Friday, May 13, 2011

Dealing with Allergies



Recent news reports say 2011 is shaping up to be the worst year for allergy sufferers. HOORAY (read with sarcasm). I am an allergy sufferer. I grew up in Oklahoma with no allergies at all, but then I went away to college for several years, came back to Oklahoma and now suffer from pretty severe seasonal allergies. I have been known to take Zyrtec on occasion, although I wish I could handle it completely naturally. I have been a fan of Paragon Plus Respir-Aller, a good formula which has worked very well for me, but I am always swayed by new things. We got a new liquid herbal formula in the Paragon Plus line called Aller-leve, and they make a children’s version that I thought I could use for my daughter….I was intrigued. It contains some familiar herbs – nettles that are antihistamine in action, lobelia for lung function, and anti-inflammatory turmeric. But there were a couple of ingredients I just wasn’t familiar with, both which turn out to be traditional Native American herbal remedies. Yerba Santa is native to the American Southwest and has been traditionally used for pulmonary infections such as asthma and hayfever. And then there is Ambrosia which turns out to be ragweed. WHAT?!?! Ragweed???! Well, apparently yes. Ambrosia leaf is not what produces the pollen that I and so many others are allergic too. According to traditional Native American records, Ambrosia leaf was used for pneumonia, colds, and poultices were used topically for hives and insect stings, suggesting an antihistamine effect. Ambrosia leaf may actually help inhibit the histamines caused by ragweed. Well, now I had to try it! So I’ve been using Aller-leve for about 3 weeks, 1-2 times per day. So far, I have been completely off of Zyrtec or any other OTC medicine. I have mowed the lawn and done yard work, and being out for more than an hour at a time, I sneezed only three times. No itchy eyes, no congestion…I’d say that’s pretty good. The real test will be in the fall as I really do suffer more from ragweed allergies. Stay tuned to see what happens…