If you dread the first hint of pollen in the air, or cringe at the thought of a warm Spring breeze carrying all manner of allergenic debris your way, never fear, herbs are here! It is not uncommon to suffer from some degree of hayfever or seasonal allergic rhinitis. For some people hayfever is just a sniffle, while for others it is itchy eyes, stuffed up nose and scratchy throat. While some people just get mildly irritated, for others their hayfever stops them from really enjoying any outdoor activities during Spring and Summer. No matter what your situation, no matter what your age, herbal medicine provides support not only to reduce annoying hayfever symptoms, but also to support the underlying immune reactivity.
It can be difficult sometimes to distinguish between a Spring cold and a bout of hayfever. The beauty of herbal medicine is that it can be effective for both, because the herbs work on improving and balancing the immune system, and reducing congestion and secretions no matter what the cause. They also help to support and tone tissues and ‘membranes’; those in the eyes, sinuses, nasal passages and throat. This makes these tissues more robust and a more effective barrier, lessening the impact of irritations from pollens and other reactive materials such as dust or viruses.
Stellar Support: Your Herbal Stars Line Up
- Echinacea is often pigeon-holed as the herb for winter infections. Like many medicinal herbs, it is so much more than that! Echinacea root not only stimulates immune function, it also helps to balance the immune system, making it perfect for calming an over-active immune response.
- Ribwort has the uncanny ability to reduce mucus production and secretions in the sinuses, nose, lungs and throat, but instead of being drying it is actually soothing and healing to the tissues in these cavities.
- Elderflower is renowned for its ability to reduce inflammation and congestion in the sinuses. Elderflower is also known for its cooling properties, excellent for the hot irritation of hayfever.
- Eyebright has similar properties, toning membranes and reducing excessive production of secretions and mucus.
- Peppermint is also cooling, but especially useful in hayfever for its ability to improve breathing through the nose by opening up the airways.
- Baical Skullcap is another excellent herb for all manner of allergenic responses, helping to calm the production of histamine and reduce inflammation.
Why Me? Why Now?
Some people are shocked when they suddenly develop hayfever for the first time. “But I’ve never had hayfever before, why now?” From a naturopathic perspective, there can be many reasons for a ‘sudden’ onset of hayfever. Most likely, this is not so ‘sudden’ but points to the fact that over time your system has become more congested, sluggish, depleted, or stressed. For some people the accumulation of a lifetime of alcohol, preservatives and bad fats can put pressure on the liver, making it less able to detoxify and neutralise allergenic materials. If this sounds like you, using organic liver detoxifying herbs such as Globe Artichoke, Dandelion Root and Milk Thistle may be of benefit, and prevent further hayfever ensuing.
For others, stress is a major player. Chronic or recent stress can impact on the immune system and increase vulnerability to seasonal reactivity. If this sounds familiar, herbs such as Withania, Lemon Balm and Rehmannia are all indicated to help improve the body’s capacity to manage stress and reduce any negative impact. For others, nutrient deficiencies can play a part, as can food intolerances. Asking yourself the question “Why Now?” may help you work out the answer for yourself. If not, seeing a naturopath or medical herbalist may be necessary.
Herbs for Prevention and Relief
People are often surprised by how fast herbal medicines can work when they are of good quality, at a good dose, correctly prescribed and taken. The beauty of herbal medicine is that it can not only help prevent hayfever but can also provide rapid relief from symptoms. So no matter where you are on the spectrum of hayfever symptoms, herbal medicine can become your new-found ally.
Kiwiherb De-Stuff is a Certified organic sinus formula containing Elderflower, Echinacea root, Peppermint and Ribwort to help promote clear airways. For children, you might also try Kiwiherb De-Sfuff for Kids. You can buy them now from our secure online shop.
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From what kind of allergy do you suffer and what natural remedies do you use?