Spring is approaching quickly, and it is bringing us longer days, warmer weather, and beautiful fresh produce. There are a ton of exciting things to look forward to when spring arrives, but seasonal allergies is not one of them. You have a ton of options when it comes to allergy relief but in this article, we are bringing you the best herbs and natural remedies to help combat the seasonal sniffles.
First, let’s talk about why you are having an allergic reaction.
Pollen is the main culprit in this battle between your immune system and nature. Basically, every time spring rolls around trees, flowers, and weeds release an allergen (like pollen) into the air that your body decides is a dangerous foreign substance and needs to fight off. Symptoms can be as mild as a runny nose and as extreme as your throat closing up.
While scientists tend to disagree about exactly why our bodies react this way, most land on the theory that our bodies have evolved from a time where our ancestors’ immune systems were fighting off harmful ticks and parasites. Because our health and living conditions have improved drastically, our immune system is now going after more harmless invading enemies. It kind of boils down to your body being overzealous in kicking out any unwanted houseguests.
So what can you do about it?
We mentioned before that there are a ton of options out there as far as allergy relief goes, but why pop a pill when there are all-natural options out there? Less chemicals and far less side effects. Here are some of our favorite herbs that can help provide you the relief you’re craving.
You might not be on a first name basis with this herb, but chances are you’ve encountered it more often than you know. Horehound is a bitter mint-family herb, and it is often used in cough drops, making it one of the most ingested herbs in the USA. With proven ability to help suppress a nasty cough it also has the potential to treat your seasonal allergies. Its main benefit is that it helps thin and move mucus buildup, so if you are stuffed up, this might do the trick.
Goldenrod has three very promising words often associated with it, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antihistamine. Often it is used as a kidney tonic, but it has a huge effect on thinning mucus and can-do wonders for a stuffed nose. Creating a tea of blend of goldenrod and horehound tea is a guaranteed way to combat congestion. A word of warning though, if you are allergic to flowers in the daisy family, this will likely cause a reaction.
Out of all the herbal remedies for seasonal allergies, Butterbur by far has the most research backing it. It has a reputation for relieving symptoms of allergies, migraines, and asthma and is has been tested extensively with positive results. The one downside with this herb is that when unprocessed it contains a chemical called pyrrolizidine alkaloids that can cause liver damage and other illnesses, so this is not a DIY remedy. You will need to buy this in a tablet or oil form to avoid the negative effects.
3. Horseradish or Wasabi
This is a foolproof way to clear your sinuses. While this isn’t a permanent solution, it will have immediate effects. When prepared fresh it especially potent, so be cautious because the aroma is far from gentle.
4. Mullein Leaf
Think of this herb as a friend to your lungs. With soothing and healing properties it is a respiratory remedy that can fight irritation or inflammation. It is an excellent supportive herb in a tea and will leave you feeling calm and like you can breathe deeply again.
5. Stinging Nettle Leaf
This is an herb that has been around for ages. In fact, we can trace the medicinal uses back as far as Ancient Greece. While the uses of Stinging Nettle have varied over the centuries, it has been proven to be an effective anti-inflammatory and even has the ability to inhibit multiple inflammatory events. It is an herb that is going to put in a ton of work for you and target several areas at once. A tried and true classic.
Rosemary is one of those herbs that is super accessible and multifunctional. Recently it has been credited in helping relieve asthma symptoms because of the rosmarinic acid found in it. This acid, which has both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, is what makes it appealing to seasonal allergy sufferers as well. Basically, the rosmarinic acid can help suppress the inflammatory responses of white blood cells as well as allergic antibodies, making it a great option as a natural allergy relief.
Here are two bonuses that aren’t herbs but have been proven as natural remedies for seasonal allergies.
Not exactly a herb, but it turns out that garlic is great for both Italian food and your immune system! Garlic is high in quercetin, which is an antioxidant that prevents cells from releasing histamine. This is helpful because when you’re experiencing spring allergies, your histamine levels will increase as the body tries to combat the allergens. So up your garlic intake a bit to naturally control your bodies reactions to the pollen-filled air.
Taking local honey to help prevent seasonal allergies is based on a concept called immunotherapy. This is the theory that by ingesting small doses of the thing you are allergic to you will slowly build up a tolerance to it (this is the same basic concept as allergy shots). Since locally soured honey will inherently carry traces of pollen in it, it is thought that this is a natural way to build up a tolerance. While this theory is widely debated, we don’t see the harm in giving it a try.