Defeating Seasonal Allergies
No matter where we are, we get them. It could be pollen, dust, and now pollution. I suffered through terrible Cider Fever in Austin, Texas. I was sick for over 4 months out the year during the Winter and especially through the Spring. I thought moving away I could defeat this natural disaster in my sinuses, but then I moved to Vietnam and oh yes! They got me there too. It was the dust from construction, pollution in the air… And now in Qatar it’s also the dust [and sand storms]. Talking with my European friends I hear in Europe the pollen gets crazy during Spring; and so after this conversation I concluded that I will never get away from allergies, I just have to adapt to them and coexist healthily.
Reading and reading, I’ve learned that in order to support our immune system from attacking itself, we must support our digestive system, as 70-80% of it [i.e. immune system] resides in our guts. So how do we nurture our gut, our digestion? Two words: probiotics & enzymes which aid in the process of breaking-down and accelerating biological reactions. “They speed up reactions by providing an alternative reaction pathway of lower activation energy”. On the other hand, probiotics are [good] live bacteria and yeasts that are good for our digestive system because they help keep our gut healthy by balancing the environment between good and bad bacteria in our guts, which in the end contributes to proper digestion. This Ted. Ed video explains quite well what happens in our gut.
In my desperate research for a holistic approach to support my gut with these two important components [probiotics & enzymes], I found Apple Cider Vinegar- ACV. Organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar (like Bragg’s) goes through a process of fermentation and the addition of bacteria which ferment the alcohol into acetic acid, the main active component of vinegar. ACV especially contains “the mother,” which are strands of proteins, enzymes and friendly bacteria that give the product that murky, cobweb-like appearance.
ACV does all this for you. For this reason we (family and I) take it everyday, and if we start to experience allergies in a million sneezes or headaches, we drink three cups a day, if not all day when we drink water. I wish I had known this in Austin, but being it better late than never, I learned this after reading thousands of forums on the internet over a sleepless night of a brick-like congestion and spiritual misery in Hanoi.
That night, I read someone cleared their congestion within an hour of taking ACV. In between numbness I walked to the kitchen and took a big glass of water with ACV [using the ratio]… and yes, in about an hour my congestion was getting better, I was able to start breathing. The next day I took the ACV 3x and the congestion was gone. I continued to do this, and like the universe working on my side, the weather also got better.
The downside? The taste… some say it smells and tastes like foot. It is bitter, but despite the taste, I think like wine [maybe] it is an acquired taste. After doing this for over a year, I like it. And if you add it to Alkaline water (recipe here) it tastes almost like a virgin margarita!
But what about children drinking this? Well Gaia loves it, I believe because in part, she has been taught to take it so she can stay healthy and the ACV can fight all the bad bugs. Perhaps she developed the taste for it because I fostered the importance of consuming it, and of course, I model drinking it in a positive [enjoyable] way.
Our last year in Hanoi, she developed a bad sinus infection from a pool. I was able to clear it out not just having her drink it 3x a day, but also with ACV nose flushes. There was no need for antibiotic. The recipe for the nose flushes is the same as what you drink but you can add a 1/4 of a teaspoon of Himalayan Pink Salt and spray it in the nostrils with a syringe. If you are adding the salt, make sure to let the mix rest for 24 hours so as to get the salt benefits.
Here is how you do it…
In 8 ounces of water add one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. Drink 3 times a day. The potassium in ACV thins mucus, the acetic acids prevents germ growth, which contribute to
nasal congestion, which become the cause of sinus infections. *It is also important to remember not to consume dairy and red meats as these increase the production of mucous in your organism.
ACV promotes circulation and helps detoxify the liver. ACV treats the cause of your ailment thereby decreasing or completely eliminating your symptoms entirely. ACV boosts your metabolism which weakens with allergies, and its chemical and natural antihistamines head off your body’s abnormal response by preventing the production and release of histamines.
Because ACV supports your gut health, the benefits are many. You can find infinite articles online about the benefits, such as: fighting “bad” bacteria, easing digestion, lowering blood sugar levels, accelerating weight loss (really tasty in salads), lowering cholesterol, detoxifying the liver, eliminating Candida overgrowth, increasing the presence of protective agents against cancer due to the antioxidants that fight free radicals, and neutralizing your body’s PH level by making it more alkaline instead of acidic. Here is a list of 30 surprising uses for ACV. For all these reasons it is always in our grocery list, and if I had to take one thing to a desert island it would definitely be ACV!!
The Double Booster: Honey and Bee pollen
During the Spring we inhale pollen, and the obvious effects are seasonal allergies. These occur when the body perceives the pollen as a foreign invader, similar to a bacteria or virus. In response, the body mounts an attack. Such symptoms are similar to those of a cold, and we tend sometimes to confuse one for the other:
- watery and itchy eyes
- a runny nose
- sore throat
- trouble breathing
Even though treatments and testing have been inconclusive, some of us believe local honey and Bee pollen can help with seasonal allergies. Bee pollen contains vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, lipids, and protein. It comes from the pollen that collects on the bodies of bees (more on Bee Pollen here). Local honey is raw, unprocessed honey made close to where you live. This honey is rumored to help allergies, but scientists and doctors are still skeptical. The honey acts like an allergy shot. When a person eats local honey, their digestion [and immune system] are thought to be ingesting local pollen. Over time, a person may become less-sensitive to this pollen. As a result, they may experience fewer seasonal allergy symptoms. Thus, this has to happen over time, not at the time of the allergy attacks. At home we always buy local honey and try to consume as much as possible in preparation for the season. Ways in we use it is to sweeten juices, added to fruit bowls or muesli, and taking a tablespoon daily. The Bee pollen is much more powerful and we add it to juices as a natural sweetener or in fruit and granola bowls. When a person eats local honey, they have no guarantee how much (if any) pollen they’re being exposed to. This differs from allergy shots that purposefully desensitize a person to pollen at standard measurements. This study found that honey eaten at a high doses did improve a person’s allergy symptoms over a period of eight weeks. Either way, consuming honey is healthy and has been studied as a cough suppressant and may have anti-inflammatory effects. Just remember not to heat it, as our bodies cannot digest it well, and children under 1 year cannot digest honey because raw, unprocessed honey has a risk for botulism in infants.
“Some experts point out that honey can contain traces of flower pollen — an allergen. And one treatment for allergies is repeated exposure to small amounts of allergens”.
ACV Brew for Sinuses
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup unfiltered apple cider vinegar (where to find)
- 1 tablespoon raw honey
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- juice of 1 lemon wedge
Bring water to a boil. Mix hot water and apple cider vinegar in a glass. Mix in honey and cayenne pepper. Stir well. Add lemon juice. Drink the mixture regularly until the condition subsides.
References: http://www.rsc.org/Education/Teachers/Resources/cfb/enzymes.htm https://authoritynutrition.com/6-proven-health-benefits-of-apple-cider-vinegar/ http://www.healthline.com/health/allergies/honey-remedy#Conclusions5 http://www.mayoclinic.org/ http://www.webmd.com/balance/bee-pollen-benefits-and-side-effects