Understanding Allergies - McDowell's Herbal Treatments

The human immune system is really quite amazing, when properly functioning it works as a biological warfare unit. It is able to identify and destroy many foreign invaders. It does all of this work so the body remains healthy. However sometimes our immune system makes mistakes. In fact, allergies are a direct result of a hypersensitive immune system response. The hypersensitive immune system misidentifies an otherwise innocuous substance as harmful, and then attacks the substance with a ferocity far greater than required.

Allergy crop

The problems these over reactions can cause range from mildly inconvenient and uncomfortable symptoms at end of the scale to an anaphalactic shock (which is life threatening) at the other end of the scale.

The symptoms which arise from allergies often follow the line of the vagus nerve and include red and itchy rashes, swelling, sinus inflammation, hayfever, general irritation, altered heart rhythms and respiratory difficulties.

Our human immune system can overreact to even healthy food substances that are perfectly safe to eat, such as strawberries, shellfish, mushrooms or tomatoes. Some medical thinking nowadays believes that allergic symptoms are generally triggered by proteins.


A fundamental aspect of the immune sytem are the white blood cells also known as lymphocytes. There are two types of lymphocytes including B cells and T cells. Both types help guard your body against foreign substances such as invading bacteria, toxins even viruses. They move freely through the tissues of the body including the lymph nodes searching for threatening cells or foreign invaders that we call antigens. The B cell or T cell identify a threat they begin the production of antibodies to fight the threat.

The process is the same whether its a wasp sting, digesting a mushroom or inhaling pollen. The ensuring battle usually releases histamines that then brings on various allergy symptoms, some of the most common being: Itching, hives, sneezing, wheezing, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting.

This oversensitivity can be triggered after an illness, accident, stress or exposure to something which left the immunity hyper-reactive. Allergies actually involve the human triangle of: emotions, circumstances and the physical body. If you look back over your experiences maybe there has been a significant emotional moment or event in your life that may have triggered the allergy? My allergy treatments work to nourish and calm down this over reactivity and to heal any damage done by the allergic reaction to tissues in the bodies which have been affected.

From an holistic viewpoint an allergy is simply an oversensitivity to a situation or substances which causes ones immunity to react as if the situation or substance were a severe threat to ones health.


On the other hand when I ponder why allergies seem to be on the rise, I wonder if it is due to the huge amounts of adulterated, processed foods and non organic foods full of preservatives, emulsifiers and colours that we now consume all of which increase the workload of our immune systems. Often we can benefit by switchng to mostly organic or biodynamic foods and minimising our exposure to chemicals otherwise.

Sometimes we try to isolate ourselves from an increasing array of foods and substances including particular items of food which other folk seem to be able to tolerate well enough. Isolation as a response to allergies becomes increasingly difficult because all we are staying away from triggers and new triggers can keep appearing because the problem is not really the trigger itself but our own hyper reactive systems. Isolation is not a viable long term strategy and neither is a long and laborious (also expensive) course of injections which are sometimes offered as a cure, again for the same reasons.

All allergies are therefore best treated by working to nourish your own immune system at all levels to allow it to return to normal.

Herbal treatment

A course of Maritime Pine Antioxidant to support the fundamentals of your immune system may help to put your system back in balance especially if there has been stress placed on your adrenals and a mixture of specific herbs firstly for the liver which is the primary organ for digestion, for the nervous system and for the increased sensitivity along with selected Bach Flowers.


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McDowell's staff Herbalists can not diagnose your disease or illness. What they can do is offer a herbal program to assist with healing, after you have had advice from your doctor or specialist. If you have unexplained pain or symptoms, seek medical advice.

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