Natural Remedies & Nutrition : Herbal Remedies for Allergic Skin Reactions

Alternative Allergy Remedies

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I'm interested in trying natural supplements to treat my allergy symptoms. I've read that things like turmeric, bromelain, and cayenne pepper can help. Do they really work?

— Carl, Washington

The answer is, possibly. The only way to know if any treatment works — whether it's a Western-manufactured medicine, an herbal remedy, or an ancient technique like acupuncture — is to perform placebo-controlled trials in which two groups of people are randomly assigned to receive either the treatment in question or a placebo (a fake treatment that looks, tastes, and seems the same). In addition, neither the test subjects nor the researchers should know which patients are receiving the real therapy. Known as double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trials, these types of studies are beginning to be done in an organized way on alternative medicine therapies. Yet even placebos have been shown to help about one-third of patients in many studies, which is why ineffective therapies are passed on through generations. It's tempting to assume that if a therapy has stood the test of time (hundreds or even thousands of years), then it must work. But that's not always the case, especially if there are no readily available options and people are desperate to feel better.

With that caveat in mind, let's take a closer look at the three supplements you mention:

Turmericcontains curcumin, a compound that appears to have anti-inflammatory properties and that may also prevent allergy cells (called mast cells) from releasing symptom-causing chemicals. There have not been many reported problems with overdoses or side effects of this herb, which is widely used in traditional Indian cuisine.

Bromelain, a plant-based protein derived from the stems of pineapples, also appears to have anti-inflammatory properties. It has been used as an herbal remedy for various conditions, especially inflammatory bowel disease. Bromelain is also among many herbal remedies used to treat nasal allergies, but to my knowledge, no studies clearly demonstrate its effectiveness.

Cayenne pepperis most often employed in a topical cream used to ease arthritis pain (it initially causes a burning sensation and then alters the way the nerves transmit pain signals), but I have never heard of using it to treat allergies, and I've found no research regarding such use. There are a few reports of skin allergies to cayenne, which would make sense because it's an irritating substance.

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Date: 06.12.2018, 17:53 / Views: 54585