Spring allergies? These naturopathic treatments can help

March 12, 2015 in Complementary & Integrative Medicine, Wellness  •  By Michael Scott
Spring Allergies

It’s finally getting warmer and spring is on the way. While it’s great to be able to spend time enjoying the outdoors, for the more than 40 million Americans who have seasonal allergies, spring can mean the return of allergy symptoms. To help control the sneezing, congestion and itchy eyes, consider trying these naturopathic approaches to allergy management.

Treat the underlying condition, not just the symptoms

Naturopathic medicine focuses on treating disruptions of the body’s normal function and supporting the body’s ability to heal itself by seeking solutions for the root causes of a person’s health problems rather than simply and solely treating symptoms. Naturopathic medicine views allergies, in part, as the response of your immune system to inflammation in the body. The goal of treatment is to determine the root cause of the inflammation and allergic symptoms and use appropriate natural therapies to reestablish balance in the immune system and bring symptom relief.

The effect of what you eat

Diet can contribute to your seasonal allergies. Avoid eating foods that have been linked to inflammation, such as fried foods and those high in refined, processed sugars. Instead, choose whole foods like whole grains, fruits, vegetables and proteins that are high in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids, including:

  • blueberries, blackberries and raspberries
  • raw walnuts
  • sweet potatoes
  • flaxseeds
  • soybeans and miso
  • Brussels sprouts
  • cauliflower and broccoli
  • collard greens, kale, spinach and other dark green, leafy vegetables
  • wild-caught salmon, cod and sardines

These foods have been found to help fight inflammation in the body. If you have a known food allergy or sensitivity, talk with an experienced naturopathic physician about dietary modifications that can offer inflammation-fighting benefits without triggering an allergic reaction.

Ask a naturopathic physician about botanical medicines, nutritional supplements and acupuncture

Botanical medicines, such as quercetin, a plant pigment known as a flavonoid, can provide an antihistamine effect and reduce the severity of allergy symptoms. Research has also demonstrated that probiotics, green tea, turmeric, nettles, vitamin C and licorice have immune modulating properties and help with reducing seasonal allergy symptoms. You should consult with a naturopathic physician to learn which herbal medicines may help you manage your specific allergies.

Another naturopathic approach to allergy treatment that is effective for some people is acupuncture. Acupuncture can provide symptom relief and, with consistent treatment over time, may help yield longer periods of time without experiencing significant allergy symptoms.

Steps to minimize your exposure to allergens

You can also manage seasonal allergies better by taking steps to limit your contact with pollen and other allergens. That doesn’t mean you have to hide indoors with all the windows shut. Instead, make sure you shower regularly and wash your clothes to wash away pollen. If you’ve been working in the garden or doing other activities that expose you to a great deal of pollen, change your clothes before sitting on furniture to prevent the transfer of pollen. It may also be helpful to use an air filtration system with a HEPA filter that traps allergens and airborne irritants.

If you’d like to connect with an experienced naturopathic physician, a health advisor can help you and can also provide evidence-based information about the full range of naturopathic approaches to treating your seasonal allergies.