It’s the changing of the seasons and the temperatures around here are all over the place! Blossoming plants and frigid weather mean allergies, colds and flus are happening all at once. Many are experiencing a hacking cough and plugged sinuses. The ever popular Humboldt Hack is making quite the appearance this season as well. So, without further ado…
“An allergy is an inappropriate response by the body’s immune system to a substance that is not normally harmful.” (Balch, 2010; p. 177). Allergies are the result of the body’s immune system misidentifying a non-toxic substance as toxic. The results are the varying allergy symptoms that most of us can relate to: nasal congestion, sneezing, coughing, wheezing, itching, shortness of breath, headache, fatigue, hives, and other skin rashes. These are just the seasonal allergy symptoms! On the other hand, almost all people are allergic to mold. Here in Humboldt, I think we can all agree that we are no strangers to mold. (Quick tip: Invest in mold eating houseplants such as English Ivy and Peace Lillies.)
Now, if you have symptoms like itchy red eyes, watery discharge from the nose and eyes, sneezing, fatigue, and nervous irritability, you probably have Hay Fever. Hay Fever is an allergy to the pollen trees, grasses, mold or some plants that adversely affects our mucous membranes in the nose, eyes, and air passages. There are 3 ‘Hay Fever Seasons’, which vary climate to climate in the time of the year, but first are the tree pollens; next are tree, grass, and weed pollens; lastly is ragweed season in fall. Hay Fever sufferers can also contract these symptoms from animal hair, feathers, dust, mold spores and even other environmental triggers. Unfortunately, Hay Fever symptoms can perpetuate for weeks on end, especially if the person is particularly sensitive.
This season, we had a random warm front, that let all our flowers get ready for spring, and then our groundhog promptly turned around told us 6 more weeks of winter and it did indeed frost again! Now we are experiencing the resurge of colds and flus going around! The common cold is a viral infection of the upper respiratory tract. Though the virus isn’t caused by cold weather, it thrives and multiplies in cold weather, hence why we all tend to ‘catch’ them in winter. Cold symptoms include: head congestion, nasal congestion, sore throat, coughing, headache, sneezing, and watery eyes. Unfortunately, there are over 200 viruses that cause colds!
Like a cold, influenza, which we call ‘the flu’, is also a viral infection of the upper respiratory tract. The flu, is also highly contagious in comparison to a cold. Influenza causes an acute infection of the in the middle ear, nose, throat, bronchial tubes, and lungs. Common symptoms are close to the common cold and include: cough, fatigue, body aches, headaches, and hot and cold sweats. While colds can continue from 5 to 10 days, flus can go on after 12 days. Fevers are also common in flu as well as nausea and vomiting. Weakness and the inability to move very much or eat at all are other symptoms of the flu. Contracting the flu also makes us more susceptible to ear infections, pneumonia, and serious sinus issues.
Now that we have all that information and you know which one you may be suffering during this major season change, here are some remedies!
Probiotics are always as amazing way to boost immune system health and are a good idea year around.
Quercetin, a bioflavonoid, increases immunity and decreases reactions to certain pollens, foods, and other allergens. When this nutrient is taken with bromelain and vitamin C they increase absorption.
MSM, though commonly used for joint inflammation and health, has anti-allergenic properties that seriously rival anti-histamines.
Glucosamine sulfate can regulate mucous secretions of the respiratory system.
L-cysteine and L-tyrosine, which are both amino acids, promote healing from respiratory disorders and are helpful for allergic disorders.
Boswellia, also known as Frankincense, is used for inflammation due to allergies.
Eucalyptus and Thyme have both been shown to ease congestion in an inhaled steam.
Licorice root is used in Japan to reduce allergy caused inflammation.
Nettle, or stinging nettle, can reduce sinus cavity inflammation.
Chinese herbs used for allergies include: Magnolia flower, Scuttellaria, Trichosanth, and Wild Angelica.
Burdock, Milk Thistle, Butterbur, Dandelion, Gingko, and horseradish are also beneficial for reducing allergy symptoms as they detoxify the live, increase, energy, reduce inflammation, and help the digestive system break down food properly.
Bromelain, which is an enzyme from pineapple, reduces inflammation caused by Hay Fever symptoms.
Quercetin aids the cells which deal with histamine release in the body and stabilizes them.
Garlic is especially helpful for inflammation of the sinuses.
CoQ10, or Coenzyme Q10, improves oxygenation in the body.
Eucalyptus oil when inhaled in a steam can relieve congestion.
Eyebright and yarrow extracts are very beneficial for relieving Hay Fever symptoms.
Horehound, Mullein leaf, stinging nettle, and wild cherry bark all help stave off severe allergic reactions.
Turmeric is important for reducing inflammation
The best defense against Hay Fever is in fact, defense. Avoid the source of the allergy and limit your time outside are the surest bets.
Vitamin A helps to heal inflamed mucous membranes.
Vitamin C fights cold viruses.
Zinc boosts the immune system.
Garlic is a natural antibiotic and supports and enhances the immune system.
L-lysine is an immune boosting amino acid which aids the body in destroying viruses, especially those which cause cold sores around the mouth.
Probiotics increase immune system health.
Mushrooms, especially Maitake, Reishi, and Shiitake are immune system boosters and contain antiviral properties.
Multivitamins and multiminerals are needed for all bodily healing and immune systems health.
Olive leaf extract contains antibiotic and antiviral properties.
Astrgalus increase white blood cell count to fight infection.
Boneset is great for treating fevers.
Cat’s claw relieves symptoms.
Andrographis is an inti-inflammatory which clear mucus from the respiratory tract.
At the first sign of a cold, taking an Echinacea and Goldenseal blends can prevent a major infection by keeping the virus from multiplying and boosts the immune system.
Elderberry is important for upper respiratory tract infections and headaches, and can be used to break a fever.
Ginger, Pau D’Arco, Slippery Elm, and Yarrow can ease the symptoms.
Hyssop is an expectorant with antiviral properties.
Mullein is a great herb for coughs and congestion. Red clover clears toxins from the lymphatic system that cause congestion and inflammation.
Wild Cherry Bark soothes coughs.
Vitamin A is an antioxidant with immunity boosting effects.
Vitamins C is an immune booster and increases white blood cell count.
Zinc is an immunostimulant and keeps cells nourished.
Free for amino acids can control a fever.
Garlic has antiviral and antibacterial properties.
L-lysine combats viral infections
NAC, N-acetylcysteine, thins mucus and helps prevent respiratory disease. Maitake, Shiitake, and Reishi boosts the immune system and fight viral infections.
Vitamin B complex reduces stress caused by infections.
Selenium boosts immune health.
Astragalus, black cherry, echinacea, ginger, goldenseal, pau d’arco, and yarrow are all good for a flu.
Boneset is a powerful expectorant.
Cat’s Claw can reduce the duration of a flu.
Cayenne helps to keep mucus moving, reducing congestion.
The mushroom Cordyceps is a lung and bronchial support.
Elderberry reduces flu symptoms and has antiviral properties. Genugreek can be used to break up phlegm and mucus.
Slipper elm removes mucus from the body.
Olive leaf extract enhances immune function and fights viral infections.
Always check proper dosing and restrictions for herbal remedies and supplements. If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or on medications check with you doctor or pharmacist before starting a natural remedy.
*A good rule to follow for any of these infections or symptoms is to take a multivitamin and multimineral, a probiotic, and an omega supplement. From there you can add your choice of nutritional supplements, herbal tonics, or teas to rid yourself of inflammation and infection! (Don’t forget to drink plenty of water and eat healthily).
Good Practices in prevention are always going to be the best idea. Reduce your time around infected people and wash your hands after being in public. Reduce your time outdoors with allergens that can adversely affect you, check your home for mold, and take immune boosting herbs and vitamins.
Products We Love!
Eureka Natural Foods CongestEeze
One of the most comprehensive blends we currently have on the shelf, CongestEeze, found in our own private label, features herbs amazing for sinus congestion, immune boosting, and bronchial wellness. Ginger, Garlic, Licorice, and Wild Cherry Bark open and clear the sinuses and bring relief to the lungs. Oregon Grape, Echinacea, Oregano, and Thyme support all our immune functions. Finally, Osha, Yerba Santa, Mullein, and Lomatium promote bronchial wellness, as well as aiding sinus health.
A truly amazing all herbal blend from a manufacturer we can rely on! Vitality Works has been around for over 30 years and is committed to quality, purity, and potency.
WishGarden’s Kick-Ass Sinus
“Woman-owned and family-run since 1979, WishGarden is one of the original herbal renaissance companies. We maintain a deep respect for community, tradition, and plant power. Nationally-known herbalist, educator, and activist, Catherine Hunziker transformed WishGarden from a small start-up to a nationally-recognized company, making herbalism a natural choice for all.”
With a company born from fantastic herbal practices, it’s no wonder they have one of the greatest sinus remedies around. WishGarden’s Kick Ass Sinus features ingredients native to North America such as Yerba Santa, Sage leaf, Poke root, Baptisia root, and Goldenrod to get your sinuses and allergies under control. It packs a punch with Horseradish and Garlic to clear up your sinuses quickly! Elderflower pumps up your immunity while Goldenseal prevents infections. Try it for yourself!
Don’t need quite that much kick? Try their Kick Ass Allergy for your day to day seasonal allergies.
Nature’s Way Umcka Cold Care Day/Night
A wonderful company that has been around since 1969, the Nature’s Way Umcka line now carries a cold remedy for day and night. This homeopathic hot drink powder is perfect for soothing all your cold symptoms and warming you up from the inside out. The night powder has homeopathics for relaxation and sleep, while the day formula has a non-drowsy formula aimed at shortening the duration of your colds as well as easing your symptoms.
Boiron’s ColdCalm, Sinusalia, and Oscillococcinum
These great products by Boiron are homeopathic medicines. They aid the body by micro-dosing. They can also be taken at the first sign of colds and flu, or for even preventing them at the first sign of symptoms. Boiron is a French based company, whose homeopathics are distributed and highly regarded world wide. They are dedication to the cleanest facilities and materials.
We have feature Kyolic’s products before and we all know the amazing research their company is doing for the best garlic supplements around. They carry and Immune formula which is exceptional! With Vitamin C, Astragalus, and a mushroom blend with the great aged garlic, it makes for a potent infection fighter.
Come in and talk to a Wellness employee today!
Disclaimer We are not doctors. We cannot diagnose, treat, prescribe, or recommend anything. If you are thinking of making major lifestyle changes, please consult your doctor or Naturopathic doctor. Statements made here have not been verified by the FDA.