If you suffer from seasonal allergies now is the best time to prepare. This is especially true for persons who predictably suffer the agonizing symptoms of hay fever every year. It’s hard to fully appreciate the degree of irritation caused by allergies until you experience for yourself the constant dripping sinuses that can’t seem to eliminate the burning fire in your nose. It can drive a person to try just about anything to make it stop. In hay fever, activated immune cells form a “memory” of a perceived invader by producing antibodies to otherwise harmless pollen. These antibodies trigger the release of histamines in the respiratory tract, particularly in the nasal sinuses and in the eyes. This localized inflammatory response results in congestion, runny nose, sneezing and itchy, red, watery eyes. Outside of moving to a different state or wearing a mask, it is virtually impossible to avoid breathing in pollen, but there are some things you can do to ease symptoms and make the season more tolerable. At the Journey Health Shop, I first recommend improving digestion and maintaining robust gut flora with the use of probiotics and pre-biotic foods. These are cornerstones for reducing allergy severity. I also encourage the use of herbs such as Milk Thistle to assist with normal healthy liver function and Ashwaganda to support the adrenals in cases of stress. I covered detoxing in last month’s blog which is a good place to start.
Next we start building up your immune system a few months leading up to hay fever season. This is a far more effective strategy than waiting until allergy season has begun. Herbs to use at this time include, ECHINACEA and ASTRAGALUS, which both help to balance and moderate the state of your immune system. Astragalus has been found to be an effective component in treatment of allergic rhinitis.
We may also add another powerful supplement containing QUERCITIN AND NETTLES before the season hits. This herbal combination has the ability to interrupt the production of histamine and other inflammatory producing chemicals in the body.
For symptomatic relief, other herbal remedies that can be used as needed include:
EYEBRITE relieves secretion of watery, burning discharges from eyes and nose.
GOLDENSEAL used in the treatment of sub-acute and chronic inflammation of mucous membranes.
YARROW is an aromatic astringent, relieving local and general congestion. These remedies are often critical in the fight against hay fever. Remember, Support your digestion, liver function and adrenals first. Boost your immune system early and when symptoms occur, use a combination of anti-inflammatory herbs that works best for you. Hay fever is unpredictable and frequently responds well to a natural treatment plan. This may take a bit of work, but the payoff is often remarkable while being completely natural.
Christen Sherwood, Certified Clinical Herbalist is owner of the Journey Health Shop located at 600 2nd Ave North in Clear Lake to contact her call 641-357-1494