Environmental medicine

see-saw to hay fever

It is that time for those who suffer from seasonal allergies. I wanted to share a bit of knowledge on allergies and the immune system, and ways to reduce your symptoms using the principles of physiology and nature cure. These principles apply to relatively healthy people who do not have a serious degenerative disease, an auto-immune condition, immunosupressed or on immunosupressive therapy, or are pregnant.

The immune system is like a see-saw. On one side, you have your TH1 system, the cell-mediated system of attack. All the T-cells on this side of the see-saw function together to help your body deal with foreign bugs like viruses and bacteria. On the other side of the see-saw is Th2, or humoral mediated system. All of these guys function together to get rid of things that shouldn’t be there – or are not self. This includes things like dust, mold, pollution, or other inhaled or eaten particles. And so, because it is a see-saw, when one goes up, the other naturally goes down. Because catching a cold or flu is regarded as a tragedy and is avoided or treated with medications, the Th1 system does not learn to function properly. Furthermore, loading the body with vaccines and antibiotics from an early age further decreases the effectiveness of our Th1 system, and increases the over-productivity of our Th2 system (controversial). The Th2 system works into over-time and most things that should be cleared easily from the body are not, and you have yourself a chronic case of allergies.

Because things in life are the way they are, what can you do about it? Getting in tune with your body and nature is the best way to re-stimulate your immune system. This is a lifestyle choice and can take months, is not a quick fix, however these principles have been practiced for years and have been strongly advocated by our fore-fathers of medicine:

-have an elemental diet with no allergy causing foods. Eliminate or maximally reduce sugar, wheat, dairy, alcohol, caffeine, tobacco, refined and processed foods, trans fats, fast foods, steak, potatoes, strawberries, and foods from the nightshades (eggplant, potatoes, tomatoes). Focus on a nutrition high in fruits and vegetables, legumes, fish, lamb, and other grains such as quinoa, millet, buckwheat. Ensure you are not eating the same thing every day and keep a 4-day rotation diet

-drink plenty of water

-keep exercising

-end your showers in cold water, or apply a stream of cold water for 10 seconds to your chest or back

-salt-water nasal cleansing

-short full-body sun and air bath (15 min per day) – vitamin D balances the immune system

-probiotics for a healthier gastro-intestinal tract

-botanical medicine: stinging nettle leaf tea (Urtica dioica)

Black currant (Ribes nigrum) gemmotherapy

The next time you are in the subway and someone sneezes on you, thank them. They may have just helped with your allegies!


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