Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Asthma and Allergies

Asthma and Allergies
Submitted by: Willow Tree Wisdom, Amsterdam, NY
Parents might be keeping their children to clean for their own good. The rate of increase in asthma and allergies could be due to too much hygiene. A study conducted by Von Mutius et al.  Indicates that children who grow up on working farms are much less likely to develop hypersensitivities than any other group of children.  It seems that sleeping with animals, working in hayfields and drinking raw milk stimulates a child’s immune system at an early age.  A study in 2000 conducted by Folkerts, Walzl and Openshaw and published in “Immunology Today” concluded that common childhood infections ‘teach’ the immune system not to be allergic?” So, lay off all that hand sanitizer take your kids outside and play in the dirt.

Individuals’ who currently suffer from allergies and asthma can use diet and herbs to stimulate innate immunity and modulate hypersensitivity. Many of the commercial products on the market may help temporarily relieve symptoms, but do not improve overall health or immune response. The liver plays a large role in filtering toxins from our bodies, but its efficiency is inhibited by the sheer amount of chemical and natural substances in the environment. When the liver is not able to properly do its job, the toxins have to go somewhere. Blood becomes “dirty” and the response is inflammation. Inflammation is a result of the body’s reaction to dirty blood.   

Inflammation doesn’t always have to come from a clearly “offending” substance or event such as chemical exposure or a cut. Sensitivities may be caused, in some people, by substances that others would not react to at all.  This is the definition of an allergy.  Wheat is an example of a substance well tolerated by some and not by others.  The idea of toxic blood is an over simplification of what causes allergies to a substance in some but not others.

“To understand “dirty blood”, think of our bloodstream as having a certain quota of “toxicity” which, when exceeded, causes symptoms of inflammation to appear. If you think of “toxins” as entering the body through the gut or through the lungs, you can begin to see what organ systems might be involved in protecting the blood (a deeper level) from these “toxins”: a functional respiratory system will trap most harmful substances and remove them through the expectoration of mucus; a functional digestive system will sterilize food (unless it’s horribly tainted…), digest many proteins, poisons, and other chemicals that can cause inflammation, and eliminate toxic waste quickly and effectively; a strong liver will metabolize chemicals absorbed from the gut, reduce their toxicity, and eliminate them through the bile; and, although not the most important in a discussion of allergies, the urinary system helps eliminate undesired substances from the blood. Weakness at any of these points can lead to an increase in “toxins” present in the blood. Finally, the immune system is responsible for the general level of sensitivity to the blood’s “toxicity” (actually sensitivity to the presence of antigens): in effect, it sets the quota ( Guido Mase, 2012).”

Along with getting outside and exercising, the diet should be considered. There are also wonderful herbs that can help reduce toxicity and restore balance. Milk thistle helps to build and restore the liver. Dandelion root can be used for liver detoxification. Astragalus is a wonderful immune system modulator and can help strengthen the body’s own immune system. Nettles and Goldenrod both help reduce histamine and reduce inflammation. 

Chocolate and green teas are full of flavonoids and also can help reduce inflammation. Depending on the other systems that are affected, there is an entire array of herbs that can be used. Not just to treat symptoms, but to restore the body to health.

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