Types of Allergies
Allergic reactions may be triggered by various foods including milk and other dairy products, egg whites, wheat products, corn products, pizza, chocolate, peanuts and other nuts, fruits, mustard, legumes, tomatoes, sweets, shellfish, and meats. Symptoms may include wheezing, sneezing, mucus discharge, nasal irritation, indigestion, indigestion, vomiting, cramps, nausea, swelling of the face and tongue, dizziness, faintness, and sweating. About two thirds of people with food allergies are under 30, and the majority are children five or younger. Tests for food allergies may be unreliable because different foods react differently in different combinations, many cooking styles may be involved, and the amount of chewing can vary and lead to different effects. Allergies to modern refined or artificially treated foods, especially dairy products, sugar, and chemicalized foods, are actually the body's natural reaction to imbalanced food consumption. Monosodium glutamate (MSG), an artificial flavor enhancer used in Asian style cooking, may produce numbness, headaches, tingling, and temporary paralysis. Food and wine preservatives known as sulfites can also produce allergic reactions.
Children and young adults with food allergies tend to have weak natural immunity and an acidic quality of blood, lymph, or other body fluids. It is important for such persons to avoid the food that causes a reaction for 3 to 4 months until their blood quality improves with a more healthy way of eating.
For food allergies, follow a centrally balanced diet, consisting of whole grains, miso soup daily, cooked vegetables, a moderate amount of beans and bean products, and a small amount of sea vegetables. As a special drink, a small cup of kombu juice (boiled down from cooking this sea vegetable in two cups of water) may be helpful if taken daily or every other day. A small volume of umeboshi plum (1/2 to 1 daily) prepared in bancha tea or eaten as a condiment with rice or other grains is also helpful. Sea vegetable condiments are also effective, including shio-kombu, roasted wakame, and nori condiment. Complete chewing of each mouthful of food until it is liquefied is also recommended, preferably 50 times or more per mouthful.
Over fifty thousand chemicals have entered the food chain, the drug and pharmaceutical supply, and the environment during the last half century. We are all exposed to these potentially harmful substances to a greater or lesser extent. Chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or additives in foods produce particularly strong effects, as well as factory smoke, exhaust from motor vehicles and planes, and other toxic fumes; aerosol sprays; and other pollutants. Allergic reactions to latex, a rubber used in protective gloves, condoms, and other protective items, has climbed in recent years. In most cases, these have strong expansive effects, contributing to confused thinking, forgetfulness, lack of coordination, and other weakening tendencies. CO2, tobacco smoke, heavy metals, and other elements and compounds can produce heaviness, tightness, rigidity, and other stressful, tightening effects. To help recover from chemical allergies, observe a centrally balanced diet emphasizing brown rice and other whole grains, miso soup at least once a day, cooked vegetables, especially root vegetables, and sea vegetables. A small volume of miso may be added occasionally to rice a few minutes before the end of cooking. A special drink made from umeboshi plum, shoyu or natural soy sauce, and kuzu known as ume-sho-kuzu may be taken twice a week.
Penicillin, other antibiotics, and other drugs and medications cause violent reactions in some people. In extreme cases, drugs or medications can lead to a severe reaction that can cause death within minutes. This is known medically as anaphylaxis. Symptoms include shutting down of the air passages, a sharp drop in blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, vomiting, cramps, and loss of consciousness. Seventy five percent of fatal reactions are caused by antibiotics, but in susceptible persons virtually any drug can produce this reaction, including aspirin, ibuprofen, and other anti-inflammatory medication, sulfa drugs, muscle relaxants, hypertension drugs, and blood products and dyes used in X-ray examinations. Vaccines and inoculations can also produce serious, sometimes deadly reactions, in children and adults. Anaphylaxis is treated medically with epinephrine that can be administered by syringe or other self-injecting device.
From the perspective of natural health, reactions to drugs, medications, and vaccines are a sign of good health. The body is rejecting alien, potentially harmful substances. In the case of an anaphylaxic reaction, immediate medical attention is required. Epinephrine, an artificial form of adrenaline, is a strong, contracting hormone that relaxes respiratory muscles, stimulates the heart, constricts blood vessels, and reduces swelling.
To help relieve drug allergies, observe a centrally balanced diet centered on whole grains, cooked vegetables, miso soup daily, and a small volume of sea vegetables. Umeboshi, tekka, gomashio, or other salt-based condiment may be helpful. Avoid animal foods, especially those that may be treated with antibiotics. Genetically modified foods may also carry antibiotic resistant markers and trigger allergic reactions.
Until the late 20th century, asthma was a rare disease. Only in the last decade has death from asthma become a public health concern. Mortality today is soaring for asthmatic patients aged 5 through 34 years, especially in Britain, the Netherlands, Sweden, France, Germany, the United States, Canada, and Australia.
Asthma is accompanied by tightening of the lungs or chest during breathing, chronic coughing, and a heavy flow of mucus. Asthma attacks are commonly triggered by exposure to grass, pollen, dust, mold, tobacco smoke, animal hair, or other environmental irritants, as well as certain medications and foods high in sulfites. Reactions may be mild or severe and of short duration or last for a day or more. Recurrences, often lasting days or weeks, often follow. Tens of millions of children in Europe and America suffer from asthma, especially children for whom it is the leading cause of school absences. Physicians usually treat asthma with drugs designed to keep the lungs open, especially broncodilators. These may be taken orally or as inhalants. Serious effects, including high blood pressure, may result.
Chemical or environmental stimuli can trigger an asthma attack, but the main cause of asthma is usually too much milk or other dairy food, white flour or other refined flour products, sugar and sugary foods and beverages, and other mucous-producing foods. Over consumption of these foods can lead to the over secretion of mucus or a muscle spasm in the bronchial tubes, causing an obstruction in the respiratory passages.
To help prevent or relieve asthma, a balanced way of eating based on whole grains as the center of the daily meal, complemented with cooked vegetables, miso soup regularly, a moderate amount of beans and bean products, and sea vegetables. Limit beverage intake as well as the amount of water used in cooking. Sharply reduce the consumption of fruit, juice, fresh salads, and other acidic items, as well as meat, chicken and poultry, eggs, and other strong animal foods. Asthma can often be relieved following this dietary approach within several weeks. At a minimum, its symptoms can be substantially reduced and brought under control.
To help prevent or relieve an asthma attack, apply a hot ginger compress on the chest region, one or more times. A small volume of gomashio or umeboshi plums (1/2 to 1 plum or more) may be taken. These home remedies will cause the alveoli to contract, providing immediate relief. A dry environment may help speed recovery since asthma occurs more frequently in a wet, humid climate. Exposure to a bright, sunny environment and increasing the fresh air in the home (by placing green plants in each room) are also helpful. A dehumidifier will reduce moisture in the air.
Atopy is a form of allergy in which the irritant produces a delay or distant reaction. Examples include swallowing a food or substance that leads to eczema or dermatitis. Atopic reactions are also caused by weak blood and acidic conditions brought about by dietary extremes, particularly sugar, chocolate and other refined sweeteners; milk, cream, and other dairy products; white flour in bread, pizza, doughnuts, bagels, croissants, and other pastries; too much fruit and juice, especially of tropical origin; stimulants; spices; and other expansive foods and beverages.
To help relieve atopy, observe a centrally balanced diet based on whole grains, cooked vegetables from land and sea, and a small amount of beans and bean products. As a special dish, take a cup of sweet vegetable drink in the morning and evening for up to a month. Ume-sho-kuzu, described above, may be taken daily or every other day, 1 cup for 2 to 3 weeks, especially in the case of intestinal troubles. To stop itching, apply a bancha tea compress, rice bran compress, or kombu plaster on the inflamed region.
The symptoms of hay fever include sneezing, itchy nose or eyes, a runny nose, nasal and head congestion, and occasional fever. Pollen from trees, grass, weeds, ragweed, fungus, or other plants when they come into bloom triggers the seasonal form of hay fever. Mold, dust, animal skin flakes, feathers, household fabrics (linen, bedding, clothing, pillows, carpets), and other irritants may cause the perennial form at any time of the year. Hay fever attacks usually last 15 to 20 minutes and may recur several times a day.
The underlying cause of susceptibility to hay fever is generally drinking too much cold milk, with fruit, juice, sugar, sweets, soft drinks, and chemically grown or treated food as contributing factors. From a natural view, pollen is light, expansive, and disperses in the wind. In the nasal passages or lungs, pollen is repelled by accumulations of mucus and fat from chronic milk or dairy intake, as well as past consumption of too much fruit and sweets, causing sneezing, coughing, and discharge of mucus. These foods may also cause stickiness in the blood, lymph, and internal membranes. When inhaled, pollen then remains and adheres to the surfaces, leading to irritation, instead of being eliminated smoothly by the lungs and other normal discharge mechanisms.
A balanced way of eating can generally relieve hay fever and other lung allergies without resorting to antihistamines, nasal sprays, decongestants, and other medications. To help prevent or relieve hay fever, observe a centrally balanced diet based on whole grains, cooked vegetables, and sea vegetables. Avoid or limit processed grains or flour products, including oatmeal, flaked grains, and corn grits until the condition improves. Miso soup should be taken daily and miso may be added occasionally as a seasoning to rice at the end of cooking and simmered for several minutes. Avoid raw foods except for pickles. Limit oil intake, using it only for lightly sautéed vegetables once or twice a week. Reduce the consumption of beans and bean products, preparing dried tofu instead of fresh tofu as much as possible. Seasonings should be light. Avoid fruit, juice, nuts and nut butters, as well as spices, herbs, stimulants, and animal foods, except for white-meat fish, if desired, once or twice a week.
Hives and Other Skin Allergies
Raised white welts on the skin surrounded by a red rash and usually itch are known as hives. Swellings also sometimes appear beneath the skin accompanied by a burning sensation (as opposed to itching), especially around the eyes and lips, on the hands and feet, or inside the throat or sex organs. Hives usually have a short duration, lasting a few minutes to several days. In extreme cases, they can cause severe, potentially fatal complications, especially hives in the throat that obstruct the air passages or lead to severe intestinal contractions. Modern science treats hives an allergic reaction to ingesting specific foods, such as milk or dairy products, fish, and nuts; penicillin, aspirin, and other drugs; food additives, flavorings, or preservatives; exposure to temperature extremes; stress; insect bites; and other factors. Antihistamines, oral corticosteroids, or ultraviolet light treatments are standard therapy.
From a natural perspective, hives and other skin allergies result from acidic blood and lymph creating intestinal weaknesses, an overactive gallbladder, and other organ troubles. The location of the hives generally corresponds with the internal organ affected, e.g., hives on the outside of the calves along the gallbladder meridian show that this energy channel and its associated organ, the gallbladder, are troubled.
To help prevent or recover from hives and other skin allergies, observe a centrally balanced diet based on whole grains, cooked vegetables, and a small volume of sea vegetables. Avoid buckwheat and soba noodles, as these strong grain and grain products may cause an outbreak. Take miso soup daily, but seasoned in moderation. As a special dish, daikon and daikon leaves cooked with kombu, with a little shoyu or miso to taste is particularly effective. The volume of beans and bean products should be reduced. Avoid salad, fruit, and other acidic foods. A small portion of white-meat fish may be taken occasionally mixed in with vegetables if craved, but otherwise avoid all animal quality foods. Temporarily eliminate nuts and nut butters as well as sunflower and other large, oily seeds. Usually sesame and pumpkin seeds are fine. As a special drink, prepare aduki bean juice daily for up to a week and then consume once or twice a week as needed. Add a pinch of sea salt to the aduki beans as they cook. For skin inflammation or irritation, apply a rice bran plaster with green leafy vegetables or a green nori plaster with green leafy vegetables. To prevent irritation, wear organic cotton clothing and use cotton bed sheets. Scrub the entire body every day with a hot towel or rice-bran wash.
About 75 percent of the people on the planet cannot digest cow's milk and other dairy products. In infancy, they are able to digest mother's breast milk, but after weaning most people lose the ability to secrete lactase, the pancreatic enzyme that enables them to digest lactose or dairy sugar. Even a small volume of milk can produce cramps, nausea, diarrhea, and bloating. The exception to this condition, which actually is the normal, healthy human response to dairy food, are people primarily of European and especially northern European or Scandinavian origin. Over the millennia, to adapt to a cold, semi-polar environment or glacial climate, their digestive systems have developed the ability to produce lactase beyond infancy.
To reach a wider market, the dairy industry has introduced lactose-reduced or lactose-free milk with 70 to 99 percent of the dairy sugar removed. The most recent edition of the U.S. Dietary Guidelines recognizes that lactose-intolerance is a widespread condition and that dairy foods are not essential for health. It states that those who are lactose intolerant (i.e., normal) can get sufficient calcium, iron, and other nutrients exclusively from plant sources. To prevent or relieve lactose intolerance, follow a centrally balanced diet and avoid milk and other dairy products. The home care section below has hints on how to discharge accumulated dairy mucus and fat.
As a general rule, avoid switching from cow's milk to soymilk, grain milks, and other commercial alternatives. If made at home, these bean or grain beverages may be part of a healthy diet, but commercial varieties are usually highly processed and very hard to balance. Still, they are better than dairy and may be used for enjoyment, special occasions, or for those in transition from heavy dairy intake.
Environmental illness (EI), also known as multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS), involves an extreme sensitivity to many ordinary substances found in the home, office, or natural environment, including perfumes, carpets, upholstery, plastics, paints, detergents, formaldehyde, particleboard, soaps, cosmetics, gas fumes, and other substances, especially those that produce a strong fragrance or odor. Symptoms may include headache, anxiety, dizziness, fatigue, weakness, breathing difficulties, and fainting. Going to a new environment or making a new acquaintance (who may be wearing a strong perfume, aftershave, or detergent) can trigger allergic symptoms. In extreme cases, E.I. is debilitating, and sufferers may have to live in special stimuli-free environments. Sick building syndrome (SBS) shares some of the same symptoms and may affect those who live or work in buildings with poor ventilation, synthetic building materials, artificial light, and high levels of air-borne toxins.
EI shows that the blood, lymph, and body fluids, as well as internal orders, are extremely weak. Though chemical and environmental triggers are toxic and should be avoided, this disorder arises from underlying dietary imbalance. Oversensitivity to virtually any smell, odor, or scent indicates that the liver, kidneys, and lungs are not functioning properly. A healthy person will instinctively know what materials and substances are potentially harmful and to be avoided. Within limits, he or she will also be able to tolerate them in the home or office environment since their digestive and eliminatory organs are strong and functioning properly.
Environmental illness is generally caused by longtime over intake of meat, poultry, eggs, dairy foods, and other animal products; sugar, chocolate, and other sweets; polished and refined grains; too much fruits and juice; tropical foods; spices; stimulants; alcohol and drugs. In different combinations, these foods gradually suppress the immune function, including the blood, lymph, nerves, muscles, bones, and endocrine glands, so that the slightest external stimuli may trigger a strong reaction or discharge.
To help overcome environmental illness may take several years. A balanced diet centered on whole cereal grains, cooked vegetables, especially root vegetables, a modest amount of beans and bean products, and sea vegetables is recommended. Miso soup should be taken at least once a day, and miso, a natural detoxifier, may be added to rice as a seasoning at the end of cooking occasionally. Ume-sho-kuzu, a special drink described above, may be taken twice a week.
U.S. Government Advice on Chemical Sensitivity and
Q. I think I'm "chemically sensitive," but I've been told by my doctor that it's "all in my head." Is multiple chemical sensitivity real? And what can I do?
A. Clearly the symptoms of people who consider themselves chemically sensitive are real and their suffering is not "in their head." At this time, medical doctors do not consider "multiple chemical sensitivity" (MCS) a recognized disease or condition, because as yet there are no diagnostic criteria for it. . . . However, so many people have sought help for problems with multiple chemicals that there have been a number of scientific conferences on the subject . While some medical doctors consider MCS to be primarily psychological in origin, others are keeping an open mind. If you seem to have reactions to many chemicals, make sure you've seen an allergist. It is possible to be allergic to many chemicals, and once they've been identified, you can avoid them. Many people are unaware that they have allergies, for example. Also it is common for an allergy to one chemical to make you more sensitive to other chemicals. Controlling primary allergies can reduce reactions to multiple irritants. Even if medical doctors cannot seem to help you, there are a number of very effective things you can do for yourself: Make a point of practicing good health habits, including regular exercise, adequate rest and a balanced, nutritional diet.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), "Frequently Asked Questions," 2001.
Mosquito bites, bee or wasp stings, and other insect bites are commonly treated with chemicals. However, their underlying cause is directly related to a person's blood quality and daily food pattern. Over consumption of sugar, honey, chocolate, and other refined sweeteners, soft drinks, tropical foods, too much fruit and juice, ice cream and dairy products, and other acidic foods, as well as heavy animal foods, creates overly weak blood and lymph. Mosquitoes and other insects like thinner, sweeter-smelling blood and will avoid stronger blood that thickens before it reaches their digestive track. Whole grains, vegetables from land and sea, and other predominantly alkalizing foods will strengthen the blood and reduce insect bites.
To relieve insect bites, simple home remedies are often effective. For mosquito bites, slice the white of a scallion or leek and rub it over the inflamed area. The squeezed juice of an onion or ginger root may be used as an alternative. For bee or wasp stings, apply the juice of a daikon or radish. For a spider bite, apply a mixture of 1 teaspoon of sesame oil with 1/4 teaspoon of salt. For scorpion or centipede bites, crush and mix a raw egg and cover the affected area. To improve the overall condition, follow a centrally balanced diet for several day, weeks, or longer. As a special drink, take ume-sho-kuzu two to three days in a row to strengthen the blood and lymph. In case of severe itching, such as bites from black flies on the hands or feet, senna tea may help eliminate the pain and reduce swelling. This traditional tea is available in some Oriental food stores.