Surviving Allergy Season
Managing Seasonal Allergies According To TCM
Seasonal allergies aren’t a sign of being unlucky or faulty, it simply means that your body is having a difficult time adapting to seasonal changes.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, each season corresponds with an organ system, and spring is the time of the liver! TCM teaches that every season relates to a specific organ system that goes through a “cleansing” process during certain times of the year. Spring is said to be the season of the liver because our livers focus on releasing toxins such as heavy metals, pesticides, plastics, and other toxins that made their way into the body.
What does this have to do with seasonal allergies? Since the liver is responsible for breaking down histamine (the allergy hormone) and excreting it through it’s phase 2 detox pathways, it can get slowed down or blocked by many other compounds that use the same exact route to exit the body (for example medications, pesticides, hormones, heavy metals, etc). When your liver is already dealing with so much, traffic builds up on the highway and histamine can’t get out of town, leaving symptoms of allergies!
Diet For Healing Seasonal Allergies
It is important to “eat with the seasons”. Our bodies mirror the rhythm of nature and if we observe nature, we’ll notice that it provides us exactly what we need to nourish ourselves during season changes. For example, In the summer, an abundance of cooling, hydrating fruits grow to keep us refreshed during the hotter months. In autumn, warming root vegetables like sweet potato, pumpkin and squash grow to keep us warm during the cooler months. And in spring, liver-supporting herbs pop up to support our natural cleansing process.
You probably have noticed that an abundance of dandelions pop up during spring, and for a very special reason. Dandelions are not weeds, but a medical herb that are excellent for liver health. They are from the same family as sunflowers and contain many beneficial nutrients like vitamin A, C, K, folate, B vitamins, calcium potassium and more. Every part of the dandelion is edible; the root, stem and flower. Up until the 1800s, (prior to Rockefeller/Big Pharma takeover) people would remove grass to plant dandelions because they are one of the most amazing health foods on the planet, especially for liver health.
How to support the liver in removing histamine among other toxins during the spring time:
DANDELIONS! Use fresh dandelion greens in your morning juice, salads or smoothies. You can also drink dandelion tea. Dandelions are one of the top herbs that help us get through seasonal allergies by helping our livers expel toxins. The easier the liver can rid toxins, the easier the liver can rid histamine. They should be taken about 2-3 times a week or more.
NETTLE! Drink nettle infusions everyday or use a nettle alcohol free tincture! Nettles are another effective herb that pop up during spring time/liver season. They support liver detox, bring down inflammation, and support immunity. It may be one of the most effective remedies to reduces symptoms of sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes and irritated ears. See my ‘Infusions’ post on how to make nettle infusions!
RAW GREENS! Now is the time to up your raw green intake. Eat an abundance of salads, add greens to your smoothies, try to make sure you get them in at least once a day. The chlorophyll content in raw greens is extremely cleansing and alkalizing to the liver. We want to reduce inflammation as much as possible during allergy season, and greens are critical for this.
LEMONS! Drinking fresh lemon water every morning upon waking is one of the easiest, most effective ways to support daily liver detoxification. Since the liver naturally cleanses itself while you’re asleep, flushing the body first thing in the morning clears away what the liver doesn’t need to hold onto. Drink it immediately upon rising, and wait about 20 minutes before eating breakfast so it has time to efficiently go through the liver.
AVOID DAIRY AND ALCOHOL! Dairy and alcohol are some of the greatest offenders when it comes to slowing down liver detox. They are inflammatory, mucous forming, and highly allergenic. We don’t need more allergy triggers added to the cascade of environmental toxins, especially while we’re trying to detox.