If you are one of the estimated 60 million Americans who suffer from allergies and asthma, then you are probably already aware of the misery that allergies and asthma can cause. Itching, sneezing, runny nose, difficulty breathing, etc. are just a few of the symptoms of an allergic reaction. And, as often is the case, the pharmaceutical industry has provided a host of cures that mask the symptoms, do nothing to address the cause, and come with side-effects that are sometimes worse (drowsiness, headache, nausea, etc.) than the allergy symptom itself!
Even though some of the OTC allergy drugs “appear” to be safe and effective, you can’t be too sure. You may remember the problems associated with pain drug Vioxx®. It is quite logical to assume that whenever you are dumping un-natural synthetic chemicals into your body, something bad is going to happen. But you need not go that route. You can address your allergies naturally—and not just the short-term symptoms but at the core of the problem.
And what exactly is the problem? Quite simply, your immune system is malfunctioning and needs to be reprogrammed. What you don’t need is something that ignores the core immune system problem and only addresses the symptoms.
“Supplements containing healthy phytochemicals and botanical extracts have been proven to alleviate symptoms without negative side effects, and balance the immune system so it doesn’t over-react to allergens.”
But don’t despair … integrative medicine has once again demonstrated that nature heals better than synthetic drugs, and that there’s a healthier and more appropriate way to deal with allergies.
Supplements containing healthy phytochemicals and botanical extracts have been proven to alleviate symptoms without negative side effects, and balance the immune system so it doesn’t over-react to allergens. Conversely, pharmaceuticals and most “natural” antihistamines usually contain only inhibitors of histamine release. These may provide rapid relief but do not treat the real cause of long-term allergy problems … which is the immune system’s excessive release of allergy inducing chemicals.
Big Pharma says “Why fix it when you can treat it?”
Let’s face it, allergy medications are big business. And the big drug companies make big profits treating the symptoms of allergies. They have no motivation to come up with something that actually addresses the cause of allergies—the imbalanced immune system function. But there are healthy, natural solutions available to do just that. And once your immune system is functioning properly, allergy symptoms disappear along with the overpriced allergy drugs and Big Pharma’s profits.
What happens when you have an allergic reaction?
Normally your immune system protects your body from harmful substances such as bacteria, viruses, and toxins (or antigens, any substance that causes your immune system to produce antibodies). White blood cells produce an antibody specific to the antigen. This process is called sensitization.
But if you have an allergy, your immune system treats the substance—called an allergen—as a foreign body, and overreacts by producing antibodies called immunoglobulin E (IgE). These antibodies then cause mast cells to release chemicals and hormones called mediators—such as histamine—into your bloodstream to defend against the allergen invader. Mediators have effects on local tissue and organs, in addition to activating more white blood cell defenders.
When these chemicals are released they can irritate your eyes, nose, throat, lungs, skin, or gastrointestinal tract as your body tries to rid itself of the invading allergen. Future exposure to that same allergen (such as pollen or mold) will trigger this allergic response again, so that every time you’re exposed to it, you have an “allergy attack.”
The release of histamine and other mediators produces a variety of symptoms which vary according to an individual’s hypersensitivity, including:
- Runny nose
- Watery, itchy eyes
- Swelling of the face and neck
- Itchy skin rashes (atopic dermatitis)
Almost anything can trigger an allergic reaction, provided the body’s immune system feels threatened and antibodies are released. However, botanical extracts have been shown to provide relief to allergy sufferers, safely and naturally, without side effects.
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This article is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Always consult with a physician before embarking on a dietary supplement program.
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