An allergy can be described as our response to foreign substances, and there has been a tremendous increase in allergies worldwide.
Understanding allergic reactions
There are four hypersensitivity reactions — namely immediate, cytotoxic, immune complex reaction and cell mediated (delayed hypersensitivity) reactions.
In an immediate or anaphylactic reaction, the body releases histamine, bradykinin and lipid mediators that have the potential to cause massive tissue damage and can result in death. Immediate medical intervention is essential.
In a cytotoxic reaction, an antibody reaction can be intrinsic (to self) or extrinsic (non-self). A good example of this kind of reaction is rhesus factor incompatibility between mother and foetus, when the mother has a negative rhesus factor and the foetus a positive rhesus factor. Thanks to modern medicine, this can be detected early and if discovered, managed.
In an immune complex reaction, antibodies bind to toxins, which results in the activation of the innate immune system. This, in turn, leads to the release of tissue-damaging enzymes. This is where auto immune diseases like Systemic Lupus Erythematosus can be seen.
The complexity of auto immune diseases is challenging. In an era where modern medicine has cut child mortality rates dramatically and in which most infections are manageable, chronic diseases, like auto immune diseases have become the new frontier to conquer.
Holistic treatment for allergies
Holistic treatment has to take into account what led to the body reacting in such a drastic manner. It is often seen after a traumatic event, so getting psychological support is imperative.
The Bach flower remedies are beneficial when addressing something on that level. Then, to support the liver, lymph system and to decrease inflammation would be the next step.
Herbally, looking at the specifics of the condition is important, but treating opportunistic viral, fungal and bacterial growth, in the light of a disrupted immune response is worth considering. Consider clove, wormwood, black walnut, pau d’arco and sutherlandia.
Homeopathically, as always, you are able to treat the mental, physical and emotional aspects of the individual, in addition to remedies that help against inflammation like Rhus tox, Bryonia alba.
To support the lymph system, try lymphomyosot and to assist the liver, take Liver 4ch (Pegasus).
Essential oils like thyme have strong anti-viral properties. Oils that help decrease inflammation are ginger, mint and lemon.
To reduce inflammation with colour therapy, use green and blue light.
Supplementally, turmeric and sulforaphane (broccoli extract), magnesium, omega 3 and vitamin D3 are worth considering.
In a cell-mediated reaction, a delayed hypersensitivity of 48-72 hours, or longer, after contact with the antigen develops. Sensitised lymphocytes (type of white blood cell) can produce cytokines (biologically active substances) that affect the functions of other cells.
This is seen in diseases like TB and fungal infections. With fungal infections, herbs like pau d’arco, warburgia and olive leaf can be considered. Essential oils like thyme, lavender, lemongrass and eucalyptus should be considered.
With regards to what can produce an allergic response, that will be discussed next week.
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