Did someone sneeze? There seems to be a lot of people sneezing, coughing and blowing their noses around me lately. Along with spring, autumn is a time of allergies, coughs and colds. The cooler temperature and winds, new flowers blooming and end of daylight saving seem to play havoc with our bodies.
I thought I was immune to this until suddenly I was at a friend’s birthday party sitting outside in the lovely cool evening breeze when all of a sudden my nose started to run like a tap, my eyes were stinging and I felt so uncomfortable I had to excuse myself and leave early!
So what is at the bottom of this irritating set of symptoms? From a naturopathic viewpoint, it is all about digestion, the immune system and, yes you guessed it, stress! When we ingest foods that our body cannot digest, often because of low enzyme activity, this undigested food molecule (usually a protein) crosses through the intestinal wall into the bloodstream.
Now, how can it get through the intestinal wall you might ask? If we have “leaky gut syndrome”, undigested protein molecules will easily cross into the bloodstream and once they are there, the immune system will identify them as a foreign invader. This of course is the immune system’s job, to identify self from non-self.
Once the immune system is alerted to the fact that there is an invader in the midst, it starts to attack by making anti-bodies and histamine against the invader. This of course then leads to all sorts of allergy reactions from hay fever and sinus to eczema, asthma and migraines.
So how to avoid this chain of events from happening, especially when you know you have a tendency to react at certain times of the year. Firstly, strengthen the gut and then avoid or heal “leaky gut syndrome” and boost the immune system.
What contributes to “leaky gut syndrome”?
- High sugar diet.
- High processed food diet, including coffee and alcohol.
- Excessive use of antibiotics.
- Excessive use of nasal sprays, which are ingested into the digestive system via the nasal passage.
How to strengthen the digestion and heal “leaky gut syndrome”:
- Avoid known allergens – the worst offenders being dairy products, wheat, soy, peanuts and eggs.
- Eat a wide variety of organic fruit and veggies to maximise enzyme activity, especially dark green and bitter salad veggies like mizuma, rocket, watercress, mustard greens, dandelion greens and endive.
- Take a probiotic daily.
- Include one to two cloves of raw garlic daily with food.
- Avoid processed foods, including excess coffee and alcohol.
- Avoid sugar in all its forms.
- Eat other enzyme rich foods like miso, sprouts, soaked nuts and seeds, legumes, brown rice, tempeh.
- Include herbal teas daily for digestion, e.g. chamomile, gentian, ginger, liquorice, calendula, dandelion, meadowsweet, marshmallow, peppermint and fennel.
- Make a strong pot of chamomile tea (preferably loose organic tea) and let it stand overnight. In the morning warm it up, add two teaspoons of slippery elm powder and drink one cup first thing on an empty stomach.
How to strengthen the immune system:
- Take one level teaspoon of a good Vitamin C powder every day.
- Take one zinc citrate tablet a day.
- Include the entire above list in your regime.
- Exercise regularly and have regular massages.
- Stay happy and avoid stress as much as possible by simplifying your life.
- Dry skin brush daily to help circulation and lymphatic congestion.
What to do in an acute attack of hay fever:
- Take ½ teaspoon of Vit C three times a day.
- Stop eating solid food and have juices, veggie broths and herbal teas from the above list for two to three days.
- Take one zinc citrate tablet twice a day.
- Take Allium Cepa 30 homeopathic three to four times a day. Allium Cepa is a remedy made from onions and is beneficial for symptoms that mimic peeling onions! Avoid garlic while taking.
- Take PCIP Celloids (Potassium Chloride and Iron Phosphate) three to four times a day for inflammation and congestion.
I hope this leads to a more relaxed and sneeze-free autumn for you.
Suzanne Staples NB DBM
Naturopath Herbalist Homeopath