Put your hand up if you suffer from seasonal allergies. Tired of popping pills to control the gamut of symptoms, including the sneezing, runny nose, sore throat, and itchy eyes? There might be an all-natural remedy for that!
According to Statistics Canada, 27% of Canadians have allergies, and of that group, 40% are allergic to pollen or grasses.
CTV News reports that over the last three decades, pollen levels in Canada have jumped dramatically; climate change and longer seasons are likely to blame. A recent study found a link between higher pollen levels across the northern hemisphere and warming temperatures.
With no end in sight to global warming, the impact on public health and allergy sufferers could be huge.
So, what can one do to help themselves through seasonal allergies?
Many people turn to a cocktail of allergy medications, whether they be over-the-counter or prescription. They often come with some side effects, such as drowsiness, and only provide temporary relief from allergens.
There might be a way to ease allergic reactions naturally. I recently read an interesting chapter about this very topic in The Herbal Handbook for Homesteaders: Farmed and Foraged Herbal Remedies and Recipes, by Abby Artemisia.
Artemisia believes prevention is key and that inflammatory foods (sugar, wheat, dairy, processed or fried foods, alcohol, and tobacco) aggravate symptoms.
She suggests allergy sufferers remove these foods from their diets and wait several weeks to notice the difference. Cardiovascular exercise for 30 minutes a day and a good night’s sleep can also reduce stress and inflammation.
But most of all, Artemisia says a healthy liver will help control seasonal allergies. When defending the body and if not functioning properly, the liver can create allergy symptoms such as a runny nose, hives, cough, fatigue, and more.
Allergy-Fighting Weeds and Herbs
Stinging nettle is known among herbalists to be an excellent herb for seasonal allergy prevention.
The weed contains formic acid, which is what stings you if you brush up against it out in the garden. When used correctly, formic acid is believed to reduce inflammation and histamine reactions.
Natural doctors recommend taking it in its freeze-dried form, but Artemisia says drinking stinging nettle in a tea infusion is also helpful.
Red Clover and goldenrod are believed to help with clearing mucus and help eliminate toxins from the body. Spanish needles have many antihistamine and antibiotic properties, and ground ivy is excellent for reducing sinus congestion
Allergy-Away Tincture (Recipe by Abby Artemisia)
The following recipe is from Artemisia’s book. She recommends taking anywhere between a half and two dropperfuls as needed.
The herbs in this recipe can be fresh or dried, and all of the amounts listed below are by weight.
- ¾ ounce (22 ml) stinging nettle
- ¾ ounce (22 ml) red clover
- ¾ ounce (22 ml) burdock root
- ½ ounce (15 ml) mullein leaf
- ½ ounce (15 ml) Spanish needles
- ¼ ounce (8 ml) ground ivy
- ¼ ounce (8 ml) goldenrod
- ¼ ounce (8 ml) slippery elm, marshmallow root, or rose of Sharon flower
- 20 fluid ounces (600 ml) 100-proof alcohol (if working with dried herbs), or 8 fluid ounces (240 ml) 150-proof alcohol (if herbs are fresh)
- 1-quart Mason jar with lid
- Chop the herbs and place them in the Mason jar.
- Pour the alcohol over the top of the herbs. If you don’t have enough alcohol to cover the herbs, add more or place the herbs and the alcohol in a blender to better infuse.
- Cover the jar with a piece of parchment paper. Seal the lid and gently shake the jar.
- Label the jar and place in a dark cabinet. Check after 24 hours to be sure the alcohol still covers the herbs. Add more liquid if needed.
- Gently shake the tincture daily for 4-6 weeks.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The above recipe is courtesy of Abby Artemisia, professional forager, botanist, and herbalist. However, always do your research or speak with a medical professional before treating yourself with herbal remedies!