Natural Remedies


Are Natural Remedies Effective for Allergies?

Natural remediesThere are a ton of different pharmaceuticals, prescription and over-the-counter, on the market for treating seasonal allergies. However, many people are looking for a natural path in preventing and lessening allergy symptoms. This search can be for a number of reasons, including cost and side effects. But for those of us who have grown up with drugstore treatments, we may find ourselves asking: Do natural remedies really work?

According to the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP):

From a naturopathic viewpoint, allergies are often associated with weak adrenal, immune, and digestive functions. Natural treatments are used to support and improve those functions and to alleviate hay fever symptoms. For seasonal allergies, beginning natural treatments 1–2 months before the season starts can help reduce the severity of symptoms. Good health can help ease allergy symptoms, and good health starts with nutrition.

But what would medical doctors and allergists say?

WebMD quotes Mary Hardy, MD, director of integrative medicine at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles: “Using nature-based products can be a very useful way to handle mild allergies and a useful adjunct for more significant allergies, and there are many types of treatments you can safely try.” In fact, in a section called “Natural Allergy Remedies,” WebMD examines each of the following natural allergy treatments, their use and their effectiveness:

We’ve also examined a few natural remedies in our own blogs:

The general consensus seems to be that some of the natural remedies listed above do help some people some of the time. People also recommend vitamins for allergy symptoms, but there have yet to be any conclusive scientific results regarding their specific impact on sinus issues. In addition, doctors caution that some supplements may trigger allergic reactions themselves, so you should always research and consult your doctor before using them.

That said, we do know the risks for the most common types of allergy medications, and those aren’t ideal either:

  • Antihistamines: dry mouth, drowsiness, dizziness, nausea and vomiting, restlessness or moodiness, blurred vision, confusion, possible risks with long-term use, and negative interactions with specific medications.
  • Decongestants: dizziness, anxiety, nausea, headaches, increased blood pressure, irregular heartbeats, nosebleeds, throat irritation and increased tolerance.

On top of all of these risks and costs, both allergy medication and natural remedies are only temporary solutions. So if you are looking for a more permanent end to your allergy suffering, schedule an appointment with CT Sinus Center to see how we can help. When you first come in, our expert team will talk to you about your medical history and your symptoms. Next, through our patient-centered philosophy and up-to-date diagnostic tools, we will pinpoint what is causing your discomfort and develop the right treatment for your lifestyle. You may even be a candidate for one of our two outpatient procedures, both of which will end your suffering in around an hour:

  • Balloon Sinus Dilation, which will reshape your nasal passages, promoting draining and natural healing.
  • Turbinate Reductions, in which the tissue in the nose that supports the nasal passages is decreased, decreasing the size of the turbinate and quickly increasing airflow

Call 860-BALLOON to schedule an appointment at one of CT Sinus Center’s four conveniently-located offices and start breathing freely, like nature intended.

For more information on sinus– and allergy-related conditions or treatments, read more about CT Sinus Center and take a look at our blog.


The Truth About Essential Oils and Allergies

Essential oilsFor the last couple of years, there has been a lot of buzz about essential oils, especially for allergies. There are oils to relieve headaches, congestion, scratchy throats and inflammation among other ailments, but the following questions arise:

  • Are they safe?
  • Do they really work?

Well, the truth is the answers aren’t quite as clear cut as you might think, and they highly depend on whom you’re asking.

What is an essential oil?

Mayo Clinic explains:

Essential oils used in aromatherapy are typically extracted from various parts of plants and then distilled. The highly concentrated oils may be inhaled directly or indirectly or applied to the skin through massage, lotions or bath salts.

Aromatherapy is thought to work by stimulating smell receptors in the nose, which then send messages through the nervous system to the limbic system — the part of the brain that controls emotions.

The U.S. National Library of Medicine states that:

“Laboratory studies and animal studies have shown that certain essential oils have antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, calming, or energizing effects.”

On the other hand, there are people, both inside and outside of the science field, that claim that essential oils are nothing but a placebo, and that use can actually be harmful. This side of the debate can be seen in the Time article “You Asked: Does Aromatherapy Really Work?

So, which side is right?

Again, there is no definitive answer. Part of the reason there is no general consensus, even among the aromatherapy community, is that FDA approval isn’t required for essential oils, meaning that there are no strict standards that companies must adhere to when producing and marketing them. Consumer Reports explains:

Currently there is no proof that the practice can cure any illness. For many of the “softer” claims—such as its purported role as a sleep aid or pain reducer—there has been little testing, and the scientific research that has been conducted has generally yielded conflicting results.

The truth is, like most anything else, if not used properly, essential oils can be dangerous. For a list of possible risks associated with misuse of essential oils, visit the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy and Poison Control.

That said, when used correctly, most people agree that the oils are safe. The effectiveness, however, depends on a number of factors:

  • Concentration of oil
  • Way it is used (diffused, topical, or ingested, the latter not recommended without doctor supervision)
  • Individual people’s chemistry (oils may work for one person and not for another and some may cause a negative reaction for one person and not others.)

Unfortunately, right now there is no direct scientific proof for any of this. However, essential oils have been used for over 5,000 years, and many people, both inside and outside of the medical field, swear by them — maybe not as a cure-all, but as complementary treatments. For example the National Cancer Institute explains that aromatherapy “is used with other complementary treatments (e.g., massage and acupuncture) as well as with standard treatments for symptom management.”

If you are suffering from allergies and thinking about trying essential oils for relief, talk to your doctor first (which is advice we always give prior to starting any physical or medical routine). If you get the go-ahead, be sure to do your research on oils and companies. You’ll want an oil that is 100% essential, not one filled with fillers and synthetic substances. Healthy and Natural World provides the top oils and their usage for allergies:

  • Peppermint
  • Lavender
  • Chamomile
  • Tea tree
  • Lemon
  • Lemongrass
  • Bergamot
  • Eucalyptus
  • Sandalwood
  • Thyme
  • Oregano
  • Frankincense
  • Clove
  • Rosemary
  • Basil

On the other hand, if you are looking for something more permanent for your allergies, make an appointment with CT Sinus Center to see how we can help.

Our expert physicians are well versed on all the essentials of sinus conditions and can help you figure out exactly what is causing your symptoms and how to treat them. When you come in for your appointment, we’ll sit down with you and discuss your symptoms and medical history. Next, we’ll conduct a series of tests that will tell us exactly what is causing your allergic reaction so that we can come up with an individualized treatment plan that is right for you and your lifestyle.

Call 860-BALLOON today and schedule your appointment. With four conveniently-located offices across the state, just follow your nose to the closest one. Then, sit back and relax with your calming essential oils and your peace of mind that your sinus suffering is over.

For more information on sinus– and allergy-related conditions and treatments, visit the CT Sinus Center website and blog.