Allergies and Intolerances
Allergies and Intolerances
Allergies are damaging immune responses to a particle or substance which a person’s immune system overreacts and becomes hypersensitive to. These are complex responses involving cells such as cytokine and mast cells as well as inflammatory substances such histamine. People who are born with high levels of mast cells and IgE antibodies often can be more susceptible to allergies at some point in life.
The substances are called allergens and are foreign substances such as pollens, dust mites, household chemicals, pet fur, mold, mildew, metal, zinc, nickel, lates, bee venom, medication or food. Anything can be an allergen once the immune system has this adverse reaction to it. Once touched or ingested, the immune system reacts to this normally harmless substance to most people as harmful, and will try to destroy it. It usually takes time for such an allergy to build up to a sensitivity.
What’s the difference between an allergy and intolerance?
The main difference is the immune system’s reaction to a substance. An allergy is an immune response to attack the substance. They can have local reactions and generalised reactions thereby affecting different parts of your body, or your whole body. While intolerances occur when the body doesn’t have an enzyme or chemical to digest a certain food substance and it tends to be more central in the affected area. For example, food intolerance tends to centralise to your gut.
Signs and Symptoms
Allergies and Intolerances signs and symptoms can range from mild to severe, however allergy can be life-threatening. Depending on the substance, usually depends on the symptomatic reaction. Most reactions cause inflammation and irritation that may occur on the skin, in the eyes, nasal passages, sinuses, airways or gut. Other well-known symptoms include sneezing, runny nose, congestion, and wheezing. Anaphylaxis shock is the most severe form of an allergic reaction and develops quickly, minutes to hours, after exposure as the tongue swells and the airway begins to tighten. This requires emergency medical intervention not a herbalist.
How it affects everyday life
Generally avoidance of the allergy is necessary. For those who have the propensity to experience an anaphylaxis shock, they carry an epi pen for immediate administration when exposed to the allergen.
Herbs can relieve the signs and symptoms of intolerance and in some cases, can reduce the sensitivity to the substances as well as the symptoms, to the point where over time herbal support can be stopped. In relation to allergies, total avoidance of the substance is always advice. However when it comes to food intolerances, a person often doesn’t know which food is causing the reaction such as bloating, nausea, or bowel irregularities to name a few. In most cases, the elimination diet tends to work very well and it is also the most affordable.
The Herbal treatment approach is mult-faceted. From reducing infections that are common to asmatics to gently supporting the emotional self to help reduce anxiety and strengthen digestion. There are many herbs that soothe cough and wheezing as well as excellent herbal broncho-dilators to help elimination of mucus build-up and help breathing. For those who experience skin issues such as eczema or allergic dermatitis, then while treating internally, the external skin is also treated with herbs to relieve the itchiness and redness as well as help stop external infections on any broken skin. The adrenal glands are often treated as they can be exhausted in those who suffer from long-term allergies. Balancing the immune system is also important.
How long is the Average Treatment?
It is difficult to determine how long it will take any individual to start seeing results, it usually depends on the following:
- How you react to herbs
- Your compliance to taking the herbs and making the recommended changes
- How long you have had the condition
- The severity of the condition
What you need to do?
Please be prepared that it takes time for the herbs to work. Herbal medicine does not work like pharmaceutical drugs. They often require some time, especially as they tend to work gently and subtly. This is not a quick fix.
Please be willing to work with me, take the medication as prescribed and make the changes which are attainable as well as practical.
How I will help you
Make a treatment plan by creating short term and long terms goals.
Identify areas in your life that may be negatively impacting your health.
Give you practical and attainable changes, with lots of support along the way.
Emotional Support along this journey, helping you to help keep on track.