Spring has sprung and we all know what that means, seasonal allergies are back, waahh! For some people this is the absolute worst time of the year, puffy/watery/itchy eyes, wheezing, itching, and runny nose. Did someone order the works? While herbs for seasonal allergies may take a little longer to work, they are an effective remedy to a rather annoying cycle.
Herbs For Seasonal Allergies
Deep green nettle leaves are anti-inflammatory and drying to the sinuses, and are thus a helpful remedy for congestion. They also possess antihistamine properties and are a classic herb for the prevention and relief of allergies.
- Drinking nettle tea is a classic way to reap the benefit of this plant; make your own if you have access to fresh leaves.
- Blend cooked nettles into sauces such as pesto or use as a green in a red sauce on pasta or risotto.
- Simply sauté nettle greens with garlic, olive oil, and lemon for a nutritious side dish.
- Try nettle soup for an antioxidant-rich summer soup. Add flavor with onion, potato, and vegetable stock.
- Add to scrambles or omelets instead of spinach as an alternative green.
Safety and Contraindications: Although nettles is generally safe with relatively few cautions, there are a few things to look out for. Because it is a diuretic and astringent, it can be very drying as a tonic herb for folks who already have dry skin and dry mucous membranes. Additionally, its diuretic effects may compound pharmaceuticals with the same action, such as diuretic antihypertensive medications.
Among its many uses, goldenrod is a premier decongestant, effectively alleviating upper respiratory congestion stemming from allergies, sinusitis, flu, and the common cold. A great her for dying up the sinuses.
Try this as a tea, tincture, or syrup. The tea can be a little bitter, add a little sweetener.
Safety and Contraindications: Do not use in pregnancy. Although rare, goldenrod has caused allergic contact dermatitis after both handling and oral administration. Those with Asteraceae allergies should exercise caution with goldenrod.
A friendly herb to your lungs. With soothing and healing properties it is a respiratory remedy that can fight irritation or inflammation.
Try this as a tea.
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This is one of the go to herb in Chinese medicine and proven effective for allergies. This might be in the form of allergic rhinitis, runny and/or blocked nose, watery eyes and sneezing; food allergies, itching, rashes, and even, difficulty breathing, upon consumption of the trigger food; eczema or contact dermatitis, itchy, red skin rashes; and allergic asthma, difficulty breathing upon exposure to the allergen, among others.
Try this as a capsule, tea, or tincture.
Elderflowers are the blooms of the familiar elderberry shrub. The flowers, like the berries, are well-known for their antiviral properties and are healing for the upper respiratory system. Rich in tannins and volatile oils, they effectively dry up excessive mucus and help it flow more freely from the sinuses, alleviating stuffy nose, headache, and earache. As well, their flavonoid compounds are anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and immune-stimulating.
Try This as a syrup or tea.
Butterbur has the most research backing it. It can help relieve symptoms of allergies, migraines, and asthma and is has been tested extensively with positive results. This herb needs to be process professionally and should not be taken as a DIY. It can cause liver damage due to something called pyrrolizidine alkaloids.
Try this as a capsule or in oil form from your local health food store.
Oregon Grape Root
The primary medicinal component of Oregon grape, berberine, has been shown to have anti-bacterial properties that are helpful in the treatment of several infections including, throat, intestinal, and urinary tract infections.
Try this as a tea or tincture.
Safety and contradictions: Not recommended for people who are pregnant (it is thought to cross the placental barrier and may harm the fetus). Oregon grape is not safe for use by people who are breastfeeding; brain damage has been reported in newborn infants exposed to berberine, which can be transferred to the infant via breast milk.
Taking local honey to help prevent seasonal allergies is based on a concept called immunotherapy. This is the theory that by ingesting small doses of the thing you are allergic to you will slowly build up a tolerance to it (this is the same basic concept as allergy shots). So, since locally soured honey will inherently carry traces of pollen in it, it is thought that this is a natural way to build up a tolerance. But, while this theory is widely debated, there's no harm in giving it a try for seasonal allergies!