Have you been dealing with itchy, watery eyes? How about a stuffy or runny nose? Did it all begin happening when all of those lovely Spring flowers began to bloom? If you answered yes to any of these, you’re probably suffering from seasonal allergies.
The first action people accustomed to Western medicine typically take is to reach for over-the-counter allergy medicines. While these may work for a short time, they tend to stop working for some people after a while. Thankfully, our environment has created some of the best medicines for seasonal allergies, many of which can be found right in your very own backyard.
Treating our aches and our ills with herbal medicines is a practice that has been around for thousands of years. Thanks to our modern understanding of medicine, and the years of herbal methodology handed down from our ancestors, modern day herbalists have found ways to use herbs to treat many of our ailments, including those dreaded seasonal allergies.
So, what are some herbs for allergies? Before one can really delve into that, you must first know and understand exactly what kind of seasonal allergies you have, because each of us is different.
One of the first things you should do is determine what kind of reaction you’re having. For example, are you experiencing a lot of dryness? Like a dry cough, a dry (not runny or dripping) nose, dry eyes, and dry skin? Or are you having a lot of wetness, like a wet, mucousy cough, watery eyes, and dripping nose, and so on? You might also be experiencing something a little in-between the two. Once you’ve determined what kind of reaction you’re experiencing, then you can find the right herbs for you.
You read that right, I’m talking about marshmallow. But this kind of marshmallow is not the white fluffy drops of pure sugar and gelatin (Although, you can make those kind of marshmallows with this herb!). This herb is excellent to use for those of you who suffer from seasonal allergies that cause a lot of dryness. When this herb is turned into a liquid for consumption, it turns very gelatinous and gooey. While that might not sound very appealing, its effects are fairly quick for most people, making it worth getting past it’s goopiness. This herb works by reducing inflammation along the upper respiratory tract, while also acting as a sticky substance to coat your dry mucus membranes. The best way to take marshmallow when you’re dealing with dry allergies is to take the root of the plant and turn it into a strong tea or infusion. Drinking it two to three times a day can help provide your body with the relief it needs.
Peppermint is the classic go-to herb for many people when they’re dealing with a stuffy nose or a scratchy throat. It pulls double duty as a digestive aid, which can come in handy if you’ve had a lot of drainage from seasonal allergies. Peppermint works to relieve seasonal allergies symptoms by increasing circulation, which helps to rid the body of excess mucus. Containing anti-inflammatory properties, peppermint also helps to relieve inflammation along the mucous membranes. It is best taken as a tea or inhaled over steam.
Like marshmallow, mullein is an excellent herb for drier allergy symptoms. Mullein is often considered a very powerful herb for the lungs. If you’re someone who deals with chronic lung infections, then this is likely the herb for you. It acts as an expectorant, helping you to cough up dry mucus that you’re having difficulty dislodging. It also works to help prevent excess ear fluid, which is great for those of you who might deal with chronic ear infections during allergy season. Mullein is best consumed as a tea or infusion two to three times a day for best results.
Yerba Mansa is an herb that not many people, aside from herbalist, are familiar with. It is a plant native to North America and used traditional as an herb to dry excess fluids, be that fluid blood, mucus, etc. This is an excellent herb for those who are experiencing wetter symptoms, such as watery eyes, a runny nose, and a wet cough. Additionally, it is also a wonderful herb for people who suffer from chronic allergies, or chronic sinusitis. It works by promoting healthy mucus levels, stimulating circulation, and by acting as a mild anti-inflammatory. Yerba Mansa is one of those lovely herbs that can, for most people, be used on a fairly regular basis to alleviate symptoms. This herb can be be taken in numerous ways, but for chronic seasonal allergy sufferers, it is usually best taken in tincture form.
You don’t have to suffer through seasonal allergies every year. Nor do you have to take every over-the-counter pharmaceutical medication to only continue feeling miserable. The herbs listed above have wonderful track records amongst herbalists for helping relieve seasonal allergy symptoms, but there are also many other herbs can help.
There are no cookie cutter herbs for people, even though some herbs do typically work in a consistent manner for most people. Just because an herb is recommended for seasonal allergies does not mean it will help you. The best thing to do is to consult with an herbalist, a naturopathic doctor, a chiropractor, or another professional who is trained in herbal medicine. They can help create a holistic plan that works best for you and for your needs. They will also know if certain herbs may interact with a medication that you’re currently on, or if an herb will potentially cause complications with any pre-existing health condition you might have.