Sneezing? Runny nose? Itchy eyes?
Clinical Herbalist Reviewed on May 20, 2011 by Paulina Nelega, RH
Spring is the season that many allergy-sufferers dread the approach of, as hay fever (or allergic rhinitis) kicks into full gear.
Allergic rhinitis is an umbrella term for allergic reactions to irritants such as pollution, dust, or pollen. It may occur throughout the year, while ‘hay fever’ is usually caused by seasonal grass or pollens (so named because it was discovered during haying season). In addition to pollens, however, molds also play a significant, oft overlooked role in allergies. Molds become more abundant in the spring due to warmer, wetter air.
Symptoms of allergic rhinitis include sneezing, copious nasal mucous, sinus congestion, watery, irritated eyes, scratchy throat, and even asthma-like wheezing.
Fortunately, Nature provides us several plants which can help to counter the effects of histamine released in response to pollens and molds. Histamine normally plays an important role in protecting us, by helping our body eliminate unwanted and foreign substances before they have a chance to take hold.
Two excellent herbs for allergic rhinitis are Eyebright (see photo) and Stinging Nettles leaf. These plants help to limit the release of histamine from mast cells, specialized cells in your respiratory tract that contain granules full of the sneeze-inducing stuff.
Before and during pollen/mold season (which can actually last all year, depending upon what you’re allergic to) drink 2-3 cups a day of a herbal tea containing equal parts of Eyebright, Nettles, Elderflower, Goldenrod and Yerba Sante. Other herbs that may be substituted or added include Marshmallow, Echinacea, Thyme, and Plantain.
Natural Wellbeing offers powerful support for allergy sufferers in a convenient and concentrated liquid extract called Aller-Gold.
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Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan