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Q: I suffer with chronic rhinitis all year round and currently use Beconase spray together with a daily antihistamine tablet. The inside of my nose is always inflamed and very swollen and the build up of mucus can be very distressing at times. According to my husband I make a noise at night like a traction engine starting up!!! Consequently when we fly I am frightened to go to sleep or stay anywhere strange in case of the loud noises I make.  

I would be grateful for any advice you may be able to offer me.

Thank you. 


A: Thanks for your e mail and yes I think we can help you.

In cases of allergic rhinitis, the immune system is imbalanced and reacts to an allergen as if it were harmful. The immune system is the body's natural defence against infection and illness. If your immune system is oversensitive, it will react to allergens by producing antibodies to fight them off. Antibodies are special proteins in the blood that are usually produced to fight viruses and infections.

Allergic reactions do not occur the first time you come into contact with an allergen. The immune system has to recognise and 'memorise' it before producing antibodies to fight it. This process is known as sensitisation.

After you develop sensitivity to an allergen, whenever it comes into contact with the inside of your nose and throat, it will be detected by antibodies called immunoglobulin E (IgE). IgE is the anti-body responsible for the production of histamine.

So, the immune system causes cells to release a number of chemicals (including histamine), which cause the symptoms of allergic rhinitis, such as: swelling of the mucus membrane (the inside layer of your nose) - which blocks the airway and causes congestion and the production of excess mucus - which occurs as a result of the swelling and causes sneezing and a runny nose. Both problems that you are suffering from.

What you have here is an immune system which has become out of cinque and the most important and key thing is to help it to become balanced and healthy again and that, in turn, will prevent the body from over-producing IgE and inflammation. I’ve attached a write up that I have done on the immune system.


SIMBA, the African potato tuber (Hypoxis hemerocallidea) is rich in phytosterols (plant fats) in particular beta-sitosterol. These important plant fats, found in all fruit and veggies, balance and regulate the immune system and help to restore normal immune functioning. The African potato tuber is also a potent natural anti-inflammatory.

SIMBA takes around 6 to 8 weeks to really get into the system and begin to take effect so I would advise you to take this supplement for at least 6 months before assessing the benefit. It’s a huge task ahead of a humble plant but, for those who persevere, we have good success. Patience is the key when you use herbal products.

I would also buy a product called Allitech from Dulwich Health: www.dulwichhealth.co.uk This is allicin from garlic and, along with Simba, is very beneficial for this condition. Take Allitech (180mg) for a couple of months as directed.

Unfortunately, some foods can cause throat mucus and the last thing you want to do is add to the problem. Milk and milk products like yogurt, cottage cheese and butter, cause excess mucus in the body. These items carry protein molecules called casein which increases secretions of mucus and is difficult to digest. Along with milk products, caffeine, sugar, salt, non- herbal teas, (especially black tea), all create excess mucus. Soy is one of the most mucus making plant foods there is. People who give up meat and dairy and switch to soy products, have a greater risk of creating an unhealthy mucus build up in the body.

A spoonful of manuka honey and ginger can help the body to get rid of excess mucus. Cayenne pepper and chilli peppers will all help the body release mucus build up in the nose and throat. It is important to make sure you are plenty of fluids a day to help mucus to pass through the throat. Add vitamins
A, C, E and Zinc which are all helpful.

Gargle daily with warm salt water to thin out mucus and drink at least 8 glasses of pure water daily. Another tried and tested way to get rid of excess mucus, is to add menthol and eucalyptus oil to a basin of boiling water and inhale the vapors which will help to drain the mucus from the nose and throat. Don't go out in the cold weather straight after though.

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