Spring is here, the vernal equinox has passed and the earth has awakened. With milder temperatures and gentle breezes inviting us to partake in nature, those annoying spring sniffles and scratches may actually be hindering us from enjoying the season. In addition to reducing pollen exposure by closing windows and limiting early outdoor exposure during the day, there are several non-drug options for allergy sufferers.
The first is sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT), a viable and relatively safe alternative to "allergy shots" that consists of placing drops under the tongue each day. This procedure can be performed at home, avoiding unnecessary office visits and injections, and carries a much lower risk of a reaction. SLIT has been in use in Europe for over two decades and is gaining popularity here in the U.S. The pill formulation was recently FDA approved for grass pollen allergy. We have several patients successfully treating themselves with SLIT and it has the potential to permanently change your allergic status.
To cover up your symptoms without resorting to medications, nasal and sinus irrigation can help mildly decongest and remove retained mucous. Here are a few botanicals that I recommend as well:
- Butterbur (Petasites hybridus) – Commonly used for headaches, two studies confirmed its efficacy in head-to-head trials versus OTC antihistamines. Make sure you purchase "PA-free" formulations to avoid liver toxicity. It is safe for children but please make sure you adjust the dose accordingly.
- Thryallis (Galphimia glauca) – This is a small evergreen shrub found in the tropical regions of Mexico and Central America. Studies confirm its efficacy in treating allergic rhinitis and conjunctivitis. It may also be effective for treating anxiety, but must be given under the guidance of a doctor and is not approved for children.
Lastly, consider the role of diet, emotions and stress in inflammation. Remember that the body is always trying to restore homeostasis, so try and lead a lifestyle that fosters this process.
In summary, there are diverse approaches to treating and overcoming your allergy symptoms, many of which do not involve a trip to the pharmacy.
Avicenna Integrative Medicine
1000 Johnson Ferry Road, Suite E200, Marietta, GA 30068
(770) 977-9300 | www.avicennamd.com
Maziar Rezvani, MD, FAAAAI serves as director of Avicenna Integrative Medicine and Avicenna Allergy and Asthma. He is board certified in internal medicine and allergy and immunology and specializes in integrative medicine, having just completed a fellowship at the world-renowned Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine.