ad info

 Diet & Fitness

 custom news
 Headline News brief
 daily almanac
 CNN networks
 CNN programs
 on-air transcripts
 news quiz

CNN Websites
 video on demand
 video archive
 audio on demand
 news email services
 free email accounts
 desktop headlines

 message boards




Alternative therapies gain ground among allergy sufferers

grapeseed extract pills
For some allergy sufferers, grapeseed extract works as a natural antihistamine  
CNN's Rhonda Rowland explains the alternative therapies
Windows Media28K80K

Allergy Report

April 16, 1999
Web posted at: 10:48 a.m. EDT (1448 GMT)

From Medical Correspondent Rhonda Rowland

ATLANTA (CNN) -- Spring has sprung across the South, with azaleas and dogwoods and wisteria blooming across the region.

Along with those blooms, however, come record pollen counts. The situation has some allergy sufferers reeling.

Faced with a losing battle against sneezing, congestion and breathing difficulties -- and with little help from conventional allergy medications -- many are turning to alternative, natural remedies.

Sherri Caldwell's family has struggled with allergies ever since coming to the city.

"When we moved to Atlanta, in the first season, my husband ended up in the emergency room because of an allergy attack," she said.

But Caldwell, a distributor for an online nutrition store, read that grapeseed extract may work as a natural antihistamine. Hoping to avoid the side effects, such as drowsiness, of over-the-counter medications, she tried it.

"With the grapeseed extract, we just noticed that we haven't had essentially any problems in the three years we've been taking that," she said.

Allergists say more of their patients have been turning to herbal remedies such as quercetin and green tea extract for relief. But if patients have questions, conventional medical doctors often don't have answers. And there is little information available about side effects or potentially dangerous drug interactions.

"I research this regularly, and there's a lot of misinformation," said Dr. Renata Engler, who treats patients at Walter Reed Army Medical Center outside Washington, D.C. "An herb in one book will supposedly work well for allergies, and in another book, it's not mentioned."

Patients often get their information from alternative practitioners like Clark Hansen, a naturopath from the Arizona Institute of Natural Medicine. Hansen says he's sold herbal remedies to hundreds of allergy patients.

"I have patients I've treated for five years, and we use the grapeseed alone," he said. "We found that worked for probably 60 to 70 percent of them."

Hansen admits, however, that he has no scientific evidence to support that claim.

In the absence of hard facts, however, doctors say there are proven, common-sense steps allergy sufferers can take to limit their symptoms: stay indoors; run the air conditioner at home or in the car; keep pets outside, or bathe them often; and wear a filter mask if you have to work outside.

And doctors say patients using alternative therapies should let them know, so their physician can watch for any signs of danger.

Mayo: Ask the Physician -- Air filters and allergies
January 8, 1999
Mayo: Ask the Physician -- Allergies and floor covering
December 24, 1998
Mayo: Pet allergies -- When furry friends are your enemy
June 23, 1998
Mayo: Allergy shots -- Usually effective if you stick to them
May 26, 1998
Mayo: Allergy tests -- Prickly but not painful
May 19, 1998

Understanding allergy - An adult's guide to relief
Allergy, Asthma, Immunology of Rochester
Welcome to The On-line Allergy Center
Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.

Affordable drug reduces mother-to-child HIV transmission, study says
A new risk factor for heart disease
The HMO debate: Who decides emergency care?
Tick-borne illness known to infect dogs found in humans
Enter keyword(s)   go    help

Back to the top  © 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.