For some folks, spring is not a welcome time of the year. It means runny noses, painful sinuses, headaches, earaches and constant sneezing.
Welcome to allergy season in the Southwest.
Local pharmacies do sell relatively inexpensive over-the-counter pills to ease the symptoms. The trouble with those remedies is they are temporary.
So beyond hibernation, what are the options?
Dr. Susan Godman, who specializes in naturopathic medicine in Prescott, has a couple allergy remedies: a vitamin supplement combination of two types of fruit — orange and pineapple — that contain the antioxidant ingredients of vitamin C, quercetin and bromelain; the supplement berberine combats mold and fungus. Local honey is also an antidote.
When a small piece of dirt or pollen gets into the mucus membrane by way of the mouth or nose, the mast cells begin releasing histamines to combat those reactions, Godman said. They prompt white cells to “gobble up the invading pathogen,” be that pollen, dust, mold or other irritant, she said.
“We have to look at why allergies happen in the first place,” Godman said.
Godman works with patients to better stabilize their membranes with natural anti-allergy protocols so the body can fight back with appropriately without the need for manufactured chemicals. People who rely on that type of medication year after year eventually find those drugs lose their effectiveness, and their internal membranes become so overloaded they actually end up with more allergies.
If a child has five ear infections a year, and antibiotics are not doing the trick, maybe it’s time to find out why that child is so susceptible and fix that problem, Godman said.
Even conventional medical doctors are beginning to integrate more natural remedies into their prescriptions, she said.
“The tide is definitely turning toward this kind of medicine,” Godman said. “I’m fascinated. I hate when people are sick, and am delighted when they leave here well.”
Modern Herbal Nectar Apothecary Owner Suzanne Teachey said her Prescott business is all about offering natural alternatives, including herbs such as nettles or plant-like derivative supplements like quercetin, able to combat allergies. People, too, can opt for essential oils like German chamomile that can be inhaled, opening up the sinuses and alleviating serious discomfort, she said.
In the last week, Teachey said she has had a flood of folks looking for remedies that date back to some of the things their great-grandmothers might have prescribed and science has now proven their wisdom.
As an herbalist for 20 years, Teachey concurs with Godman that finding the root cause of an imbalance is the path to finding how best to not only alleviate symptoms but prevent a problem from occurring again. Her business offers six classes a month on a range of topics from allergies, the reproductive system, making non-toxic cleaning products and all-natural skin products.
As for cost, Teachey said herbal supplements are often similar to over the counter medications, and can be considerably less expensive than prescription drugs that are not covered by certain insurance plans.
People will spend $4 or $5 on a fancy coffee, but then complain about spending money on their own health.
The Honeyman owner Victor Kaur said he is someone who for many springs suffered a constant runny nose. Within three or four years, he started ingesting bee pollen from the very flowers and plants he was deemed allergic; he was tested and found to be allergic to at least 30 different varieties. He said a doctor might dispute the bee pollen was his cure, but as he is allergy-free today he considers it the fix.
And he hears that from his customers. The bee pollen and raw locally-harvested honey he sells at his two stores in Prescott and Prescott Valley are both touted as natural elixirs.
But even if they have no curative benefits? The honey — and he has several types — sure tastes good on a chunk of bread.