Alternative Treatment Methods for Allergies
Allergies can be frustrating because there is no cure. Many people try natural health products, acupuncture, or other alternative treatments. You may find some symptom relief from these treatments, but most of them either have not been studied or have not been proved effective in the treatment of respiratory allergies. They generally are not harmful, but they can be costly and time-consuming.
- Acupuncture. Very thin needles are placed into the skin at specific points on the body. Acupuncture has reduced symptoms of allergies or asthma in some people in some studies, but many experts do not agree with the study results.
- Homeopathy. Very small quantities of substances believed to cause disease are used to treat the disease.
- Enzyme potentiated therapy. A low dose of an allergen is mixed with a very small quantity of a natural body enzyme, beta-glucuronidase, and injected into the skin.
- Biologically based therapies. Substances found in nature are sometimes used to treat illness or promote wellness. They include foods, vitamins, and both herbal and non-herbal natural health products. For example, some people use butterbur extract to help intermittent allergic rhinitis (which occurs fewer than 4 days a week or fewer than 4 weeks a year).
Some alternative remedies have the potential to be harmful:
- Autogenous urine therapy. Protein is taken from your urine and injected into the surface of the skin. There is a danger of harm to the kidneys with this procedure.
- Vitamin and nutrient supplements. You take high doses of vitamins and other natural health products. High doses of some natural health products can cause problems. For example, vitamin A poisoning can occur if you take large amounts of vitamin A.
- Detoxification. Detoxification is a regimen (such as for 30 days) of exercise, forced sweating, niacin (a B vitamin), and drinking a mixture of water, salt, and polyunsaturated oil. You avoid alcohol and medicines.
- Environmental chemical avoidance. You avoid contact with a long list of environmental chemicals and foods. This treatment can seriously disrupt your life and isolate you from others.
- Diet therapy. You eat only certain types of food and take vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. There could be a danger of malnutrition if the diet is not balanced.
For more information on some of these treatments, see the topic Complementary Medicine.
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Brian D. O'Brien, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Rohit K Katial, MD - Allergy and Immunology
Current as ofFebruary 20, 2015
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