Naturopaths use pycnogenols (oligomeric procyanidins, referred
to as "OPCs") derived from grape seeds to successfully
treat allergy. OPCs are histamine decarboxylase inhibitors, providing
very effective and gentle relief of allergy. The adult dose that
we rely upon is 300 mg. 4-5 times daily. Pediatric dose is 100 mg.
4-5 times daily. You needn't use pycnogenols when not exposed to
allergens. The summertime berry fruits including organic cherries,
blueberries, blackberries and raspberries are rich in OPCs. If you
eat 4-5 cups of a mix of these fruit daily you'll get close to a
therapeutic dose. As is sometimes the case, nature provides a remedy
at the same time she creates a malady.
To treat allergic conjunctivitis, the botanical medicine Euphrasia
(common name: Eyebright) should be prepared as a tea and diluted
50% with saline solution. Used hourly as an eyewash, this preparation
of Euphrasia reliably relieves allergic conjunctivitis. The herb
Nettle (Urtica dioica) is very helpful for allergic sinus congestion.
Nettle is also a great summer salad green. To treat sinusitis we
recommend 1500 mg of organic Nettle leaf three times daily. You
can also make a refreshing summertime tea with equal parts Nettle,
Peppermint, Eyebright and Elder flowers to help drink away allergic
The traditional chinese medicine Pe Min Kan Wan has been very reliable
care for inhalant allergy in our clinical experience. Most oriental
markets will carry it and it is available over-the-counter in Chinese
apothecaries. Pe Min Kan Wan does not contain any ephedra; instead
it employs Magnolia to "clear wind" and "expel dampness". Magnolia
is a decongestant herb. Dose is 5 tablets once daily for children
and 5 tablets 3 times daily for adults.
POISON IVY RASH
Poison ivy, poison oak and related species possess an irritant
essential oil (called urushiol in poison ivy). Prolonged contact
with this oil, for those sensitive to it, results in a severe inflammatory
dermatitis. The most effective care is recognition and avoidance
of the plant. On those occasions when a sensitive individual has
come in contact with it, rinsing the affected skin with rubbing
alcohol within the first hour after contact is the best care. The
skin should not be washed with soap nor should the rubbing alcohol
be scrubbed into the > skin. The use of soaps and the act of scrubbing
will spread the oil, which will widen the area of skin involved
and worsen the intensity of the resulting rash. Repeated rinses
with 91% isopropyl alcohol ("rubbing alcohol") will bind the urushiol
and carry it out of the skin, preventing or minimizing rash. The
herb jewelweed is considered a specific antidote for the rash of
these plants by herbalists but, like the rubbing alcohol remedy,
needs to be applied soon after exposure for effectiveness. Jewelweed
usually grows very near to poison ivy; they thrive in the same soil
Sunburn is another feature of the spring & summer months. Nothing
is as reliable as pure aloe vera gel for healing a bad sunburn.
Apply aloe vera gel straight from the herb or, as we do in our home,
keep aloe vera gel in the refrigerator and use it when needed to
cool and heal burns. Do not apply oils to a sunburn. Vitamin E or
any herb in an oil base will trap the heat of the burn within the
skin and worsen it.
Lastly, summer insects can be a troublesome guest at your summer
soiree. Brewer's yeast and garlic, eaten the day before, will change
the flavor of your sweat and can make you less appealing to insects
such as mosquitoes and June bugs. Ointments, salves, or oils, which
include the essential oils lavender, lemongrass, mandarin orange
or peppermint, are more people-friendly than the garlic & brewer's
yeast treatment and may be more effective than the popular citronella.
We hope these tips help you enjoy the spring & summer months.
There still ain't no cure for the summertime blues but you can learn
how to adapt.
John & Deirdre