As we move into spring have you noticed your appetite change? Do you want less food? Do you crave lighter fare?
Mother Nature guides us season to season with foods and weather to keep us comfortable no matter the weather. We just have to pay attention.
During allergy season, we have to really pay attention. We can use herbs and foods and natural remedies to give us relief of symptoms but we have to play our part. Ditching refined sugars and flours, fried foods, dairy products, sticky sweets and heavy foods will work against you in your battle with pollen.
It’s all about digestion and giving your system a bit of a respite, allows it to rally to the job of keeping allergy symptoms at bay. No need to fast, but just eat lighter foods, the foods of the season, like sprouts, asparagus, dandelion, baby arugula, lemon, fresh fruit…and lots of water.
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To support the body in its work to stay balanced and free of allergy symptoms, the European herb butterbur (Petasites hybridus) is becoming something of a star with impressive clinical trial results.
The British Medical Journal reports that just one tablet of butterbur four times a day was as effective as an antihistamine drug in controlling symptoms of hay fever (without side effects like sleepiness). In a second study, the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (AAAAI), put their stamp of approval on butterbur's effectiveness in relieving grass allergy symptoms. Pretty cool, I’d say.
Another herbal remedy that have been shown to be helpful is a tonic made from the herb goldenseal, especially when added to a saline (salt water) nasal spray. The saline works to wash out pollen and reduce or thin mucous, while the goldenseal has astringent and antibacterial properties which help in this process, according to WebMD. You can also use an net pot daily to achieve the same relief.
In addition to herbs, many natural health experts contend that certain nutrients can be helpful in settling seasonal symptoms. Grape seed extract and a flavonoid compound, ‘quercetin’ are especially promising. Although both occur naturally in many foods, they seem to be more helpful in reducing allergy symptoms when taken in supplement form, particularly in conjunction with Vitamin C.
"There is even some evidence that quercetin may control the release of histamine and other chemicals that help initiate the allergic response," says James Dillard, MD, clinical advisor to Columbia University's Rosenthal Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, and assistant clinical professor at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.
Keep things light and fresh with this satisfying Spring Vegetable Barley Soup!