An allergy is a hypersensitivity to one or more things that are in the environment. The allergy can show itself as a skin condition such as eczema, respiratory conditions such as hay fever or asthma or food allergies. One in six children in the United States is allergic to one or more substances.
Common symptoms of allergies in children include:
- sniffling and a postnasal drip, inflammation of the nasal passages
- dark circles under they eyes (what is often called the allergic shiner),
- puffiness under the eyes,
- poor sleep,
- behavioral issues, such as:
- – irritability,
- – hyperactivity,
- – poor concentration, and
- pickiness with food.
Try to remove the source of the allergic reaction – at least as much as possible. There is often a dietary allergy. The most common food allergies are dairy and wheat – these are often the allergy behind nasal congestion. Eat a healthy diet that emphasizes plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. Any chemical additives that are found to be the cause of allergies need to be eliminated.
Vitamin and Minerals Supplement
These are aimed at balancing the immunity, reducing inflammation and enhancing intestinal health and promoting relaxation.
- Beta-carotene, up to 10,000 units daily and foods that are rich in vitamin A – dark colored fruit and vegetables.
- Essential fatty acids in the form of evening primrose oil, 500 mg one to four times per day.
- Zinc, 5 mg daily.
- Vitamin C with bioflavonoids, 250 – 500 mg taken two to four times each day.
- Vitamin E, 50 to 200 mg daily.
- Vitamin B complex supplement daily.
- Calcium citrate or lactate 600 to 800 mg daily in combination with 300 to 400 mg of magnesium.
The treatments can be maintained regularly or used as needed during bad allergy seasons or with flare-ups.
The following herbs are most helpful:
- Nettle – an immune system herb which stimulates lymphatic function. It is also used to stabilise the histamine produced by the body to excess in allergic reactions.
- Elder flowers – used to dry up excessive catarrh in the upper respiratory passages and it also has an anti-microbial action and is a relaxant.
- Ginkgo – reduces platelet activating factor which plays a key role in allergic and inflammatory processes. It also improves cerebral circulation, cerebral oxygenation, enhances memory and reduces depression. This makes this herb a good choice for allergy related behavioral problems.
- Plantain – is used to reduce upper respiratory congestion and it can be easily combined with other herbs.
- Anise seed – has a warming effect on the digestive and upper respiratory tracts which is useful for reducing secretions. It is also mildly antiseptic and relaxing for the respiratory system.
- Ginger – is an excellent anti-inflammatory and anti-catarrhal herb.
- Astragalus – an immune system enhancing herb which is particularly useful for the upper respiratory passages and also skin conditions.
Tincture for Allergy Remedy
The following herbs balance the immune function, strengthen the upper respiratory system, reduce inflammation and decrease secretions (improving runny noses, watery eyes and ear congestion).
1 1/3 ounces elder tincture
2/3 ounces ginkgo tincture
2/3 ounces astragalus
2/3 ounces liquorice tincture
1/2 ounces anise seed tincture
Combine all of the ingredients and store in an amber glass bottle away from sunlight and heat.
Take 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon up to four times per day.
Hay Fever Remedy
To treat and alleviate the symptoms of hay fever the following combination of herbs can be most effective.
2 parts elder flowers
1 part ephedra (ma hung)
1 part eyebright
1 part golden seal
1 cup water
Combine the herbs. You need about as much of the combined herb as you would for a cup of coffee. Then add the cup of boiling water. Allow this to stand for 10-15 minutes and let the mixture cool slightly. Strain the mixture before you drink it. Drink 1 cup of this mixture 2 – 3 times per day.
Remember that allergies are accumulative in their effects. During seasons when people are exposed to higher than normal allergens, symptoms can become much worse quite quickly if there is existing chronic exposure to other allergens. The most common culprits are food allergies and these are sometimes “silent” and undiagnosed. Improving the diet to eliminate these can sometimes reduce the level of symptoms experienced even seasonally to a tolerable level, so no treatment is needed at all. While the above details are intended to be generally helpful and educational they should not be construed as a replacement for individual advice from a health professional. You should seek professional assistance if your child’s allergy is sudden, extreme, long-lasting or fails to improve.
Liquid vitamin and mineral supplements can be helpful.
Hoffmann, D. 2000, The New Holistic Herbal. Element Pub.
Romm, A. 2000, Naturally Healthy Babies and Children. Storey Books.
Shaw, N. 2002, Herbalism. Element.
Woodward, P. 2003, Grow Your Own Herbal Remedies. Hyland House.