Monday, January 27, 2014

Home Remedies for Allergies

Allergies are the result of an overactive immune system, which mistakes things such as dust and pollen for germs, then attacks them. Your body then releases histamines—chemical compounds involved in the immune inflammatory response.

Allergic rhinitis is a group of symptoms that affect the nose. Avoid exposure to as many allergens as possible; when you have problems there are some home remedies for allergies that allow a measure of relief. Allergy symptoms can involve the airways--sinuses and nasal passages, your skin and also the digestive system; they may include frequent sneezing, varied levels of difficulty breathing (including asthma), cramps, vomiting, rashes, hives, Pink Eye, runny nose, congestion, constant coughing and many others.

Home Remedies for Allergies: 

  • Irrigating your nose with a saline solution (salt in water) will sometimes soothe upper respiratory allergies. The irrigation can dislodge irritants that have settled in the nasal area, which could cause inflammation. The solution may also erase some of the inflammatory cells. You can make your own saline solution by adding one teaspoon of salt to a pint of warm, distilled water and approximately 1/16 teaspoon (a pinch) of baking soda. You can use a dropper to put it in your nose or sniff the saline solution up out of your hand into one nostril at a time; allow it to drain out through the nose or mouth. You may also buy a prepared solution at the pharmacy. It’s alright to irrigate twice a day, but is recommended that you check with your physician first if you have asthma. For more information on sinus irrigation, please refer to Home Remedies for Sinus Infections. 
  • If you must be outside for any time—sunglasses may help to protect your eyes from allergens, particularly ones with side shields; once inside take a shower and shampoo to wash all the pollens off of your body
  • If you suspect that air pollution triggers an allergic reaction, stay inside as much as possible on days that are smoggy; keep windows closed and operate air purifiers. Airborne toxins can actually cause allergies in certain people
  • Home Remedies for Allergies - Peppermint Tea
    Peppermint Tea
    The oils in peppermint tea act as a decongestant; also certain substances in it contain anti-inflammatory and mild antibacterial properties. Buy an herbal tea or put one-half ounce of dried peppermint leaves into a quart jar of boiling water and fill it two-thirds full with boiling water; steep for at least five minutes. Be careful giving the tea to small children; the menthol in peppermint may choke them
  • Breathing steam will often help to ease the pain in your sinuses. Pour boiling water into a large dish, lean over the bowl with a towel over your head and breathe the steam. (When we had colds as children, Mom would add a teaspoon of Vicks VapoRub to the boiling water—you may need to shut your eyes due to the fumes but it brings breathing relief)
  • Dip a washcloth in warm water and hold to your sinuses to help them drain; this method can be used as many times a day as you are comfortable with
  • If you are a pet owner and allergic to fur, wash your pet frequently; wash your hands after contact with your furry child! Also, keeping your pet indoors (or at least out of weeds and grass), will limit your exposure to those allergens and reduce the reactions you have to your pet.
  • Studies show that bedrooms (where you spend approximately one-third of your time) with carpets harbor more dust mites than any other room in the house. If possible, get rid of all carpeting!  If you do not have the option of removing the carpet, such as living in a rental, then vacuum frequently with a vacuum that has a built-in high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter. Another alternative is to attach a filter to the exhaust port if you own a canister vacuum; upright vacuums usually do not have an exhaust port. If you own your home and dust is a major factor in your allergy problem, you may choose to invest in an industrial-strength vacuuming system (a recommended brand by many allergists is one called Nilfisk). If you remove the carpeting, put in a floor covering that can be washed frequently—preferably damped mopped daily; twice daily if possible. (There are carpets in our rented apartment; we covered them with two layers of 6-milliliter sheet plastic stapled to the baseboards. It may not be pretty but it is safer for allergies than carpet, it is serviceable (minus pets in the house) and can be damp mopped as often as you like)
  • Dust mites thrive in a humid environment. Keep humidity to a minimum by using the fan in the shower; also recommended is a dehumidifier or air conditioner. The dehumidifier will also help to prevent mold, a dangerous allergen, from growing in your home. If your kitchen exhaust fan is truly vented to the outside, use it while cooking. (We live in an apartment where the microwave is directly above the range. The range vent is on the bottom of the microwave, which sucks the steam / odors from cooking up into the fan and blows them out the vent at the top--all over the kitchen; a lovely feature when you've burned something!!! Moving soon!)
  • Horseradish or Wasabi (a Japanese plant that tastes similar to strong horseradish) promotes the flow of mucus, allowing some relief from allergies; you can also buy grated horseradish--use one-quarter teaspoon
  • Homeopathy, created in 1796, is a system of alternative medicine based on ‘like cures like.’ The substance that creates the symptoms of disease in a healthy person will also cure similar symptoms in a sick person. Homeopathic remedies may help some in the acute stage to relieve some of the symptoms of allergies. Check with your local health food store for the best remedies for your symptoms
  • Carry Benadryl with you at all times. It can save a life.

Food Allergies

Food Allergies show up as a reaction due to ingestion of certain foods, the most common being:
  • Dairy 
  • Wheat 
  • Peanuts 
  • Shellfish 
  • Meat 
  • Sugar 
  • Gluten

Reactions to food allergies could involve many symptoms; some are:
  • Rashes 
  • Nausea 
  • Irritation 
  • Fever 
  • Sneezing 
  • Wheezing 
  • Anaphylaxis

Home Remedies for Food Allergies Include:
  • Banana tends to stop stomach pain and skin rashes 
  • A five day juice fast to restore normal immune system functioning 
  • 5 drops of castor oil in 4oz of water on an empty stomach every morning 
  • Half of a lime squeezed into a glass of warm water with 1 teaspoon of local, raw honey stirred in helps to flush the toxins out of the body 
  • Vitamin E 
  • Acupuncture 
  • Yoga 
  • Carrot juice mixed with beet or cucumber juice 
  • If you are allergic to soft-cooked eggs, cook the egg completely--destroying the allergen 
  • If you are allergic to dairy there are now numerous substitutes; I find coconut milk to be one of the most agreeable in taste and it has a long shelf life when unopened 
  • Avoid alcohol, caffeine drinks, preserved foods, bakery products and peanuts 
  • If in doubt at a restaurant or social gathering just say “no thanks” 
  • Carry Benadryl with you if you or your child are known to have anaphylactic reactions. Benadryl can make the difference between life & death if you don't have an epi-pen on hand. Benadryl is different from other medications, so even if you take Allegra, Zyrtec, or Claritin, still carry Benadryl.

If you are suspicious of a particular allergen, read all food labels and keep a food diary. Notice particularly if any part of your body itches or tingles, your skin flushes or if you break out in hives or eczema.


All grains contain protein that is theoretically gluten, however, people with celiac disease and most other ‘gluten allergies’ react to the form of gluten found in wheat, including spelt, kamut, triticale and all variations of wheat, barley, and rye.

The term gluten allergy can refer to one of four different circumstances: celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity, dermatitis herpetiformis or gluten ataxia—none of these are true allergies.  Sometimes when a person refers to a gluten allergy, they actually have a wheat allergy. Wheat has numerous components that include fat, starches and proteins. Not every person that has a true wheat allergy is reacting to the same part of the plant--27 different wheat allergens have already been identified with the protein ‘gluten’ being one of them. If you have an actual wheat allergy you suffer almost immediate—or only slightly delayed—symptoms after a meal made with wheat products—watery eyes, wheezing, nose stuffed up, or in more serious cases difficulty breathing and shock.

Some of the most common foods made with wheat are:
  • Bread (unless a label states otherwise)
  • Baked goods such as cookies, cakes, pastries
  • Pasta
  • Pizza
  •  Breaded and battered foods such as fish sticks  and vegetables
  • Cereals
  • Canned soups often have wheat flour to thicken them; also true of soup packets and restaurant soups
  • Vegetables- frozen or canned made in a sauce likely contain stabilizers made from wheat
  • Most commercially prepared sauces contain some wheat
  • Dips and gravy mixes contain wheat for thickening
  • Ground spices, at least curry powder, Cajun spices, Thai spices and pie spices contain wheat
  • Instant coffee, tea and cocoa powder all have wheat in them; also powdered, malted and chocolate milk; nearly all malted drinks contain wheat
  • Commercial deserts like ice cream, sherbet, icings, puddings, etc. usually contain wheat although may be labeled as a ’stabilizer’ instead of the word ‘wheat’
  • Condiments (commercial ones like ketchup, mayo, mustard, etc) contain wheat [[Ketchup, mayonnaise, and mustard are all easy recipes to make up at home – no wheat involved]]
  • Most commercial salad dressings use a wheat enriched stabilizer or emulsifier
  • Meat – sausages, luncheon meats and prepared burgers may contain wheat
  • Wheat starches are often used in imitation and synthetic cheeses
  • Beer is usually made from barley, but wheat may be widely used an s beer ingredient
  • Many sweets have wheat as an ingredient—chocolate, candy made with cereal in it or using a cereal extract, also gum

·    Read labels to make sure there has been no cross contamination such as in oats, which is naturally gluten-free but there is a lot of cross contamination at factories, e.g., wheat flour can remain suspended in the air for as long as 24 hours

Trying to avoid a wheat ingredient in your diet may take some dedicated effort at first—learning to know how labels are legally able to be written and what regulations are behind them; learning what words/terms are used and what various ingredients accomplish that goal, such as:

  • Colors (improve visual appeal) 
  • Flavorings (improve taste) 
  • Oils (improve taste and provide texture) 
  • Preservatives (maintain or improve safety and freshness) 
  • Stabilizers (provide texture) 
  • Sweeteners (improve taste) 
  • Thickeners (provide texture)

Keep a log of your allergies and what seems to affect them. If you have food allergies, keep track of everything that goes into your mouth and the reactions, if any. Take your food diary/allergy log with you when you shop and go to the doctors’ offices. Keep your allergist tuned in on your allergy symptoms and the list of home remedies used.

Some of the world’s strangest allergies include:

  • Allergic to your new-born child--pemphigoid gestitionis
  • Allergic to water-- aquagenic urticaria
  • Allergic to sex--human seminal plasma hypersensitivity
  • Allergic to wood
  • Allergic to exercise (Exercise-induced anaphylaxis [EIA])
  • Allergic to apples eaten near a birch tree (bizarre food allergy--young girl goes into severe shock)
  • Allergic to the sun (Solar urticaria [SU])
  • Allergic to modern living/technology-- electromagnetic field (emf) or 'smog' created by computers, mobile phones, microwave ovens and even some cars
  • Allergic to kissing
  • Allergic to specific fabrics in undergarments (my personal opinion is more that it is a lack of air in undergarments, nylon, spandex and polyester are synthetics and do not make ‘healthy’ underwear. If your clothing doesn’t breathe you often become overheated and sweat in intimate parts of the body—this may cause itching and scratching but not necessarily an allergy))

Links for Other Conditions:

Rashes and Allergies:

Home Remedies For Eczema
Home Remedies For Allergies 


Home Remedy For Hair Loss

Sources and Citations