Keeping the immune system boosted through the height of allergy season is the best way to ward off symptoms, says naturopath Dr. Kuni Frith Black.

Keeping your immune system strong throughout the most difficult times for allergy sufferers in Bermuda – the winter due to dampness and spring due to pollen – is the best way to ward off symptoms, says naturopath Dr. Kuni Frith Black.

“If you have a weak immune system, you are going to be more susceptible to allergic reactions,” she says, “so it is wise to keep your immune system boosted.” Dr. Frith Black recommends a combination of Vitamin C, goldenseal and Echinacea, a potent medicine that can give sufferers great relief. “If you know that you are prone or susceptible to allergy outbreaks in the spring, then you can prep your immune system by taking these herbs daily so that you can have a smoother transition through the season.”

Dr. Frith Black says spring is a particularly difficult time of year for allergy sufferers. Plants are dormant all winter, so when spring comes they release their pollen, distributing a variety of pollens from many different plants in the air. Mornings tend to be worse for allergy sufferers because that is when the plants release their pollen; people often complain that their allergies act up in the morning. “You many want to take your herbal applications first thing in the morning to ride through that,” she says.

She suggests that another effective herb is nettle. “You can have nettle tincture or nettle capsules or drink nettle tea. It is a natural anti-inflammatory and natural antihistamine, and it helps dry up excess mucus production in the throat, nose and eyes.”

The benefit of herbal treatments is that they have significantly fewer side effects than traditional medicines; however, they can take longer to work. ‘With herbals, there is what is known as a cumulative effect, but the side effects are minimal to zero,” says Dr. Frith Black. “Even a good multivitamin will help boost your immune system and ward off allergic reactions.”

While allergies can run in the family, there is no need to suffer through the same agony as your ancestors. Dr. Frith Black says you must consciously decide to do things differently by taking preventative measures, arming your immune system and perhaps making dietary changes.

“We don’t like to hear that certain foods are going to affect us, because we love those foods,” she says. “But dairy is a big mucus producer, and wheat is another big mucus producer. Then you have all the sugars – high fructose corn syrup, especially, is known to produce excess mucus. Then you have the additives and preservatives in foods.” These all contribute to making allergy sufferers feel even worse. “So if you can eat fresh and preservative free as often as possible, it is a good thing.”

Compounding the problem is that people are more sensitive than they used to be, and there is a wider range of allergens today, she adds. ‘We are living in an environmentally toxic atmosphere, and we have to keep the immune system boosted in order to ward off these various types of allergies.” Often people who have seasonal allergies develop allergic reactions to foods, certain dyes and the manmade fibers in their clothing. Sometimes it takes a complete lifestyle change to make a real difference in someone’s quality of life. That’s why the naturopath invites her clients to make an appointment for a two-hour assessment and plan to bring them back to wellness.

“I chose classical traditional naturopathy because I believe in restoring the body to balance through natural applications,” says Dr. Frith Black, who received her M.D. from Clayton College of Natural Health. While a firm proponent of natural treatments, she is also pleased with what she sees as a growing integration of natural and traditional medicine. “We are missing out on all the benefits of healthcare if we subscribe to only one discipline,” she says. “Combining the two disciplines, you get much more mileage out of prevention and reversing many diseases. And, of course, the overall benefit is to the patient.”Dr. Kuni Frith Black can be contacted by calling 238-1227.