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News

LA Council race adds 3 new faces to city politics

LA Council race adds 3 new faces to city politics


The Town Crier chronicled the first election of Los Altos City Council incumbent Jarrett Fishpaw in 2010 and documented the Los Altos candidacy of Jean Mordo, who volunteered as a longtime public servant in Los Altos Hills before moving to the flat...

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Schools

St. Simon launches web-based learning management system

St. Simon launches web-based learning management system


Courtesy of St. Simon Parish School
St. Simon fifth-grader Matthew Cummins uses a laptop in class last week. The school’s cloud-based Schoology system boosts organization and collaboration.

Families at St. Simon Parish School in Los Altos laun...

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Community

Los Altos to celebrate 100 years of library use with 'Centennial Faire'

Los Altos to celebrate 100 years of library use with 'Centennial Faire'


Town Crier File Photo
The Los Altos main library is among the more popular branches in the county library district system, set to celebrate 100 years.

In 1914, Babe Ruth made his debut with the Boston Red Sox, wages hit $5 per day, the first ste...

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Sports

Eagles eye another stellar season

Eagles eye another stellar season


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Los Altos High outside hitter Carmen Annevelink, right, goes for the kill Thursday against Palo Alto, as teammates Sarah Tritschler, left, and Lulu Kishton prepare to play defense. The Eagles won the match in straight ga...

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Comment

Torok, Walter, Dave for MVLA board: Editorial

There’s really nothing major you can criticize about the Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District. It offers a diverse array of effective programs for all types of students. Its instructors, with few exceptions, are outstanding.

Howe...

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Special Sections

'Funabout' Fiat

'Funabout' Fiat


Photos courtesy of Fiat
The 2014 Fiat 500e uses 29 kilowatt-hours per 100 miles, which the engineers claim is the equivalent of 116 mpg of gas use. It has a sticker price of $33,095.

If you believe in climate change, would love to see alternat...

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Business

App developer eyes First Friday as testing ground

App developer eyes First Friday as testing ground


Ted Fagenson

An East Bay app developer is testing his newest creation in downtown Los Altos.

Ted Fagenson, co-founder of Skrownge (pronounced “scrounge”), told the Town Crier that he’s beta testing his mobile gaming app this week ...

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Books

From story to bookstore: Local journey highlights Halloween

From story to bookstore: Local journey highlights Halloween


Courtesy of Dee Ellmann
Jenny Hurwick self-published her picture book last month after decades of storytelling.

During her years working as a teacher and a Los Altos mom, Jenny Hurwick loved to tell stories. One tale she crafted for her son just se...

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People

VINCENT (TIM) MURPHY JR.

VINCENT (TIM) MURPHY JR.

July 27, 1953 – August 12, 2014

Native Los Altan died Medford, OR. Graduated Bellarmine Prep. Married Josephine Domino, 1950. Licensed Auto Mechanic, Private Pilot, skilled Computer Scientist. Tim “could fix anything”. Afflicted with cancer 2001. ...

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Travel

Taking a Turkey trek: Winging it during the World Cup

Taking a Turkey trek: Winging it during the World Cup


Rich Robertson/Special to the Town Crier
The sun sets over the Aegean Sea in Bodrum, Turkey, left.

Tours that whisk you from Istanbul to Bodrum in 11 days are as plentiful as souvenir hawkers in Turkey, but traveling from the Blue Mosque to Topkapi ...

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Stepping Out

'Gypsy' on its way out

'Gypsy' on its way out


Chris Berger/Special to the Town Crier
Alison Koch of Los Altos plays Dainty June in “Gypsy.”

This is the final weekend to catch the Sunnyvale Community Players production of “Gypsy” at the Sunnyvale Theatre. The musical is slated to close Sund...

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Spiritual Life

Ugandan pastor visits U.S. to raise support for children's ministry

Ugandan pastor visits U.S. to raise support for children's ministry


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Herman Lukwago educates children in Uganda.

Imagine life if your father had 25 children and you were raised in poverty in rural Uganda.

Now imagine that you and your siblings were orphaned at an early age and you ass...

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Magazine

Local events add color to autumn calendar

Local events add color to autumn calendar


Van Houtte/town crier Visitors make their way through the Children’s Alley.

As Los Altos’ signature Chinese Pistache trees exchange their summer green for vibrant hues of yellow, orange and red in the fall, an abundance of local events also ad...

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In search of natural remedies for allergy relief


Photo By: Courtesy of Ted Ray
Photo Courtesy Of Ted Ray

Quercetin, a plant compound, may offer natural relief for allergy sufferers.

An estimated 40 million Americans suffer with allergy symptoms. According to the Asthma & Allergy Foundation’s 2013 Spring Allergy Capitals report, San Jose ranks 88th among the 100 most challenging places to live in the U.S. for allergy sufferers, just behind San Francisco at 84th. The region’s ranking on the list indicates that the Los Altos area can expect high pollen counts.

Allergies occur when the immune system reacts to a foreign substance such as pollen, bee venom or pet dander. The immune system, designed to protect the body from foreign invaders, makes antibodies to combat such substances. Antibodies then trigger an immune response that can result in a skin rash or mucous production in the sinuses and airways.

The allergy medications on the market fall into three main categories: corticosteroids, antihistamines and decongestants. Steroids shrink the mucous membranes involved with secretions, antihistamines seek to calm the immune response and decongestants work to dry things up.

As with most conditions, there are both short- and long-term approaches to treating allergies. Medications may provide significant relief in the short term, but they do little to address the underlying improper immune response. An ideal approach strengthens the immune system while controlling symptoms. I chose the latter path to address my allergy symptoms.

Studying agribusiness at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, I experienced firsthand the dangers of the campus’ fields and orchards. Not only was I a fish out of water – I was raised in Sherman Oaks, the son of a life-insurance salesman – but I was also suffering miserably with allergies. Perhaps this was natural selection at work!

To control my symptoms, a doctor prescribed an oral antihistamine, a nasal steroid, a decongestant and an inhaler for exercise-induced asthma. This combination of medications just barely kept my symptoms at bay. I was grateful to have any help at all, as I’m not sure I could have endured spring quarter without the relief the medications provided.

A decade later, studying Chinese medicine in San Francisco, I used Chinese herbs to supplement my allergy medications and eventually discontinued medications. I took anti-allergy herbs for two more years before eliminating my allergies altogether. Today, if I do get allergies, I can control them quickly with natural options.

According to Chinese medicine theory, certain foods can increase seasonal allergies. Coffee in particular – perhaps because of its effect on the adrenal glands – can magnify allergy symptoms. Refined sugars can weaken the immune system, and dairy is well known for its ability to increase mucous production.

In my office, I often use a combination of herbs, tailored to the individual, to address allergy symptoms. A number of herbs may be worth exploring as alternatives to antihistamine medications. I commonly prescribe Stinging Nettles, Chinese Skullcap root, Magnolia flower, Feverfew leaf (except in pregnancy) and Echinacea root.

One of my favorite products for allergies is Quercetin, a plant compound known as a bioflavonoid that works to stabilize the cell membrane of histamine cells, preventing them from breaking open so easily. When histamine cells break open, they release their contents and trigger the common allergy symptoms of sneezing, itchy eyes and runny nose. Quercetin, often combined with bromelain and vitamin C, can be found at local health-food stores.

Ted Ray is a licensed acupuncturist and herbalist in private practice in Mountain View. For more information, call 564-9002 or visit www.peninsulaacupuncture.com.

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