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A Natural Approach To Treating Seasonal Allergies


If you suffer from seasonal allergies, you're well aware of how a sudden onset of scratchy and watery eyes, violent sneezing, and a constant runny nose can hamper your day. Sometimes called hay fever or allergic rhinitis, seasonal allergies affect tens of millions of people throughout North America every year.

What causes seasonal allergies? When an outdoor or indoor allergen comes into contact with your body, your immune system may trigger the production of an antibody called immunoglobulin E, also called IgE. If this happens, the next time that you are exposed to that allergen, IgE antibodies in your body release a chemical called histamine, which sets off a series of chemical reactions that can result in any of the following eliminative reactions:

Swelling of the mucous membranes in your sinuses, nose, and eyes
A runny nose
Watery eyes

All of these eliminative reactions are in place to preserve your health. You want these mechanisms to be sharp and fully functional at all times, ready to react to substances that are harmful to your cells. What you don't want is for these eliminative mechanisms to swing into high gear in response to substances that don't pose a real physiological threat to your cells.

Toxins that are produced by mold, called mycotoxins, are examples of substances that you want to react to by sneezing and having watery eyes and a runny nose. Regular exposure to mycotoxins can contribute to the development of a wide variety of health challenges, including cancer, nervous system dysfunction, immune system dysfunction, diarrhea, and even rapid death in rare instances.

Pollen from various types of grasses, weeds, and trees are examples of substances that don't pose the same physiological threats to your cells that some mycotoxins do; there is no real need for your body to activate a histamine-mediated response when exposed to pollen.

Beyond different types of pollen, there are many other common allergens that are not directly harmful to your cells, and yet, if you suffer with seasonal allergies, your body may react to these allergens by producing the eliminative reactions listed above.

Why is this? Why does your body use up energy and sometimes exhaust itself in responding to allergens that are not directly harmful to your cells?

Conventional medicine and science do not have an answer to this question. All we know is that allergens induce an IgE and histamine-mediated response in about 25% of the human population.

My personal and clinical experiences have led me to believe that seasonal allergies come about because of a hypersensitive nervous system and a dysfunctional immune system. All sub-optimal lifestyle factors - poor stress management, lack of rest, poor food choices, and regular exposure to toxins - can gradually create both a hypersensitive nervous system and a dysfunctional immune system in people who are genetically susceptible to developing these health challenges.

What follows are dietary and lifestyle recommendations that I have found helpful in addressing varying degrees of seasonal allergies - these measures also tend to be helpful to those suffering with eczema and food allergies:

  1. Apply deep massage to the following acupressure points for a few minutes, two times a day:

    • Spleen 10 (SP-10): located in a tender region of the inner side of the thigh, approximately three finger widths above the upper and inner border/corner of the knee cap.

      For Clinicians: this point corresponds with the anterior cutaneous branches of the femoral nerve, the muscular branch of the femoral nerve, a portion of the great saphenous vein, the muscular branch of the femoral artery and companion vein, and the articular branch of the descending genicular artery.

    • Spleen 6 (SP-6): located approximately three finger widths above the inner ankle bone, in a tender region of the lower calf muscle.

      For Clinicians: this point is found in between the medial margin of the tibia and the soleus muscle. As you go deeper, this point corresponds with the flexor digitorum longus and flexor hallucis longus muscles. This point also corresponds with a cutaneous branch of the saphenous nerve, motor branches of the tibial nerve, and the deeper trunk of the tibial nerve. A superficial branch of the great saphenous vein, the posterior tibial artery, and a companion vein to the posterior tibial artery are also in this region.

    • Large Intestine 4 (LI-4): located in the soft, fleshy web that sits between your thumb and forefinger.

      For Clinicians: this point corresponds with a muscular branch of the median nerve, the deep branch of the ulnar nerve, proper palmer digital nerves from the first common palmar digital nerve, and the superficial branch of the radial nerve. Tributary branches of the cephalic vein, the radial artery, and the first dorsal metacarpal artery and companion veins can also be found in this region.

    • Liver 3 (LR-3): located in the soft flesh that sits between your big and second toes, LR-3 is the equivalent of LI-4 on your foot.

      For Clinicians: this point corresponds with the medial dorsal cutaneous nerve, the medial branch of the deep peroneal nerve, and a muscular branch from the deep branch of the lateral plantar nerve. The dorsal venous network of the foot, the first dorsal metatarsal artery, and a companion vein are also found in this region.

      Some Notes Regarding Acupressure: in general, you should feel around for a tender spot in each of the regions described above. You should apply enough pressure to feel a mild, dull, achy pain. If you have varicose veins, do not massage any of your muscle groups without first consulting with your family doctor. It is best to massage each point on both sides of your body. If you are not sure about the location of each of the points listed above, I highly recommend that you take a look at the following book, the best of its kind:

      Acupressure's Potent Points: a Guide to Self-Care for Common Ailments.

  2. Avoid all sources of MSG and artificial sweeteners; both are known to damage the cells that make up your nervous system.

  3. Take a high quality probiotic on a daily basis - this is the easiest step that you can take right away to improve immune system strength.

  4. Ensure adequate vitamin D status. Vitamin D is essential for optimal nervous system and immune system health.

These measures are simple ways of improving immune system health, and creating some natural protection against developing a hypersensitive nervous system, which is why those suffering with eczema, food allergies, and other autoimmune-type illness also tend to benefit from applying these measures.

Clearly, following the recommendations listed above as a means to addressing seasonal allergies requires more effort than taking an over-the-counter drug like Claritin. Please keep in mind that in addition to helping you overcome seasonal allergies, following these recommendations can also help you improve your overall health without a number of "side" effects like dizziness and drowsiness.


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The one remedy I use when the allergy season starts up here in the Ohio Valley is honey. It is important that it is local honey and not a commercial brand that comes from somewhere else. This has helped me tremendously over the years and I am grateful to the person who first suggested it to me.

My allergies 'healed' after I followed the advice of my accupuncturist, who told me to stop eating any 'food' containing sugar. My allergies and headaches just disappeared! I feel better too when I'm eating less carbohydrates in general, except the real natural ones like vegetables. I'm so glad I know this now and that my health is in my own hands!

It is also good to practice natural nasal irrigation which can reduce the severity of allergies, and is just a great health practice to use all year long!

I would like to know what natural nasal irrigation is. I am very susceptible to allergies because my nose is very sensitive. I have a bad habit of picking and leaving the inside of my nose clear of any buildup. My GP recommended that I try nasonix, and I have found that it has been marvelous at building up my membrane walls, to make me less sensitive. While I don't know what nasonex really is, I do know that it is a very popular medication. If there is some natural nasal irrigation that would accomplish the same purpose, I would like to learn about it.

My allergies just hit me today, so I am going to get a Neti Pot, which my midwife recommended I use for my allergies while I'm pregnant. She said it is a saline solution that you use to rinse your nose of allergens. I think she said to use it twice a day. They sell them at Walgreens or you can get it online.

Nasal irrigation is the rinsing of you nasal passages ans sinuses. The outcome is really quite amazing! You need something called a Neti Pot. They cost about $10-$20 and I personally reccomend a stainless steel one, but anything is better than none! It looks like a little tea pot and you can fing them at health food and grocery stores. There should be directions in your neti pot, but if not:
put very warm, distilled water in your net pot, not quite filled to the top
add 1 tsp of sea salt (not iodized table salt)
add 1/2 - 1 tsp baking soda (this helps with the ph of your nose----VERY important

mix well and administer the neti pot as instructed...(tilt body SLIGHTLY fwd over a sink and place tip of neti into nose. tilt head to the side (open nostril towards sink)you may need to adjust your stance until you are in a position that allows the water solution to run out the open nostril and into the sink

MAKE SURE TO DRY YOU NASAL PASSAGES THOROUGHLY AFTERWARDS! If you don't, you could have cold-like symptoms afterwards....and who wants that.
I know it sounds like a lot to do, but after you do it, it is amazing .....absolutley amazing at how much better you will feel! You may even feel and see all the snot run OUT of your sinuses (those pesky things on the sid of your nose that ache!) and into the sink! WOW!

Autumn Waco, TX
I hope this helps! I am a SVER allergy sufferer and this really saves me!

December 2006 I began getting hives, seriously large hives. It was found to be food allergies from yellow #5 &#6, msg and several additives, preservatives. Traditional medications were not working along with watching my diet. After reading your article on Adding High doses of Vit. D to your diet I began taking 1200 IU per day. It's been three weeks since taking the vitamin and I have not had one breakout. However, my seasonal allergies are worse this spring than ever. So thank you for this recent article. I will try these accupressure points as well as a juice detox. I wish I would have known sooner regarding the Vit. D. Thank you for your help. I really enjoy reading your newsletter each week.

Karen P.- Grand Forks, ND

I have had good results with seasonal allergies by avoiding all grains containing gluten: wheat, oats, barley, rye, spelt, kamut, corn. I eat boiled brown rice, buckwheat and quinoa, and bake with coconut, rice, buckwheat, arrowroot, tapioca, almond/other nut flours.

Our daughter had bad seasonal allergies with asthma. We have worked with a Naturopath and from our experience your believes are spot on! We used high dose probiotics, elimination diet, high dose DHA and EPA, and got vitamin D levels up to an optimal level. It has been nearly 2 years and we have had NO issues with asthma and the allergies have not been nearly as bad. We do use stinging nettle tincture once in a while for the occasions where hayfever symptoms come up and that will usually clear up running nose and sneezing within 10 minutes. I could not be happier to be off the conventional medicine drug train and want to thank Dr Ben Kim for all his helpful insights!!

Stinging Nettles are a wonderful herb for allergies. You can get them fresh at the market in springtime--Delicious in soups and sauteed with olive oil and garlic.
You can use dried nettle leaf in tea infusions (about 8 hours of steeping). I can't say enough good things about this wonderful herb.

Don't be afraid of the stingers when you buy them fresh...
more info:


According to Acupressure's Potent Points by Michael Reed Gach:

<strong> Stimulation of LI-4 (Large Intestine 4 - between the index finger and thumb) is discouraged after the 1st month of pregnancy. It can induce labor/miscarriage.

Stimulation of SP-6 (Spleen 6 - four finger widths above the inner anklebone close to the back of the shinbone) is discouraged after the 7th month of pregnancy. It can induce labor and calm the fetus.</strong>

Both of these points are discussed in this article.

Note that stimulation of K-3 (Kidney 3 - midway between the inside ankle bone and the Achilles tendon in the back of the ankle) is discouraged after the 3rd month of pregnancy