Is Cellulose Powder the Next Allergy and Asthma Medication?

Is Cellulose Powder the Next Allergy and Asthma Medication?

Article by Alex Ray

A cellulose powder produced from pine trees has proven effective in reducing allergic rhinitis in children, with no adverse effects. The pine powder is puffed into the nostrils, where it forms a protective barrier that allergens can not penetrate.

While the cellulose nasal spray is being used increasingly used in many countries, there had not been a scientific study proving the powder’s effectiveness until 2009. That spring the Queen Silvia Children’s Hospital in Gothenburg, Sweden conducted a study during the peak of birch pollen season.

The study included 53 children and adolescents aged 8 to 18 with allergic rhinitis (irritated and inflamed nasal passages, usually accompanied by nasal congestion and a runny nose). All of the allergy sufferers were taking daily oral antihistamines. Some of the group was given a placebo along with their antihistamines, while the others used antihistamines and the cellulose powder.

“We showed that nasal symptoms of the children were significantly reduced in those who used the cellulose powder,” said Nils Aberg, associate professor at the Department of Pediatrics and a consultant for the Children’s Hospital, “Furthermore, no adverse effects of the cellulose powder were seen. The complete absence of adverse effects makes this treatment admirably suited to self care, and particularly for the treatment of children.”

There is a strong link between allergies and asthma, and the findings also have implications in reducing or even preventing childhood asthma attacks. Asthma attacks increase in the presence of seasonal allergies, and asthma patients who have allergies are twice as likely to require hospital treatment during an asthma attack.

According to the Allergy/Asthma Information Society, asthma results from the interaction of genetics, sensitizations to allergens, and exposure to allergy triggers such as dust and pollen. The Society recommends treating asthma and seasonal allergies together to balance treatments and help reduce the need for both allergy and asthma medications such as antihistamines and asthma inhalers.

Cellulose powder is white, odorless, and resistant to bacterial growth. It is insoluble in liquid, instead absorbing it. Because of these properties, it combines with natural secretions in the nasal passages to form a mucus-like gel that traps allergens and prevents them from entering the bronchial system.

Cellulose powder has been sold as an over the counter source of insoluble fiber to support the health of the gastrointestinal tract for some time. More recently, it is being marketed in a nasal spray as a natural hayfever and allergy preventative.

Cellulose powder’s reputation as a safe, contaminant-free, plant-based preventative medication is really attractive to the health conscious, and to parents who want to avoid the use of antihistamines and asthma inhalers by their children. This new research establishing its effectiveness will boost its popularity. Be prepared to see it on the shelf beside the antihistamines in your local drugstore soon.

About the Author

Alex Ray is an advocate for affordable access to healthcare and medication. Alex advises that drugs from Canada are often cheaper than in the US, and recommends Big Mountain Drugs as a reliable Canadian pharmacy from which to buy asthma medication such as Singulair, Advair Diskus 250 50 and generic Advair.

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