantain (i.e. plantago major) infusion to keep his hayfever at bay. He states that as early as he can in the year he collects the first leaves from wild plants and drinks an infusion. He is not very specific but it does sound like he drinks it every day or most days for the hay fever season. I have also read that it should be possible to use plantago lanceolata interchangeably.
 
author & pollinator
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I thought I would take a bit of a different approach here and start by explaining what hay fever is.

What Is Hay Fever

Hay fever, also known as allergic rhinitis, it is a type I hypersensitivity reaction mediated by IgE antibodies that are set off by grass, weed and tree pollens. Pollens effects the ears, eyes, nose and throat. The eyes are itchy and watery, the person has a runny or stuffed up nose and the sneezing is obnoxious. It may interfere with sleep, work, recreation, cause a person to feel irritable and may also be associated with asthma and in severe cases induce anaphylaxis in susceptible individuals. Over the long-haul, these seasonal attacks on the person's sensitive mucous membranes may cause structural damage of the respiratory tract and can lead to nasal polyps, and vasomotor rhinitis which can cause nasal congestion all year round as well as repetitive upper respiratory tract infections.

The Details
Pollen lodges into the mucous membranes of the eyes, the nose and throughout the respiratory tract. The first time an allergy-prone person meets up with pollen, a white blood cell, called a B-cell is alerted to what it sees as an intruder. This B-cell is transformed into a plasma cell and makes large quantities of immunoglobulin E (IgE) that is specific to recognizing and attacking that pollen. The IgE made for this pollen will attach to mast cells and the next time the person comes into contact with that pollen again, the mast cells with this specific IgE on them will perceive an invasion and release powerful substances called vasoactive amines. The most powerful and the one most talked about with hay fever is histamine. Histamine is synthesized by mast cells, basophils, platelets, histaminergic neurons, and enterochromaffine cells, where it is stored intracellularly in vesicles and released on stimulation. This is what is primarily responsible for the runny/stuffy nose and watery eyes, itching and sneezing. This is an overreaction of the body due to a weakness on the part of the upper respiratory mucosa with an overreaction of the immune system. So support of the upper respiratory system and modulating the immune system are in order. Before we tackle how to treat hay fever, we want to investigate methods used to prevent it. Calming the immune system, supporting the respiratory tract, liver and digestion go a long way in preventing or decreasing symptoms. These supportive measures are key in preventing an explosive reaction that can irritate these sensitive membranes. There are some general behaviors and lifestyle practices that will assist the person with hay fever in living a more comfortable life. Dietary and lifestyle changes often decrease the need for drugs, herbs or supplements.  However, when they are not enough there are many healthier options to drugs for resolving or lessening the symptoms of hay fever.

A whole book could be written on how different organ systems are involved in hay fever (especially the immune system, respiratory tract, liver and digestive tract) and the intensity of symptoms. However, I am going to give you one example regarding the digestive tract and how it can be involved as it is a big one.

An example of digestive tract involvement
We find that supporting the digestive tract goes a long way to decreasing overall body inflammation and histamine levels. If you have dysbiosis (your gut flora is out of balance and have too many bad guys to good guys) you will get increased histamine released and more histamine will end up in the general circulation adding to the histamine created from the pollen reaction.  Treating the dysbiosis and lowering histamine in the gut are key in this case to lowering histamine load in the body as this histamine will add to the histamine from the pollen. So, how is the gut and dysbiosis involved in making hay fever worse?

The histamine issue and the gut
When there is dysbiosis, this means that there are some less desirable gut bacteria that are out of control. Many of these will add to the histamine load in the gut by irritating and damaging the gut lining in various ways. This causes the gut wall mast cells to release histamine and other inflammatory mediators. We can stabilize mast cells so they release less histamine and we can also remove histamine from the body with the use of enzymes, herbs, and supplements. Additionally, we can go after the histamine producing bacteria.  Most of my experience with severe histamine reactions is from my work with people who are reacting to water-damaged buildings. Many of these folks inevitably end up with histamine issues at some point if they don’t take appropriate steps to protect and treat themselves. For folks with excess histamine using the enzyme Diamine oxidase (DAO) (which degrades histamine in the gut) with high histamine meals can make a huge difference in lowering the histamine load their body is under. Stopping all the histamine containing or histamine creating foods is really not an option as this removes a lot of healthy foods and people find it hard to eat. Therefore, using DAO is a big help for these folks along with adding healthy gut bacteria that will compete with the histamine making bacteria. Often these high histamine folks will find themselves unable to take probiotics as they make their digestive issues worse. This is due to the bacteria being types of gut flora in probiotics that add to the histamine load. This does not matter if the person does not tend to have high histamine normally, as we actually need a certain amount of histamine in our body as it is important in various reactions. However,  in folks with either genetic or functional reasons for high histamine those probiotics will really bother them as their histamine load is already too high. So, the way to go is to compete with those histamine making bacteria in the gut by introducing only probiotics known to be associated with low histamine in the gut. Why we care about histamine in the gut is that this gut histamine can be picked up by our circulation and travel to other areas of the body. This increases the general histamine load everywhere, thereby, adding to any inflammation in the body including the respiratory tract. This can be quite noticeable for some people including those with hay fever. You can read more about mast cells  and how to stabilize them so they release less histamine as well as the use of DAO and gut flora and herbs and supplements to decrease overall histamine and other inflammatory activators at this link. https://youarethehealer.org/mast-cell-activation/

Hay fever often needs a multilayer approach
I am trying to give you the idea that hay fever is not something that takes place in the body all on its own. It is not as simple as pollen creating a reaction. That is important for sure, but ultimately you want to ask yourself why am I reacting to pollen. Why do I react and others do not? What is my inflammatory load in my body? Do I react only to pollen or do I have other sensitivities? If I react to many things, I need to find what is the cause of these reactions. Is there involvement of gut pathogens, toxins in my home or work, an  underlying viral or bacterial illness that is unrecognized, heavy metals etc.  Are my genetics adding to this and if so, how can I support myself to compensate for this? How do I lower my inflammatory load overall and how do I specifically lower the histamine in my body that is known to be a part of the pollen reaction? If I can’t control the pollen completely, what can I control that is raising the histamine level in my body or causing other inflammatory mediators to add to my inflammation load?  The reason you will see so many different things help with hay fever, is that there are a variety of underlying reasons that can set someone up to being susceptible to pollen reactions. Finding the underlying reaction will help resolve or decrease the symptoms. Think of finding the cause to alleviate the hay fever reactions. Think of histamine as a major player in what causes the symptoms and attend to it as needed. It is not the cause though. The cause(s) are the multilayered issues that all together make us more sensitive to pollen.
I wrote a series of articles on hay fever that I am going to list here. They range from prevention to treatment and go over everything from how to set your environment up, to the use of diet, lifestyle factors, supplements, herbs, enzymes and more.

Preventing Hay Fever:
Herbs used to prevent hay fever prior to hay fever season https://youarethehealer.org/herbal-medicine/herb-articles/hay-fever-prevention-with-herbs/

Hay Fever Prevention With Diet and Nutrition:
Goes over general dietary measures, specific dietary actions that help, what makes hay fever reactions worse, and dietary supplementation that helps. There is also some coverage of supporting the liver to support the biotransformation system.
https://youarethehealer.org/health-conditions/a-z/hay-fever-and-diet/


Hay Fever Prevention Tips:
What is hay fever, what takes place in the body, the role of histamine, common sense tips to prevent it, to remove pollen from self and home,
https://youarethehealer.org/health-conditions/a-z/hay-fever-prevention-tips/

Acute treatment with herbs:
What to do acutely with a link to directions on making herbal compress
https://youarethehealer.org/health-conditions/a-z/hay-fever-alternative-acute-treatment/

Hay Fever Prevention With Focus on Histamine:
Here the focus is on healthy lifestyle practices, digestion, histamine in food, enzymes that remove histamine, how to support the body in stabilizing mast cells that make enzymes and nutrients used for making enzymes.
https://youarethehealer.org/health-conditions/a-z/hay-fever-prevention-with-lifestyle-and-focus-on-histamine/


Mast Cell Activation and Histamine:
All about histamine. Symptoms associated with high histamine listed by body system, diseases high histamine is associated with,  how mast cells are activated, other reasons for high histamine, testing and treatment.
https://youarethehealer.org/mast-cell-activation/
 
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Location: Franklinton, NC
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It has already been said, but I'll just echo that allergies are commonly due to poor gut health, from a diet high in sugar and wheat, from antibiotics, chlorinated water, etc. Change in diet, avoiding antibiotics, antibacterials, chlorine, etc. and taking probiotics can work wonders.
 
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I recently discovered mint tea, which seems to clear any allergy symptoms within a few minutes. (Usually, a few sprigs about ten centimetres long.) The species I have been using is corn mint, Mentha arvensis, but I also once tried M. canadensis which was similarly helpful.
 
Just put the cards in their christmas stocking and PRESTO! They get it now! It's like you're the harry potter of permaculture. richsoil.com/cards
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