Making the best of spring and those pesky allergies

Making the best of spring and those pesky allergies
So many things about spring are inspiring – the new growth as seeds begin to sprout and push upward to the sun with force, the wondrous array of colors spreading their glory and the prospect of bringing your budding energy to it’s full potential. Unfortunately with this new growth, pollen can create havoc for many. The familiar sneezing, runny nose and itchy eyes are not as welcome as the rainbow of colors. According to Chinese medicine, spring is associated with the liver and in western medicine allergies are associated with a challenged liver, weak adrenals and an imbalanced digestive system. If you have allergies you would benefit from supporting these organs. However, even if you don’t have allergies, the liver should get special attention during the spring. Spring is a good time to do a liver cleanse of sorts and avoid chemicals, drugs and alcohol as well as refined sugars, processed foods, caffeine, large portions of meat, greasy and rich foods. It is also a great time of the year to receive acupuncture or bodywork to help the body in opening and relaxing. When the liver energy is balanced it smoothes our emotional energy. You may recognize the need for liver balancing or detoxifying if you experience emotional outbursts, increased agitation or emotional stagnation. Since the liver manifests through the nails, tendons and eyes, these areas should be evaluated. If you lack the ability to make decisions or follow through with them, your liver energy could be deficient. When the liver energy is excessive, we may become “workaholics”, so determined to accomplish our goals that we neglect our needs or our personal relationships. To rebuild the adrenals, avoid stress, breathe deeply and chew food thoroughly. Many people suffering from allergies benefit from increasing sources of Vitamin C, bioflavanoids, B vitamins, magnesium and chromium. Well-known adaptogens such as Siberian ginseng, Ashwaganda and Licorice have a place in calming an allergic reaction by rebuilding weak adrenals. Homeopathics are also effective at revitalizing the system, which in turn reduces allergic symptoms. In the spring, begin cooking and eating lighter meals to ease the demand on the digestive system. Steaming and stir-frying food is more appropriate than baking, which warms our bodies. Eat more leafy greens (kale, dandelions, collards, mint) and incorporate the sour flavor (lemon) and good oils into your diet. Include fermented foods that can really support an imbalanced digestive system. Many people find that by avoiding foods they may be sensitive to (especially wheat and dairy) before and during allergy season, their allergy symptoms are clearly diminished. Many benefit from stinging nettles, rosemary, feverfew, Chinese herbs and extra bioflavanoids to address allergy symptoms. By harmonizing with spring’s energy we can feel energized, light and open. By keeping our tendons supple and strong, we can move easily through the day and express our emotions in a healthy way. With eyes clear and bright, we can appreciate the beauty of spring and expand along with Mother Nature. In Health, Dr. Ilene Cristdahl