Allergic reactions are among the most common afflictions encountered in medical practice. It is estimated that one in four people in the U.S. are allergic to one or more substances. Allergens trigger a response that involves cells and messenger molecules of the immune system. This activation of immune responses can set up an “inflammatory situation” that causes many different symptoms and signs.
Medications taken to control symptoms of allergies are among the most widely used drugs. A substantial portion of these popular drugs belongs to a group of compounds called anti-histamines. Anti-histamines have a variable ability to treat allergic responses, but their use is often associated with side effects, especially drowsiness.
Histamine and other inflammatory chemicals involved in the allergic reaction can travel through the body and cause many changes in body function, such as contraction of muscles 20 Nutritional Support Pathways for the Natural Clinician in air passages (asthma), increase in mucus production in the nasal passages (rhinitis or sinusitis) and leaking of blood vessels with accumulation of fluid in body tissues (swelling or edema).
One may understand that these changes in body function manifest themselves in common medical disorders, such as hay fever, runny nose, swollen red eyes, cough, sneezing and even asthma. Some allergic reactions are more apparent by their effects on digestive function (food allergies), whereas others may be more obvious by their effects on the skin e.g. different types of skin rashes.
There are extreme cases of allergies that cause violent changes in body functions. These changes in severe allergic reactions include fainting, drop of blood pressure, shock, interruption of breathing, obstructive swelling in the mouth or throat, and even suffocation. There are cases of death reported on a regular basis from severe allergic reactions; and anyone with more severe forms of allergies must not self-medicate. If signs of severe allergies occur suddenly, individuals must present themselves at an emergency medical facility to receive intensive drug treatment or life support. People with a history of anaphylaxis should avoid dietary supplements containing herbs and any other potential allergen.
While an obvious approach to allergic responses is to avoid the substances that cause them, there are frequent cases in which allergy sufferers cannot easily identify the allergens that are triggering adverse symptoms. Blood and skin testing helps to identify allergens.
Natural approaches to allergy reduction (to support body functions) include the use of homeopathy, external techniques and an array of herbal or botanical agents.
Clinical Allergy™ is a synergistic combination of nutrients, herbs or botanicals. There is variable scientific agreement for these nutrients to support the opinion that they can be used for nutritional support of body structures and functions involved in mild allergic responses.
In brief, these substances include bioflavonoids (especially quercetin), vitamin C and several botanical substances or extracts. The herbs and botanicals that are nutritional support in this context include: Picrorhiza kurroa, Astragalus, Devil’s claw, Nettle, thyme, fennel, milk thistle and bitter orange.
There are some general principals that should be applied in the nutritional support of balanced immune function. Vitamin C may act as “a kind ofhistamine antagonist”. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that seems to stabilize white cells and it may inhibit release of inflammatory substances such as histamine. It is important to understand that the potential benefits of vitamin C, in this context, are usually seen at higher dosages of vitamin C, taken on a continuing basis.
Quercetin and other bioflavonoids exert “helper effects” with vitamin C and result in stabilizing effects on cells that release histamine (e.g. Mast cells). The absorption of quercetin from the gut is sometimes poor and this commonly occurring flavonoid is often taken with other mixed flavonoids.
A little known herb, with potential benefit in stabilizing certain body functions is Picrorhiza kurroa. This herb is discussed in Ayurvedic medicine to have the ability to interfere with histamine release. These nutritional effects of Picrorhiza have not been documented to the same degree as drugs that are used to treat airway constrictions and no disease treatment claims can be made. Asthma always requires drug treatment.
Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus; huang ch’i) is an herb that has been used in traditional Chinese medicine. It is reported to balance immune function with effects of synergy. Astragalus is quite popular with traditional Chinese herbalists who use this herb in combination with many other botanicals, because it is believed that it may promote the function of other herbs that are taken that are taken for the same reason. Devil’s Claw is mentioned as having specific value and it appears to have anti-inflammatory actions (German E Commission, not always
accepted by U.S. regulators).
The natural substances bromelain (an enzyme from pineapples), nettle leaves, milk thistle, thyme and fennel have all been proposed as useful in balancing immune functions by a variety of different mechanisms, including the provision of antioxidant or detoxifying effects. Other valuable natural antioxidants include grapeseed extract and Citrus aurantium (a source of amines).
Clinical Allergy™ is a synergistic blend of natural substances with a variety of different effects on body structures and functions. This unique product contains bioflavonoids, selected vitamins and specific botanicals with a precedent for their use in relevant contexts. Anyone with clinically significant allergies may be best managed by appropriate pharmaceutical interventions. Do not manage asthma with supplements only.