- By Dr. Andrea Hillstad, Naturopathic Doctor
Seasonal allergies can be a real pain. Runny nose, sneezing, itchy watery eyes, congestions. Luckily there are some amazing things nature has provided us with to help alleviate these symptoms.
HerbsElderberry and Elderflower – Sambucus nigra or Black Elder has both medicinal berries and flowers. The flowers help to remove excess mucous from the body and can balance histamine levels. Best when taken as a hot tea. Elderberries are great for chronic allergies as they are mast cell stabilizers. Mast cells are an important part of the immune system and are often-times associated with allergy symptoms. Elderberries can be decocted (simmered in boiling water) to make tea or can be made into syrup.
Eyebright – Eyebright has mucous reducing properties, help to regulate inflammation, and can shrink and tighten boggy tissues. It is great to use for upper respiratory congestion and inflammation and is especially indicated for profuse watery eye secretions with pain, burning, acute inflammation or irritation. Eyebright can be taken as a tea, or use the cooled tea as an eye wash.
Feverfew – Feverfew is most known for its prophylactic treatment of migraines, but it is a wonderful, and often underutilized herb for excess inflammation. As such, it can be used for allergy symptoms.
Licorice – Licorice is best used alongside other herbs for allergy symptoms. It enhances adrenal function and mucous membrane integrity.
Eucalyptus – Eucalpytus oil helps to open up lungs and sinuses, which improves circulation and lead to reduction in allergy symptoms. It has a cooling effect on the airway, making it easier to breath.
Lemon – Lemon oil can help clear sinuses, increase lymphatic drainage, and reduce congestion.
Peppermint – Peppermint oil, much like Eucalyptus, has a cooling sensation, which can help open up airways. It can also relieve a scratchy throat and unclog sinuses.
Our Breathe in line of essential oil products is a wonderful blend of all of the essential oils above, including a few others, to help you relieve congestion and breathe better.
Tea Tree – Tea Tree oil can clean up the indoor environment and reduce airborne allergens when diffused.
A note on essential oils: oils are very concentrated and potent. Only use them in a diffuser or topically when properly diluted in a carrier oil. Never ingest essential oils unless under the supervision of a trained aromatherapist or health care professional.
Gemstones and Crystals
Bloodstone – Bloodstone Jasper works by supporting the immune system and helping it realize when it’s being overactive. It also helps cleanse the blood of unhealthy energies.
Carnelian – Carnelian encourages deep relaxation throughout the body, which leads to increased energy and lymph movement. This can reduce congestion throughout the body.
Other things to keep in mind
Diet – Inflammation is a key component of allergies. Is your dietary choices helping or hurting you when it comes to reducing allergy symptoms. Foods that are high in sugar, omega 6 fatty acids, or highly processed all contribute to excess inflammation in the body. Dairy can increase mucous production. Choose foods that are minimally processed, organic, and high in omega 3 fatty acids and antioxidants. Fresh fruits and vegetables are always a great choice. Local raw honey can help with allergy symptoms by acclimating your body to the pollen in the area. And be sure to drink plenty of pure, filtered water.
Nasal Rinse – a neti pot or nasal rinse can help keep sinuses clear of allergens and remove excess mucous. Be sure to use sterile, distilled water.
Facial Lymph Massage – doing a simple facial lymph massage using either your fingers or a stone facial lymph roller, can help move the lymph and keep congestion at bay.
Try some or all of these this allergy season. If allergies still got you down, make an appointment with your local natural health care practitioner for more individualized, in-depth treatment.