What is an allergy?
Allergy is an immune response seen in an individual when he/she is exposed to certain substances which are normally harmless in the environment. Allergies are of different types:
Allergy starter (Photo credit: gibsonsgolfer)
- The type seen when a person is exposed to environmental irritants like smoke, smog, dust particles,pollen grains, smell of some substance, even changes in the environment like hot or cold weather can trigger intense allergic reaction.
- Some people show allergic reactions when they eat something. For example people show allergy to peanuts, coffee or different food proteins.
- Some allergies are seen when exposed to some toxic substance e.g. when a wasp bites a person, that area gets red and swollen.
- Repeat usage of some medicines or repeated use of injections can cause allergies.
Whenever an allergic substance gets entry into the body, the body responds by increasing the production of anti-bodies i.e. IgE anti-bodies. It’s a protective mechanism which helps body get rid of the allergen. As a side effect, this immune reaction trigger several symptoms of allergy like:
- Running nose and eyes.
- Coughing and sneezing.
- Swelling of affecting area.
- Triggering of pain.
- A generalized feeling of malaise.
- Itching at the site of infection.
Natural remedies for allergies:
Luckily, there are several natural remedies for allergies which you can use to get rid of the condition. All these remedies suppress the signs and symptoms of allergies and make your immune system strong enough to eliminate the causative agent. Such remedies include:
Normal saline solution:
- It is one of the most effective natural remedies for allergies, especially for the irritation of nose and respiratory track. Saline solution (water + salt) is easily available in a variety of preparations like nasal sprays or nasal drops. Irrigating your nose with this solution helps suppress allergy in following ways:
- First, it helps wash away the irritant logged in the respiratory track.
- Second, it washes away the cells causing inflammation and irritation (mast cells) and anti-bodies produced by them.
- Saline solution, in general, has a soothing effect on the nose and respiratory passage.
It’s one of the most widely used natural remedy for irritation. Honey is known for its soothing effect when used for treating sore throat. Honey contains a small of pollen in it. When this pollen enters into the body, it alarms the immune system to produce anti-bodies. But, these anti-bodies are not high enough to produce symptoms of allergy. Over the longer run, these anti-bodies start to accumulate into the blood of that individual. Now, if the person is exposed to the pollens, these anti-bodies eliminate the irritant without even producing significant symptoms of
Pollen from a variety of common plants: sunflower (Helianthus annuus), morning glory Ipomoea purpurea, hollyhock (Sildalcea malviflora), lily (Lilium auratum), primrose (Oenothera fruticosa) and castor bean (Ricinus communis). The image is magnified some x500, so the bean shaped grain in the bottom left corner is about 50 μm long. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Applying honey over bee’s sting also helps limit the allergic reaction and helps lessen the pain.
Apple cider vinegar:
It’s another effective natural remedy for allergies. Apple cider vinegar helps reduce allergy in two ways:
- The production of mucous increases during allergy. It causes the blockade of respiratory track producing symptoms like coughing and sneezing. Apple cider vinegar helps reduce the production of mucous.
- Lymphatic system is a protective system of the body which helps get rid of the foreign particle making way to the body. It helps strengthen the lymphatic system, making it powerful enough to fight against the irritant.
It’s a bioflavonoid naturally present in foods like broccoli and citrus fruits. Several supplements are also available. Using it for about 4-6 weeks before the allergy season helps reduce allergy. Quercetin, however, is not advised to pregnant females. It produces its anti-allergy effect because of following reasons:
- Mast cells are the basic culprit for producing allergy. When these cells are exposed to irritants, their cell walls burst releasing several mediators of inflammation and pain. Quercetin helps stabilize the membrane of mast cells.
- It is a natural anti-oxidant, preventing the membrane damage, and inflammation in return, caused by allergens.
You can use these leaves by making a tea or using the capsule preparations available in the market. You can make a refreshing tea by mixing it with other herbs like peppermint leaves and raspberry leaves. It contains a natural anti-histamine substance which not only limits the release of histamine but also helps reduce the adverse effects produced by histamine release.
You can make peppermint tea for curing you allergies. Take some peppermint leaves and boil them in water. Filter the water, let it cool and sweeten it if required. Use this tea 2-3 times in allergy season for maximum results. Peppermint helps relieve allergies because:
- It is a decongestant and helps open the airway. This way, it helps cure problems like coughing, sneezing and nasal irritation.
- It contains substances that have anti-histamine action.
- It has strong anti-bacterial and thus helps reduce the infection caused by bacteria.
Steaming of face:
It’s a common home remedy for allergy. It helps open the air ways and helps clear the irritants. Take 1-2 liters of water and heat it till it boils. Drape a towel over your head and breathe the vapors of water for 5-10 minutes.
Gargling is an effective remedy for allergies characterized by throat pain and irritation during speaking and swallowing. Take 1-2 cups of water and boil it till it becomes Luke warm. Add a pinch of common salt and gargle with this mixture. Repeat the process 1-2 times each day till the pain goes away.
It produces its anti-allergy effects when you inhale it by adding it in boiling water. It’s a decongestant and anti-inflammatory substance which helps abate the symptoms of allergy.
oedema of the conjunctiva due to hay fever allergy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Some people show allergic response when they eat some food. So, keep following things in mind before eating something.
- Minimize, or ideally give away, the consumption of the food stuff which triggers allergy.
- Use less spices in your food.
- Use plant oils for cooking purposes.
- Try to avoid canned and processed food. Eat fresh and healthy food.