Allergies: The Natural Nurse® Approach
Ellen Kamhi, Ph.D. R.N. THE NATURAL NURSE
Allergies are abnormal reactions to everyday substances such as pollen, dust, dander,
housedust, mold or common foods. When a person with an allergy to foods or
environmental factors encounters an offending substance, the immune system interprets
it as the enemy. To help ward off the intruder, the human body activates antibodies,
and releases a substance called ‘histamines’. Allergy medications are referred to ‘anti-
histamines’ because they attempt to turn off this natural, although over zealous, body
reaction. The immune system readies for battle with a vengeance, and attacks the
offending substance, along with other body tissues, imposing an uncomfortable variety
of symptoms on the allergy sufferer. These can range from annoying but bearable
conditions--such as rashes, scratchy throats and toothaches-- to more frightening
reactions like a closed throat and difficulty breathing. Frequent bouts of bronchitis,
asthma and severe eczema, conditions that can be physically and emotionally painful—
are all the more common in allergic individuals.
In rare cases, food allergies can even be deadly. For example, some people are so
severely allergic to peanuts that even a teaspoon of peanut butter can cause them to go
into anaphylactic shock, a severe allergic reaction that can be life threatening. They must
constantly carry epinephrine to counter these ever-present dangerous effects- in this case
herbs and natural remedies are not enough!
The most common food allergies include dairy products, nuts, wheat, yeast, eggs,
soybeans, shellfish, and tomatoes. Some foods can cause an allergic reaction as soon as
you take a bite, while others can take hours or even days to elicit an allergic response.
Immediate food allergies are moderated by a group of immunoglobulins in the body,
referred to as IGE, while the delayed allergies are related to a different immunoglobulin
called IGG. Conventional allergy screening often looks for IGE mediated allergies, while
ignoring IGG based allergies.
No one understands exactly why certain people are allergic. The propensity to develop
allergies can run in families and may be inherited to some extent. Many people who
suffer from food allergies, are also more prone to other types of allergies such as
sensitivities to pollen and chemicals. Especially during spring and fall pollen seasons,
allergens can be blown onto melons and other food crops. “Cross-reactivity” for pollen
sensitive individuals is also common with avocados, bananas, kiwi, papaya and chestnuts.
Interestingly, babies who are breast-fed are less likely to develop allergies than their
If you have any type of allergy carefully scrutinize the labels of any substance you ingest.
Even supplements may contain allergens that you are unaware of. For example, if you are
allergic to shellfish, then you should probably think twice before taking an oyster shell
calcium supplement, or Glucosamine/Chondroitin , usually made from the exoskeletons
of shellfish. If you are allergic to pollen avoid bee pollen supplements such as royal jelly
and honey. On the other hand, honey made from the exact flower pollen that a person has
a sensitivity to, can sometimes help the allergy by de-sensitizing the immune system.
Dyes, preservatives and other chemicals found in abundance in both the Standard
American Diet, as well as the environment can increase allergy symptoms. If you eat
preserved or non-organic items and are experiencing an allergic reaction, consider
switching to all natural, organic, preservative-free foods. People with environmental
allergies may also have to remove sources of toxic chemicals and fumes from the home,
including cleaners, carpeting and other sources of ‘out-gasing’.
In the 30+ years that I have been working with allergic patients, I have seen them make
remarkable progress once they commit to tracking down the ‘triggering’ substances
(including stress inducing thought patterns) that set off their symptoms. The use of
nutritional supplements and herbs can be extremely helpful, non-toxic adjunctive therapy
to dietary and life-style changes.
2000mg powdered , buffered Vit C
100 mg Vitamin B-6
1000 mg Magnesium
1000 mg Calcium
250 mg Bioflavonoids
mix all into 1/2 glass water up to 2 times / day during an allergy attack,
Bromelain( a digestive enzyme from Pineapple) and Quercitin( one of the
bioflavonoids) work well together to offset an allergic reaction
Allergic reactions involve many different organ systems of the body, besides the area
that manifests symptoms. These include the respiratory system, the liver and the adrenal
glands. Using herbs to strengthen these systems will give your body a preventative edge
over allergic reactions, and will further help decrease the severity of uncomfortable
Herbs for Allergies:
Licorice- the most widely studied adrenal herb. Licorice has anti-inflammatory actions
similar to the glucocorticoids (which are produced by healthy adrenals) and are involved with resolving allergic reactions. It also preserves the effects of cortisol, the adrenal hormone involved in clearing allergies.(avoid with high blood pressure)
Ginseng- the onset of allergies can be attributed to stress. The adaptogenic properties of
Ginseng allow the adrenal glands to balance stress while creating an overall resistance to
allergic reactions, colds, flu and infections.
Dandelion- nutritive and strengthening herb for the liver. It helps clear toxins and
stimulates the liver to work towards the resolution of the allergic reaction.
Milk Thistle- acts as both a protector and regenerator of the liver. This herb helps repair
damaged tissue and support the actions necessary for dealing with allergens and their
Nettles and Eyebright- work well together to calm nasal congestion, watery eyes
and stuffiness often experienced by allergy sufferers. They are appropriate remedies
for short-term relief, and may also be taken before the season begins as a means of
prevention for pollen allergies.
Ma Huang- contains natural ephedrine. Psuedo-ephedrine is the active ingredient in
prescription and over-the-counter allergy medications. Ma Huang acts to open the
bronchial passageways. Due to its stimulating nature, use Ma Huang with caution if you
have high blood pressure, heart disease, etc.
Elder Flower – acts to increase bronchial secretions and is a natural decongestant. Helps
to soothe mucous membranes.
Mullein and Fenugreek- traditionally used for upper respiratory problems. Helps to clear mucous and support the lungs.
Echinacea and Goldenseal- combat both the discomfort of allergies as well as reduce excess mucous from the nasal and respiratory tract.