As April showers replace March’s chill, many of us rejoice at the thought of spring.
But then there are the more than 50 million Americans who dread the blossoms on the trees, the pollen in the air because for them, spring doesn’t bring flights of fancy, but rather boxes of tissues for their runny eyes and noses.
Seasonal allergies are no joke. According to The Asthma and Allergy Foundation, allergies cost more than $14 billion each year. That’s a lot of sneezing!
Is there any help? Any relief that doesn’t involve you feeling like the walking dead?
Mother Nature has provided us with some pretty potent ways to relieve our symptoms.
Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)
Yes, the weeds in your lawn; those dandelions. If you have an organic lawn and your neighbors don’t spray pesticides, the answer to relieving your symptoms may be right in your back yard. Pick the leaves and toss them in a salad or brew them into a tea. You can also purchase dandelion in many natural food stores and farm markets.
Compounds in dandelion leaf and root can help reduce swelling in the sinus cavities as well as thin the mucus so pollen doesn’t ‘stick.’
Dandelion also works as liver and kidney support, aiding them in their detox work in our bodies. As a diuretic, dandelion quickly removes waste from the body. Its bitter flavor stimulates the digestive system, so you digest more efficiently. Importance? When nutrients are readily available to the body, less waste is generated. In turn, the liver can focus on the really important tasks, like helping to rid the body of excess fat stores, which can exacerbate allergy symptoms.
If you can’t get past the idea of eating weeds or drinking weed tea, simply take dandelion capsules (6 a day), although these will not be as effective.
Nettles/Stinging Nettles (Urtica dioica)
If you know anything about wild plants, you’ll know nettles, the spiky green plants that grow anywhere that’s damp or near water that are covered with little stinging needles on the leaves.
Nettles are rich sources of iron, vitamins and trace minerals, as well as bring good sources of magnesium and calcium (which, interestingly, in this form, are very easy for the body to assimilate, much more than in supplement form because all the nutrients combine in a way the body can use, but that’s beside the point).
Nettles are helpful with allergy symptoms because they help clean metabolic waste from the blood and act as a diuretic, so the kidneys and urinary system have an easier time with all their filtering and cleansing work.
Nettles can be brewed into a tea or stirred into soups. The challenge with nettles is you need a lot of them. So most people simply buy the concentrated tincture and take a full dropper daily in water.
If you decide to forage and harvest your own, please wear gloves (remember these are called “stinging nettles”…and they do). Also, be sure to steep, steam or dry leaves before eating or brewing into tea to take the sting out of the nettle.
Burdock (Arctium lappa)
This is a really solid cleansing herb and root. Burdock is renowned for helping to clear the skin, relieve achy joints and help the liver with general toxic congestion, which in turn relieves allergy symptoms. It strengthens immune function and purifies the blood. It contains inulin (which mimics insulin in the body) it can aid in stabilizing blood sugar.
You can take burdock as tea (buy it in its dried form). You can pick the leaves and sauté them as burdock grows wild. The leaves are bitter with an astringent effect in the body like dandelion.
You can create this classic recipe with burdock root: Burdock Kinpira
If you don’t care to forage or cook the burdock, you can take it in capsule form, but again, this is the least effective way to use it.
An important thought on this information: you may not see immediate relief with these teas and recipes, but over time, will see the result you want. It takes time and patience to alter a condition like seasonal allergies. But if you are consistent with the use of these foods in tea, tincture and supplement form, you will see results.
And because I love you and want the best for you without you scouring the web for the best of the best, head on over to mountainroseherbs.com. I have found that their products are the best and their information reliable and transparent with facts and stats on where they source their herbs and how fresh they are.
This is just the beginning of your allergy relief guide. All week long I’ll post recipes, remedies and ideas for making this your best spring season yet. Pollen be damned!