Mould and your health

 

Houston…we have a mould problem!

We have had an explosion of mould in recent times due to the unprecedented amount of rain that we have had over the autumn months in South Eastern Queensland and Northern NSW. Mould spores can burst into life as soon as the conditions are right. Mould loves warm moist environments, both inside and outside the body. The long periods of rain and damp, with generally warm and humid weather makes the perfect recipe for invisible mould spores to be activated.

Mould and Your Health

Health issues from inhaling mould can be wide and varied, from the obvious upper respiratory conditions such as sinus and hayfever, through to the less obvious issues of fatigue and brain fog. Your immune system has to work over time to handle  and combat the mould that is inhaled through the airways. In the process of this immune activation, many symptoms of mucus congestion and histamine release can occur which gives rise to the symptoms we experience.

It is worthwhile to note that the symptoms we experience as the illness (cough, runny nose, sneezing, itchy, congestion) are in fact the result of the body attempting to eradicate the mould. Trapping it with extra mucus and attempting to cough it up from the airways are ways the body will try to mechanically to eliminate it. We need to understand and support the body in its response, rather than merely suppress symptoms.

Dealing With Mould in the Environment

The first port of call with dealing with mould issues is to try to reduce the load in the environment with careful cleaning. In more severe cases, relocating from heavily mould infested homes can be necessary to allow healing to occur. Using vinegar and essential oils such as clove, peppermint oil, cinnamon, eucalyptus, tea tree, oregano can be helpful to surface clean and try to reduce mould on surfaces, Washing bedding and furnishings in very hot water and drying clothes and bedding very well,  are also important measures to eliminate mould deposits.

Using dehumidifiers and moisture absorbers in cupboards and areas with poor ventilation is essential.  Burning key essential oils in oil burners or electric vaporisers can also be helpful. Testing for mould issues in buildings can be done with the standard ERMI (Environmental Relative Mouldiness Index) test,  whereas using blood tests to detect mould antibodies and also urine tests for mycotoxin excretion can give insights into the potential impact of mould on a patient’s health issues. These tests are quite expensive and when mould is suspected, it can be fine to go ahead and do some preliminary treatment to see if symptoms improve.

Natural Medicine Treatments

Natural medicines can offer a range of benefits for people suffering from mould overload disorders. Simple saline washes or dilute herbal tinctures or strong herbal teas can be used as nasal sprays or with a neti-pot and can also be used as a throat gargle.

Nutritional medicines that help to stimulate the immune system, reduce histamine or break up catarrh and mucous can be used.  These might include vitamin C, vitamin A, NAC, vitamin D, zinc and quercetin,  Dietary measures are also important with a focus on a diet of fresh whole foods with minimal sugar and carbohydrates, including fruit sugars, as moulds tend to thrive on sugars.

In our herbal medicine dispensary, we have a range of specific herbs to choose from that can be helpful with mould clearance. Key herbs that have antimicrobial and anti-fungal actions can be utilised to help kill off the mould.  Plants often have their own in built defences against mould, bacterias and pests, so we can also utilise these compounds for medicines for treating similar issues. These herbs that have beneficial actions may include usnea, horopito, clove, calendula, berberine rich herbs, oregano and garlic. Other herbs will work on specific issues that individually present – such as mucous membrane tonics, immune boosters, brain tonics and liver detox herbs. Best results are found when herbs are individually prescribed for each person. When there is a lot of inflammation present, herbs and nutrients that can be beneficial include curcumin (turmeric), omega 3, quercetin

Homeopathy can also offer a layer of support for the body and provide treatment options to those suffering from symptoms of mould overload or intolerance. Often by boosting the underlying constitution of a patient can have an important impact on tolerance and help to reset immune intolerances.

So all in all, it is important to not overlook the nasty impact that mould can have on our health. Taking sensible steps to control the load of mould in your environment and boost your body’s ability to handle it with natural medicines is an essential strategy for maintaining and restoring optimal health, amidst the environmental challenges that give rise to mould overload.