It's my favorite season of the year, Spring! Everything is being reborn, rejuvenated, growing, and blooming; it's green and be...

Allergies: How to Deal and Overcome


It's my favorite season of the year, Spring! Everything is being reborn, rejuvenated, growing, and blooming; it's green and beautiful everywhere you look around here! However, with blooming comes pollen, great for the natural world, but not always for us. So sniffles, runny noses, watery eyes, and sneezes have started to bloom, too, not as pretty. People often ask me what I do about allergy season, so I wanted to share a few things I've learned over the years of my own struggle.

First, let's talk a little about the science of allergies (just a little, I promise). In the most basic sense, allergies are caused by inflammation.  The respiratory and digestive systems and liver process waste and foreign substances in the body and are supposed to protect us from toxins.  However, when these systems are not working properly or are overloaded, they may attack things they usually wouldn't, like pollen. The immune system senses these invading substances and it sets off this vicious cycle: antibodies are created, which create histamines, which produce inflammation of the mucous membranes.

Now the real question, what do we do about it???

First, we want to quell the immediate symptoms, so we can get some relief and get to a place where we can work on the deeper issues.

Options for dealing with acute symptoms:
  • 1g of Vitamin C with bioflavonoids (restricts the inflammation), preferably with Vitamin B, and a calcium magnesium supplement (these are all contained in the supplement Emergen-C and mix easily into water)
  • 1/2-1 dropperful of echinacea tincture every 1/2 to 1 hour as needed until symptoms begin to abate
  • Rinse with a neti pot
  • Do an herbal steam over a pot of steaming water with eucalyptus or thyme herbs or a few drops of essential oils
  • Take a shower to wash off allergens
Yellow dock
 Longer term options:
  • Nourish the liver with herbs such as dandelion, burdock, and yellow dock. Put a few tablespoons of roots of one or a combination of the herbs into a pint of water while still cold. Bring to a boil and simmer gently, covered for 5 minutes. Refrigerate and heat up about a half cup at a time and drink several times per day. *Note: these are all bitter herbs and are supposed to taste bitter; the bitter taste stimulates the liver and the digestive system. However, the yellow dock is super bitter, so should be mixed with one of the other herbs.*
  • Eat local honey and bee pollen, as recently collected as possible, daily. It's like a mini-vaccination.
  • Do a neti pot or two daily during the allergy season.
  • This is a new one I just learned about, but seems to work pretty well: eat 1/2 teaspoon of grated horseradish a few times a day until symptoms abate, then eat sporadically during the month as a preventative.
  • Drink lots of fluids, including fresh vegetable juices.
  • Lay off the dairy. I know this is really tough, but it makes a huge difference.
  • Cut down on the sugar.
  • Consume warm and hot food and beverages, rather than cold.
  • Boost your immune system by eating healthy foods, including lots of fermented foods to improve digestion and medicinal mushrooms.
  • Goldenrod tea: 3 tablespoons dried leaves steeped in a quart of boiled water, covered. Drink two cups once to twice daily.
  • Stinging nettle: Eat fresh, lightly wilted (the active compound is deactivated once it dries), or take a dropperful of tincture a couple times a day.
  • Drink green tea.
  • And, saving the best for last: eat chocolate! It needs to be dark chocolate with low sugar, but still chocolate!
There's so much more to say and explain, but here's a good start. I'll talk soon about collecting some of these herbs. In the meantime, tell me how it goes, what else works for you, or ask questions.
Green Blessings!

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