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Allergic diseases are on the rise, with one in five Australians now suffering from conditions such as allergic rhinitis, asthma and atopic dermatitis. The reason for this growing prevalence is likely to involve numerous factors, with research suggesting that changes in modern diets, sanitation measures and a subsequent loss in diversity of gut bacteria, sick building syndrome, air pollution and other theories may all play a role.
The ensuing response involves a cascade of changes to our immune system that affects secretory IgA production, T cell function and an up-regulation of the Th2 response. While antihistamine drugs work at the end of this cascade, blocking histamine release to relieve symptoms, they do not address the possible detrimental effects of immune activation and T cell proliferation.
Complementary and natural medicines have been used for centuries to treat allergies, and several medicinal herbs and nutrients have been shown to work at numerous points along the allergic cascade offering a safe and broad spectrum approach to allergy management.
In this infographic, we take a closer look at herbal and nutritional ways to inhibit the allergic response.
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