Why mention three seemingly different conditions in one title? The reason for this is that allergies, asthma and eczema often go hand in hand. Either one person has one or more of these conditions or the three conditions run in families. These conditions are becoming much more common, especially in children. For example, there was a 40% increase in the rate of asthma in the USA from 1982 to 1992. Environmental issues are undoubtedly a significant factor. More than ever we are bombarded with chemicals on a daily basis in our foods, in our air, and through our skin barrier.
In many ways the pathophysiology of these three diseases is very similar. They are all grounded in a combination of chronic inflammation, poor immunity and hyper-reactivity. Persons with these conditions often, but not always, have poor digestion, yeast overgrowth, and toxic overload. They also share a number of nutritional deficiencies. Each condition manifests differently in each person. For example, some asthmatics are triggered by dry air and others by damp air. These energetic differences are important when considering the proper herbal treatments, as they too have energetic properties.
Contemporary treatments are available to help manage the symptoms of these diseases. Some of them are life saving and necessary. Unfortunately many of them can actually worsen the condition in the long run. For example, long term use of cortisone creams for eczema can damage the integrity of the skin and make it more prone to hypersensitivity. Inhaled steroids can provide relief for asthma, but in the long run undermine the body’s immunity. Studies on inhaled steroids have shown a decrease growth in children as well as increased risk for cataracts, bruising, oral thrush and loss of bone density.
Many people are aware of what triggers their allergies, asthma or eczema. Their personal management is to try avoiding these triggers. This can be overwhelming, especially when considering that the most common triggers are in many foods and in the air we breathe.
In the long run, it is vital to treat the underlying terrain so that these individuals are able to better withstand those triggers. For example, those with allergies, asthma and/or eczema generally have an imbalanced ratio of immune cells in the body; those immune factors dealing with allergic response are chronically overactive. Natural therapies can restore this balance.
The treatment approach varies from person to person. The common threads are as follows: (1) Triggers are established and eliminated or minimized in order to allow healing to occur. (2) The underlying terrain is addressed. For example, support is given to those tissues, the skin, the lungs and/or the gastrointestinal tract, whose integrity is often greatly compromised. It is these tissues that are supposed to act as a barrier from irritants in healthy individuals. (3) In the long run systemic imbalances, especially those relating to the immune system, are reestablished. (4) Appropriate life style changes are taught in order to sustain the benefits of the treatment. Good dietary habits, exercise and stress management are vital and can yield remarkable benefits. For example, many asthmatics have a higher amount of oxidative stress than healthy persons. They benefit greatly from the antioxidants from fruits and vegetables. Those with eczema require nutrients to support the skin, especially those coming from good oils found in certain fish, nuts and seeds.
It is possible to manage allergies, asthma and eczema quite effectively, and in many cases experience complete remission. It is interesting to note that when treating one of these conditions, the others often automatically clear up. Again, there is definitely a common thread.