Evergreen Lifestyle: Season Allergy Relief Is Possible by Freya Farley

The enthusiasm for a beautiful spring day can be marred by symptoms of seasonal allergies, such as sneezing and stuffy noses. Worse yet, is that it seems more and more of us are being affected. There is a strong correlation of the development of allergies to an overuse of antibiotics, pollution exposure, poor diet, Vitamin D deficiency, and even an overly clean lifestyle (which interferes with our immune system).

The following is some the advice I give clients who come to me looking for either long-term allergy relief or even eliminating this seasonal occurrence:

Incorporate Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine, which can be quite effective at helping to ease symptoms and boost the body’s natural ability to respond less reactively.

Use a good quality vitamin supplement daily.

Aim for a healthy, anti-inflammatory diet focused on whole foods and fresh local vegetables (especially seasonal bitter greens), fish, free-range animal products, nuts, and seeds.
Include fermented foods, such as kimchi, live kraut, kombucha, and shoyu, every day. They can improve the wellbeing of your body’s beneficial bacteria and make you less reactive to various allergens. (Note: One exception would be in histamine intolerance, where fermented foods can make symptoms worse.)

Identify and avoid any food allergens or intolerances that are problematic for you–common culprits include wheat and dairy.

Eat local raw honey. Honey is an excellent antioxidant and has antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-allergenic properties. Locally sourced honey is a popular natural remedy for allergies as it conditions the body to the presence of local pollens.

Use a Neti Pot daily to irrigate and cleanse the nostrils and sinuses, flush out irritants and thin the mucus, resulting in less congestion.

Start or continue to do stress reduction techniques such as mindfulness meditation, yoga, aromatherapy, and massage. While stress doesn’t cause allergies, it can make an allergic reaction worse by increasing the histamine in your bloodstream.

There is one additional recommendation I make that deserves further explanation, and that’s the use of integrating some specific allergy reducing herbs. These include butterbur, reishi and astragalus, and nettles. These can be purchased at Hill’s Drug Store or ordered through our online dispensary.

Butterbur: Among all the herbs used for allergies, butterbur has by far the most clinical research to back its use for allergies, migraines, and asthma. Studies have found it significantly better than placebo and comparable to common allergy medications Zyrtec and Allegra. It can be used symptomatically for occasional symptoms and daily in chronic allergies. Since butterbur root contains liver-toxic pyrrolizidine (PA) alkaloids, look for PA-free butterbur, such as Petadolex.

Reishi & Astragalus: These two tonics can be used together or separately; however they are often used as a blend and have shown to decrease the severity of allergy symptoms. Reishi is a mushroom and Astragalus is a plant, whose root is used medicinally. Each has anti-inflammatory and anti-stress properties. When taken on a regular basis, these immune tonics help modulate or regulate your immune system response to fight germs, yet are less over-reactive in allergies and autoimmune disease (Note: For some with autoimmune disease Astragalus may stimulate the immune function too much to tolerate well – reduce intake to build up slowly). Reishi and astragalus blend well with chai spices like cardamom, star anise, cinnamon, and a pinch of nutmeg when making tea, or you can add them to soup broth.

Nettles: The benefits of this herb have been documented for centuries as containing various compounds that decrease allergy-related inflammation and histamine. It is full of vitamins, minerals, protein and amino acids, and very safe to use long-term. Considered to be springtime’s natural elixir, nettle can be easily brewed into a tea or used as a tincture. Nettle tea is used to improve heart action, for headaches, and for urinary tract infections and inflammation of the bladder that can lead to gravel (kidney/bladder stones). Nettle tea is said to clean out the entire intestinal tract while activating the body’s natural defense mechanisms. It is also used as an overall health tonic and to treat high blood pressure, anemia, skin inflammations and more. For best results use daily as tea. Use the tincture for more acute symptoms.

Here is one of my favorite recipes for Nettle tea:

Sparkling Nettle Lemon Mint Tea
Ingredients
Dried nettle leaves and stems, as needed (see note)
Boiling water, as needed (see note)
Ice, as needed
1 tbsp honey per serving
⅛ preserved or fresh lemon (or a ½-inch [1.5-cm] chunk) per serving
several mint leaves per serving
1 cup sparkling water per serving

Place the nettles in a teapot or a non reactive pot and pour the boiling water over them. Let the nettles steep for 15 minutes, and then strain them from the water.

Add ice to a tall glass and muddle the honey and mint with the preserved lemon. Pour in ½ cup (120 ml) of the strong nettle tea and finish with the sparkling water.

Notes: As a general rule of thumb use 1 tablespoon dried nettles per 1-cup water. If using ice and sparkling water, use 2 tablespoons dried nettles per 1 cup water. For example, to make 4 servings, use 8 teaspoons nettles and 4 cups water. *Best – Use double the amount of fresh nettles leaves and steep overnight for a stronger tonic.

Now, go out and enjoy the spring weather!

Freya Farley is Evergreen Easton Point’s executive director, and an acupuncturist and herbal medicine specialist at Evergreen’s Wellness Center with a focus on women’s health and fertility. Freya practices a food-as-medicine approach, helping others to utilize the healing powers of food to nourish their bodies, minds, and spirits. She also offers personal consultations, a Community Acupuncture Clinic, and Open Studio morning yoga sessions. Evergreen’s Wellness Center also offers holistic and integrated approaches to Health & Wellness. Please visit here or email freyaf@mac.com for more information.

The information in this article is intended for your educational use only, does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Evergreen’s Wellness Center, and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

Evergreen Lifestyle: Gentle Cleansing Techniques for Springtime by Freya Farley

With spring finally arriving on the Eastern Shore, it might be time to consider a Spring Cleansing. A cleansing will make room for new growth and creativity by removing toxins, debris, and stagnation built up through the long, cold winter. In the same way that you spring clean your home, cleansing is an excellent way to rejuvenate your body!

According to the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine, the liver is the organ of spring energy. Your liver helps to process the toxins in your body; however, we are all exposed to more toxins than any previous generation. This influx of toxins comes from pollution in the air and water, toxic ingredients in beauty care and household cleaning products, electric and magnetic fields from technology, and more.

Some common symptoms of an excess toxic load in your body include:

Fatigue
Intestinal issues
Headaches
Back pain
Infertility
Skin conditions (acne, eczema, psoriasis, etc.)

There are many cleansing programs available. Some such as juicing, fasting, or eating raw fruits and vegetables can feel intimidating and extreme. The good news is that there are more subtle and gentle techniques that you can use to support your body in clearing toxins.
Here are my top 6 suggestions:

1. Dry Skin Brushing

If you think of the lymphatic system as the stream that helps to efficiently move and release toxins, dry skin brushing specifically helps to activate this system. All you’ll need is a dry skin brush or glove with natural fibers (look in your local health food store or online).
Starting at your feet, brush your skin in a circular motion up toward your heart. Then, using the same circular motion, brush both of your arms—starting from the hands. Brushing should only take about three minutes.

Once done, hop into a hot shower to increase the benefits of this gentle exfoliation cleansing practice.

2. Greens Powder

We know we need to increase the number of green vegetables in our diet, although it’s not always easy to get all the nutrients needed. That’s why I’m a huge proponent of a greens powder supplement. The concentrated vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients (such as polyphenols, terpenes, and organic acids) found in a complex greens powder are helpful for gently opening up detoxification pathways and supporting liver cleansing. Most greens powders contain sea algae such as chlorella and spirulina, which are phytoplankton from the ocean that have antioxidant effects in the body. Chlorella is also rich in chlorophyll, which assists in heavy metal and pesticide detoxification.

To jumpstart your system and boost your energy levels, I recommend adding one scoop of greens powder to a cup of coconut water with half a fresh lemon in the morning or mid-afternoon.

3. Yoga & Breath Work

The movement and breath work in Yoga can help gently cleanse the system, oxygenating and rejuvenating the whole body. Gentle twists can “wring out” the organ systems and help them release the last remaining stuck areas. A deep yogic inhale breath of fresh, pure oxygenated air cleanses your lungs, oxygenates your cells, and purifies your blood, and the exhale releases toxins.

4. Bodywork

Bodywork, such as massages, encourage the lymphatic system and stimulates the release of metabolic waste products stored in the cell tissue. The circulation resulting from a massage enhances oxygen exchange among local tissues and improves colon drainage capability, which helps to escort impurities out of the body.

Make sure to drink plenty of water after a session to allow the elimination of waste products, which will further detoxify the cell tissue and boost the immune system.

5. Salt Baths

Another great way to flush the toxins out of your skin is a salt detox bath. Bath salts are beneficial to health due to the presence of minerals in them, primarily magnesium, which plays a crucial role in all intracellular physiological functions. A deficiency in the mineral can lead to various neuromuscular, cardiac, and nervous disorders.

A salt bath helps relieve stress, improve your sleep, boost your blood circulation, maintain healthy heart rhythm and blood sugar levels, regulate your hormone, and decrease blood pressure. As often as possible, soak in warm water with Pink Himalayan Salt, Sea Salt, or Epsom Salt and a few drops of your preferred aromatic oil to draw toxic waste swiftly out of the pores.

6. Sauna & Infrared Sauna

Saunas help to increase your blood circulation and stimulate your sweat glands to help get rid of toxins. They also heat the body from the inside out, raising your core temperature and driving toxins and heavy metals out of your skin. Regular saunas are found at most gyms around the area.

Infrared sauna treatments are available at three different levels representing the size of infrared wavelengths and intensity of the treatment:

Near-infrared levels are best for wound healing and increased immune function,
Middle-infrared levels are ideal for improving circulation and promoting muscle relaxation, and
Far-infrared levels are used primarily for detoxification purposes.
Infrared saunas are available for purchase and found in local spas.

If you are new to using saunas, start slowly by going in for 10 to 15 minutes, working your way up to 25- to 45-minute sessions, three to five days per week.
These cleansing techniques are just some of the many different ways to support your body’s purification process and help maintain your health and prevent disease. If you are looking for support, Evergreen offers various levels of Yoga and Yoga Therapy for group or individual instruction, as well as massage, acupuncture, and many other integrated wellness services.

A ‘gentle’ press of the reset button can have you start experiencing the many healing benefits of cleansing toxins from your body this spring!

Freya Farley is Evergreen Easton Point’s executive director, and an acupuncturist and herbal medicine specialist at Evergreen’s Wellness Center with a focus on women’s health and fertility. Freya practices a food-as-medicine approach, helping others to utilize the healing powers of food to nourish their bodies, minds, and spirits. She also offers personal consultations, a Community Acupuncture Clinic, and Open Studio morning yoga sessions. Evergreen’s Wellness Center also offers holistic and integrated approaches to Health & Wellness. Please visit here or email freyaf@mac.com for more information.

*The information in this article is intended for your educational use only, does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Evergreen’s Wellness Center, and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health programs.

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