Herbs For Spring Allergy Relief
by Mary Ann Copson
These symptoms are the body's attempts to flush out an offending allergen. For
those with seasonal allergies these symptoms can get out of hand and result in
Herbs can be added to your medicine chest of remedies to help make your change of
season more comfortable and enjoyable. Before deciding which herbs to include as
part of your spring allergy relief program, it is wise to check with a practitioner
familiar with herbal health care.
Bioflavonoids to the Rescue
Bioflavonoids are an important constituent found in many flowers, leaves, and fruits
that help bring relief for seasonal allergy symptoms.
Bioflavonoids help prevent the formation of histamine. Histamine is one of the
substances released by the body in an attempt to get rid of the offending foreign
particle - the allergen. It is a hormone that causes tearing eyes and runny noses to
enable the body to flush out the offending allergen. Histamine prompts the body to
quickly get rid of the allergen by activating the common allergy symptoms such as
itchy and watery eyes, runny and congested nose and sinuses, and swelling and
Increasing your intake of bioflavonoids helps prevent the formation of histamine (as
opposed to commonly used over the counter anti-histamines which interfere with
histamine's action after it has been produced). Herbs that help alleviate sneezing,
watery eyes, and runny noses contain substances that prevent the formation of
histamine. Without histamine, your seasonal allergy symptoms can be significantly
reduced. Many bioflavonoids are also anti-inflammatories, which means they
decrease the swelling of tissues caused by reacting to an allergen.
Anti-allergenic and bioflavonoid rich herbs include German chamomile, lemon balm,
Baical skullcap, mints, anise, ginger, peppermint, spearmint, feverfew, milk thistle,
Hawthorn is an anti-histamine herb that blocks the release of histidine decaroxylase
needed to convert histamine in the body. Licorice, ginkgo, cinnamon, cardamom,
rosemary, many mints and the essential oils of orange, tangerine, lemon are
antihistamine and anti-allergenic and help relax the nasal passages and airways.
German chamomile may slow allergic reactions by increasing the adrenal glands'
production of cortisone, which reduces lung inflammation and makes breathing
easier. These herbs can be taken as teas or in tincture form.
Herbal Baths and Teas Help Soothe Irritation
Essential oils of chamomile, clove, caraway, and lemon balm contain natural
antihistamines that can be useful for soothing itchy hives. Mix a few drops of the
essential oil with an ounce of carrier oil such as almond or olive and apply to hives.
Never apply the essential oils directly to skin as they can be caustic. Never take
essential oils internally unless directed by a health care practitioner.
Itchy hives can also be relieved by taking an herbal bath. Dried antihistamine herbs
such as thyme, German chamomile, basil, fennel, and tarragon can be mixed
together and made into a soothing bath for allergy relief for skin reactions. To make
an effective herbal bath use a quart glass jar and fill the jar one-third way of the dried
herb mixture. Pour in boiling water to fill the jar. Put a cap on the jar and let it sit for
over an hour. If you want a stronger bath, let the mixture sit four to six hours. Strain
out the herbs and pour the remaining herbal liquid into the bath. Soak and relax.
These same bath herbs can be used to make an anti- allergy tea to help relieve those
worrisome symptoms. To make a tea use one teaspoon of the herbs to one cup of
boiling water. Steep for 20 minutes. Drink one to three cups a day.
More Herbal Allergy Helpers
An allergic response can cause tissue lining the sinuses to swell, which can block the
outlets of the sinuses to the nose. When this happens mucus build up in the sinuses
can cause headaches and mucus draining from the back of the nose into the throat
(the common postnasal drip). Using an over-the-counter anti-histamine with these
symptoms can thicken the mucus even more so that it can not drain. It is better to
help dilate the sinus passages and thin and liquefy the mucus so that it can drain
easily. Hot chili peppers are very effective at draining thick, congested mucus and
relieving these symptoms. Herbs such as ginger, yarrow, lemongrass, chickweed, red
clover, fenugreek can be effective decongestants that thin and liquefy the congested
To help relieve the scratchy, sore throat that accompanies seasonal allergies herbs
that soothe and coat the mucus membranes - demulcents- can be effective.
Demulcent herbs include: marshmallow, malva, slippery elm, and violet. If a cough
accompanies the sore throat, you can try plantain, wild cherry bark, or horehound all
of which act as excellent cough relievers. Plantain also supports the adrenals, acts as
an anti-spasmodic and helps expel mucus.
Nettles helps to prevent the excessive release of inflammatory substances such as
leukotrienes. Leukotrienes are one of the natural body substances released when an
allergen enters the body resulting in an inflammatory response. This leads to irritated
and swollen mucus membranes that secrete excessive mucus. Nettles is also
anti-allergen, enhances the immune system and increases the body's ability to handle
The herb ginkgo contains ginkgolides that interfere with the chain of events that
results in allergic reactions. Phytochemicals found in ginkgo biloba block the action of
platelet-activating factor that activates immune cells responsible for inflammation.
Several studies suggest that ginkgo improves the ability to tolerate allergens. Follow
label directions on the bottle as far as dosage is concerned. Avoid taking in excess as
excessive ginkgo can lead to diarrhea, irritability, and insomnia.
Another helpful herb to use to increase the body's ability to resist reacting to
allergens is milk thistle. Milk thistle protects the liver and improves its ability to clear
antigens from the body and strengthens mucus membrane integrity while providing
Herbs can be a definite benefit in helping you enjoy the early days of spring and move
energetically and free from allergy symptoms into the warm days of summer.
Before taking any herbs always learn about the herb you are taking to be sure it is
compatible with you and check with a knowledgeable herbal health care provider.
About The Author
Mary Ann Copson is the founder of Evenstar Herbs and the Evenstar Mood & Energy
Wellness Center. Mary Ann is a Certified Licensed Nutritionist, Certified Holistic Health
Practitioner and Brain Chemistry Profile Clinician. Find more herbal remedies at
As spring bursts onto the scene with
all of its lovely color, vibrancy, light,
and new growth you may-
unfortunately - experience an array
of discomforting symptoms. Your
eyes may tear, you may have a
scratchy or draining throat, your nose
may be constantly itchy and you may
be always be on the verge of a
sneeze or experience repeated
sneezing - spring allergies
Seasonal allergies are usually
accompanied by "stuffiness",
sneezing, watery eyes, excess
drainage, runny nose, excess mucus.
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|These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The content on
this website is for educational purposes only. Please consult with your physician before using natural
remedies and before making any drastic changes to your diet or exercise program.
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