By Louise Belle BHSc (Nut Med)
For most people, the arrival of Spring brings excitement and joy as we get to spend more time outdoors, basking in the sun and smelling the roses. For someone who suffers with hay fever or seasonal allergies- this is their worst nightmare. Spring is when the flowers bloom and pollen is in the air at full force. This can cause a red runny nose, sneezing, itchy and watery eyes, head cold and asthma flare ups in those that are sensitive to pollen. The majority of allergy sufferers will simply take some antihistamines and get on with it, forever dreading the time that Spring rolls around.
Have you ever wondered why you get seasonal allergies and some of your friends don’t? Have you wondered what might be causing your allergies, or ever wanted to treat the cause of the problem? Taking anti-histamines is merely a blanket or Band-Aid approach for a bigger underlying problem; the reason you are having these abnormal reactions. An allergic response occurs when your immune system detects a substance (such as pollen) as a foreign invader. Your immune system rallies the troops together and directs a full army of immune cells to attack the invader. The immune cells release chemicals (such as histamine) that cause inflammation, swelling, itchiness and mucous secretion – all the horrible things that happen when you have a hay fever flare up.
How is this related to the liver?
Well, the liver is the major cleansing and detoxification organ of the body. It has the vital role of cleansing the blood and removing harmful toxins, chemicals and waste products from the body. When the liver is functioning optimally, it does this very well and filters out the nasties at a rapid rate, to prevent them causing harm to the body. If you are constantly overloading your liver with toxins from the environment, the food you eat, cleaning products, pain medication, alcohol, skin products and so forth, your liver becomes overwhelmed, slows down, becomes sluggish and starts to store the toxins. This toxin load can cause the immune system to be over-stimulated.
The liver is also responsible for breaking down excess histamine, in a process called methylation. If the liver is sluggish, histamine is not broken down properly and builds up in the body, awaiting it’s time to attack. When pollen or another allergen enters the system, both the immune system and the liver pump out histamine in response. When this happens, all the symptoms of seasonal allergies flare up. Your immune system will remember this particular allergen as an invader and will respond even quicker the next time you’re exposed to it. Your body thinks it is protecting you, but in reality, it’s forcing you to stay indoors during Spring, or to go to work with puffy eyes and a runny nose.