Allergies are the result of an overactive immune system, leading to nasal congestion, coughing, itchy watery eyes, wheezing, shortness of breath, and even hives. Allergies are common in the spring when dust and fresh pollen are in the air however for susceptible individuals they can occur year round. To prevent hayfever and seasonal allergies, begin supporting the immune system 1 month prior to the time when allergies typically occur.
Steaming with eucalyptus essential oil, which is antiseptic in nature, can help to open the sinuses passages and help prevent a sinus infection.
Some key herbal medicines for allergies include goldenrod and eyebright. Both are anti-catarrhal in nature, drying to the mucous membranes which helps to prevent upper respiratory congestion.
Nettle leaf (urtica dioica) - A general detoxifier for the blood, used for symptoms of hay fever, and to minimise allergy symptoms by decreasing the histamine response in the body, it is helpful to prevent skin rashes, hives, and itchy skin.
Goldenrod herb (solidago canadensis) - Excellent for upper respiratory, cold and allergies, is useful to help reduce phlegm and congestion while providing gentle antiseptic action to the mucous membranes.
Eyebright herb (euphrasis officinalis) - Helps to relieve discomfort of eye irritation, ideal for seasonal allergies, chronic sneezing and hayfever. A mucous membrane remedy, anti inflammatory and astringent for congestion and itchy, watery eyes.
How to use: Herbal medicines are gentle and easy to incorporate into ones general daily routine. For optimal effect they can be used in either tea or tincture form. An adult general dosage for herbal teas is 1 tsp. of the herb for every cup of boiled water, steeping for 15 minutes. Drinking 3-4 cups daily will provide a medicinal dose. When using tinctures, the dosage varies depending upon the herbs used; however in general 2-3 ml taken 2-3 times daily is an adult dose.
Katolen Yardley, MNIMH is a Medical Herbalist in private practice at Alchemy & Elixir Health Group in Vancouver, BC. Her website is www.katolenyardley.com.