Category: Sinus and Allergies

Spring Allergies – tools for symptoms and prevention

With the blooming of another spring (even though it’s late this year), many of us can expect itchy eyes, postnasal drip, sneezing, and itchy noses. Allergies affect up to 26% of adults, according to the Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America. The symptoms don’t just cause discomfort, but can also come with fatigue, brain fog, headaches, and even tooth pain which can make day to day life uncomfortable.

Let’s look at options to blunt the effects of allergies on our lives:


  • Use HEPA filters in your appliances like your vacuum, air conditioning, and air purifier.
  • Wear a mask when outside. Masks can help decrease the ability of pollen to contact your nose and lungs which can decrease allergy symptoms. Bonus points for washing your face, hair, or body after being outside as well.
  • Use natural cleaners to avoid irritating your sinuses, lungs, and eyes further.
  • Reduce eating your foods sensitivities and pro-inflammatory foods.

Over the Counter Options

  • Natural Options
    • Look for ingredients like stinging nettle, NAC, vitamin C, quercitin to help with allergies.
    • You can shop in Fullscript for natural options such as:
      • AllQlear – this egg-based supplement (not ok for egg allergies and vegans) is a delicious chewable that can help decrease inflammation in the respiratory tract.
      • D-Hist – we call this one “natural Benadryl.”
      • Aller-C – A blend of vitamin C, quercetin, and bromelain all help to stabilize mast cells (allergy cells) and decrease histamine.
      • Xlear nasal spray – this has xylitol and grapefruit seed extract to prohibit adherence of pollen and allergens to the nasal mucosa.
    • Nasal Rinses – rinsing sinuses with saline solution will help to decrease symptoms of allergies. Look for NeilMed Sinus Rinse Kit available at most drug stores.
  • Over The Counter Medications
    • Certain anti histamines are safer in the long term than others. Some medications, like Benadryl, have been found to have a high anticholinergic burden score, which can contribute to risk of dementia later in life ( See how your OTC antihistamine stacks up here:

Desensitization Prescription Options:

  • Sublingual Immunotherapy (SLIT)
    • For severe allergies, BNHC can prescribe a medication called sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT). This therapy is similar to allergy shots in that we help your immune system to become tolerant to ever increasing amounts of the allergen. We can tailor this prescription to your individual allergens, which we test through a blood test (no itchy skin scratch test here!). For more information look at and you can schedule with Dr. Michaela Falkner if you’re interested!

Naturopathic Care for Seasonal Allergies

Instead of masking allergy symptoms temporarily with medications, naturopathic physicians are trained to look at the big picture to uncover root causes of your susceptibility. 

The Total Load – the collection of challenges to a person’s health

Your total load varies by day, week or over the years.  Like a bucket that is too full, the body ability to cope becomes overwhelmed and creates allergic reactions.  Instead of focusing on a “single cause”, you can make a “little difference in a lot of areas” then the whole system works better. 

  • Food sensitivities & proinflammatory foods
    • Particulate matter:  pollen, dander, dust mites, mold
    • Toxic chemical exposure: fragrances, off gassing of indoor paint & furniture
    • Improper breathing impairing the airway
    • Nutritional deficiencies – omega 3, phytonutrients, B-vits, Vit C for example
    • Hormonal imbalance
    • Stress responses creating inflammatory chemicals
    • Chronic or acute infections

Natural Supplements to manage symptoms: 

While you are working on the underlying causes of allergies, the symptoms still need to be managed.

2 – 3 weeks before allergy season

  • Supportive daily supplements – Multivitamin, Omega 3 oils, Vitamin D, Probiotics
  • Bioflavonoids which stabilize mast cells which release histamine.  We carry Aller C by Vital Nutrients.  2-3 capsules, 2 – 3 times/day. 
  • Optional – Nettle tea with local honey.  1 to 3 cups daily.  Steep 20 minutes for the most benefit.  Nettle is traditionally used for symptoms of allergies and raw local honey may be useful to slowly desensitize people to local pollens by slowly exposing the immune system. 

Once Symptoms Hit: Treatment for Acute Allergies / Hay fever symptoms

  • A higher dose of mixed bioflavonoids with Vitamin C (Aller C by Vital Nutrients) 3-4 capsules 3 times/day
  • Quercetin (a single bioflavonoid) – high dose instead of mixed bioflavonoids.  1,500 mg 3 – 4 times daily for a few days.  This works great for hives, watery eyes, sneezing and even histamine symptoms for some food intolerances. 
  • Herbal Tincture – Allergy Sinus Tincture made at BNHC – eyebright, goldenseal, horseradish, nettle, yarrow.  2 dropperfuls every 1 – 2 hours as needed.   Tastes terrible but worth it because it works!
  • Homeopathic Eye drops to sooth itchy red eyes. 

Seasonal allergies can knock down people for weeks and have them relying on medications that have side effects.  With Naturopathic medicine, you have the opportunity to return to a healthy state with positive side effects for your whole body.  Let us know if we can help! 

Finding Solutions to Your Allergy Problem

Joan Haynes, NMD

Allergies. What a nuisance they are! We all seem to know someone (ourselves included) who suffer from this common problem, whether they are seasonal due to pollens, or more of an everyday occurrence because of food, pets, or chemicals. For some, allergic reactions can even be life-threatening. To date, modern medicine has not had very satisfactory long-term solutions to dealing with allergies. And for reasons unknown, allergies seem to be coming more and more common. Allergic reactions underlie many common health conditions such as asthma, eczema, chronic ear infections, sinusitis, digestive disorders, heartburn, celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, autism, ADD & ADHD, even depression and insomnia! The list goes on and on.

What is an allergy?

An allergy is a misguided reaction, or hypersensitivity, of the immune system to a harmless substance. In other words, it’s when the immune system gets confused. Instead of just fighting the “bad guys” (such as bacteria and viruses) it starts fighting “good guys” too (such as nutritious foods, or neutral things like pet dander, pollen, etc.)

The substances that trigger allergies are called allergens. For the purposes of this article the most common allergens are divided into the following categories:

  • Environmental (Inhalants/ Contactants)
    • Pollen, mold, chemicals, dust, grass, animal dander, perfume, bee-stings etc.
  • Food (Ingestants)
    • Type I: Immediate reaction (can include severe anaphlyatic). Most common are peanuts, strawberries, medications, etc.
    • Type II: Delayed reaction
      • Can be caused by anything. Some common examples are wheat, dairy, corn, gluten, sugar and soy.

“I’ve got terrible allergies! What do I do?”

The following discussion addresses both conventional and alternative diagnostic & treatment options for allergies. In some cases it is very appropriate to use both natural and conventional medicines to manage allergy symptoms while the long-term alternative treatments are underway.

I commonly recommend the following options in my practice:

Conventional Medicine Options for Diagnosing and Treating Allergies

Environmental Allergies

Conventional Diagnosis

There are two types of allergy testing considered to be valid by most of the conventional medical world: Skin testing (prick/puncture, intradermal, and patch) and blood testing for antibodies to allergens such as ELISA or RAST. For more information on these testing procedures click here.

While the conventional world considers skin testing to be more accurate, there is clear evidence that skin testing is a poor procedure for picking up common food allergies.

Conventional Treatment

  • Medication
    As these type of allergens are usually very difficult to avoid, they are typically treated with antihistamines or corticosteroids which suppress the allergic response.
  • Allergy shots
    Some patients elect to undergo allergy shots, which involves injecting a small amount of allergen under the skin at frequent intervals, usually for a year or more. These treatments can be painful, and are often quite costly, however they can be effective. Results are not guaranteed however, and they are not very effective for treating food allergies.

Food Allergies

Type I: Immediate reaction

Conventional Diagnosis

Conventional medicine usually only recognizes this first category of food allergy, the immediate reaction type. The technical terms are Type I, or IgE mediated allergy. This type of allergy is quick and unmistakable, as it launches a rapid histamine response from the immune system. Symptoms include swelling, hives, itching, and depending on severity can lead to anaphylatic shock which can be fatal if left untreated.

Conventional Treatment

Avoidance is recommended. If exposure occurs, antihistamines plus epinephrine for more severe anaphlyatic reactions. Allergy shots are usually avoided as a treatment for this type of allergy, as they can trigger severe reactions themselves.

Type II: Delayed Reaction

Conventional Diagnosis

This is by far, the most common type of food allergy. Unfortunately, conventional medicine seems to mostly ignore it. Perhaps this is because the testing procedures that are favored typically miss Type II reactions. These are usually mediated by IgG antibodies, which don’t show up well on skin-scratch tests. Blood tests such as ELISA or RAST are better, but even those aren’t perfect. You can expect about an 80% accuracy rate with a blood test for food allergies.

What ends up happening for most, is that these types of allergies go undiagnosed, and are recognized only by their symptoms, which are diagnosed as IBS, asthma, eczema, ADD, etc. These secondary conditions are then usually treated with suppressive medications which temporarily alleviate the symptoms, but do nothing to treat the cause. Long-term ill health often results.

Conventional Treatment

Avoidance is generally recommended for known food reactions. Allergy shots are not as effective for food reactions as for environmental allergies, though some treatment centers do use them.

Alternative Medicine Options for Diagnosing and Treating Allergies and Sensativites

Environmental Allergies

Naturopathic Diagnosis

In addition to the conventional testing procedures, neuromuscular sensitivity testing, a relative of kinesiology, is a quick and painless diagnostic tool which is gaining popularity. For mild cases, clinical diagnosis based on patient history can also be used.

Naturopathic Treatment

  • Short term
    To control allergy symptoms until a long-term solution is achieved, quercetin, vitamin C, and believe it or not, water, are all excellent natural antihistamines. Other treatments include bromelain, nettles, and liver detoxification.

    • It can be helpful to install a HEPA filter in the house and vacuum cleaner to remove airborne allergens. Careful hygiene in the bedroom is a must, with weekly washing of bedclothes in hot water, vacuuming and dusting.
    • While temporary symptom management is helpful for quality of life in the moment, it is not a cure. As soon as these medicines are discontinued, the allergy symptoms will return. This is known as palliative treatment. Don’t you also want to be working towards a cure?
  • Long term
    The best long term treatment I have found is NAET, Nambudripad’s Allergy Elimination Technique. This noninvasive desensitization technique is explained in more detail below.

Food Allergies

Type I: Immediate reaction

Naturopathic Diagnosis

Diagnostic procedures for this type of allergy include all those of conventional medicine, as well as NST, neuromuscular sensitivity testing use in NAET.

Naturopathic Treatment

These types of allergens must be scrupulously avoided. Any patient with anaphylactic type allergies should carry an epi-pen with them at all times. NAET can be helpful for these types of reactions, but must be done very carefully. NAET treatment can truly be life-changing, as it frees up the patient to live their life without a constant fear of reaction.

Food Allergies

Type II: Delayed reaction

Naturopathic Diagnosis

There are three main diagnostic tools I use in my practice to determine this type of allergy. They are the elimination & challenge diet, ELISA blood testing, and neuromuscular sensitivity testing (NST). They each have their pros & cons. The elimination and challenge diet is considered by many holistic medicine doctors to be the gold standard for determining food allergies. It is very accurate when done correctly, however, many patients find this difficult and time consuming. The blood test is very easy, but only about 80 percent accurate, and there is a fee involved of course. Blood tests are only checking for antibody mediated allergies, Type I (IgE) and/ or Type II (IgG). NST is done in office during a visit, and is extremely accurate, fast, and non-invasive. Another benefit to NST is the ability to test for any type of allergy including foods, inhalants, & contactants, and is not limited to antibody mediated responses.

Naturopathic Treatment

Anybody besides me tired of avoidance?

This is where NAET comes in.

Learn More

To find out more about NAET, I recommend visiting the NAET website, our clinic’s information on NAET, and reading ”Say Goodbye to Illness” or ”Say Goodbye to Allergies” by Dr. Nambudripad, both of which are available in our office and on the NAET website. We also offer free ten minute consultations to prospective patients, to help you find out if NAET treatment is right for you.

Chronic Nasal Congestion and Sinus Infections

Joan Haynes, NMD

When sinuses are functioning normally, the mucus lining the cavity warms and moistens the incoming air and filters germs and particulates. But when the sinuses can’t drain properly, mucus accumulates making the area ripe for infection. An acute infection can often be treated with simple home care and immune-boosting strategies. However, chronic sinusitis needs a broader approach. In 1999, a Mayo Clinic study showed that almost 100 percent of chronic sinusitis patients tested positive for fungus. Chronic congestion caused by food or environmental sensitivities creates a perfect breeding ground for fungus and bacterial infections.

With my chronic sinus sufferers, I often begin with food allergy testing (to discover the source of the congestion) and a systemic antifungal protocol. We may also need to do an environmental evaluation, and improve digestion and stress response to improve overall health.

For an acute infection, you may want to try:

  • Allergy-Sinus Tincture (from BNH). 2 droppers-full every two hours. The herbs will thin the mucus, dry out the sinuses and fight infection.
  • Neti Pot. Irrigating the sinuses with a saline solution can reduce swelling and wash away irritants. The Rhino Horn is a great device and the instructions are very thorough.
  • N-acetylcysteine. 500 mg three times daily on empty stomach. Thins mucus secretions.

For chronic congestion and/or infections, you may want to try:

  • Food allergy testing either through an elimination-challenge diet or a food allergy panel.
  • Reduce mucus forming foods – dairy, refined flours, chocolate, eggs, fried and processed food.
  • Evaluation and treatment for fungal infection, including Candida overgrowth.
  • Regular use of essential oils, such as oregano, or combinations for respiratory health and immune boosting.