Preparing for Allergy Season
It’s time to prepare for allergy season. I know. You probably don’t even want to THINK about seasonal allergies when there’s still snow on the ground, but if you start preparing yourself now, you could reap the rewards of a much happier and more comfortable allergy season come May.
There are three essential systems to address when working with seasonal allergies. These are some recommended remedies, broken down by systems, to start taking now.
Immune System Health. Allergies are a heightened immune response, so working on our immune system is key. These are some favorite herbs for building and modulating immunity: nettle (essential as it also nourishes the adrenals and the liver, and helps regulate histamine response – nettle infusion is the recommended form – herbal infusion instruction handouts are available at The Local Grocer front desk), bee pollen (essential), quercetin (essential – aids with regulating histamine response), astragalus, reishi, vitamin c, vitamin D, zinc, magnesium, omega 3’s.
The liver filters inflammatory and histamine by-products and a healthy liver is important in managing allergy symptoms. Spring is the season to work on liver health too, so it’s perfect timing! A liver formula tincture is an easy way to get a good spectrum of herbs. Look for a few of the following herbs in a liver formula: dandelion rt., burdock rt., yellow dock rt., oregon grape rt., milk thistle.
Healthy adrenal health is essential in mediating histamine release and inflammatory response.
Herbs to support adrenal health: Nettle (essential), licorice, Siberian ginseng, rhodiola, ashwaganda, cordyceps, holy basil.
Reducing stress for adrenal and immune health
Stress can especially be harmful to our immune system and adrenal health, so stress management is vital when working with seasonal allergies. These are a few natural ways to reduce stress:
Herbs – oat straw infusion 2-4 cups/day (herbal infusion instruction handouts available at The Local Grocer front desk), oat tops tincture, skullcap tincture, chamomile, California poppy, blue vervain.
Mini deep breath breaks throughout your day. 1. Stop what you’re doing. 2. Drop your shoulders. 3. Relax your face. 4. Clear your mind of thoughts. 5. Take 3 deep breathes. Repeat throughout your day.
Eliminating inflammatory and harmful foods will reduce our overall inflammatory “load” which will help reduce allergy symptoms.
Start by reducing or eliminating these foods for a healthier spring and summer: gluten, dairy, flour, sugar, trans fats, inflammatory vegetable oils, preservatives, artificial flavors or colors, nitrates, conventional meat (contain antibiotics which damage gut health).
You may want to consider an elimination diet or testing for food sensitive at this time. Eliminating food sensitivities can reduce the body’s overall inflammation and help reduce seasonal allergy symptoms.
It’s also the perfect time for a spring cleanse or simply lightening up your diet to support your body’s natural detoxifying processes.
Some healing alkaline food choices perfect for spring: smoothies, salads, fresh vegetable juices, soups, stir fries, steamed and raw vegetables, tea.
Choose all natural personal care and household cleaning products to lower the chemical load your liver is having to process.
The Short List
Some people like information and options, some people like it short and sweet so this is a “short list” of recommended herbs and supplements to starting taking now:
Nettle Leaf Infusion – 2-4 cups/day (free handouts available at TLG front desk on making mineral rich infusions.
Bee Pollen – superfood – 1% of population has allergic reaction to bee pollen. Start with a couple of granules and then if no reaction start with 1/8 tsp. working up gradually to 1-3 Tablespoons per day.
Liver formula tincture (or liver herbs of choice)
Omega 3 Supplement – fish oil; krill oil; vegan omega 3 algae oil, chia, flax
Whole food multivitamin or 2-4 cups Nourishing Mineral Infusions (handouts available at TLG front desk), Magnesium, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Zinc
An adaptogen chosen from the list above.
Following these guidelines, you should be able to greatly reduce your seasonal allergy symptoms, but if you find yourself experiencing discomfort in May or beyond, the following herbs and supplements are recommended for acute allergy symptoms:
My Top 3
Nettle, butterbur, quercetin
Other Sinus Herbs
goldenrod, osha, hyssop, goldenseal, eyebright
Other Lung Herbs
Mullein, elecampane, osha
These are some of my favorite allergy symptom relief formulas, which you can find at The Local Grocer:
Avena Botanicals – Hayfever Reliever, Sinus Support – tinctures
Herbal Energetics – Aller-Free, Sinus-Aid, Cough Relief, Decongest – tinctures
Oregon’s Wild Harvest – Aller-Aid Capsules
Herb Pharm – Calm Breath, Herbal Respiratory Relief – tinctures
I hope you find this information helpful. Eliminating my debilitating seasonal allergies got me hooked on herbal medicine 27 years ago, and I love sharing this information in the hopes that it will help change someone else’s life.
Happy Spring, Everyone!
Heather Chase is a clinical herbalist and owner of The Local Grocer, Table + Tonic Farm Cafe, and Be Well Studios. The Local Grocer is located at 3358 White Mountain Hwy. North Conway, NH.