The Link between Digestion and Allergies
What does an increase in allergies and lung congestion have to do with our digestion? In Chinese medicine the Spleen has much to do with our digestive process. The Term Spleen, refers to the organs of digestion including the stomach, pancreas and the actual spleen. The action of the Spleen in Chinese medicine is to extract life giving and supporting nutrients from the food that you eat. From there it will then send what fluids and essences it has refined to the Lungs for further process and nurturing. This gives us the energy to sustain our daily activities and activates our metabolism.
When a person does not digest properly and they eat foods which the Chinese refer to as damp forming foods (wheat, dairy, sugar, pork, rich meats and processed foods) it creates phlegm in the body. So, the fluids (steam) which are created as a result of digestion, rise up into your respiratory tract and becomes thick and sticky, tuning into mucus. Thick and sticky mucus traps allergens in the body. Allergens such as pollen and animal dander are protein coated particles. The immune system does not want these protein coated particles in your blood, lungs or sinuses. Since your fluid is all sticky from poor digestion, the body can’t flush the allergens out properly so it creates an all-out immune response instead. Now you have the histamine reaction we associate with allergies.
Chinese Spleen Activator – strengthens the digestive process and turns up the flame of your digestion. Poor spleen function can result in symptoms such as indigestion, nausea, burping, bloating, constipation, abdominal pain and loose bowel movements. It also creates a craving for sweets due to the connection of the Spleen with the pancreas.
Chinese Liver Balance – The liver oversees the free flow of life force energy in the body and keeping the blood clean. Excessive stress and chronic worry weakens both the liver and the Spleen function. Spleen Deficiency combined with a congested liver can result in fatigue, muscle stiffness, and pain. The liver is also said to nourish the Tendons, muscles, hair, nails and eyes – sudden changes in these areas indicate liver imbalance. Chinese Liver Balance cleanses the liver and improves its function. The Liver is then better able to clean the blood of allergens. You could also use the formula Milk Thistle Combination (#4076) for this purpose.
High Potency Protease (#1876) is a powerful protein digesting enzyme which I love to help clean the blood and lymph of allergens. This enzyme acts like “pac man” in the blood gobbling up undigested proteins and well as breaking down the protein coating on pollen, bacteria, viruses and yeast. This takes a huge stress off the immune system and helps the liver to clean the blood. If you have bad allergies right now try adding a High Potency Protease once or twice daily and see who this helps.
And of course, I pull out my Histablock (#776) whenever allergies are bothering me. It’s best to take 2-3 of them first thing in the morning if you know you’ll be going outside and exposed to allergens. You can repeat this as needed throughout the day. You can add a couple ALJ (#774) if you are making a lot of mucus and congestion.
If the sinus is dry or the intestinal tract is irritated, try adding Marshmallow root instead (#440). Marshmallow soothes the irritated digestive or respiratory tract and moistens the tissues. Inflammation tends to dry out the mucus membranes making it hard to expel irritants.
Note: with any major allergy reaction or Hives and Rashes which are typically caused by allergenic reactions Protease enzyme is a savior. Whenever anyone has an allergic reaction to a food or substance and they break out in hives or a rash, I reach for High Potency Protease. 1 capsule twice daily between meals (so that the enzyme does not act on the food instead). I combine this with lots of HistaBlock to help settle down the immune reaction. Normally I take 4 Histablock 3-6 hours as needed until the hives and rash go away.
Spastic Coughs – Sometimes we waited too long to stop the allergies in their tract and we come down with a spastic cough. I use the herb Lobelia liquid (#1765) to stop a spastic cough in its tracks. lobelia helps to open the bronchioles and allows a person to stop coughing and fall back asleep easily. This formula works great for children. Place a small amount of massage oil or olive oil in the palm of your hand, add a splash of lobelia essence liquid and rub it on your chest. Lobelia has natural anti-spasmodic properties to relax the tight bronchioles to open the breathing passages. It also works great on leg cramps or intestinal cramps as well.
To help support your immune system in preparation for a healthy fall season, consider the following:
Cut back on sugar intake, sugar depresses the immune system by as much as 50%
Drink 2 quarts of water daily. You may not be as thirsty during the colder months but don’t put aside your water intake. If you don’t drink enough water your elimination channels become congested (kidneys, liver, colon, lungs, and skin); mucus buildup may result making you much more susceptible to bacteria and viruses.
Exercise every day. Exercise keeps the lymphatic system healthy and moving. The lymphatic system aids the immune system in destroying pathogens and filtering waste and toxins from the cells and the tissue spaces between them.
Keep warm. Make sure your neck and chest are protected from wind, drafts and cold. Use a scarf around your neck when going outside and wear turtle neck shirts or sweaters. The neck is an area where wind can invade the body and cause sickness. The Oriental medical perspective is that wind invasions make people more vulnerable to developing colds and flu. Always keep your feet warm and dry.
Get adequate sleep and relaxation. Your body is vulnerable to stress without enough rest. Think about doing some deep breathing exercises to help relax and unwind at the end of the day. Use stress-reduction methods like Qi Gong meditation or yoga.
Clean up the diet whenever you want to get rid of allergies or excess mucus in the body. Avoid wheat, dairy, sugar, pork, rich meats and processed foods. Avoid cold foods like salads as they require a strong digestive fire to digest. Instead, eat warm soups and steamed veggies. Parsnips, winter squash, pumpkin and turnips are great foods for strengthening the Spleen. Beets and dark green leafy vegetables nourish the liver. Add warm spices like garlic, fennel, ginger and cinnamon to your foods to help improve digestion. Drink mint or lemon balm tea with meals.
Would you like to understand this connection with allergies and digestion better? Here is a link to a YouTube video I made on the subject.
I hope this information helps you to have a healthy Fall season.
Blessings, Valerie Greguire
Disclaimer: Supplement recommendations are not designed to treat a disease condition. Discussions are for educational purposes only. Supplements should be used to nourish and strengthen the natural function of the various body organs and systems so that they will have a greater capacity to heal themselves. It is not intended to replace your doctor's recommendations. Any questions or concerns that you have regarding existing medical conditions, or the use of medications with supplements, should be discussed with your nutritionally oriented medical doctor. Copyright 2017 Restoring Light