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  • Way of Life’s June Newsletter

    June has arrived. This month is when we think Graduation, Father’s Day and Summer Solstice. Way of Life has many affordable gifts for any of these occasions. Check at the bottom of this newsletter for some examples of unique and eco-friendly choices.

    Our timely article this month is on solutions to relieve allergy symptoms. Our helpful staff can help you find the right product for your particular problem.

    The Way of Life has one final class for this lecture season . The topic is on the medicinal uses of cannabis with Dr. Deborah Malka. After a Summer hiatus, we will resume our series in September.

    Way of Life is now hiring for a part time cashier.


    Allergies, the Adrenals and Antidotes

    by Miranda Satterfield
    Summer is a beautiful time of year where everything has come back to life and flowers are blooming. However, as a sufferer of seasonal allergies summertime may be more of drag than a delight. Pollen from blooming trees, flowers, and grasses can bring on a tide of runny noses, coughing, sneezing, burning eyes, and foggy brain. For many, this discomfort can last well into the cooler months, when flora ceases to flourish and bloom. So, why do seasonal allergies afflict some more than others? How do they become so severe and what can be done to alleviate the misery? There are many components to the occurrence of seasonal allergies, but the adrenal glands play a large part in allergy onset. While there are many pharmaceuticals on the market to treat allergy symptoms, we’ll explore some natural remedies that can be found at a local natural foods store.

    Allergies and the Adrenal Glands

    Cortisol is an anti-inflammatory hormone secreted by the adrenal glands in response to experienced stress. Its purpose is to activate glucose secretion in the liver and control inflammatory responses. Cortisol is normally secreted throughout the day, with highest concentrations in the morning and dropping until nighttime. However, chronic stress or ongoing blood sugar instability can lead to adrenal dysregulation and depleted cortisol stores. Low levels of cortisol throughout the day is termed hypocortisolism or adrenal fatigue. Adrenal fatigue is implicated in several inflammatory disorders, including allergies. Furthermore, several studies exploring the relationship between cortisol levels and symptoms of allergies found a correlation between low cortisol and an increase of allergy severity. There are two ways of connecting poor adrenal function to the onset of allergies. The first provides an explanation for adult-onset allergies. As cortisol is a powerful anti-inflammatory chemical, adequate cortisol levels are necessary to counter immune responses to allergen-associated histamines. Adrenal fatigue, a consequence of chronic psycho- and physiological stress, leaves the body defenseless to histamine. The adrenal glands will do their best to secrete what little cortisol they can to minimize inflammation, leaving them more worn out. If the adrenals are never replenished or if stress continues, this becomes a vicious cycle, leaving the adrenals further depleted. The second recognizes allergies that begin in infancy and continue into adulthood. When compared to infants without allergies, sensitive subjects were seen to have cortisol surges in response to allergens. However, these untimely cortisol surges led to suppressed cortisol throughout the day, causing adrenal fatigue at an early age. This pattern will likely continue as the child matures if symptoms are not addressed. Luckily, several allergy remedies exist that can alleviate the discomfort of allergies and improve well-being.

    Allergy Remedies

    Although there are several drugs on the market used to treat allergy symptoms, some may prefer more homeopathic remedies for addressing allergy concerns. Multiple studies have found quercetin to be an effective allergy treatment. Quercetin is a type of chemical known as a biofavonoid and is found in red wine, onions, mulberries, and teas. It is known to possess anti-inflammatory properties, such as the ability to suppress inflammatory molecules, facilitate immune responses, and inhibit histamine release. As previously mentioned, histamine inhibition is important for blunting the immune response to allergens. Quercetin has allergy-mediating properties beyond the scope of treating the hay fever that affects sensitive groups during allergy season. Remarkably, studies have found quercetin to effectively reduce peanut-induced anaphylaxis. Quercetin shows potential in treating other food allergies, asthma, and allergic rhinitis/hay fever with no apparent toxic effects on the body. Like quercetin, extract from nettles (Utrica dioica) has been seen to inhibit histamine release, block inflammatory pathways, and support immunity. Research finds nettle extract to alleviate symptoms of allergic rhinitis, specifically. These symptoms include sneezing, nasal congestion, and itchy and watery eyes. However, interacting with nettle leaves can initiate itchiness and edema, as they are commonly referred to as “stinging nettles.” Therefore, it is important to purchase nettle supplements rather than forage for nettle leaves to avoid further discomfort. While products containing quercetin, nettle extract, N-acetyl-L-cysteine, vitamin C, and bromelain been found to improve allergies, addressing cortisol imbalances may also mitigate the emergence of allergic reactions. Supplements containing ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), holy basil (Ocimum sanctum) and other adaptogens, have been seen to regulate cortisol secretion and improve complaints with allergies. Allergies are a complex biological process and often-times so is their treatment. Fortunately, there is hope in nutraceuticals for treating symptoms and allowing summertime to be fully enjoyable.

    Miranda Satterfield, is a technical and clinical writing intern at Sanesco International, Asheville, NC. She is a recent graduate of the University of North Carolina-Asheville’s Biology Department with a Bachelor of Science degree concentrated in Cellular and Molecular Biolgy.

     



    How To Make Herbal Infused Oils & Salves

    This recipe is from Linda Vaughan’s Herbal class at Way of Life in the beginning of May. Herbs, and other supplies can be found at the store.

    In general, herbal oils are used externally, massaged into the skin. They may be further processed into salves. Warm oil effectively extracts certain medicinal compounds from herbs. Organic, certified olive oil is usually used but cold pressed oils such as jojoba, sesame or almond may also be used.

    Finely mince or grind dry herbs (a coffee grinder used only for herbs works well) and place in a quart jar. A quart jar is usually used but any size will work.

    Fill jar approximately 1/2 full with plant material and add oil to about 1 inch below top of jar. It can be placed in the sun or a warm window during the day; place in the warmest place you can find at night. Shake well 2 or 3 times daily. Let sit for 2 weeks minimum, longer if you wish.

    Strain by pouring into a 4 cup container through several layers of cheesecloth or, better yet, through a queen size knee-high panty_hose_(the top of which is stretched around the edge of the fontainer) then squeeze rest of oil from cloth or stocking into the bowl or container you are using. If using panty hose, the straining is complete & you can store the finished oil in a clean jar. The strained herbal material (the marc) can be added to the compost pile. 

    Free Wellness Classes 

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    If using cheesecloth, follow steps below. Pour oil into a clean jar, cover and let stand overnight. Matter left and water will settle to the bottom of the jar. Carefully decant oil in the morning through more cheesecloth, leaving the watery sludge beind to be discarded into the compost pile. Store the finished oil in a clean jar with tight fitting lid; the shelf life is 1 year.

    To make a salve from an oil, you add 1/2 cup of beeswax and 2/3 cup cocoa butter to 2 cups of plant oil. This is heated on the stove in a pot that will become the salve making pot‘ just until blended–don’t overheat! To this 30 drops of Lavender essential oil is nice and about 50 drops of vitamin E oil for preservation. Pour into jars of your choice (have them all ready to go!) let cool, then apply lids.