Ah-Ah-Chooo!!!

Springtime, my favorite time of the year! Windows can be opened to allow the fresh air in and Mother Earth awakens with life and color. Suddenly, microscopic things are in the air to irritate my eyes and nose. Oh, but what to do????? I want to be in nature, but dread the itchy eyes and runny nose.

Like millions of Americans, I suffer from allergies. I am one of the lucky ones and only have spring allergies that go away once that initial growth burst settles down. I have unfortunate friends that are so allergic that they have to endure weekly allergy shots just to survive from spring through winter.

I do not do well with the over the counter remedies that are out there. Either they make me spacey or dry out my mucous membranes. Living in the high desert, I already have to deal with dryness in my daily life, so I do not need any medication that further sucks the moisture from my being!

What I find works best for me in allergy season is to treat my symptoms as if I had a cold. Warm ginger or mint tea sipped throughout the day, a few drops of eucalyptus essential oil on a wash cloth on the shower floor help open my sinuses. I will eat foods that are easier to digest such as clear soups or vegetable stews so that my body can focus on combating that pollen instead of having to divide its energy to also breaking down a heavy meal. 

To help combat the snot monster, I use a combination of herbs such as ginger (zingiber officinale), wild cherry (prunus serotina), long pepper (piper longum) and black pepper (piper nigrum). These herbs have a gentle drying effect and reduce the amount of mucus that I create during allergy season.

At some point a cough will develop from all of the post nasal drip and my lungs will get irritated. I love to use mullein (verbascum spp.)  for its mucolytic action (thins mucus) as well as being an expectorant, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial.

When my eyes start to feel irritated and inflamed, I will take chilled chamomile tea bags or a cold wet washcloth, place them on my eyes and enjoy that soothing cool. I have tried some eye washes made from various herbs with limited success and still have to rely on allergy eye drops to pacify my symptoms.

Find what herbs you are attracted to for your symptoms and see how they make you feel. Remember to shower off the pollen (including your hair!) after spending time outdoors so it doesn’t linger around your home.

Foothills, Albuquerque NM. Author’s photo

My allergies won’t hold me prisoner inside my home. Being in nature has so many benefits for our body and mind. It will brighten your mood, clear your mind and exercise your muscles. So, go get out there and discover some spring beauty!

I would love to hear what herbal remedies you are using to pacify the symptoms of your allergies.

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