While these alluring showers bring in a lot of natural exquisiteness and charm, sometimes they are a little difficult to deal with. The cool breeze and downpours in monsoons seem lovely and enjoyable for some but not for all. This is the time when many people face several allergic disturbances in their body1. Some are acute, lasting for a short time while others prolong for a long time. These allergies drastically affect the quality of life and need tedious management. Anti-histaminic drugs are an integral part of treatment in several allergies. Today when most of them are available over the counter, safety concerns arise as they need to be taken for a longer duration. Moreover, the cost involved is also on the higher side. Hence safer and effective herbal supplements like curcumin are a boon in disguise for these people. So let us discuss some common allergic manifestations and the role of curcumin in treating them.
What is an Allergy?
Allergy is the hypersensitive reaction initiated by the immune system in response to a noninfectious environmental substance that is recognized to be harmful to our body2.
A substance that causes an allergic reaction is known as an allergen2. Usually, most of them do not cause any harm to our body. There are various allergens like,
- Spores of plants and molds2
- Insect venoms
- Animal dander2
- Changes in weather conditions like cold or hot.
How does the allergic reaction occur?
Normally in healthy individuals whenever the body recognizes a threat, white blood cells (WBC), the components of the immune system are triggered and antibodies are produced to destroy the specific threat. But in case of allergy, our defense system misinterprets the harmless substance as a threat and sets in an immediate reaction which manifests in the form of allergy. Thus allergy is the hypersensitive reaction of the immune system.
Usually, the hypersensitive reaction does not occur on first exposure to the allergen. When re-exposure occurs, B lymphocytes, a type of white blood cells are activated which results in the production of IgE antibodies. They further trigger the mast cells, another immune system component and they release histamine and other inflammatory cytokines. This histamine is responsible for several reactions in the body which manifests in different forms like3
- Runny Nose3
- Stuffed Nose3
- Rashes and Hives3
- Stomach pain and Diarrhea3
- In some severe cases, Difficulty in Breathing, Chest Tightness, and Anaphylaxis Occurs3.
Mechanism of allergy
Allergies are seen in different forms depending upon the allergen. Some of them are,
(Nuts, Mushrooms, Eggs, Shellfish like prawns, lobsters, crabs, Milk, and milk products, etc.). It may produce swelling, hives, nausea, and vomiting.
Mainly occurs due to the inhalation of the allergens like dust, smoke, pollens, spores, dust mites, perfumes. Most commonly seen manifestations are Asthma, Sinusitis, and Allergic rhinitis.
An abnormal reaction to a particular medication like penicillin, sulpha drugs, and many others may set in some allergic response and produce milder symptoms like rashes, diarrhea, and pain. In some cases, severe anaphylaxis may occur.
Mainly Hay fever which occurs during a particular time of the year belongs to seasonal allergies. This occurs when plants and molds release their spores or pollens into the environment.
Contact dermatitis, Eczema, Urticaria, Rashes and hives
Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction characterized by the shortness of breath, giddiness, and person may collapse losing consciousness. It is a life-threatening emergency and needs immediate hospitalization and intensive management.
Role of curcumin in different allergy manifestations
Turmeric a, culinary spice in every Indian kitchen, is a source of a highly beneficial compound to mankind, i.e. Curcumin. This polyphenolic curcumin is known for its medicinal properties almost since the time of Egyptian Pharaohs and in Indian culture, curcumin has a long tradition that dates back to almost 6000 years. Curcumin is extremely popular owing to its role in multiple ailments. This anti-all curcumin has shown tremendous results in allergy mediated disorders as well. So here is how curcumin can help in managing different allergy manifestations.
Various studies on the curcumin suggest that the following mechanisms are responsible for the anti-allergic property of curcumin.
- Being an excellent immune modulator, curcumin alters the immune response according to the need of the hour and avoids hypersensitive allergic reactions4.
- Curcumin inhibits the recruitment of white blood cells to the site and hence stops the production of IgE antibodies that are responsible for allergic response4.
- Curcumin also inhibits the secretion of histamine from the mast cells, a type of immune cells resulting in the reduction of hypersensitive allergic response4.
- Anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin are highly beneficial in allergic manifestations like asthma, sinusitis, and allergic rhinitis. As inflammation of airways is triggered in this situation, curcumin inhibits several cytokines and other inflammatory mediators responsible for inflammation4.
- Curcumin also prevents the narrowing of the airways by inhibiting the inflammation4.
Curcumin in this way is a wonderful compound that definitely has a positive impact on allergic reactions and a boon to the allergy sufferers.
Allergies are really wearisome for children and adults equally. Nowadays more and more people are turning towards natural remedies as sometimes the existing treatments like immune therapy with injections, antihistamines, and steroids though effective, may induce severe side effects.
Some research studies have confirmed that montelukast, an antihistaminic drug induces severe mental health side effects like mood swings and suicidal thoughts 5. Hence some safe remedies are required to prevent and relieve the symptoms when avoiding exposure is not possible.
Still, a lot is remaining to explore with curcumin and its efficacy in allergies but the studies so far have definitely given hope to the allergy sufferers as it relieves the symptoms and menace in these people to a great extend.
- Impacts of Heavy Rain and Typhoon on Allergic Disease; Kwan Jun Park et al; Osong Public Health Res Perspect. 2013 Jun; 4(3): 140–145. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3787533/
- The development of allergic inflammation; Stephen J. Galli, Mindy Tsai, and Adrian M. Piliponsky ; Nature. 2008 Jul 24; 454(7203): 445–454; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3573758/
- Immunomodulatory effects of curcumin in allergy; Viswanath P. Kurup and Christy S. Barrios; Mol. Nutr. Food Res. 2008, 1031 52, 1031 – 1039; DOI 10.1002/mnfr.200700293.
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Detail Information regarding allergies and detail information about how to defeat allergies.
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