After the cold winter months, we all look forward to outdoor recreation, and enjoying the revival of nature with spring blossoms, butterflies and sunshine. It is also the time for the revival of our senses, and the sunshine brings us a burst of energy.
However, for many of us, spring is also the season of hay fever. Hay fever is seasonal and chronic. It often results in a recurrent infection, where the mucous membranes are over-sensitised to pollen, resulting in a runny nose, constant sneezing, itchy eyes, and headaches. It can also affect the ears and the palate, altering our sense of taste. These symptoms can be quite debilitating and negate the enjoyment we should otherwise be having. Most remedies reached for are antihistamines, to counter the increased level of inflammation produced by the immune system. This solution is not really a solution at all, but it perpetuates the tendency to an inflammatory response in the body. Many people do not like being dependent on medications so that they may enjoy springtime, and don’t want to be susceptible to the high pollen count. Other triggers apart from pollen include dust mite and chemicals.
The conventional treatment of hay fever is the following protocol:
- Avoid the allergen (not always possible)
- Nasal steroids
- Oral steroids
Hay fever is an allergy which is caused by an inappropriate response of the host to a reatively innocuous substance. This inappropriate response is a signal that the defence system is not coping. Allergy is a dysregulation of the immune system and an indication that the immune system is not responding appropriately. The mucous membranes are susceptible to allergic stimuli or allergens. Excess amounts of inflammatory histamines and pro-inflammatory cytokines are produced, causing the symptoms of hay fever.
Contributing factors can include:
- Liver overload
- Cell matrix toxicity
- Leaky gut
- Immune dysregulation
- Parasympathetic activity
However, this process is reversible by improving the immune response.
The liver plays an important role in reducing the toxic load on the immune system as it is the main organ of detoxification for chemicals, toxins (harmful substances) and some internal metabolites (end-products of metabolic activity) including histamine and adrenalin. The detoxification process of the liver needs to be enhanced to rid the body of residual histamine and adrenalin, as high levels of these can also predispose to panic attacks as well as inflammation in the body.
An over-acidic system predisposes to inflammatory responses in the body, so an alkaline diet with a variety of green vegetables and not too much red meat or wheat, balances the pH.
The gut microbial colonies, or microbiome, contributes as much as 80% of our immunity and needs to be balanced with beneficial colonies of bacteria.
Therefore, the immune response is improved by introducing a nutritious diet free from pesticides, including plenty of fresh green vegetables, taking a special herbal formulation made by our naturopath at View to Health, supporting the liver with liver herbs and supporting the gut microbiome with a recommended probiotic. A homeopathic treatment may also be included.
A balanced diet will also be prescribed to suit your lifestyle.
Other factors such as leaky gut or anxiety will also be addressed.
The naturopathic treatment involves removing metabolic waste products from the matrix of the cell, as a low-grade inflammatory process in the matrix contributes to chronic allergy.
Histamine production is thereby reduced and, along with it, so is mucous membrane congestion.
Springtime will be much more enjoyable and a season to look forward to.