Yellow, one of the glorious colors of summer. The black-eyed susan, the dandelion, yellow summer squash, corn on the cob, oh and the ragweed! For those of us who suffer from ragweed allergy just the thought of all those wild fields and road sides covered with those yellow pollen laden blooms is enough to throw us into uncontrollable fits of sneezing. There isn't much we can do about the blooming of this pesky weed and its production of copious amounts of wind borne pollen but we can reduce in general the symptoms it causes.
Currently it is estimated that one in every three Americans or 75 million people suffer from allergies. Ragweed severely adds to the "allergic load" the body may already be dealing with. If you suffer from certain types of headaches, such as migraines or cluster headaches, digestive disturbances, certain kinds of visual or hearing disturbances, such as blurred vision or buzzing or ringing in the ears, unexplained flu like symptoms, you may be suffering from allergic reaction, and indeed they may be worse during ragweed season.
Many of us will be running to the medicine cabinet for over-the-counter antihistamines now until the frost but antihistamines only work to mop up the spill; why not prevent the allergic reaction before it happens?
If you suffer acutely from ragweed allergy, yet feel pretty good the rest of the year, chances are you aren't in general an allergic person. But if you find yourself chronically on the edge and overwhelmed during ragweed season some dietary changes may be in order.
Dairy, corn, wheat and sugars (the most common allergens) are known to cause allergic symptoms within the body. They, in general, stress the detoxification systems of our body and cause mucous and sluggishness throughout. If you don't think so, note what happens to your nose, or how your postnasal drip is after a meal of dairy products. All that mucous is the body's natural defense kicking in to protect itself. Experts agree doing without dairy during ragweed season is a plus. Avoiding other kinds of chemical insults to the body during ragweed season can also be beneficial in helping you through this stressful time; wait to have that new perm, or color on your hair; avoid the lawn chemicals and don't burn the leaves.
Increasing your intake of raw food will give your body some live enzymes that help digest those allergens that appear as foreign proteins to our body's defenses. Bromelain, an over-the-counter enzyme usually combined with quercetin, is also helpful. Enzymes are natural antiinflammatory agents which have a cooling affect on swollen mucous membranes. The quercetin, a member of the vitamin C family, acts as a natural antihistamine and drying agent.
Other helpful herbs are silymarin, dandelion, alfalfa and burdock root. They detoxify and cleanse the system of foreign proteins. Another herb that is helpful as a drying agent is fenugreek. Begin using these herbs before the onset of your symptoms and for the duration of ragweed season. This will yield the best results.
Your questions or comments are always welcome via The Zephyr or my office at 312 Hill Arcade, 309/343-5256.
Last Modified: August 14, 1996