Herbal Health Treatment of Allergies

Allergy is defined as Hypersensitivity to a foreign protein which causes a violent reaction in the body, resulting in asthma, hay fever, itchy swollen spots, nettle rash, eczema, migraine, catarrh, eye swelling, throat swelling and possible anaphylactic shock.

During an allergic reaction, histamine is produced in the body which causes the cells involved to swell and rupture. This results in swelling of the part of the body affected which if it is the throat, could be life threatening.

If you have a severe allergy and know what it is, such as peanut allergy then of course avoid it like the plague but also please can I beg you to carry an Epi Pen around with you because so many foods are cross contaminated in factories or in preparation. For instance, although peanuts may not be in the food, groundnut oil (peanut) is a common frying oil. So you never know and better safe than sorry as an allergy can flare up and become life threatening within minutes.

Because this is such a complex set of conditions and symptoms there is little point in me trying to talk you through the whole range but to say instead, do go and visit a Qualified Medical Herbalist. There are many herbs which can help calm the immune system and I have had very good success helping people to avoid Hayfever attacks.

I will however give you a general overview and an Herbalist’s approach to allergies.

My aim is to calm the immune system down so that it is not so over-reactive to allergens and to protect the mucous membranes in the respiratory system from external irritants.

The two food substances to avoid if you are prone to allergies are dairy products and wheat products. Dairy aggravates mucous membranes and can increase catarrh production both of which will contribute to the sensitisation of these membranes.

Wheat may aggravate the gut, especially high fibre cereals and this may lead to sensitisation of the lining.

Herbal Medicine

To calm the immune system I have found Chamomile and Pulsatilla very effective.

Chamomile is a bit of a cure all Herb. Amongst its many properties, it is calming, anti inflammatory and carminative (calming to the gut).

Pulsatilla is a mild sedative, alterative (changes back to normal) and anti spasmodic.

Ephedra is the Herbalists choice as an anti allergy herb and is also antasthmatic and a bronchodilator. However it is a Practitioner only herb and must not be used by unqualified people. It is a section three restricted herb and may be dangerous if used in the wrong amounts.

The three herbs I very often use for allergic conditions are: – Elderflower, Eyebright and Nettles.

Elderflower is anti-inflammatory and anti- catarrhal as well as toning to mucous membranes.

Eyebright is anti- catarrhal, anti- inflammatory, astringent (toning) and anti histamine

Nettles are a bit of an enigma as they themselves contain histamine and cause an allergic type reaction if you touch them, but work well as an anti-allergy herb especially in allergic Eczemas!

So you can see treating allergies with Herbal Medicine is a bit of a mine field and I would strongly advise you to go and see a qualified practitioner.

If you would like to visit me in my clinic please click here or the “clinic” tab at the top of the page.

Linda Bostock

Medical Herbalist/Herbal Health Information

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