I can tell you that seasonal allergies are most annoying! I had them when I was a teenager and in my early twenties. I would sneeze so much that my mom would just go ahead and say 20 “bless you’s” in a row because she knew what was coming. Of course it didn’t help that the house I grew up in had wall to wall carpeting and my mom dusted constantly, whether there was a need to or not. There was always dust in the air.
Since I’ve switched to using all natural cleaners, only use essential oil for fragrance, and cleaned up my diet my seasonal allergies are practically gone. Every now and then I’ll sneeze or have some sinus pressure, but it’s nothing like when I was a kid.
My kids and my husband still suffer from seasonal allergies, but they are not as strict with keeping unnatural products away, and even so, their suffering is nothing like how I suffered when I was a kid. I like to think my influence keeps their suffering to minimum.
So here are 8 things I do to help relieve allergies when they do come up.
1. Stinging Nettle Leaf Tea
I drink nettle tea. Stinging nettle is a weed - if you walk through it you might feel a stinging sensation. Even though it’s kind of annoying as a plant, it can help with hay fever, as it has antihistamine and anti-inflammatory properties. I buy the dried leaves, which is what I recommend you start with. Some people suggest to only use fresh leaves, but if you grow your own be aware they will sting and you’ll need to get your leaves up to a certain temperature to neutralize the stinging.
How to use:
- Tea: Place 2-3 teaspoons of dried nettle leaf in a tea bag and steep for 5 to 10 minutes. Then enjoy.
- Capsules: You can make your own capsules or you can buy them. Keep in mind you’re going to pay a lot more for nettle if you buy it this way. Also, be sure to buy organic as herb leaves are one of the most sprayed crops.
- Tonic: You can make a tonic that will be more potent than tea. Fill a jar halfway with ½ full of dried leaves then cover with brandy or vodka. Cover the jar and wait 4 to 6 weeks then strain. Use ½ to 1 teaspoon 1 to 2 times a day until symptoms subside.
2. Milk Thistle Seed Powder Tea
I always like to start out with a making a weak herbal tea to make sure I can tolerate the a new herbal remedy. Milk Thistle Seed may help reduce allergic, inflammatory, and histamine reactions. Anyone who is allergic to daisies, artichoke, common thistle, or kiwi should not try this herb. Also, milk thistle can lower blood sugar, so be careful if you are diabetic.
How to use:
- Tea: Add 1 teaspoon milk thistle seed to 1 cup of boiling water. Let steep for 10 to 15 minutes in a tea bag and then strain. Enjoy.
- Capsules: You can take milk thistle seed powder in pill form too; don’t forget to buy organic.
- Tonic: Make sure you have powder to begin with. If you have whole seeds crush the seeds. Take a jar and fill it half way with powder then fill the jar with alcohol like brandy or vodka. Cover and shake every 3 to 4 days for about 8 weeks. Then stain. Bottle your tonic and use 2 or 3 drops as needed.
Yarrow is actually better known for other things than helping with seasonal allergies, like healing wounds and helping with stomach cramps, but it can also reduce congestion and secretions.
How to use:
- Tea With Mint: Yarrow makes a bitter tea so it’s helpful to mix it with an herb that tastes good like mint.
- Capsules: You can buy yarrow capsules, but organic might be hard to find. You can buy the cut herb and make your own. You’ll just need to purchase some empty capsules.
- Tonic: Fill jar half way with yarrow then fill the jar all the way up with alcohol of choice. Wait 6 to 8 weeks. Strain and then administer as needed.
4. Local Honey
It’s true that honey has many healing powers and has been used medicinally since ancient times. Since local honey is made by bees in your area from local pollen, it is thought that if you consume the honey you might have less of a sensitivity to that particular pollen. Obviously this would not work for every case of seasonal allergies. I’m allergic to certain kinds of mold that only seem to show up during the rainy season. However, since there are so many other benefits to eating honey I would definitely recommend adding it to your diet, and if it helps with your allergies then that’s yet another reason to eat it.
5. Neti Pot or Sinus Rinse
A sinus rinse is really one of the most effective tools against allergies because what you’re doing is washing all the pollen and dust particles that you are allergic too out of your system. It takes a little getting use to but is no big deal after you do it once or twice. I used to help my kids do it when they had asthma triggered by allergies and if my 5 year old can do it. You can too.
Be sure to always used distilled water. In the spring and summer even municipal water can develop pathogens that are unhealthy, and since the water is not going through your stomach (where it would be destroyed by stomach acid) you want to use water that has nothing added even if it was added naturally.
6. Essential Oils
This might seem counter-intuitive. Usually, strong odors and perfumes are avoided when someone has allergies. However, essential oils have healing properties that help with allergies. When you mix lavender, lemon and peppermint essential oils, they become a natural antihistamine. You can get them blended together or you can buy them separately and mix them yourself. Diffuse them when your allergies are bad, or rub some on your neck mixed in a carrier oil.
Spark Natural has a very nice allergy blend.
This seems like a weird way to combat allergies, however if you think about it allergies are your confused body's way of dealing with foreign substances. Your immune system is trying to figure out what to do with the dust, pollen and whatever else is making you sneeze, even though those things are not harmful like a virus might be.
If the beneficial bacteria in your body is strong and in balance it would makes sense that your immune system would be stronger, and then as a result your allergies would be reduced.
So eating things like yogurt and fermented vegetables will help keep your gut healthy.
8. Low Carbs
This is not tried and true but might be worth a shot. I know as I get older and more insulin resistant (we all get more insulin resistant with age) that if I cut out all the empty carbs like sugar and white rice then I don’t have as much inflammation, which helps reduce allergies. So this is worth trying if you’re trying to eat healthier anyway.
Additional Notes: If you are pregnant, nursing or have an underlying illness always check with your doctor before using any health treatment.