Healthy Routes Column: It’s allergy season again

by Gladys Kublik

Spring is a lovely time of year unless you suffer from allergies. The first culprit making life miserable for a lot of people is snow mold. Whether it is the white grey spot known as Typhula blight or the pinkish cobweb appearance of Fusarium patch or other fungal growths on wet leaf matter, the effects are the same. Hay fever symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, nasal congestion and burning eyes could be a sign you’re allergic to snow mold, or other fungi present during spring.

The next onslaught to the system is pollen. You may not see any flowers blooming, yet the air will be full of pollen from willow bushes, poplar trees, and even conifers. This is followed by the grasses, which some people find the worst offenders. I love the smell of a freshly mowed lawn, yet for some people that are enough to have them heading indoors before that aroma triggers an asthma attack.

For some people, staying indoors lessens the effects of exterior allergens, but the interior air has its own pollutants which can create the same kinds of symptoms. Allergens and chemical pollutants are positively charged particles or molecules that have been stripped of an electron. Also known as positively charged ions, they have been demonstrated to have a negative effect on your body. This is particularly the case with your lungs and respiratory tract but your immune system can also be affected because positive ions can be so small they are absorbed directly into your bloodstream from the air you breathe.

An excess of positively charged ions in your environment is believed to contribute to tiredness and a lack of energy, tension, anxiety, and irritability. Positive ions have even been investigated as a contributing factor for asthma and depression. In your home, fluorescent lighting and electrical equipment such as televisions, computers, women’s hair dryers and clothes dryers are big sources of positive ions, as are the fibers in carpets, curtains, and upholstery.
In Europe allergies, asthma and a host of respiratory diseases are being treated with Speleotherapy. This is the respiratory therapy involving breathing of the mineral infused air of a salt mine. Speleotherapy originated in Poland in the 1950s, when medical providers noticed that salt miners rarely suffered from tuberculosis. Long before that time, the naturally occurring salt caves in Eastern Europe were credited with improving symptoms of allergy, asthma, skin conditions, depression and myriad other health problems. European monks treated patients with respiratory ailments in natural salt caves. They noted that these patients got well much more quickly. The monks actually ground salt rocks against each other to release a cloud of “salt dust” into the air, which patients then inhaled.

While it may be difficult and not that appealing for us to spend our next holiday sitting in a salt mine, there are easier ways to experience the benefit of salt. Salt lamps are made from salt crystals, the most popular of which are mined from 250-million-year-old deposits in the Himalayan region. In one study, salt lamps were shown to increase the negative ion count of the surrounding air up to 600%. Negative ions are odorless, tasteless, and invisible molecules that we inhale in abundance in certain environments. They naturally fill the air near waterfalls, forests, ocean areas, and even cities after a rainfall. Step outside after rain and take a deep breath, it feels truly rejuvenating. That is the effect of negative ions.

According to several studies accredited as (Kreuger, 1974; Soyka, 1991; Tchijewski, 1960) positive ions, which occur in high levels in many indoor environments, inhibit the body’s ability to prevent pollutants and contaminates from entering the vulnerable areas of the respiratory tract. However, an overdose of negative ions has proven to provide a counteraction to this effect.

In addition to the beneficial salt lamps discussed in this article, we have available many herbal products and formulas which can help reduce symptoms of allergenic rhinitis, congestion, and even asthma. Some products may help to desensitize the body to some common allergens as is the case with Bee Pollen. That is why it is important to eat Alberta producers bee pollen and honey in Alberta and BC bee products in BC and Ontario honey in Ontario. Each area has its own unique set of plants with their own pollen which becomes an integral part of the honey or bee pollen produced there. Eating these raw, unpasteurized bee products helps the body to become less sensitive to these allergenic triggers. Combined with the negative ion generating capabilities of the Himalayan Salt Lamps, allergy season may be a thing of the past.

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