A sad and worried Greenmom sends her son to school with drippy nose and bright red eyes...
I’ve managed through trial and error to manage a lot of our family’s health issues with non-pharmaceutical medical treatments. Echinacea tincture and green smoothies to build the immune system and keep the bugs away to begin with, diffused essential oils like eucalyptus and tea tree to clear out the passages, medicinal teas and herbal potions to alleviate symptoms when they do come—like peppermint and ginger for indigestion, lemon balm for stuffiness, slippery elm for inflamed throats and voices, stuff like that—and the occasional homeopathic remedy when things get a little tougher.
This time I may be stumped. My son appears to have fairly severe seasonal allergies. In the past few weeks he’s gone from a little eye rubbing to full-fledged coughs and sneezes, nostrils lined with gross dried boogerishness, and eyes so red he looks kinda like a werewolf. (Um…I hope they are seasonal allergies. When’s the next full moon?)
I’m looking at my pharmacopeia and realizing I don’t really have much to work with here, except for treating the symptoms themselves. We give him elderberry cough syrup for the cough (and immune building), and tea for the general symptoms, but beyond that I don’t really know what to do.
Which gives me something new to do a Google search about.
Unfortunately, even Google is of limited help this time. What I get are a lot of miracle cure potions, rather than actual material medica information. But I know my Google, and I have come up with some possibilities:
Nettle tea is said to be helpful for reducing hayfever symptoms. I’d never get him to drink it, but I might try a tincture in some juice. Angelica is another anti-allergy herb we might try. Licorice is an anti-inflammatory and demulcent, so while it might not address the causes of the symptoms it may alleviate them a good bit. Rooibos, found in a lot of teas, is also said to reduce histamine activity. Honey—specifically local honey—is also said to help with allergies, I suppose because it contains the allergens themselves in a form that helps the body in a quasi-immunotherapy kind of way to assimilate them. As with practically any other physical complaint, apple cider vinegar comes up in allergy relief searches as well as an aid in reducing rhinitis type symptoms, as does Vitamin C.
Acupuncture is having some pretty successful trials. I’m not sure I’m ready to try that on my 8-year-old…anyone have any experience with this particular art form?
Finally, I took a look at homeopathy. About 18 months ago I did a post here about my burgeoning interest in this popular but exceedingly non-intuitive form of health care, and since then I have been continuing to explore and learn about it. It’s still pretty darned non-intuitive, but it also seems to work, though I don’t really know why. Anyway, there’s a page on ABCHomeopathy that’s strictly for allergies, and it suggests that I might try Sabadilla or Capiscum Annuum for my son’s problems. I’m not sure how it works or if it works, but one way or the other I’m prepared to put down the $5.99 plus tax to give that a try before sending my son to the allergist and having his arms pricked full of little holes and then sending him for years of allergy shots.
On the other hand, I am resigned that the allergist and immunotherapy route might be where we’re headed one way or the other. We could make it a family affair—my husband already goes, and my cat allergies are bad enough that I’ve considered for years whether I should just suck it up and get the allergy shots for that. If it really is a family connection, my daughter might well be set to start her own allergies in a year or two…
And now (as usual) I shout out to Booth readers: anyone have any experience with holistic allergy treatments?
--Jenn the Greenmom