By Jill Shainhouse, ND, FABNO
So, what is an allergy sufferer to do? You could take over-the-counter antihistamines, or puffers, but a lot of those medications leave people feeling plain old strange. Some cause drowsiness (even the ones that aren’t supposed to cause drowsiness), dry mouth or constipation….
Is there a better way? A natural way?
Quercetin: This “natural anti-histamine” is a bioflavonoid derived from apples (with the skin), red onions and black tea. It works by reducing the release of histamine from mast cells (the cells that secrete histamine in the first place). A typical dosage is anywhere from 250 to 500 mg 3 times daily. According to various sources, quercetin chalcone, is claimed to be absorbed better, but is difficult to obtain in Canada.
Omega 3 fatty acids: Most of us are deficient in omega 3 fatty acids and research suggests that these healthy fats might reduce inflammatory chemicals in our bodies such as: prostaglandin E2. A German study that obtained data from 568 people and concluded that a higher level of omega-3 fatty acids in the blood was associated with a decreased risk of hay fever. One of the best sources of omega 3 fatty acids is fish oil, but if you are a vegan there are other options including flax oil, walnuts and algae oil such as Nutra-veg by Ascenta Health. An ideal dose is at least 1500mg of EPA and 500 mg of DHA per day.
Nettle (Stinging Nettle – Urtica): In Florida, a research team in 2009 reported that nettle (Urtica dioica) extract inhibited several key inflammatory events that cause the symptoms of seasonal allergies. It significantly appeared to reduce the release of histamine. This herb can be taken in capsule form, but it’s best to obtain some dried herb and steep it in some hot water. The ratio of dried herb to water is about 1 tsp/cup. The tea can be sipped throughout the day. Many report that this helps to reduce throat itching and irritation.
Vitamin C: This antioxidant is a natural anti-histamine. A recent Korean study (March 2013) showed that children with higher vitamin C intake had less symptoms of allergic rhinitis. There are so many different forms of vitamin C. Which one is for you? If you tend towards a sensitive bowel, make sure you get calcium ascorbate (a buffered form of vitamin C) as opposed to a plain ascorbic acid.
Butterbur: Also known as Petasites hybridus , this herb has also shown some impressive results in clinical trials. In a recent study published in the British Medical Journal, the researchers concluded 4 butterbur capsules per day were as effective as a popular antihistamine drug in controlling symptoms of seasonal allergies. At the 60th annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, a group of researchers from Britain discussed butterbur’s efficacy on reducing grass related allergies.
Saline sprays: Of course, for chronic sufferers of allergic rhinitis and sinusitis it never hurts to flush the mucous membranes with a saline solution. You can do this with a spray or a neti pot (but neti pots seem to require a certain amount of skill!). This can help to reduce inflammation and prevent secondary infections.
Jill Shainhouse, ND, FABNO is a naturopathic doctor with an additional board certification in naturopathic oncology. She has been practicing since 2004 in Toronto in the Bayview and Eglinton area. Her goal is to provide safe and effective integrative care for every patient.
For more information visit www.insightnaturopathic.com
The throat chakra has always been incredibly interesting to me. Whenever I go for a reiki session, in the first few minutes I always get a frog in my throat and have to keep clearing it. Often I will go in feeling fine and then start coughing while on the treatment table. I’ve come to realize it’s my throat chakra’s way of saying ’hello can you do some clearing HERE please!” For me the energy gets stuck in my throat when I have something I need to say that I’m not saying or there is something I really want to create but am afraid to try.
The fifth chakra is your centre of communication, expression, receiving, creativity and speaking your truth. It is also linked to the idea of manifesting in the physical world. The sanskrit word is Visuddha which means ‘purification’. It is located at the neck , throat and shoulders. A strong throat chakra can help you find your own clear, authentic voice.
When the throat chakra energy is blocked you may experience: neck pain or chronic headaches, TMJ, dental pain,chronic sore throat, headaches, inability to listen, fear of speaking
After clearing and balancing you may be more able to: trust your own inner voice and intuition, truly listen to others, communicate well with others, tune into your creative energy
Try this short breathwork exercise to help open up the energy in your throat chakra:
SIX TIPS TO HELP BALANCE THE THROAT CHAKRA:
- Make an effort to express yourself through: writing, chanting, singing, public speaking, sharing your thoughts, creating something new on your own or with others – whichever resonates with you
- Simple neck rolling: relax your jaw and gently roll your head and neck from left to right and back a few times. Then give the back of your neck a little massage and take a few deep breaths into your neck.
- Yoga poses to help stimulate the fifth chakra : Plough and Fish ( please practice modified versions of these poses if need be)
- Essential oils : Neroli, Sandalwood, Lavender – one drop in some lotion or carrier oil and rub it into your neck, or put a drop on a tissue and inhale as needed.
- Manifestation journal – making time daily or weekly to write down your goals and dreams – without judgement or editing.
- Healing affirmations ( from Heal Your Body by Louise Hay): I express myself freely and joyously. It’s ok to make noise. I speak up for myself with ease. I express my creativity. I am willing to change.
“I Love” is the energy associated with the fourth chakra, your heart chakra.
In sanskrit the word for the heart chakra is Anahata which means ‘the unstruck chord’. The three lower chakras that we have already looked at root, sacral and solar plexus, are connected to the earth and the physical body. The heart chakra begins to connect us to spirit. In a way it can be seen as the spiritual centre of the chakra system. Relationships, compassion and love are all themes that resonate with the heart chakra. A balanced heart centre will allow you to love freely and properly process negative emotions as needed. The heart chakra is also about healing on all levels. Healing physically but also mentally and emotionally from any life events that have caused you stress or trauma. I’m sure we all have our own issues that could use a little love and healing. The great thing is that you already have love within you, you just need to tap into it. A great way to feel love is to give love – or to be loving to others. I know it sounds too simple but try it and see how you feel.
Issues that may arise if your heart chakra is blocked or out of balance:
insincerity, judgemental, looking for rewards in exchange for love, trouble genuinely accepting love from others, asthma, high BP, tension in the shoulders, lung weakness
A balanced, clear heart chakra will bring forth:
compassion, love, self- love, stronger immune system, overall sense of peace and contentment, deeper empathy and understanding of others
Try some of these simple ways to shake up the energy in your fourth chakra and feel more connected to your heart centre:
- this week’s mini meditation
- Mantras to repeat to yourself ( choose one that resonates with you) – I am loving to myself and others. I am worthy of love. There is love within me and all around me.
- Essential oils -Rose, Geranium, Bergamot Add one drop of any of these oils to a carrier oil or lotion and rub it on the centre of your chest. Then hold your hand on the heart centre while taking some deep breaths.
- Go for a reiki or energy healing session with a trusted practitioner and ask them to take some extra time working around your heart centre to help remove any blocked energy
- Take inventory of what past negative experiences around love or relationships you might still be holding onto, ask yourself if there are any that you are ready to let go of. Letting go of old energy can make room for a fresh start. Sometimes journaling can help by letting go through words onto paper.
- Go out and do something that makes you happy, something fun, something that makes your heart feel like shining!
If you have any questions or insights about the chakra system please feel free to share in the comment section below.
‘I am’ is the energy that resonates in the area of your third chakra.
We started with earth at your root chakra then got moving with water at the second chakra and this week we warm up with the fire based energy of your SOLAR PLEXUS or MANIPURA chakra. Manipura means ‘lustrous gem’ Energetically it is located just under your navel and it can physically affect the lower back, abdomen, stomach digestive and nervous system. The concept of ‘feeling’ and’ being’ begins in this chakra. Your self esteem and your will also live here.
If your third chakra is balanced and energy is flowing freely through it you may experience: a sense of inner calm, confidence, balanced emotions, openness to change, patience, acceptance of self and others
When your third chakra is blocked or out of balance it can manifest as: being more nervous, low self esteem, feelings of stress and low tolerance of others, chronic fatigue, poor digestion, eating disorders, issues around your sense of power
TRY THESE QUICK TIPS TO ENERGIZE YOUR THIRD CHAKRA:
- click below for my mini meditation for your Solar Plexus
- Tea : Ginger, Peppermint or Chamomile to help with digestion. Ginger also creates heat and warms up the body.
- Essential Oils: black pepper, cinnamon, sandalwood, rosemary. Try adding one or two drops of any of these oils to an unscented carrier oil or body lotion and rub it directly onto the solar plexus area
- Cardio and vigorous exercise can help move blocked energy in your solar plexus and increase your overall wellbeing, boost your self esteem and improve your health
- Yoga poses to spark the fire energy in your third chakra: bow pose, upward plank, warrior 1 pose
- LAUGH – yes LAUGH it moves energy, makes energy and tones the system. Not to mention is makes you feel good!
This week we continue our journey through the chakra system with the second or SACRAL CHAKRA. The sanskrit word is SVADHISTHANA which means “sacred and sweet home of the self”. While the root chakra was all about grounding, earth and stability, your sacral chakra is about movement and going with the flow. The element associated with the sacral chakra is water and the colour that resonates with it orange.
Your sacral chakra is located at the lower abdomen below the navel just above the pubic bone. The sacral chakra is the energy centre that allows for movement, sexual energy, love, creation and creativity. Once the energy in the two lower chakras is open and moving freely it can travel up your spine allowing the other chakras to begin to balance as well.
How it manifests in the body and mind:
- When it is balanced and in harmony it can manifest as : giving and receiving love, easily sharing feelings, acts of kindness, nurturing to self and others, able to create healthy boundaries, feeling joyful.
- When it is blocked or deficient it can manifest as: bladder or kidney issues, frigidity, impotence, difficulty expressing emotions, suppressing needs and feelings, emotional dependency.
- Click below for a mini meditation
- Seek out a body of water. If you live near a river, lake or ocean so take some time to sit by the water and listen to the sound it makes as it moves. Allow the sense of fluidity to become a part of you and relax you. If you don’t live near water you can try a CD of waves or water while you are meditating.
- Yoga poses that boost sacral chakra energy are ones that work with your hips and abdomen like ;Reclining bound angle ( Goddess pose) and child’s pose.
- Essential Oils that have an effect on the second chakra are: petitgrain, sandalwood and ylang ylang. You can put a few drops on a kleenex and inhale or add a few drops to an unscented lotion or oil.
- Affirmations (from Eastern Body, Western Mind) :
I move easily and effortlessly. Life is pleasurable. My sexuality is sacred. I absorb information from my feelings.
For a quick review of the root chakra from last week click here. Next week we journey further up the spine to your Solar Plexus. In the meantime you have any insights you’d like to share please feel free to leave a comment below.
The Deva Life
I am Jasmin Fiore, a yoga teacher, aromatherapist, reiki master, mother and young breast cancer patient interested in all things that keep us happy and healthy. Please join us for weekly insights and info as we explore ways to create a brilliant,healthy, love filled deva life.
Deva - a sanskrit word for celestial or shining – a powerful connection to nature, the universe, and the ability to connect with the divine.