In the attempt to find relief without incurring a slew of medication side effects a growing number of seasonal allergy sufferers are seeking alternative therapies. More than just tea and tinctures, a wide variety of natural remedies are now promoted for seasonal allergies. Whether they actually work or not is another subject entirely.
In the city of Louisville, KY, where millions suffer seasonal allergy symptoms due to the geographical misfortune known as a river valley, finding relief with our without medication is tantamount. Louisville ranked No. 2 on the list of the 100 Worst Cities for Allergies in the United States in 2014. The city gained the attention of list makers at the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America for having an abundance of both indoor allergies such as dust mites, and outdoor allergies like tree pollens and grasses.
As a city with such a problem, Louisville also offers a variety of solutions. While many still turn to medication, some residents and local businesses are finding great results with alternative therapies. One such business is Meridian Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine in Saint Matthews. Though not widely accepted, many allergy suffers have reported relief through acupuncture therapy without the use of medication.
Acupuncture is the ancient Chinese tradition of therapeutic needle poking. Based on the belief that energy travels through lines in the body called “meridians,” acupuncture attempts to balance one’s energy, thus relieving them of a variety of ailments, by stimulating their meridians in a very specific way. Said to be completely painless and similar to having a massage, Meridian in Saint Matthews claims many of their clients are so relaxed by the therapy they fall asleep on the table during their 60 minute session.
Whether the treatment is widely accepted or not, the fact remains that many seasonal sufferers who have tried acupuncture report dramatic improvement. One seasonal allergy sufferer of Louisville, Ashlee Steele, 29, had this to say about her experience with acupuncture: “I can not describe how I feel right now. I could instantly breathe through my nose when I stood up from the table.”
Others seeking natural remedies for their clogged sinuses have been sold little bottles of bacteria pills at their local health food stores. Known to play a in integral role in the natural human immune system, some doctors and researchers believe probiotics can also provide relief for seasonal allergic rhinitis sufferers.
In one randomized clinical trial probiotics were able to change the microenvironment of subjects nasal mucosa, thereby providing heightened immune support. Subjects with seasonal allergic rhinitis were given either a dairy drink with Lactobacillus casei Shirota or a dairy drink without bacteria.
Researchers analyzed the changes in their immunological microenvironment with nasal scrapings, nasal lavage and blood samples. After the intervention the subjects who were given the oral antibiotics showed changes in their immune factors and probiotics on all three samples. The major significance of this study was that it showed oral probiotics were able to interact with the intestinal mucosa and go on to affect the nasal mucosa.
Other natural remedies may be as simple addressing poor sleep habits. Allergies are directly related to immune response, and research shows that the amount and quality of sleep is a determining factor in immune function. Some researchers propose that chronic sleep disruption deregulates immune responses. One method of natural relief advises sufferers to sleep between 10 pm and 2 am according to circadian rhythms, and get at least 6 hours of sleep overall to combat allergy symptoms without medication.
By Mimi Mudd