The 411 on Allergies

Do you suffer from springtime allergies? Itchy eyes and runny nose don’t have to be an inevitability—there are a variety of ways to support your body’s ability to reduce the allergic response.

First, let’s look at how allergies work. Allergens (e.g. pollen) are for some reason seen as an invader in your body. When the allergen is ingested, the body tries to fight off the invader by producing antibodies called immunoglobulin E (IgE). These send a signal to “mast” cells to fight the invading allergen by releasing chemicals like histamine into the bloodstream. The result is inflammatory reactions throughout the body, triggering the stuffy nose, the sneezing, the hives, etc.

While we don’t know why certain substances are seen as allergens, the fact of the matter is that our bodies’ response to them can wreak havoc. Here are some of our favorite ways to reduce the body’s response to allergens and bring relief.

Neti pot. This centuries-old Ayurvedic tradition utilizes a saltwater mixture to help sweep allergens, bacteria and viruses from the nasal passages, thereby reducing the chances of infection or allergic reaction. It also helps reduce inflammation in the mucosal lining of the nose, making it stronger and more resistant to infection.

Antihistamines. Dr. Tieraona Low Dog, MD, recommends anti-histamines like Zyrtec or Claritin, especially when you know you’ll be outside on a high-pollen day (take a few hours beforehand). She also recommends herbal extracts like nettles and butterbur, and the antioxidant quercetin, which have natural antihistamine effects that can reduce the allergy response.

Chinese herbs. Plantiva’s AllerDx is one of Pharmaca’s best-selling allergy relief products. “It’s made up of Chinese herbs that support the liver and mucous membranes and help clear the lungs and sinuses,” says Marisa Buchsbaum, herbalist at our Greenwood Village store. “I’ve gotten a lot of positive customer feedback about its quick-acting effects for sneezing and itchy, watery eyes.”

Probiotics. Because allergies are themselves an overactive immune response, simply helping to support the immune system can be really helpful. And since so much of the immune system is centered in the gut, probiotics help keep everything in balance. Try Pharmaca Super Probiotic Blend on a daily basis to help maintain healthy gut flora.

Speak with a Pharmaca practitioner about the best way for you to combat allergies.

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