Allergies and Sinus Congestion Regimen
Summary: Follow the Water Cure and use a mineral ascorbates product such as Nutribiotic Ascorbate Bio-C or Hypo-Aller-C or otherwise consume adequate minerals and vitamin C. Use nasal washes at least once per day or as needed.
The Water Cure is probably the single most beneficial therapy for allergy problems, and it is practically free. Adequate hydration of the body combined with the large amount of base minerals (use only a good salt) will typically greatly reduce symptoms in a short time. Besides thinning mucus secretions, this seems to reduce histamine response better than most other therapies, and this is a primary cause of bothersome allergies.
There are a number of excellent hayfever-allergy combination supplements available at health food stores and online these days. They typically work by either reducing histamine response and "calming" the immune system and/or by providing outright decongestant action. Before these are used, though, basic nutrients should first be ensured - adequate vitamin C and minerals, particularly calcium and magnesium, which can be provided in a single product such as the Nutribiotics mineral ascorbates products mentioned above. Or follow theGeneral Maintenance Regimen, using a good calcium magnesium supplement like Solaray Cal-Mag Citrate for the multimineral.
Two popular ingredients to use for allergies are bromelain and quercetin. Bromelain is pineapple enzyme and quercetin is a bioflavonoid found in many fruits and vegetables and in it concentrated form is a powerful antioxidant and helps reduce histamine response. A single product which contains both of these is NSI Activated Quercetin Complex. Besides bromelain and quercetin, it also contains vitamin C and some magnesium (but no calcium). It is a good choice if a single product is desired. Bromelain is a popular supplement for allergies since like the minerals it probably works by decreasing excess histamine response. Since it is a proteolytic enzyme, digesting protein and oils, another action it may confer is reducing allergenic compounds in the blood as well as by boosting sulfur absorption from protein. MSM, methyl sulfonyl methane, is a sulfur compound often used for allergies.
Many amino acids are contained in protein, so eating adequate protein (and good oils) is a good idea when one suffers from allergies. Sulfur-based amino acids like cysteine can also be produced in the body when there is sufficient sulfur in the diet. Protein is the major source of sulfur, but a popular supplement called MSM (methyl sulfonyl methane) is a rich source as well. MSM is very inexpensive when purchased in crystal or powder bulk form, and does not have much taste. It is also available in allergy supplements like NSI Allergy Shield, which combines MSM with vitamin C, protease enzyme, and bioflavonoids including quercetin. Protease (protein digesting) enzymes, which include bromelain, are often recommended for allergies. Besides their potentially positive effect on the immune system, another benefit may be that they increase the amount of sulfur available from dietary protein by making it more easily digested.
Biochem Aller-Max (by Country Life) is another good all-in-one product. It contains lesser amounts of bromelain, quercetin, and vitamin C, but includes a good amount of the two best amino acid antihistamines - N-acetyl cysteine and L-histidine, plus pantothenic acid, zinc, nettles, and other vitamins, minerals, and herbs.
Some supplements used for allergies are primarily decongestants. Ephedra (also known as ma huang) used to be a popular supplement in allergy and sinus formulas, but for an odd reason, the FDA banned the sale of the ephedra herb and herb extracts for a year (this was recently lifted), but still allowed the sale of over the counter products which contained the more dangerous pure extracts ephedrine and pseudoephedrine. Whatever the nefarious reasons were for this it effectively discontinued many fine sinus and allergy supplements which contained safe, small amounts of ephedra in addition to other sinus and allergy herbs, while leaving the toxic-dye-and-petrochemical-filled high dose ephedrine products on the market.
However, there are still a number of fine decongestant allergy and sinus formulas available. The quickest acting ones are liquid. An excellent, inexpensive one is Planetary Formula's Sinus Free. It contains horseradish, thyme, yarrow, and eyebright. Another is Dr. Christopher's Sinus Plus Formula, which contains brigham tea, marshmallow root, goldenseal, chaparral, burdock, and a few others. It does not work as quickly as Sinus Free, but is deeper acting.
If infection results from hayfever or sinus problems, oregano may help due to its strong antibacterial and antifungal actions. Good products include North American Oregano Oil, a liquid that goes well with mineral ascorbates products, and NSI Origanox, an encapsulated dry oregano extract. See the Sinus Infection Regimen for more information.
Applying emu oil to the inside of the nose can greatly improve sinus problems, especially if the nasal passages are dry. This may also help better capture allergens before they are inhaled into the lungs plus prevent them from irritating nasal passages.
As mentioned earlier, holistic programs to address hayfever allergies include General Maintenance supplements such as amultivitamin and multimineral. The supplements which appear to have the most effect are minerals like calcium and magnesium, perhaps by decreasing excessive histamine response to allergens, but the exact mechanism is not known. Some people report that using base minerals, such as the Ecogical Formula's Tri-Salts, have the most effect even though they are the least well absorbed type. Some report that using citrate forms of minerals are most effective, such as Solaray Cal-Mag Citrate.
As recommended in the Summary, one of the best all-around mineral supplements for allergies is Nutribiotics Ascorbate Bio-C. This is a mineral ascorbates product which is an effervescent powder that must be mixed in water (or pineapple juice) before use. It contains a great deal of vitamin C in comparison to the calcium and magnesium, and also includes a lot of bioflavonoids. Vitamin C taken in sufficient amounts, especially along with bioflavonoids, are some of the most popular treatments for allergies, so if a single supplement is desired to be used, this is probably the best choice. Also good are packets of Emergen-C, also a mineral ascorbate product. These are portable so can be used throughout the day. They contain a good deal of potassium and vitamin C, and relatively small amounts of calcium and magnesium along with other vitamins and minerals. Since they contain vitamin B-12, they should not be used at night since it can cause sleeplessness. The Tri-Salts can be combined with ascorbic acid vitamin C to produce mineral ascorbates, too, and the ratio of minerals to vitamin C can be adjusted to one's particular needs.
The Zone Diet also improves liver function by encouraging adequate protein and good oils to be consumed. It is the best diet to control inflammatory responses in the body, too, by stimulating the body's production of anti-inflammatory hormones while limiting ones which cause inflammation, which is another helpful aspect of the diet. Following Eat Right 4 Your Type, at least reducing consumption of potentially allergenic foods, may also help. Avoiding wheat products or greatly reducing their consumption can be very helpful and not just from a blood sugar perspective. The possible molds and mold toxins in wheat products can greatly increase response to allergens.
A method to control allergens in the home that may seem obvious but which is not often performed adequately is controlling the amount of dust, dander, and therefore skin mites. See the Dust Cleanup in theToxin Avoidance Section for a comprehensive plan.
The Clenzology kit from Garden of Life is made as a comprehensive topical treatment for allergies by providing a number of products including two different nasal wash solutions, one iodine based and the other hydrogen peroxide based, fingernail and body soap, tooth soap, and an ear solution. This is considered one of the best products to reduce potential allergens in the nasal passages by washing them out. The "fingernail" soap is a soft tub of soap, an excellent mostly non-toxic moisturizing soap which is good for hands and body. The fingertips are put into the soap so that it gets under the fingernail. The point of all this is that bacteria, dirt, and allergens under the fingernails and in the nasal passages keep the immune system at a heightened state of activity, increasing allergic responses. However, using simple nasal washes, scraping the fingernails daily across a bar of non-toxic soap, and occasionally cleaning the ears with 3% hydrogen peroxide is a less expensive solution.
If, despite all the supplements like the mineral ascorbates and nasal washes, there is still nasal congestion, a mucus reducing supplement like Enzymatic Therapy Air Power can be used as needed. If this is necessary, the problem could be exacerbated by a sinus infection, though, and it is best to address this with an antiseptic regimen, perhaps by taking olive leaf extract or oregano oil. If there is chronic sinusitis which is increased by pollen and other allergens, it is most likey a fungal infection in which case either the olive leaf or oregano is effective, but perhaps better since it can be used as a nasal wash as well as internally, is colloidal silver.