Herbal Support for Airborne Allergies
With the summer season now here we want to be able to enjoy the outdoors without the aggravation of allergy symptoms. These can include sneezing, itchy watery eyes, runny nose, sinus and lower respiratory congestion, headaches and fatigue. They can range from a relatively minor nuisance to more seriously debilitating symptoms making sleep difficult to impossible and daily life a continual misery. Outdoor allergens can include various moulds (especially from decaying leaves), grass, flowering plant and tree pollens, and airborne dust particles. The complex brew of chemicals in smog can also aggravate allergies and respiratory weakness.
Preparing before Allergy Season
Certain herbs should be used 1-3 months before allergy season to reduce or eliminate the allergic response. Start taking the herbs at the end of winter/beginning of spring before early plant pollens arrive or take during the summer for late summer/fall pollen from Ragweed (Ambrosia artemisifolia) takes to the air. (Be aware, those roadside yellow flowered plants blooming in the fall, which is Goldenrod herb (Solidago Canadensis) is often confused with allergenic Ragweed. Goldenrod is an anti-allergy herb used to treat those very allergies that Ragweed can be partly responsible for. Ragweed has green flowers, and is typically not seen alongside the yellow flowered Goldenrod.) So the deep immune tonics deeply activate (but not over-stimulate) the immune system, to make one less reactive to common airborne particles. These include Astragalus root, Reishi mushroom, Siberian and North American Ginseng. These herbs can be used individually or in combination, best used in tincture form, and taken consistently 3 times a day 20-30 minutes before meals. These adaptogenic herbs will help the immunity and the whole glandular system become resistant to stress and increase the body’s non-specific immune strength. The key is to take these herbs consistently over several months for the best results.
Herbs for Allergy Symptoms
If taking herb tonics before the allergy season onset were not enough to completely eliminate symptoms, then certain herbs are very effective in helping to reduce the severity of allergies when they hit. Goldenrod, Elder flower and Goldenseal are herbs that benefit the upper respiratory system, and will help to reduce the congestion and irritation of the mucous membranes. Goldenrod and Elder flower have the bioflavonoid quercetin, and is effective for reducing inflammation and congestion of the sinuses and nasal passageways. Goldenseal’s alkaloids (berberine, hydrastine) and essential oils will reduce inflammation and help decongest the sinuses and reduce the mucous production of the mucous membranes. Goldenseal on its own can be very drying, so you may want to combine it with an herb with soothing benefits, like Coltsfoot, Mullein or Plantain all supporting lung health. Other primary herbs that can be used alone or in combination include; Yarrow (decongesting, reduces inflammation, tones mucous membranes) Calendula (immune stimulant, decongestant) Echinacea (immune stimulant, anti-allergenic, anti-inflammatory), Chamomile (anti-allergenic, relaxant, decongestant) Ginkgo (anti-allergenic, anti-asthmatic, respiratory anti-spasmodic, bronchodilator). Other nutrients are worth adding to support the herbs including Quercetin, Vitamin C (whole food – Acerola or Camu berry for example), Bioflavonoids, Zinc and specific homeopathics to reduce histamine reactions. It would also be advisable to consult a practitioner if there are multiple or complicating health issues involved.