Buds are breaking, flowers are blooming, and your sinuses are throbbing. We all look forward to spring, yet for some, the dread of uncomfortable allergies can outweigh the excitement. Those blooms sure are beautiful, but too bad they can trigger such an unattractive reaction. With increasing global temperatures, these allergens are in for the long haul. It’s predicted that with warmer temperatures, plants will have longer blooming seasons – bringing with them longer allergy seasons.
So how can you enjoy this beautiful weather without popping pills or suffering through congestion and sneezing? Would it comfort you to know that there are natural alternatives out there that can provide relief without any added chemicals or unpleasant side effects? I’ve received questions on this subject a lot recently, and while allergy relief is tricky business due to the copious types of allergens and allergy symptoms, I’ve compiled a list of the top herbs that may help you this allergy season. Remember, however, that herbs have the potential to cause allergic reactions themselves, so paying attention to the plant family they belong to is important. For instance, if you are allergic to ragweed, you may be allergic to other plants in the Asteraceae plant family. It’s important to know the plant you are consuming and build up the use of these herbs gradually.
And so we have it – let the battle of plant vs plant BEGIN! Top list of herbs for allergy relief:
Eucalyptus, thyme, and chamomile – These plants and their essential oils help open the airways and relieve uncomfortable congestion to allow you to breathe easier. Soak either the plants or their essential oils in hot water and inhale their steam to bring relief for those congested nasal passages.
Eyebright – This herb has been known to help with reducing hay fever symptoms such as watery eyes and runny nose. Excellent for relieving red, irritated eyes. Make as a tea and consume or use as a compress on eyes.
Licorice root – Used to battle allergic reactions. This plant has been found to produce a hormone that acts as an anti-inflammatory agent and may help restore normal breathing. Excessive consumption may increase blood pressure, so consume sparingly if worried about it. Can be added to teas for a sweeter addition.
Stinging nettle – Nettle helps reduce inflammation in the sinus cavities along with working in the body to prevent an allergy attack by reducing histamine production. It is also a powerful antioxidant that helps prevent free radical damage. Drink as a tea, or you can try my peppermint dark chocolate stinging nettle smoothie!
Ginger and turmeric – These anti-inflammatory rhizomes help combat inflammation in the body and help the body respond better when under attack from these foreign pollen invaders. They are both powerful sources of antioxidants. Cut up the roots and drink them as a tea or candy them for on the go enjoyment!
Horseradish – Horseradish works as a nasal and bronchodilator due to its expectorant properties. Taken internally, it acts as a powerful decongestant and can clear airways in no time! One good way to consume horseradish is to make it into Fire Cider for daily consumption.
Fenugreek – This medicinal herb has a rich history of use for loosening mucous and phlegm that may accumulate in bronchial tubes. Consume as a tea or use it as a gargle to help soothe a sore throat.
Oregano – Oregano is another natural decongestant, anti-inflammatory, and expectorant that can help combat the congestion that comes with spring allergies. Works great when taken as a tea, or inhale the steam from the leaves steeped in water.
Elderberries and elder flowers – Sambucus berries and flowers are great immune system boosters and anti-inflammatory agents that can be both a great remedy for the symptoms associated with allergies and also just overall immune support to lessen your response to the allergens frolicking in the air. After all, a healthy immune system is a happy immune system! Add them to tea or make into a syrup to reap their benefits.
Bee pollen – Bees create pollen from the male parts of flowering plants. It has been used by numerous folk for many years to relieve respiratory problems such as inflamed sinuses that are associated with seasonal allergies. However, consuming bee pollen is a no-no if you are allergic to honey or bees! You can often find it available in granule, capsule, or chewable tablet form.
Peppermint – Peppermint is so uplifting for the airways! Simply drinking a cup of hot peppermint tea can open the lungs and provide a cooling sensation to the nose and throat.
Reishi mushroom – Reishi has a powerful anti-histamine action in the body. This powerhouse fungus has the ability to bolster the immune system which helps improve and prevent allergy attacks. Add reishi to your meals or make into a tincture.
Ginkgo biloba – Ginkgo is not just for mind support! It is also a natural anti-histamine and contains multiple anti-inflammatory chemicals. It may be consumed as a tea or in capsule form.
So many herbs, so little time! If you are suffering from season allergies, start incorporating a few of these herbs into your day gradually, taking notice of how they make you feel and how your body is responding to them. If you are noticing a positive reaction, you may increase you consumption. If one herb is not working for you, give another one a shot. Everyone reacts to herbs differently, so it’s best to play around with them to determine which ones work best for you!