Spring time for me as a kid meant picnics in the yard with my sisters, building forts with my brothers and begging mom to let us open the pool (even though it was still in the 70’s during the day and chilly at night). I remember picking goldenrod by the bunches and hanging it around the forts. I had to make it homey looking, you know! My poor older brother hated the flowers and not just because it made his awesome, manly fort look like a girl’s playhouse. Spring time for him meant sneezing, itchy, watery eyes, a runny nose and even coughing and trouble breathing. His spring allergies were fierce, and I can still picture him out mowing the lawn, coughing and sneezing (and wasn’t I a nice sister for watching him from the house?). Even better, I remember being so glad I didn’t have allergies. Yeah, sister-of-the-year award goes to me for sure.
Well then I grew up and got pregnant, and I guess my body was a little preoccupied growing a baby and my immune system took a nose dive. That spring I was miserable. For two months I felt like I had a cold constantly-sneezing, itchy, watery eyes, and worst of all, I turned into a mouth breather. I just couldn’t breathe, I was so stuffed up!
Since that spring I’ve had “hay fever” every spring and a bit in the fall. I’ve tested out a few natural remedies and found some that really help a lot! Here’s a list of some natural aids that have helped me and other folks deal with allergies.
1. Raw, local honey- This has made the biggest difference for me. I make sure I get a big spoonful of raw, local honey each day. Spread on toast and stirred into iced coffee are my two favorite ways to eat my daily “dose”. Locally produced honey is supposed to help your body grow accustomed to the pollen in the area so it no longer triggers an allergic reaction.
2. Marshmallow and astragalus- These two herbs helped me so much when I was pregnant with Joseph. Together they calm and strengthen (but not stimulate or boost) the immune system, which is exactly what I needed. After a winter of being sick for months my immune system was going a little haywire. I took marshmallow and astragalus root in capsule form and it calmed my immune system’s response to the pollen. I could breathe again!
3. Shower, morning and night- It seems excessive, but since we typically sleep with our windows open in the spring and fall, showering twice a day to keep the pollen off me really helped.
4. Neti Pot- This is another pretty well known suggestion for allergy sufferers, but if you’ve never tried it, please do! It’s definitely weird the first time, but you do get used to it. And it helps so, so much! Not only does it clear the pollen out of your sinuses, it flushes out excess mucus, too.
5. Fresh nettle tincture- I have not tried this, but I have a friend who has had great success taking fresh nettle tincture to control his allergies. I’m not sure why, but supposedly fresh nettle leaves are to be used in making the tincture, otherwise it’s not as effective. If you feel like doing some foraging, this might be a great option and a fun new project!
6. A neck rub- But not the kind you’re probably thinking of! Behind and under the ears, and also under your chin are many lymph nodes. Massaging them can help the lymph more effectively drain mucus and toxins from the body. Any time I start to feel any congestion in my ears or nose I gently massage under my ears and chin and down my throat to encourage drainage. It’s surprising how well this works! I usually put a few drops of eucalyptus and tea tree essential oil in a tablespoon of olive oil to use as my massage oil. Eucalyptus and tea tree make it a little easier to breathe, too.
7. Red raspberry leaf tea- Usually red raspberry leaf (commonly abbreviated RRL) is associated with pregnancy or women’s problems, but it’s actually a fantastic herb for many different troubles. One of its strengths is helping the body get rid of mucus, so I drink lots of it during the spring and fall. A cup or two a day helps some people, but I usually just make a small pot and drink it throughout the day. As a bonus, when I drink RRL tea consistently each month, my periods are cramp-free!
How do you deal with seasonal allergies?
This post is a part of Tuesdays Outside the Box at Crunchy Betty.
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. I cannot give you medical advice and you should always consult with your health care provider. I share what has worked for me and hope that you find it informative and are encouraged to take charge of your own health and make healthy choices.