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3 Steps to Make Your Allergies Go Away … FOREVER!

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Spring and summer are a joy. Unless you’re one of millions who suffer with seasonal allergies. Then it can be a really miserable couple of seasons of sniffling, scratchy throat, coughing, itchy eyes – or the alternative – taking medications that make you sleepy, or that you just don’t want to take because you prefer to be au natural.

I suffered from horrible seasonal allergies well into my mid-teens, so I am no stranger to the symptoms. My summers were spent retreating to an air-conditioned room with an antihistamine on those high pollen count days just to be able to breathe easily (you know what I’m talking about…). I loved being outdoors as much as possible so it made me miserable on every level.

It’s even worse if your allergies trigger your asthma – which is the case for many adults and increasing numbers of children.

Breaking the Cycle: No More Allergies for Me!

One year everything changed for me. I became a vegetarian (no, you do not have to become a vegetarian to get rid of your allergies!), cleaned up my diet of all sugar, soda, preservatives, additives, dyes and other non-food junk, and drastically decreased my dairy intake (yes, if you want your allergies to go away forever, you will have to do this – sorry).

I went as organic as I could afford to. I did this for political, not health, reasons. I was part of the early movement to “take back our food” and be free of dependence on Big Agra — It took a lot of effort to find local coops and small farms from which to get my foods (No, Virginia, there were no cells phones or Whole Foods back then) – but I felt good about my choices. The unexpected bonus was that health issues, which I just assumed were a normal part of life for me, simply vanished –  including my allergies.

That spring and summer came and went without a tickle, sniffle, cough, or medication. Then the next. And the next. At some point I realized what had happened… I had become allergy free. I didn’t even use herbs or supplements at the time because I wasn’t intentionally trying to get rid of them. It was all about the dietary changes.

Even more interestingly, by the time I had kids – in spite of rampant colds, allergies, and asthma on both sides of our families – they weren’t getting sick, needing antibiotics, or having any allergy or asthma symptoms. An original organic foodie, I breastfed each child for a well over a year (or three), introducing healthy, organic, homemade foods slowly into their diets around 10 months to a year of age. They never had juice or sugar, and dairy was at a minimum – occasionally just some organic, live culture yogurt. I was amazed. It was all about their diet, too.

I knew I was onto something.

Now It’s Your Turn: The 3 Steps to Freedom from Allergies

I love helping my patients become allergy free. Spring and summer are once again enjoyable. Travel to exotic places doesn’t cause them problems. They no longer have to take medications. Some also no longer have asthma attacks. One patient, who had been unable to spend much time at her in-laws’ house because of severe cat allergies, was able to enjoy an entire winter holiday with her husband’s family at his parents’ home for the first time ever – and didn’t requite a single dose of medication.

It’s really not that hard to do. It just takes 3 steps:

  1. A commitment to a healthy diet
  2. Healing your gut with the 4R program
  3. A few simple supplements

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Depending on your allergy severity, this can take anywhere from a few weeks to 6 months.

If you’ve got allergy symptoms right now, there is help before you dig in deeper to the next steps. Feel free to jump to the end of this piece and start with But I’ve Got Allergies NOW and work your way backwards. Everyone in this for the long haul, read on…

Just as a caveat, I am not talking about getting rid of severe IgE allergies such as peanuts, bees, medications, or other allergens which can cause you to have an immediate, severe, or anaphylactic reaction. Those tend to be permanent. I am talking about common seasonal allergies such as pollens, dander, and common foods that trigger IgG reactions – the ones that make you miserable but aren’t going to kill you! So please don’t try this treatment and go eat nuts if you’re severely allergic! But if you have the other kind of allergies, over weeks and months, you might be pleasantly surprised to find that old triggers just don’t bother you anymore!

The Gut and Allergy Connection

All of the symptoms associated with allergies are signs of inflammation: redness, swelling, and itching, for example. To get rid of allergies, you have to get rid of inflammation and hyper-reactivity. The place to start is in your gut.

One of the major jobs of your digestive system is to provide an interface between the external world (foods, allergens, bacteria, etc.) and your bloodstream. It does this in the stomach by using natural digestive acids to break down potentially allergenic proteins and in the intestines via a layer of barrier cells that prevents these proteins from getting into your blood stream. You also have a whole host of special bacteria in your gut, as well as immune cells, whose job it is to break down and get rid of proteins and other molecules that can cause you to get sensitized to them, leading to gut – and systemic – inflammation.

When you are taking medications for reflux (like a PPI such as Prilosec) this takes out the first line of defense – your stomach acid. When your gut barrier gets weakened from chronic exposure to foods that irritate your gut, or when the good bacteria get out of balance from antibiotics, you can develop a leaky gut. Foreign proteins get into your system and place your body on red alert to react to many triggers in your environment.

So the first step to quieting down your body’s over reactivity is to heal your gut. This will reduce both seasonal allergies and common food sensitivities.

The 4R Program for Gut Healing

To simplify the process of healing the gut, I teach my patients the 4R program. It takes about 4-6 weeks and it looks like this:

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Let me break this down for you:

Remove: This is done with an Elimination Diet. An elimination diet is 2 weeks of eating a simple diet from which you have removed the most common food triggers including gluten, sugar, dairy, eggs, soy, coffee, soda, and artificial ingredients – as well as anything you typically crave (i.e., sugar, carbs, salty snacks). Ideally, you would also stop many of your medications, especially reflux medications, NSAIDS, and antibiotics – but talk with your doctor first! If you have reflux, DGL licorice is a great alternative to PPIs and H2blockers. It safely heals the stomach without the potentially serious adverse effects of the above medications.

The elimination diet takes little bit of planning and coordination, especially with kiddos, but it is simple and makes a huge difference. I’ve got a blog coming soon on how to do one. You can also use The Ultra Simple Diet by Dr. Mark Hyman for guidance.

If you have constipation, you’ll want to deal with this now. Get plenty of fiber in your diet and drink ample water, too. Supplements such as flax seed, psyllium, and magnesium citrate are safe for most people to take daily. For kids, slippery elm, which tastes like maple syrup, may be used, 1-2 tsp daily in oatmeal or a smoothie. The goal is 1 healthy BM every day.

Replace: After 2 weeks on the Elimination Diet, start taking a good quality digestive enzyme product (you can give these to kids over 4, too). This is safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women, too.

Reinoculate: After another week, add in a good quality probiotic. Also safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women, and for kids.

Repair: The following supplements can now be taken for about a month (up to 6 months) to help to heal the intestinal lining:

  • Tumeric, aloe vera, marshmallow root, and DGL licorice (aloe and licorice are not for internal use during pregnancy; these are fine for children) are some of the most effective herbs for healing the gut lining. They are best taken in capsule or extract form, though tumeric can also be added to foods. DGL licorice is available as chewable lozenges and thus may be the simplest one to give to kids.
  • Zinc: 5-10 mg/day for children 4-7 years, 10-20 mg/day for children to age 12, 25-40 mg/day for older children and adults
  • An antioxidant supplement containing vitamins A and carotenoids, C, E, and selenium. These are often found in a multivitamin. Pregnant women should get these from their prenatal vitamin only.
  • Fish oil: I prefer Nordic Natural Pro-DHA Jr. for kids, and any good quality fish oil for adults. For kids you can put the oil into smoothies. Fish oil is important for general health in pregnancy and breastfeeding, too.
  • L-Glutamine Powder: 5-10 gm of powder twice daily for one month. (Much less for kids but talk with your child’s doctor before using and don’t supplement in pregnancy).

Even after you complete all of this, you’ll want to keep your diet as healthy as possible – indefinitely. You can reintroduce some of the typical allergens you’ve removed, but do it one by one, each a few days apart, noting any symptoms that might arise when you resume eating them. If you have any allergy symptoms, that food might not be optimal to include in your diet. You can also continue on the gut healing supplements for 3-6 months, and then see how you do with a challenge of that food. As for sugar, baked goods, additives, and junk food – you’re going to want to leave those out pretty much forever. They’re not good for you – or anyone.

But I’ve Got Allergies NOW

I know … 4 weeks+ is a long time to get your gut repair on when you’ve got symptoms now. Never fear! There’s help! My favorite herbal medicine and nutritional supplements work wonders even in a pinch. Most patients who switch to them do not have to use OTC or prescription allergy meds again. If you don’t do the 4R program, symptoms may come back, so you’ll need to keep treating with these natural supplements.

If you are doing the 4R program, go ahead and add all of these in from the beginning of your Elimination Diet and continue to take all of these throughout allergy season.

These herbs and nutritional supplements are best taken on a daily basis. Taking them before allergy season even starts can prevent symptoms altogether. They can also be used on an as needed basis.

If you haven’t yet hit allergy season in your region, start now to get a jumpstart.

  • Eliminate dairy, gluten, baked flour products, packaged juices, and sugar. Reduce your exposures to known food and environmental triggers as much as possible.
  • Freeze Dried Stinging Nettle: Take 3-6 capsules daily (this is safe if you are pregnant). This is a safe, natural antihistamine that does not make you drowsy, and reduces seasonal allergies very effectively. The nettles have to be freeze-dried to do their job. Because they are in capsules, kids have to be able to swallow them. You can purchase these in major natural foods stores or online.
  • Quercetin: 500 mg daily (half that for kids). Quercetin is a plant pigment found in many common herbs and foods, and a very reliable anti-inflammatory nutritional supplement. It helps with gut repair, boosts the immunity in your mucus membranes reducing reactivity to seasonal allergens, and also helps reduce food allergies. There is conflicting data on whether it is safe in pregnancy. Do not take it during the first trimester and limit your dose to 250 mg/day thereafter if you’d prefer to use this over a conventional pharmaceutical while pregnant.
  • Zinc: Take an age appropriate dose daily, as described above. Don’t double up between this and the 4R program – it’s just one zinc dose/day.
  • Buffered Ascorbic Acid: Take up to 2000 mg daily. This is an excellent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. Do not exceed this as a total daily dose during pregnancy, including what is in your prenatal vitamin.

Whether you’re doing the 4R program or not, you will get seasonal allergy relief from this plan. If you choose to do the 4R program, you may find that like me, changing your diet not only frees you from being dependent on a food industry that is not in our best health interest, but it also frees you from seasonal allergies – 4Ever.

Let me know in the comments below how “allergy-free” goes for you!

To your health!

AJR Sig

 

 

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Comments

  1. What do you say to a supposed expert when he says?
    ” Although transient passage of cultured probiotics can improve symptoms it should be noted that oral probiotics commercially available are incapable of implanting permanently into the gut flora as they have lost their capability to adhere to epithelial cells through the process of culturing in the commercial laboratory. It is only fresh human probiotics from another human being that retain that capability and hence can be implanted to reverse damage and side effects and then stay in the bowel to protect in the future.”
    http://www.probiotictherapy.com.au/pages/what_are_probiotics.html

    It has certainly matched what I see when I use probiotics. Goes OK while I’m on them but within days I’m back to where I was.

    • I don’t know about the data you provided, but you might want to experiment with different strains to see what’s best for you… Also, it is good to vary your probiotic every now and then. I mostly derive mine from my diet- yogurt and ‘kraut, for example.

  2. Love this! Why does the nettle need to be freeze dried?

    • See above :)

      • I had the same question about nettles. I’m sorry but I don’t see how “see above” answers the question. We grow them and use it regularly in dried form for tea and also make tinctures with it. So in the same way you prefer to reduce your dependence on the food industry we also prefer to reduce our dependence on ready made herbal supplements by growing and making our own whenever possible. I already have stinging nettles. Should I research how to freeze dry them myself for them to be effective? Thanks for the other great info.

        • Pretty sure it requires some special equipment – but you can see if Eclectic Institute has any prep info, they make an excellent product.

          • You only say that they need to be freeze dried to do their job. Can you tell us why? What changes when they are freeze dried?

          • Hi Beth,
            Freeze dried preserves the formic acid in the needles — and this is the antihistaminic chemical…
            So fresh nettles are excellent for nutrition; freeze dried for allergies.
            :)
            Aviva

  3. Great information heading into the allergy season. Just a quick question about turmeric. The article says to supplement for 1 month(up to 6), does this mean turmeric should not be taken long term?

    I am currently taking 500 mg once a day and adding in another 500 mg capsule in the evening 2 or 3 times a week.

    • Tumeric can be taken pretty much indefinitely. It’s a fantastic anti-inflammatory. Enjoy!

      • We are growing fresh organic turmeric on our farm in the hoophouse this year and I love this plant. One of my friends whom has rheumatoid arthritis bought some freshly harvested rhizomes from us and found it makes her sick…diarrhea and runny nose, feeling bad. She had no problem with curry, mustard, dried capsules. Any ideas why? So far everyone else uses and eats it fine and loves it like we do. She also mentioned turmeric can have adverse effects on people who take blood thinners. I began to worry about this and looked on a medical website which also said for pregnant women not to take turmeric. I am wondering in what dried and fresh amts of turmeric cause these adverse effects?
        I am in love with this golden rhizome and surprised that there was so much to being careful about eating and using turmeric. I need help to get to know better how to recommend it to people who buy fresh turmeric from us.

        • hi karen
          turmeric in moderation is fine for most people. that is, in normal amounts in cooking. i do not recommend concentrated amounts of strong herbs to pregnant women and yes, folks on blood thinners should talk with their docs before using herbs in medicinal strength. turmeric is traditionally used dried so maybe the traditional people of india and other places know something we don’t know. i find the fresh personally quite strong.
          love that you’re growing it. what a color!!!
          aviva

  4. Thanks for this post!!! I need to hop on the board b/c allergy season just hit and I am already hating it.

  5. This is an excellent article. Concise; easy to follow and very relevant. Thank you for putting this information together.

  6. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! That was perfectly timed and crystal clear.

  7. Kim Strickland says:

    I LOVE hearing from you. I have used your books for 10 years – ever since I had my first child. I too switched my diet to deal with some health issues. I did this about 17 years ago and the following spring I noticed I had no more allergies – after experiencing them for 20 years. I had 3 years of allergy shots as a child and then as a teenager was using OTC things regularly to be able to breath. At the time I couldn’t find any literature about what had happened. I was so excited to be rid of them. I now have 3 children who do not suffer from allergies or asthma. Both my siblings have allergies and asthma and continue to eat the SAD diet. I wish I could find such a holistic doctor near me! Keep doing what you are doing. I am so proud of you for going back to school to get your MD as you can now help even more people!

  8. Excellent article, thank you for writing about the gut connection. I didn’t know nettles had to be freeze dried to work. I’ve been making a strong infusion from nettles I dried myself in the dehydrator and it seemed to do the job. I wonder if it was a placebo effect or some other benefit to the nettles that helped me.

  9. Thank you so much for this article! I recently stopped taking my conventional allergy medication b/c I’m pregnant and I have been very nervous for allergy season – you posted this for me just in time! I love all of your articles and you always make everything so easy by specifically mentioning what’s safe for pregnancy and breastfeeding. I already switched to an all-organic diet so I’m halfway there! Thank you!!

  10. Thank you so much for this article. People often don’t want to hear it when I tell them diet is related to their seasonal allergies, this will be a great resource to point them towards

  11. Thank you, thank you! My 4 year old has multiple, severe food allergies, asthma and seasonal allergies. He is on Prednisone (which I Hate) right now because his asthma is so bad. I felt in my gut yesterday that it was time for a fast and took him off all carbs and sugars yesterday. He is allergic to dairy, corn, soy, peanuts and eggs so is off those already. Three points:
    1. I’d love to see meal ideas for kiddos on these restrictions.
    2. The GAPS program is very similar but lasts two years. I’d love your comments on the differences between your plan and GAPS and if there are any situations in which you feel more than 4-6 weeks is appropriate to heal guts.
    3. I am a Special Educator in private practice. I see Many students with these issues. I am wondering if certification through your Kids program (when it becomes available) would enable me to legally walk families through this process?

    Thank you!
    Angelique Chaverri, M.S.Ed., IMAP/IMC

    • I reckon some of Aviva’s ideas might speed up healing on GAPS, which we are also doing. Plus look into bitters :)

  12. When you say the nettles have to be freeze-dried, does that mean that using fresh nettle tea or nettle tincture isn’t effective for allergies?

    Thanks!

    • Yup! But it’s a great nutritive tonic!

    • My family has used either nettle tea or homemade nettle glycerite made with dried nettle (from Mountain Rose Herbs) with excellent results for several years. I know others who also have had good results with their nettle glycerites.

      • In my experience, nettles in any form will accomplish the same effects, though it may take a little longer for effects to be evident.

  13. Thank you for the most informative article. I drink stinging nettle infusion (along with red clover, red raspberry leaf and lady’s mantle). Is an infusion of stinging nettle as effective as in capsule form?

  14. Hi, I saw you said no baked flour products. Does this include home made quinoa crackers or gluten free oat bran crackers made with water and sea salt?

    • If someone has a lot of gut inflammation with a lot of gas, I might go with no grains altogether for a short time. But sounds like what you’re talking about would be ok for most folks. Remember that oats can be cross-contaminated with gluten…So make sure they are from a company that does gluten free oats…

  15. Hi – One question – do you suggest going on a digestive enzyme and probiotic indefinitely? Is it ok to discontinue one or the other after a while? Right now I take both, bu the enzyme I only take as needed.

    I see from a comment above, something about a kids certification program. I’d be very interested.

    Thanks!
    Jennifer

    • It really depends on personal needs, dietary sources, and digestive issues. For some folks – yup, for others even just a few months is adequate.

  16. Going to start immediately! Don’t want those allergies to start this year!! Thank you Aviva for an awesome job, once again :)

  17. Lisa Russell says:

    Was curious about stinging nettle and why it has to be freeze dried? I have a pound of the dried, but not sure they are freeze dried.

  18. Hi! Wondering if one is already taking probiotics if I should stop at the begining of the 4-6 week program, then add them back in a couple weeks later. Thank you!

    • Great question! Sometimes I do have folks stop the probiotic during the 4R program – especially if they have a lot of gas, bloating, and burping. In that case I might use some herbs with antimicrobial activity (Inflamasyn is a product that is a good example of what I’m talking about) to reduce unfriendly bugs, then reintroduce the probiotic after a few weeks of that….
      But if you’ve been on the probiotic for awhile and aren’t having those symptoms, it’s ok to just keep on it….

  19. I know you need to used freeze dried nettle for dried nettle to be effective, but using it fresh is still an option yes?? Would eating it raw (de-stung of course) or making teas from the fresh herb help in the same way?

    Thanks for posting this! Now if I can only stop making such delicious cakes from my juice pulp… ha! They might be organic flour and sweetened with honey and such… but I know they are still not actually good for me!

    • It’s exactly the sting that you need for it to work – that’s where the antihistamine activity is. It is quickly degraded with processing and drying – so freeze-dried it’s gotta’ be for allergies. For pure deliciousness, of course, eating the greens steamed or sauteed with lemon, butter, and garlic — YUM!

  20. From cape town, south Africa: I am so excited to be reading this!!
    We have been doing exactly these things for the last month and have been blown away by the results.
    My son has struggled with skin issues and allergies since he was about 3 years old. He is now 6 years old. Diagnosed with ‘atopic eczema’ which was completely out of control for 3.5 years. I saw countless doctors and specialists who carried on treating his skin as eczema, and would not listen to me that there ‘was something more to it’ red itchy welts, weeping skin all over whole body. He started losing weight, skin totally out of control, hair loss, we have had to take him out of school and care for him at home. We were in a living hell for about 8 months. We did blood tests, allergy tests, food elimination diet.. All inconclusive. Wheat came back negative, as did milk and all the usual suspects, although grass pollen dust mites and cats were positive.
    Finally we were referred to someone who diagnosed him with celiac as well as severe candida overgrowth and severe gut inflammation. Told to cut out gluten, milk, sugar, yeasts, certain fruits, all processed foods and additives etc..given a supplement powder of turmeric, daily probiotics, GSE drops for the candida, as well as l-glutamine, zinc, omega oils… We were given a timeframe of about 4 months to get him healthy again. His ‘food sensitivities were actually sensitivities to everything no matter what he ate as his gut was so inflamed.. Which is why the results were inconclusive..we are Still continuing with antihistamines and skin care regime for now. In the past month tho the results are amazing. More energy, better bowel movements, increased appetite.. And the skin!! The skin.. Huge improvement. Flareups are far fewer and subside fast. We are getting our lives back!!! I would never have thought in the past this would work the way it has… We had lost all hope after 3 years of trying everythihg…after being told by doctors i am neurotic and ‘there is nothing we can do… Have some more antibiotics and cortisone…’
    Here is to the next few months to see even more improvement… :-)

  21. Thank you sooo much for this blog post! I’ve been allergic to everything growing or living my whole life, to the point of getting weekly shots for years and continuing to suffer despite daily medication. I went off Allegra a couple of months ago and have had very few (if any) allergies since then, and I definitely attribute that to changing the way I eat. Over the past 5 years, I’ve slowly started eating more fresh, organic, local produce. In the past 3 years, I’ve cut out almost all pre-packaged and processed foods (so there are very little dyes, additives, and preservatives in my diet). In the past year, I’ve gradually cut back (not out, though!) on grains, dairy, sugar, and oils other than olive and coconut. We’ve also incorporated natural probiotics into our life by fermenting our own milk kefir, water kefir, and other fermented foods. All of our eggs are pastured, our milk is raw or non-homogonized, and meat (of which we consume very little) is antibiotic-free, etc. Oh, and I consume raw local honey and apple cider vinegar. Our reasons for eating this way were initially as much ethically-driven as anything (less waste, supporting small farmers, treating animals humanely . . .), but I also feel generally better (more energy, less stomachaches) and have come to really enjoy the taste of fresh produce and other more natural ingredients. It wasn’t until I read this blog post this morning that I was compelled to think that all of this must also be what has caused the drastic change in my allergies as well. I had a dog in my house for a week in December without much/any reaction and took a run this morning without sneezing the whole time. I definitely don’t follow the guidelines you spelled out to a “t,” but I can’t figure out any other good reason my severe allergies (to mites, mold, ragweed, trees, grass, horses, cats, pollen, dogs, wool, feathers . . .) would have dissipated, especially after going *off* of my allergy meds. I look forward to trying the 4Rs and seeing a complete disappearance. You made me a believer, Aviva!

  22. Awesome article! Dairy is the main thing that did away with my sinus-related allergies for sure!

    Aren’t tasted bitters more thoroughly digestion-stimulating than digestive enzymes? Because they stimulate the vagal reflex? I read about this in Principles & Practices of Phytotherapy (2013, p.41) and am interested because I have digestive enzymes in my cupboard too.

    I had understood that leaky gut is also affected by stress, and by wheat (or gluten?) itself, and maybe all grains? And does your 4R program take into account issues with natural food chemicals, like amines? I know Feingold/Royal Prince Alfred does, but they eliminate a lot of healing foods, when it’s possible to heal the gut/improve digestion so that they’re better tolerated.

    I love reading your blog posts!! Yay Aviva!

    • Thank you!
      Digestive enzymes and bitters work slightly differently and are an excellent complement to each other. And yes, you are correct, leaky gut is caused by all of these factors. Glad to hear you’re reading PPP – it’s a fantastic herb book! :)

  23. hi,
    thanks for the info! another thing that people may want to try is a couple of tablespoons turmeric in a cup of hot milk daily, with a pinch of cinnamon, nutmeg and a teaspoon of honey. it worked for me like a charm (i had awful seasonal allergies) and after that one spring season, i noticed that my allergies were significantly lighter, even though i didn’t continue the turmeric treatment. of course, it calls for milk, but that is really to enhance the absorbability of the turmeric (needs fat). i am sure you could substitute coconut oil or some other fat. (i can’t say i eat really healthily, although my diet is better than most.) now, when i feel any kind of allergic reaction coming on, i take that (just turmeric in milk) and it goes away almost instantly.

  24. Why do the nettles have to be freeze dried?

  25. Thank you SO much Aviva, I am in allergy hell right now. It is my first summer back here in New Zealand after six years abroad and the pollen in the air have been giving me major grief. I have been looking everywhere for some natural alternatives to steroid injections and antihistamines that no longer seem to work. Thank you for giving such an in-depth account at how to heal and combat allergies :)

  26. Aaron Ibbotson says:

    Thank you for this great article and lively discussion. It seems as though many allergy problems start at a young age, based upon the comments here. I’ve been experiencing the opposite situation–developing allergies in my 40s after never experiencing them in my younger years. Will the programs you’ve outlined work for someone like me, or are they best geared for younger folks?

    • Hi Aaron! Absolutely! In fact, I commonly see patients who first develop allergies in their 40s – you aren’t alone in this. The allergy response is something that builds up with repeated exposure and at some point reaches critical mass and then you have symptoms. Interestingly, when I test patients for food allergies (yes, this testing is somewhat controversial and is not 100% reliable) the foods that they are most allergic too are the ones they eat most frequently – it is the repeated exposure. This is also why someone can take and antibiotic or get stung by bees and not have a reaction -and then all of a sudden , it seems, they get exposed an have a massive reaction. Let us hear how it goes for you if you decide to try the natural remedies! Warmly, Aviva

  27. I am soooo happy to read this. My son has asthma and I am trying to get him off his meds. He uses albuterol as needed and lately he is needing it alot. We are already on GAPS, it will be a year at the end of this month (April), so we are already doing the first step. We are completely free of processed foods and sugars. If I don’t make it from scratch, we dont’ eat it. The only sugars we eat are from fruits and honey. I have very high hopes that these supplementations will work for both him and I. I don’t have the seasonal allergies that he does. I have a few questions that maybe you can answer.
    Will these supplements help with exercised induced asthma, and asthma resulting from going from warm to cold or from cold to warm as happens in the winter and fall? How about smells, ie. fingernail polish will send him into a mild attack. How would the supplements help that…

    Should all of these supplements be taken at once, say first thing in the morning or through out the day?

    Would any if taken at the same time counteract any others?

    Is it advisible to take some of all of these you listed (Tumeric, aloe vera, marshmallow root, and DGL licorice) or just pick one?

    I am so excited to get going on this…this spring for the first time my son has had to take is albuterol alot. It isn’t until fall that he needs it so regularly.

    Thank you so much!!!

    • Hi Julie,
      I would do the whole kit and caboodle for your son. He may also have multiple chemical sensitivity which will be reduced with this plan, but he may need some additional attention for his ability to detoxify environmental chemicals as well. That would usually require some help from an integrative doc or naturopath… Great health to you both! Aviva

  28. Hi, When you say eliminate sugar is that honey, maple syrup and agave nectar as well? Also, when you say eliminate flour is that including almond and coconut flours? We don’t use anything processed, I make everything home made and we don’t use any white flour, white sugar or table salt. Very limited organic dairy and as much as possible I buy organic fruits and veggies when I can afford it. We use raw, local honey and I bake with only almond and coconut flours. We are gluten free and actually grain free as well because I don’t do well with grains. I don’t have allergies as badly as I used to but they are still there. What do I do?

  29. I’m giving my kids (3, almost 6 and almost 8) a supplement with 75mg Vit C, 100mg Quercetin Dihydrate, 100mg Stinging Nettles Leaf, 25mg Bromelain and 12mg N-Acetyl-l-cystine. They will take the chewable supplements (none have learned to swallow capsules yet). I have been told to give them up to 6 a day when symptoms are intense. I also supplement with quercetin – up to 500mg three times a day with really acute symptoms. None of my kiddos have horrible seasonal allergies thank goodness, and are in general good health. I’m slowly moving toward reducing gluten and dairy (we eat mainly organic and overall pretty balanced). My main question is about the supplement… how many tablets would you suggest I give to get the amt. of stinging nettle you advise. Do you think the other herbs/supplements are helpful? Thank you!!!!

    • Hi Laura,
      This looks like a great combination- even 3 tabs a day should be plenty! Be aware that chewable Vit C can affect tooth enamel so have the kiddos take the supplement close to when they are gonna brush well! Warmly Aviva

  30. Stephanie says:

    Hello there, I’m ready to try it!
    After the 2 weeks of the elimination diet, one should continue this diet for the rest of the 4-6 week period while taking the digestive enzymes, probiotics, and supplements?

    Also, what is it about dairy that causes problems?
    It is the most difficult thing to eliminate from my diet because I am vegetarian and allergic to beans/legumes. Besides nuts and seeds, I rely on dairy for protein.

    • Yes, that’s correct. And some folks will need to stay off of most dairy and gluten indefinitely- but that’s not too hard to do these days! The proteins in dairy trigger allergies in many people – and more so in cases where there is leaky gut. Dairy is not an optimal protein source but I hear you – this is tough. I was a vegetarian for a long time. Healing your gut might heal your bean intolerances – unless they are true IgE allergies. Eating fish an option?

  31. This is so great. I am exclusively breastfeeding my 5.5 month old daughter. I can’t do an Elimination Diet whilst breastfeeding, right? What of this can I do to improve my darn allergies now??

    Thank you!!

    • You can absolutely do an elimination diet while BF’ing because it’s not a cleanse – it’s really just eating a super simple healthy diet. In a sense, it’s a slightly more restricted version of what a healthy diet actually looks like. So YES.
      :) Aviva

  32. Why is it unsafe to use licorice during pregnancy?

    • The DGL form is actually likely totally fine. There has been clear correlation of regular licorice consumption (including candy that contains actual licorice) with preterm birth.

  33. Aviva,

    I re-read the post and thought of more questions.

    1. My four year old son (that has asthma, seasonal allergies and multiple severe allergies) cannot swallow pills, yet. How can I get the stinging nettle in him? I currently give him a tea of equal parts dandelion leaf, red raspberry leaf, Eyebright and nettles with a little raw honey and as much fresh lemon juice as he can stand. Obviously, the nettle isn’t doing what I’d hoped.

    2. What’s a good way to get him to take turmeric? On a spoon with some olive oil and raw honey?

    3. My 11 month old son is showing signs of the same issues. Are any of these herbs not recommended for infants?

    • Hi Angelique
      Peruse the comments here – I’ve listed a liquid free-dried stinging nettles! Tumeric can be blended into smoothies…A low allergenic diet and probiotics is most appropriate for your littlest one.

  34. Thank you for this article! I have been able to manage my allergies and asthma for years just by following a proper diet. I think is very important for people to reintroduce foods slowly after the elimination diet since some people have intolerance to different plants or grains. For me personally, it turns out I can not handle all the additives in our food. So I started making food from scratch and added a lot of lacto- fermented foods to my diet. It is so wonderful to be outside all summer without sneezing , runny eyes and the potential asthma attack creeping up on me!
    I will definitely share this article with friends who don’t believe me that proper diet heals almost everything! Maybe they will be convinced hearing it from you.

  35. Hi Aviva. What’s the youngest age you would give a child the freeze dried sting nettle capsules? Two years? three? Can the powder be put into food like a smoothie?

    Thanks for all you do!
    Cheryl

  36. Thanks for all of this great info. When you talk about dairy, do you see a difference between raw vs. pasteurized when it comes to allergies? Also, what about goat vs. cow? I raise both goats and cows and eat a fair bit of homemade but pasteurized cheese and drink some raw milk, although not daily. Some people claim raw milk helps alleviate allergies so I wanted to hear your thoughts. thanks!

    • Hi Natasha,
      For those who are dairy sensitive, it is really no different in my experience between pasteurized and raw; but many folks are much more able to tolerate goat and sheep dairy products. While doing the elimination I’d still remove all and the gently reintroduce and see how it goes…
      Warmly. Aviva

  37. My son has had asthma for a few years. This year his asthma is bad now, previously it was mostly in the fall/winter. Or when going from hot to cold or cold to hot. We are currently on the GAPS diet and will have been on the diet for a year at the end of this month (April), so we have that going for us. I had type questions several hours ago, but I must have not submitted…ugh!
    Anyway, my questions are: Are all of theses supplements supposed to be given at the same time or given at different times. Is it save to give all at once? If given all at once will any counteract another?

    You list: Tumeric, aloe vera, marshmallow root, and DGL licorice…I just want to make sure I understand…only give one of these? If kids can’t swallow you suggest the DGL Licorice?

    Give with food?

    Thanks for all of the info…can’t wait to try and see if these work for us.

    • Yes. give at the same time. Kids can take all of the GI herbs – but if they are unable to swallow anything other than liquids, you can hide marshmallow in a smoothie and give chewable or liquid DGL. With or without food. :)

  38. Too much fiber can have an adverse effect on certain people, especially psyllium husks. A good alternative with fiber and A gentle supplement perfect for every step of the 4 R’s is Triphala. From an ayurvedic standpoint it us balancing, detoxifying and regulates your bowels and digestion. Its a supplement every person on earth should probably take, regularly, and will decrease seasonal allergies on its own. Also perfect for constipation, diarrhea, ibs etc.

  39. RebeccaGold says:

    What about fresh nettles juiced and then preserved in alcohol. I did that last year and it seems to give acute relief from seasonal allergies. WOuld this preserve the histamines in the stinging hairs?

    • I don’t think so…But if it works for you – perhaps enough was spared! I think the contsituents would degrade over time prepared this way.

  40. Thanks for this great article! We’ve been planning to follow GAPS but I’m really intrigued by your shorter timeline:). Why such a difference in duration? We have quite a few food intolerances we would like to clear up with some guy healing! Thanks for your help:)

    • I’m curious re Aviva’s thoughts about GAPS too. I think GAPS is meant address more (and more serious) conditions, but I’m really excited about the potential for herbs (even more than this article mentions) to speed up gut healing. GAPS people need this kind of support, as the mentality can be quite restrictive.

      • Can be really helpful for some… once the gut is healed folks can often reintroduce foods that were previously intolerable – but that can take even a year for some folks.

  41. In the summer when people cut there grass, I have two wear a mask or take two benidryl or I will get HIVES. Will this diet help that.

    • Yes – but it may take some time so still keep your benadryl on hand until you know for sure! The nettles-quercetin can be tried first, though – many people find it as effective as benadryl without making you sleepy. It is NOT an alternative to an epi-pen in an emergency though! :)

  42. Thanks for all of the information Aviva! I make a drink with a base of aloe that has fresh turmeric, ginger, spearmint, lemon and cayenne which works wonders for inflammation and circulation. I have Celiac and did your above 4 R plan for about a year, cutting out all starch, taking a high dose of probiotics, fermented foods and enzymes. My gut is not perfect yet but I am way less effected by gluten if I get it accidentally via cross contamination.
    Do you think the quercitin would be appropriate for me now? Or is this best during the 4 R’s?
    with love,
    Antonia

    • Good for you Antonia! That’s a great blend!!! Yes, this Q & N should be excellent. Good luck and let me know!

  43. I am curious about what is unsafe about taking aloe while pregnant?

  44. What do you recommend for calcium intake if I remove dairy from my son’s diet (he is a picky eater who eats a lot of cheese, and his favorite meal is breakfast with cereal and milk). I know a lot of foods contain calcium, but they are typically not the powerhouses that dairy is, so he would have to consume more of them than the dairy products. I’ve heard all the admonishments about picky eaters — that they will eat what is in front of them — but this is not the case with my son. He will choose not to eat and go hungry if he doesn’t like the food, and he is already underweight due to a prolonged illness a few years ago. He is starting to branch out with his food choices, but he has a long way to go! He does not have major problems like asthma, but he does suffer from seasonal allergies. We eat a fairly healthy, well-rounded diet, but we do eat dairy and eggs, although I do try to limit dairy intake during allergy season. I just haven’t cut it out completely. I also don’t have much control over what he chooses to eat at school for lunch (he’s required to eat the cafeteria food), although we often discuss healthy food choices. Thanks for your advice.

    • Hi Ann! Sorry for the delayed response…
      Yes, it can be tough with picky eaters. First, I’d consider whether yeast in his intestines is a problem because this can lead to picky eating and specific food cravings. So can food sensitivities. So working with someone to rule these out can be useful. Sometimes kids are just picky and prefer what’s easy and tastes good. If he’s healthy you might not need to eliminate dairy altogether – sometimes you can just minimize it. Kale, red beans, sesame tahini, and tofu are all rich sources of calcium. Best! Aviva

  45. This is great information. While I do not suffer from allergies, my husband does and has been on medication for years. He also struggles with acid reflux, and I did not realize that the 2 can be related. I don’t think I can get him to change his diet this drastically. I could probably encourage him to start the herbals – would he just discontinue his prescription meds and introduce the herbals?
    Also, I am a vegetarian (the only one in the family) and would love to change my diet but I cannot imagine what I would eat if I cut out many of the things suggested. I also have a son with sensory issues and will only eat very few things, most being dairy or breads /pastas(not wheat at all) . Any suggestions for a family such as mine where changing the diet can be extremely difficult?

    • Hi Dianne,
      There are some fantastic gluten free – dairy free cookbooks and recipes out there. A search of the internet will yield you no shortage of recipes! Also, consider an appointment or two with an integrative or functional nutritionist who can get you started with sample meal plans and resources. It can be done! As far as the herbs versus meds for allergies – if you are referring to going off of allergy meds, yes. But of course check with his doc to be sure! Warm wishes.

  46. Thank you!!! Wonderful info..

    Im treating my 5 year old son now is the bufforded ascorbic acid safe and how much of this should I give him?
    Thanks!!

    • Hi Krista. Ascrobic acid is safe for children and the buffered kind easy on their tummies. At 5yo 500 mg – 1 gm is quite adequate. Loose poops will let you know you need to back down on the dose. The one thing is that ascorbic acid is hard on tooth enamel… And I’m not really sure of a way around that though the buffered version is a little less so than other forms.

  47. I would love to provide an alternative for my son. He has taken an antihistamine almost daily for almost a year now. I haven’t seen any negative associations yet, but I would like to try alternatives. I would also like to support natural health care. We refer to your Naturally Healthy Babies and Children often. When a health situation arises, our son pulls out your book from the shelf. Last night, he pulled it out to learn about fever relief. He didn’t even have a fever.

    Anyway, I’ve read this article a few times. I am trying to figure out how to incorporate your suggestions into our daily lives. If we were to start out with one or two remedies, which one would you suggest? When allergies hit, his digestive and respiratory systems go awry. Thanks for all your help!

    • Hi Mikayla!
      That made my day – how funny! Oh, and if you are inspired, please send a picture of your son and the book! My granddaughter was recently reading a copy of it. Hilarious! Thank you for your support and sharing this with me.

      If your kiddo has allergies now – you can actually just start giving the quercetin and nettles. But working on the gut is foundational. So start with the elimination diet – then add the probiotic – then the l-glutamine and gut healing herbs – all in sequence of about 2 weeks apart until he’s on all of it…

      Hope that answers your question!
      :) Aviva

      • Yes…and thank you so much!! You have been such an inspiration to us all! We’re going to try to grow some medicinal herbs this year. Our family is quickly learning how to heal ourselves naturally , and we mostly have you to thank! Our two year old asks for lavender whenever she has a scrape. :) You have changed our lives forever!

        • Dear Mikayla, Thank you so much for your email. It is the greatest gift in my life to know I have made one small difference for a family. And I am so happy to hear that you and your little one are enjoying a growing relationship with the herbal world! Plantain is another great one for scrapes. Grows most places – my kids used to call it fairy bandaids! <3 Aviva

  48. Colleen Bass says:

    Do you have a brand of digestive enzymes that you recommend?
    Aloha
    Colleen

    • Hi Colleen, I don’t have a specific store brand I recommend – we do carry some on the UltraWellness Center store on line – please know I do make $ off of sales from that site – so not conflict of interest free – but those are the products we use in our practice. Best wishes. Aviva

  49. Thanks for this brilliant protocol! I purchased a bottle of Eclectic Institute’s freeze-dried stinging nettle capsules yesterday, but am unsure how many to give my eight-year-old son. Thoughts? Also, do you have specific suggestions for a kiddo whose issues manifest not so much as runny nose, itchy eyes, etc., but as massively swollen lymph nodes? Eliminating dairy, corn and a couple of other foods helps somewhat, as does using a high-powered air purifier. And we’re starting to incorporate a lot of backyard cleavers into our diet — he loves chickweed-cleavers lemonade! But the tonsils, adenoids and neck glands remain large, and his nighttime breathing is awful at the moment. Thanks a million!!

    • 3-4 caps should do at that age. As for lymph nodes – well they mean he is fighting off infection. If there’s a persistently large on a doc should have a look see, especially if in the area above the shoulder (you know that dip when you shrug?). And yes, alleviating allergens is huge. And check out herbs called lymphatics. Calendula is an example of one. Chickweed and cleavers are too – so you’re on it! Oh, and warm compresses regularly – ginger is great. Good luck! Aviva

      • Thanks so much for your response! It hadn’t occurred to me to suspect an infection, as he has enlarged submandibular lymph nodes pretty much perpetually. We live in an area pretty much devoid of savvy holistic-minded MDs, but I’ll try to find one who can have a look. Thank you again!

  50. Colleen Bass says:

    Aviva,
    Just curious, what is the logic around waiting 2 weeks after the elimination to add the digestive enzymes, and then probiotics? Do you maintain the elimination diet throughout the whole process?

    Aloha

    • Hi Colleen
      You don’t wait until 2 weeks after – you wait until 2 weeks into – this gives you a chance to clear out the “Bad bugs” and assess a response to how your digestion is doing on its own. Many folks experience unpleasant GI side effects if you add in probiotics before clearing out the dysbiosis. That’s why. Warmly, Aviva

      • Is there research that indicates “bad bugs” can be cleared out that quickly? I’d love some info like that! :)

        • Hi Anne. I don’t have hard data on time to clear out bad bugs. The usual course of an antibiotic for SIBO is about 2 weeks; yeast about 4 weeks, and for the herbs, about the same – or until symptoms clear. If I find something I’ll post it! :) aviva

  51. Aviva, I just started this diet this week to see if I can cure my allergies! I am especially interested because I am looking to become pregnant this year and don’t want to continue to take Allegra every day as I currently do, but when I don’t I get horrible itchy rashes all over my body. I know I am allergic to dairy, so I think that is going to be the biggest one, but I have been taking Fermented Cod Liver Oil with High Vitamin Butter Oil (the Green Pastures blend) and was wondering if I can keep taking this? I could buy regular FCLO without the butter oil but it is expensive and I’d rather keep using what I already have if I can. Thanks!

    • Hi Kelly,
      The main thing is to be able to quantify the amount of vitamin A in the cod liver oil etc as vitamin A in large doses is teratogenic. If you can do that, and it’s not too high (generally considered > 4000 units/day) the you should be golden. If it’s higher than that I’d pass. :) Aviva

    • If you can tolerate the butter oil (and the vit a is okay, check Weston Price website for alternative perspective on this too), and have already eliminated dairy and know your tolerance for it, I wouldn’t think you need to eliminate it as part of Aviva’s program either.

      • Butter is a bit different in that it is usually the fats and not the milk proteins – which don’t typically cause symptoms. But if someone is super sensitive, I’d use coconut oil instead of butter.

  52. My sister recently told me her daughter became lactose-intolerant because they gave up dairy for a few months to see whether it was causing eczema. Is that possible? Can we cause digestive problems by avoiding foods? My guess was that she actually confirmed her suspicion that dairy was the problem, but somehow the symptoms became stronger.

    • No, giving up dairy can’t make you lactose intolerant… it can uncover it when you reintroduce it…

  53. I keep thinking about this blog – and the potential for making my life a lot easier with herbs like the ones you’ve mentioned. Do you have any info re dosages, or where to look for more info re herbs to help heal the gut?

  54. Is it clear whether or not DGL licorice is safe while breastfeeding? I had such great results from it for years and then went off when I got pregnant. Very interesting article! I have asthma and airborne allergies, and a gluten sensitivity. My 6 month old baby has a dairy sensitivity. I’m already a sometimes fish eating lacto-ovo vegetarian, and take prenatals, flax seed, fish oil, and probiotics. Haven’t seen improvements in my allergies yet, but I really hope my son’s don’t get worse! And my diet feels so restricted and unfilling. Oy! Thanks :-)

    • Yes, DGL is safe while breastfeeding. There are some great books out there with lovely recipes! take a tour of Amazon cookbooks or a little date with yourself to Barnes and Noble – a new cookbook can really help! :)

  55. Hi Aviva,
    What a great clear post, thank you so much. You put it all together so well. It is pretty much what I did, but couldn’t articulate.
    blessings,
    Clare

  56. Jennifer3 says:

    Thank you for this blog post. I know that I need to go through this process but am so intimidated about starting the elimination diet (oh, my morning tea with milk and honey!). You mentioned a future blog post specifically related to the elimination diet. Are you going to be able to get back to that? I know you mentioned a book, but I would love some more of your thoughts on how/what to eat during this time without starving! :) I have found comfort and wisdom from you since first reading your books when was first pregnant over 10 years ago. Thank you for your work!

  57. Hello and thank you for the great information. I have a leaky gut and 3 wks ago had a IBS flare that sent he to the ER. I know stress
    plays a part and I did the Ultrasimple diet only having to give up dairy and eggs as I had already eliminated the rest. I have been able to reintroduce eggs but now i know to eat only every 4 days Instead of every day.

    My question is about dairy (I am using almond milk for my protein shake) and probiotics. My dairy consisted of kefir drink daily made from raw milk and Greek yogurt. I can’t decide on what probiotic supplement to buy and I loved getting it from the kefir. Should I just grind some of the kefir grains and bypass the kefir drink for now as I continues to heel my gut for my probiotic. I can continue to forgo the Greek yogurt for now and maybe just make my own. Thank you in advance your reply. Loved your article and will investigate your site more. I also like that you just didn’t give a tease then say “buy my book”. Deb

    • Hi Deb
      Thank you. There’s a fine line between being self-promoting and a salesperson. I bristle at the latter and find myself disconnecting when something free really isn’t. There may be times I promote something but I tend to make that overt – not couched in something else. I just love giving folks information – I mean I have a lot of it and that’s what I built it up for – to make the world a little better and help folks feel empowered about their health.

      As for the kefir etc and the US diet – if you are trying to go 100% free of dairy proteins, then I’m not sure about the kefir – frankly I’ve not used the kefir grains as a probiotic. Each is a different strain and I’m not sure how that goes – I would think the probiotic itself would cover your needs. But this is an interesting question…. Let me know if you find anything on this…

  58. I’ve been a vegetarian for almost three years. My allergies started this year and I have no idea why because I’ve never had them until now. I’m a teenager if that has anything to do with it. I was wondering if there’s anything that I could do to get rid of them and prevent them from happening again or to just lighten them up. And yes- I have allergies right now. :( but thanks for any tips I can get.

  59. Jasmine says:

    Hi
    I am going to try this and I cant wait for the results:-)
    I do have a few questions about the diet. I have cross allergies so therefore I react to almost all veggies and fruits. They all make me itch and sneeze. Should I still keep eating them while detoxing? If not, then what is left? Also I have almond allergy, so should I also stay away from nuts?

  60. Aviva,
    I have been putting your recommendations in to practice, and my seasonal allergies are MUCH improved! I modified your diet recommendations to pertain to histamine containing and releasing foods because these seemed to cause me the most trouble and were what I craved (I discovered they made up about 98% of my diet!) I wondered why you recommend against taking L-glutamine powder during pregnancy. The bottle I purchased doesn’t have any warnings, and what I’ve been able to find on the internet says there are no known problems with fetal development while taken during pregnancy. Do you think there would be a problem with taking it during the first month of pregnancy? Thank you so much for your advice!

    • Hi Lauren,
      Congrats! That’s awesome. While there are no specific contraindications that I know of to L-glutamine in pregnancy, I am just super cautious in pregnancy because the FDA categorizes it as Category C. There should be no reason pharmacologic reason to avoid it – but I also try to pay attention to the classification of substances in pregnancy. Unless absolutely necessary, I avoid most supplements in the first trimester. Best wishes! Aviva

  61. Would this work for people who are allergic to animal fur?

  62. Jasmine says:

    Hi

    I want to try your plan and I am very excited about it. I just have a few questions, I was hoping you could help me with.

    I have a lot of food allergies, due to cross allergies. All veggies and fruits makes my throat and ears itch. Should I still keep eating them, while doing this and if not, what is left?
    Also I have almond allergies, so should I stay away from nuts?

    Thanks in advance:-)

    • Hi Jasmine, If you have the kind of allergies that could put you in the hospital, then those foods should absolutely be avoided! Other kinds of allergies usually get better with this plan. If you are unsure, to be safe check with your doctor to find out which kind you have. Many people are actually sensitive to pesticides, etc, on the fruits and vegies and that’s what causes the itching. Talk with your doc about this, too. Good luck!

  63. Jessica says:

    Hi, are the supplements safe while breastfeeding? Thanks

    • Quercetin is not safe in pregnancy in the first trimester and after that, not more than 150 mg/day. Nettles is safe in pregnancy. Vitamin C not greater than 2000 mg/day. The dietary changes are all safe.

  64. I have never had an allergy ever. Six weeks ago my eyes became swollen, red, sandpaper like, itchy and I developed a rash down my Neck and on my chest. I went on prednisone for five days and it cleared. Now it’s back. It’s as if someone is picking me a pin all over. I thought it might be fro moldy Nuts. I’m very suspect of the Virgin cold presses coconut oil I’ve been using as a moisturizer for well over a year. I put it all over myself after the shower. My question is could I become allergic to something that I have never had a reaction to before? I love using coconut oil. I had my eyes cleared up and then put the oil on. It flared up later in the day. I also drank coconut water Andy eyes started to swell a few hours later. I’m wondering if you can use too much coconut oil on your skin and then it absorbs and goes into overload?? Any advice or comments would be greatly appreciated.

    • Might be good to check with an allergist or a functional medicine doc who can help you with an elimination diet. Best wishes!

  65. I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article. I am hoping the same best work from you in the future as well. In fact your creative writing ability has inspired me.

  66. I’ve been working the elimination portion of this program and am now in my third week. First, the elimination has gone easier than I expected. I am very motivated as my health has been assaulted by allergies to mold, dust, and pollen. I got started on the digestive enzyme yesterday and today am experiencing a food allergy type reaction of itching ears, throat, and neck. Nothing life threatening, but I recognize it from my allergy to bromelain. I checked the enzyme I purchased and I don’t think it has bromelain in it, but what about the aspergillus. We have a mold overgrowth in our home due to leaking pipes and a leak in the roof. The mold in the wood has been cleaned, but not before the dead spores were spread throughout the house. We’re in the process of removing carpeting and furniture. In the meantime, I’m wondering, I’m terribly allergic to the mold and a direct exposure triggers wheeziness, not quiet asthma as I still get enough oxygen, but definitely an inflammation response. Would the aspergillus, which is the dominate species in our home according to the testing we had done, be the culprit in the enzyme? Do you know of any that do not contain aspergillus? Thank you in advance for your help.

    • I’m not sure about the enzyme mold combination — but the mold itself is a serious issue. I usually recommend folks vacate their premises during any mold clean outs. MANY enzymes due have bromelain so you might want to call the company and ask — make sure they know you are actually allergic. Be careful!!! <3 Aviva

  67. Can I open freeze dried nettle leaf capsules into applesauce for my almost 7yo son since he can’t swallow them yet? 1 capsule contains 300mg…..how many should I give him daily?

    I am not absolutely sure if he has allergies. Started 6 weeks ago. First dry cough, then awful sounding productive cough (went to doc to check it – not in his chest, he suggested mucinex or neti pot – we chose neti :)). Since then the cough has almost completely gone away. He wakes either sneezing or coughing or clearing his throat. A bit dark under eyes – but he is sleeping fine, has never coughed at night through all this. He has also never acted sick, even with the junky cough. By late morning he stops sneezing and rarely coughs for the rest of the day. We spend time outdoors and he does not start coughing or sneezing more. Can it just be a virus taking a loooong time to clear?

    We have eliminated gluten and dairy, he takes probiotic 1st thing in am and loves sauerkraut, does neti pot. I guess nettles can only help even if no allergy?

    I am confused and on “mama alert” not because he is suffering or acting sick, it’s just been going on for a while. Thanks so much for your info.

    • Hi Meredith! Somewhere in the comments on this page is info on a liquid form. That would probably be better than opening the capsule..
      Hard to say whether allergies or viral infection. Coughs can last for 6-8 weeks in kids after a virus but doesn’t sound like he was sick. Sorry, can’t diagnose and advise on the internet. :)

  68. Thank you so much for your article. I found your web-site by googling “allergy and nettle” and I am so excited to read your blog.I love your approach and already ordered some of your books. I never had any severe allergic reactions or being allergic to food/polen, etc. Until a few days ago I got stung by a wasp and had a bad allergic reaction. My lymph nodes in the upper thighs were inflamed and than about an hour later I had hives all over my body. I had to go to the hospital and take IV Benadryl until the hives went away. Sorry I know you said in your article that your approach does not apply to this kind of allergy. But I still want to ask you. I am 8 weeks pregnant. Now that this happened the Dr. prescribed to carry Epi-pen with me.((( I eat mostly organic food and try have a healthy life style (yoga, meditation when I can) I also just stopped (about 2 weeks ago) breastfeeding my 2 year old son. Since I have gone through the changes of first pregnancy, BF and now second pregnancy, could this intensify my body’s response to the sting? Also, would you still recommend to follow your 4R program and healing my gut? For the purpose of strengthening my overall immune system? Thank you again!

    • Hi Victoria. Yes, that’s a totally different kind of allergy and keep that epipen with you girl! You could definitely do a health elimination diet but not the rest of the 4R while pregnant. Nettles is safe in pregnancy — but best to avoid the quercetin in first trimester and no more than 150 mg otherwise. Congrats on baby! :)

  69. Hello,

    Are freeze dried nettles good for all allergies such as environmental and food.
    If you use nettles is there a need for tumeric.
    And can you take nettles safely daily for long term. Or is there a protocol such as take daily for a afew months and cut back as maintenance.
    I have all kinds of allergies but I think its due to poor digestion as I have no gallbladder.
    Just started using digestive enzymes and that alone has made a huge difference in my digestion and how I feel. Allergies less intense.

    Thank You for your time and for such great information.

  70. Sorry one more thing,

    Coconut water seems to be helpful to me also ……

  71. If you have ragweed allergies is nettles safe to take.

    • yes, for most people — although anyone can react to anything…. i use it to treat pollen allergies all the time.

  72. Does manuka honey taken first thing in morning heal the gut.
    Or stay away from honey when healing gut.

    • i tend to limit ALL sugars when healing the gut….not sure about the manuka specifically — honey has many therapeutic properties.

  73. If you have no gallbladder can you take tumeric and nettles.

    • sure thing!

      • Thank you very much for answering my questions.

        I had a nettle tea today and it was wonderful.

      • What do you think about digestive enzymes if you have no gallbladder.
        Should you take them and if so with every meal? Or Nettle tea does the same thing in helping to digest your food. I use Traditiional Medecinal Nettle tea.
        Thank you for all your help, so much appreciated.

        • in our bodies these enzymes are mostly produced in our mouths and in the pancreas — i use them often for patient’s who’ve had their GB removed — helps with fat digestion. nettles does not really help with digestion. bitters do. best, aviva

  74. Hello,

    One more question, is it o.k. to drink nettle tea every day for long periods of time.
    I am in love with this tea now. Thanks so much for your website.
    It makes me feel good after I drink it …….

  75. On those times that I run out of tea or during hay fever season to be more economical which supplements would you recommend for nettle
    Is NOW Foods Stinging Nettle Root Extract any good.
    There is so many companies selling these supplement I want to make sure I have a good one.

    • NOW is a long standing reliable company. I often use Planetary Formulas. Eclectic also makes an excellent product. I know — so many it’s OVERWHLEMING!!!!
      :) aviva

  76. Hello,

    I have no gall bladder and was using digestive enzymes with each meal. But I had to stop cause it do not agree with me. Which herbs would be best to help with digestion.
    Would ginger be good in tea form 1 hour after eating and lemon in water.
    Thank You.

  77. Can you have nettle tea and ginger tea the same day or best to alternate on different days.
    Want to drink it for acid reflux and allergies due to no gallbladder.

    Thank YOu.

    • They are compatible and can be taken on the same day. I don’t know that I’d recommend these for reflux — and the nettles for allergies needs to be in freeze dried form to be effective. Best, Aviva

    • Hello,

      Just started the nettles it helping alot with allergies. I take dgl also for my acid reflux and that helping too, I take enzymes digestive and probiotic supplement hoping it will all help over time, I will also try mastic gum.
      I was wondering what your take of geographic tongue. I have had it for ever. What causes this. It seems that salt makes it worst….. whenever I eat something salty it seems to make it worst. Any recommendations for geographic tongue. Thanks for all your help ….. Thank you for your time and for being online.

  78. Is Green tea good for allergies. And should you drink it on its own or can you put unpasteurised honey.
    If you put honey will it counteract the benefit of the green tea.

    • Green tea is generally a healthy beverage unless one is sensitive to caffeine and it disturbs sleep. To get significant antioxidant benefit one would have to drink a LOT or take a concentrated supplement. Honey is great in small amounts unless one has blood sugar problems or takes more than a small amount daily.

  79. This did not work for me, in fact I now have more foods that I am allergic to. Life is hell with multiple allergies!

  80. What about doing this while on BP meds, ASA 81mg, or other medications? Any concerns?

  81. Also curious about allergic conjunctivitis. My allergies go straight to my eyes. Is there anything I can do to remedy this. The other symptoms are completely manageable, but every morning my eyes are itchy, red and swollen. I also have flare-ups throughout the day and cannot pinpoint it to anything specific.

    ?

  82. Regarding adding the probiotic during week 3 of the elimination diet: Can I eat homemade fermented cabbage instead of taking a pill? Does it matter that I did not use a “starter” to ferment?

    Thanks!

    • hi jenny
      i’m a big fan of fermented foods. the main advantage of a probiotic is being able to pick which strains you’re getting. but heck, i’d give it a go and see! let us know! :) aviva

  83. I did do something that was similar to this but was never told to fix the gut. I have had allergies for years and never could get a grasp on what caused them. I was told that maybe I have a dairy allergy so I stopped dairy all together and the results where great. I stopped getting sinus infections and headaches. However I kind of fell of the wagon and ate dairy and low and behold I got the allergies back. If I had know earlier that the gut needs to be fixed I would have done so.. Great article…

  84. Hi, I really hope you can help me. My 4 year old daughter has eczema.
    She needs to take a daily antihistamine but it makes her VERY aggressive. If I stop giving her the antihistamine, the eczema returns in a couple of days. Its so bad, the skin even has white patches where the eczema was. Is there any kind of natural antihistamine that I can give her or something that I can do? I have also tried just about all the brands of antihistamines that are available, they all have the same effect. The dermatologist is now using a chew tablet that is actually for asthma and it has the same effect. Please help?! Thanks so much in advance.

    • Hi Liesel
      Sounds miserable for you both!
      Please see my blog on the elimination diet and consider bringing her to a functional medicine doctor. We see patients in my practice from all over the world — or check the website of the Institute for Functional Medicine for a practitioner in your vicinity. But yes, this is entirely resolvable!
      Aviva

  85. I’m really glad I stumbled upon this article, as I’ve had severe seasonal and animal allergies as well as asthma for pretty much my entire life. I would like to start this plan immediately, but I just have a quick question about the supplements.

    For the Repair aspect of this plan, you suggest taking several supplements. Are we supposed to pick one or two of these supplements based on our needs, or take all of the ones you’ve suggested daily? I only ask because that is quite a few pills, especially if you’re taking some of them multiple times a day. This is probably a really stupid question, but is there any health risks associated with taking so many supplements? And am I meant to take them indefinitely?

    Thanks again for the article :) I’m looking forward to giving it a try.

  86. I am having side effect from L-glutamine. First attempt I took for several days, 10g morn and night, and noticed I was having over-stimulating effect, rather like drinking a cup of strong coffee (I am very sensitive to caffeine). Interfering with sleep. Stopped taking for a week or so. Tried again just in morning, but notice again a stimulating type feeling that is excessive and uncomfortable, and seems to get worse with each day I take it.
    What is that??

    • Hi Angie, Every now and then someone doesn’t tolerate it well — it probably has to do with the fact that the glutamine can act as a neurostimulant. Sorry you were one of those who didn’t feel great on it. The marshmallow and aloe won’t cause those types of symptoms, nor will the DGL. Best! Aviva

  87. What do you do if you are on the elimination diet and one of the “safe” foods doesn’t agree with you? For me, it was cauliflower on day 5…. Do you have to start over with the two weeks?

  88. Hi, this article is very interesting! I have multiple allergies and just found out I have histamine intolerance! Is histamine intolerance caused by leaky gut? Would this protocol work for my histamine intolerance?

  89. I wanted to thank you for this article. Within the past 3 years I developed the worst coughing allergy that starts in the late spring, summer and then into late November. The coughing was affecting my work/social life since i was hacking nonstop, not to mention it was extremely embarrassing! I was taking up to three inhalers and guaranteed 3 different pills per day. Early this Spring I found out that I had some treatable health issues when I got blood labs. The recommendation from my doctor was related to simply changing my diet by staying away from processed foods, artificial sweetners, sugars, fatty foods- the typical…it was an adjustment but I did it (not perfectly, but a good start). Low and behold after forgetting about my coveted follow up appointment with my Allergist about new medicines I was to try out, but didn’t need yet….I told them I would reschedule once the allergies started. Well after two months of ignoring my pharmacy’s automated reminder call on my phone and mailings to fill my prescriptions, and then never rescheduling my dr appointment; a light bulb goes up as I was cruising in my car down a woodsy pollen-filled tree lined back road with sunroof and windows open, asking “What have I done different this year?” Perplexed, I wondered if the few changes in my diet from the blood labs could be it, that was the ONLY change as I am a serial creature of habit! I haven’t been exactly great this week for my diet change but out of curiosity, I Googled “Why did my allergies go away?” and came across your article. I am now reinvigorated to continue on this right path of an all natural diet as I see this residual bonus of being allergy free is more than welcomed in addition to the 11lbs that I lost! I will implement some of your tips and hopefully go through this summer and fall allergy free as well! Many thanks!

  90. Hi,

    Could you please advise on dosage of DGL,, turmeric, marshmallow root and aloe vera for a 10 year old boy with multiple food and environmental sensitivities? Also the dosage of L-Glutamine Powder?

    Thank you very much,
    Tanya

  91. Kindly advice a patient who suffers both asthma and reflux badly…..will the above programme be beneficial? If not what will be helpful?

  92. Patricia says:

    Hi, I have severe cat allergies and I work with people who have cats. Do I start taking the supplements that you’ve suggested in the “I have allergies now” section and also do the elimination diet? I’m confused on the steps. I am absolutely miserable right now and want to make sure I’m following the steps correctly. Thank you!

  93. This is so great! All my Drs have just given me OTC or Prescribed drugs, and this makes so much sense and i can not wait to start it. I am currently one week away from my wedding day and with bad allergies, as soon as i am done i will start. I am a string believer in natural herbs for healing.

  94. So when you say eliminate sugar does this include small amounts of sugar added to sauses etc.? And you have said no packaged juices, does this include juice not from concentrate with nothing added? Thanks for the article!

  95. Hello,

    Taking freeze dried nettles for allergies working great. I was wondering I take mastic gum in morning before breakfast for acid reflux and dgl with lunch and dinner is it ok to take nettles mid afternoon or is it too much …… will it interfere with the mastic gum and dgl

    Thank you for your time.

  96. Hi Aviva,

    I have a problem about eczema in my skin. Do you have some tips to solve my bad eczema? Thanks

  97. Hi Aviva. Well I purchased my slippery elm , quercetin & natures way nettle leaf (urtica dioica). Unfortunately my little ones cant swallow caps so Im gonna try sprinkling them into their food. I know my teen open the capsules and put it on her tongue which was gross for her (I might try consuming it that way myself). My question is do you give your kids these herbs daily or a just a certain time frame?

    • Yes, sprinkled on foods, a tiny few bites of apple sauce, or in a tiny amount of water or almond milk and get them to slurp back through a straw. Shakes are a good way to hide supplements, too! On the tongue — yeah, don’t think I could do that myself, either! :( Yucky. Daily leading up to and throughout allergy season…Best wishes! Aviva

  98. Hello i am kavin, its my first time to commenting anyplace, when i read this article i thought i could also make comment due to this brilliant paragraph.

  99. My son has 16 years old he has running nose from last around four years and eachy eyes from last two years.

    please suggest me some treatment we lived in Sydney Australia.

    Currently he is taking homepath from last one year but no result.
    I want natural things to treat .

    Regards

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