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Supporting Your Health During Allergy Season

April 22nd, 2011

by Keri Marshall, MS, ND
For many people, after a long hard winter, the budding of trees and spring flowers is a greatly anticipated time of year. However, for allergy sufferers, it can be an unwelcome time as sneezing, runny nose, and itchy eyes prevail. Being proactive with your health during allergy season can help prevent most symptoms and make springtime a time to be outdoors planting your garden and enjoying some warm sunshine.

During allergy season, the body has a tendency to produce higher levels of histamine. Histamine is a neurotransmitter that is released from mast cells when the body is exhibiting an allergic reaction or immune response. Histamine dilates blood vessels and increases blood vessel permeability. This can lead to visual signs in the body such as localized swelling, warmth, and redness. Histamine also irritates nerve endings that can lead to itching and pain. The bump and redness immediately following a mosquito bite is a good example of this reaction, which can occur seconds after the body is challenged by an allergen. If you are a person whose body “overreacts” to bug bites, then it is likely your body has a tendency towards inflammation and allergy.

You can do several things to support your body in an effort to normalize histamine levels and regulate overall bodily inflammation. Berries such as blueberries, cherries, and raspberries as well as mango contain a good amount of bioflavonoids. These phytochemicals help to stabilize mast cells in the body and decrease overall histamine response, thus reducing inflammation.
The Nettle plant is a perennial herb well known for its stinging hairs on the stem and leaf. Nettle leaf has a great number of naturally occurring nutrients, including chlorophyll, protein, ascorbic acid, calcium, magnesium, vitamin K1, potassium, and zinc. These nutrients work together to promote the health of skin, bones and joints as well as encouraging a healthy immune and respiratory system.* Nettle leaf also contains flavonoids such as quercitin and rutin that help maintain healthy levels of histamine in the body by increasing histamine efficiency.* Two popular Gaia products containing Nettle leaf are Aller-Leaf and Nettle Leaf Liquid Phyto-Caps.

Also, try taking a daily dose of vitamin C during allergy season. Research shows that 1 gram a day can help reduce overall histamine levels in the body. There are also a number of foods that tend to increase histamine levels in the body such a0s strawberries, tomato, chocolate, wine, bananas, and shellfish. These foods should be limited or avoided altogether during allergy season.
Lastly, try using a HEPA air filter. It can reduce dust in your home’s main living areas as well as eliminate circulating pollen that enters through open windows. Be sure to keep windowsills wiped down in the bedroom and sweep under the bed. Keep in mind: the bedroom should be the most dust-free room, as this is where you will have the most concentrated period of breathing throughout the day!

Above Photo: Nettle growing on the Gaia Herbs organic farm, with the Nettle buds being held.

*THESE STATEMENTS HAVE NOT BEEN EVALUATED BY THE US FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION. THIS PRODUCT IS NOT INTENDED TO DIAGNOSE, TREAT, CURE, OR PREVENT ANY DISEASE.

About Dr. Keri Marshall
Dr. Keri Marshall is a licensed Naturopathic Doctor who specializes in pediatrics, women’s medicine, and chronic disease management. She also serves as the Medical Director at Gaia Herbs. She has published several scientific papers and magazine articles, has written a book on proteins and amino acids, appears regularly on nationally syndicated radio shows, and has appeared on ABC’s “A View from the Bay” and the “Healing Quest” program seen on public television. Dr. Marshall has served as a scientific adviser to Citizens for Health, a clinical adviser to Nordic Naturals, a nutrition adviser to the United States Sugar Association, and as a nutrition expert in her local public school district. Dr. Marshall received her naturopathic medical degree from the National College of Naturopathic Medicine in Portland, Oregon, her master’s in epidemiology from SUNY at Buffalo, and her bachelor’s from the George Washington University. She maintains a small private practice in Washington, DC.

Tips from our Doctors

The more you learn about the healing powers of herbs, the more you can gain in terms of your personal health and well-being. This is why our advisory team of doctors and herbalists has developed these practical tips to help you on your journey.

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