Korean Red Ginseng and Allergies
Spring is the season for renewal. It is the time when we are able to come out of winter hibernation, smell the fresh air, and rejoin the outdoors world. Unfortunately, spring is also one of the worst times of year for seasonal allergy sufferers.
Not only are we exposed to the air – and the allergens it holds – more, but the blooming season, spring rains, and dry end-of-winter winds all work to increase our exposure to pollen, among other allergens. Read on to learn how Korean red ginseng has been shown to diminish the effects of these allergens.
Spring Allergy Season
Late winter and early spring can be the worst time of year for pollen, mold, and dust allergy sufferers. The warming temperatures increase the amount of pollen in the air. Further, this is the blooming season for many trees that are common allergy triggers such as oak and elm, which can introduce pollens into the air.
The impact of rain hitting blooming plants can cause pollen clusters to burst, making pollen easier to carry through the air, leading to increased spreading of the pollen when wind comes. Dry winds then spread pollen through the air.
Beyond all of this, the warming temperatures, and fresh spring air bring more people outdoors – and compel people to open their windows more – introducing more pollen to our respiratory systems. There are numerous allergy medicines on the market, however there may be a more natural alternative: Korean red ginseng has been linked to allergy relief.
Korean Red Ginseng, the Immune System, and Allergies
Essentially, allergic reactions – of the season allergy/hay fever type – occur due to the body’s histamine response to foreign particles interpreted as threats to your immune system. When a foreign particle (pollen, dust, etc.) is introduced to the body – for example, inhaled, it begins a chain reaction that results in the body’s production of histamine which leads to inflammation.
When your immune system encounters these foreign particles, its first reaction is to make IgE (immunoglobulin E) antibodies. These IgE antibodies are specifically designed to target and protect against foreign – possibly harmful – particles that have entered the body.
These IgE antibodies then produce a histamine response in your body. Among other effects, the histamine response creates inflammation (by increasing blood flow) in the part of your body exposed to the foreign particles. When you experience a stuffy nose, itchy nose or eyes, runny nose or eyes, coughing or sneezing – this is the histamine response at work.
Korean Red Ginseng Anti-Allergic Properties
Research shows that Korean red ginseng is associated with increased immune system function. As well, Korean red ginseng has been shown to have anti-allergic as well as anti-inflammatory properties. For example, Korean red ginseng has also been shown in laboratory studies to diminish the effects of eczema and asthma.
Korean red ginseng has also been associated with easing the effects of more general – hay fever-type – seasonal allergies. As illustrated in a 2013 study (discussed below), Korean red ginseng has been associated specifically with anti-allergic properties associated with nasal inflammation.
Korean Red Ginseng and Allergies
A 2013 study published in the Journal of Ginseng Research examined the effects of Korean red ginseng on allergy symptoms – specifically, hay fever symptoms. Researchers have found that Korean red ginseng noticeably diminished the inflammation within nasal passageways caused by allergies. The researchers believe that this was accomplished via Korean red ginseng’s ability to reduce the histamine response to allergens.
Specifically, the 2013 study found that Korean red ginseng treatment diminished the allergic inflammation causing rhinitis – the clinical term for a stuffed nose. In allergic rhinitis, allergic reactions cause inflammation in the nasal passageways giving you a stuffy nose.
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