Yes, there are Alternatives to Allergy Shots!
Clinical Herbalist Reviewed on January 5, 2011 by Paulina Nelega, RH
In an earlier post, we discussed allergy shots and whether they work. They can indeed be very helpful for those suffering from debilitating, year-round allergies.
There are alternatives available, though, to those who don’t want to go the route of shots. One such option is “sublingual immunotherapy.” This is a relatively new (though it’s been used in Europe for many years), noninvasive allergy desensitization therapy.
Sublingual immunotherapy utilises a similar principle as allergy shots – administering tiny amounts of the allergen, in order to achieve desensitization to it. With sublingual therapy, however, the dilute allergen is given under the tongue, either as tablets or in solution, rather than injections under the epidermis. It also acts via a different mechanism than shots do, but the result is similar: desensitization to the allergen (pollen, mold, dander, etc.). Studies have shown it to be about 1/2 to 2/3 as effective as conventional immunotherapy (allergy shots).
Alongside either of these approaches, I also recommend keeping your intestinal tract strong and healthy. Glutamine is excellent for repairing an inflamed (leaking) intestinal lining. Considering that most of the body’s immune system is actually in the intestinal tract lining, it’s no small wonder that a leaky, inflamed gut can contribute to a hyperimmune response systemically (whole body)! This includes making allergies and asthma worse.
Keeping the bacteria in your gut in balance and in adequate numbers is also essential, so include probiotics in your daily regimen.
Vitamin C & bioflavonoids, especially quercitin, are great for strengthening the cell membranes of mast cells. These are the cells that release histamine within the respiratory tract – and give you that runny nose and watery eyes! Quercitin can be taken as a supplement, and it’s also in the white pulp of oranges and grapefruit, and in onions. Might be hard to get a therapeutic amount of quercitin by relying on onions, though. 😉
Herbs? Yes! Adaptogens including Astragalus, Ginseng, Ashwagandha, and Licorice, and medicinal mushrooms such as Cordyceps and Reishi, are excellent tonics for strengthening the body as a whole, and the immune and endocrine (hormone) systems, in particular.
I recommend Natural Wellbeing’s “Aller-Gold” for allergies and giving hay fever the boot! Click here to learn more: http://bit.ly/hZgL6x
Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan