Spirulina improves allergic rhinitis

April 04, 2008

The number of people with allergic rhinitis, that’s the fancy name for allergies that affect the nose, sometimes referred to as hay fever if they occur seasonally, is increasing dramatically throughout the world. The mucous membranes of the nose become irritated, inflamed, tender, and even painful and of course the accompanying symptoms of runny nose, itchy eyes and sore throat can ruin an otherwise delightful day. Triggers for nasal allergies include dust mites, plant pollen, animal dander, and mold. Drug treatment for allergies is inadequate and often the drugs cause unpleasant side effects including dry mouth, blurry vision, upset stomach, and even ringing in the ears. Researchers are looking for a better answer. A recent study shows that Spirulina, a blue-green algae used as a dietary supplement to modulate immune function, improves allergy symptoms. This new double-blind, placebo-controlled study evaluated the effectiveness of Spirulina for treating patients with allergic rhinitis. Spirulina consumption significantly improved the symptoms compared to placebo. Spirulina significantly reduced nasal discharge, decreased sneezing, and improved nasal congestion and itching. Spirulina is clinically effective for allergies (hay fever) compared to placebo. The study is published electronically online ahead of print in the March 2008 European Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology.

Bromelain may decrease lung inflammation in asthma

Researchers at the Department of Immunology and Department of Pediatrics, University of Connecticut School of Medicine state that Bromelain, a widely used pineapple extract with protein digesting activity, had the ability to beneficially modify or control the haywire activity of the immune system in a variety of animal studies. This new study evaluated the level of benefit Bromelain might offer asthmatics. Inflammation was triggered in the lungs of mice by treating them with Alum and then pumping their lungs with irritating aerosols for 3 days. The mice were fed either inactive placebo or Bromelain twice a day for the next four days. Bromelain decreased the sensitivity to substances that trigger inflammation in the lungs, decreased the number of cells in the lungs that trigger inflammation and bronchospasm, and decreased the chemical triggers released by the immune system that make these attacks more severe. These results suggest that oral treatment with bromelain had a beneficial therapeutic effect in asthma and bromelain may also be effective in human conditions. The study is published in the March 2008 issue of the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine.