Many residents here in Southwest Florida have been dealing with extreme environmental allergies including symptoms including itchy watery eyes, itchy throat, sneezing fits and feeling feverish.
Many are blaming Red Tide alone, and while that is a viable culprit for many the other likely villain in this story is none other than that gorgeous flowering bush that the cities love to plant in nearly every median. The Oleander.
Living in Florida Oleanders grow all over the place and are often used in landscaping because of their beautiful vibrant color. They grow in apricot, copper, hot pink, lilac, red, purple, salmon, yellow, and white, depending on variety and smell wonderful. The problem is, they are highly toxic to humans and pets and especially so if you have a sensitivity or allergy to them.
Unlike other poisonous plants, the Olander is entirely toxic, leaves, branches, stems, flowers, all of it, especially if eaten or by direct skin contact. The pollen when blooming can travel via air and end up irritating the eyes, nose and respiratory tract of those nearby.
Because it is such a powerful plant over the years people have attempted to use it for medicinal purposes, sometimes successfully. It has been shown to work for treating ulcers, leprosy, hemorrhoids and has even been used to induce non-medical abortions in pregnant women.
Oleander extract has also been prescribed by doctors as an herbal cancer treatment, as well as for lesser ailments such as asthma, menstrual pain and muscle cramps. Care should be taken with medicinal use because of its high potential to trigger an allergic reaction. It is important to note that there is no scientific evidence suggesting that such medical uses of Nerium Oleander are safe or effective.
Oleander is known by serval names: Adelfa, Baladre, Cascabela thevetia, Cerbera thevetia, Common Oleander, Exile Tree, Huang Hua Jia, Jia Zhu Tao, Kaner, Karvir, Karvira, Laurel Rosa, Laurier-Rose, Laurier Rose, Laurose, Nérier à Feuilles de Laurier, Nérion, Nerium indicum, Nerium Oleander, Nerium odorum, Oleanderblatter, Oléandre, Oleandri Folium, Rose Bay, Rose Laurel, Sweet Scented Oleander, Thevetia neriifolia, Thevetia peruviana, Yellow Oleander.
Actual Oleander poisoning can only happen if you ingest part of the plant. If that happens, call 911 immediately and take some activated charcoal capsules if you have them.
For those with an airborne Oleander pollen allergy? So far there is no magic bullet cure.
What does seem to help lessen symptoms:
- Pure Peppermint Oil – put a few drops on the palms of your hands, rub around and cup them both over your nose and mouth and breathe in deeply until you feel a cooling sensation.
- Sinus Allergy medications available at the pharmacy that contain pseudoephedrine such as Zyrtec-D and Advil Cold and Sinus both seem to temporarily block the reaction.
- Drink lots of water to flush your body both of the medication and the allergen itself.
- The combination of Lemon, Lavender, and Peppermint essential oils help clear your body of allergens and symptoms as well. 2 drops of each 2 times a day for a week or more. You can drink them in water, put them in a capsule and swallow, or amazingly put them on the bottoms of your feet and they will absorb systemically. This takes longer to work but is a more long-term solution. In the meantime, for immediate help, so you can function through your normal day, the pseudoephedrine is the fastest. Both can be used together.
- A Neti Pot is also helpful with all airborne allergies to get the toxins out of your sinus cavity. Rinse with distilled room temperature water and saline (salt). Never use tap water as it could contain microbes or bacteria.
Hang in there. These beautifully irritating flowers don’t bloom forever.
Nutritionist | Chiropractor in Ft Myers, FL
Chiropractic care is a safe, alternative treatment when applied appropriately. Chiropractic treatments help in dealing with the symptoms of many conditions. Add to that, nutritional recommendations that can help your body heal itself. Are you going to wait for your symptoms to be felt, or are you going to prevent it as soon as possible?
Dr. Jason B. Kaster, a chiropractor in Fort Myers can help you and your family achieve their optimal health.