Foods and Herbs for Seasonal Allergies

The first part of this series discussed how Biomagnetic Therapy can be used to address seasonal allergies, go back if you missed it. This part is all about dietary factors and herbal medicine for keeping the sniffles and itchies at bay. These approaches are time tested, super easy to find and use, and are affordable. As with any holistic approach they may not work for everyone. If the first option doesn't work try the next, I'm confident you'll find the options that work best for you. As a reminder I am not a physician these suggestions are not meant to take the place of medical care.


Dietary Factors

This is one of the easiest ways to reduce allergies. These changes work by promoting a more balanced, healthful system with less inflammation. A healthy system is better able to deal with the yearly onslaught of pollen.


ginger-turmeric green tea

Anti-Inflammatory Foods

Herbs, spices, foods, and teas with known

anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties can be helpful in reducing the effects of seasonal allergies. A 2016 study in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry found that mice given ginger orally, saw a reduction in sneezing and congestion as well as lowered mast cell response. Research from 2002 showed green tea has a similar impact. Enjoy a cup of ginger-turmeric green tea, adding extra herbs and spices to your meals, consuming fresh vegetables and fruit, all tasty ways to make your allergies more manageable. For more information on anti-inflammatory food and antioxidants check out this post by Mackenzie Brooke Wellness.


Food Sensitivities

This spring I have been especially allergy free despite everyone around me complaining what a bad season it has been. This spring I have also been especially vigilant about not eating food I'm sensitive too. Last week I chose to indulge, I had a few slices of fresh mozzarella with tomato, basil, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar on bread. it was delicious but I paid for it. The next day I was sneezing and wheezing like crazy. Lesson learned. If you know you're sensitive to certain foods, avoiding them during allergy season will help mitigate your allergic responses. If you are interested in testing for food sensitivities this is the company I've used and recommend Alletess Medical Laboratory.


Gut Health

Allergies are often the result of an out of balance immune system. It is reacting too strongly to stimuli that would normally be well tolerated. People have lived outside, in close communion with plants for most of our existence. It is well understood strong gut health is closely linked to a healthy balanced immune system.


Eating anti-inflammatory food and avoiding foods you’re sensitive two are great ways to keep your gut happy. Boosting both the quantity and quality of our gut biome are also important. I like to do this by eating a variety of whole plant foods full of prebiotic compounds (fiber our bodies can’t digest but the bacteria in our gut can.) I also like to consume a variety of fermented foods. This doesn’t have to be in large quantities. A few bites of raw, organic sauerkraut or a couple of ounces of kombucha or switchel provide a nice dose of probiotics without overwhelming the system.


Herbalism

The connection between man and plant is ancient and powerful. People have been using plants as medicine for as long as they have roamed the earth. If working with plants speaks to you, I recommend taking a deeper dive into learning those native to your area.


The plants I'm referencing are all common to North America and may even be growing in your backyard. They are also abundant during allergy season, luck for us.


Nettles

Nettles - Hayfever, Itchy Eyes, and Sneezing

When in doubt I always reach for nettles first. They are helpful during allergy season because they contain compounds that are anti-inflammatory and inhibit histamine receptors. They are also deeply nutritive and support the body as a whole. Take as either a strong infusion or freeze-dried in capsules. I take my nettles as a strong infusion.


Nettle Infusion


1 quart boiling water

1/3 - 1/2 cup (0.25-0.3oz) dried nettles


Boil the water. Pour over the dried nettles, cover. Allow to steep for several hours. I make my nettle infusion at night and allow to steep until the next morning. The tea will be very dark green. I never measure my nettles, just pour into the mason jar I’m making the infusion in. For the sake of this post, I did measure my nettles for a few nights and those are the quantities I came up with. Feel free to add more or less depending on your preference. Interesting side note, nettles are known for their diuretic abilities. However, when I make them as a strong infusion, I don’t notice that happening as much.


Eyebright Blossoms

Eyebright - Itchy Watery Eyes

The medicine is in the name. Eyebright contains the compounds luteolin and quercetin. Those compounds inhibit mast cells, that release histamines. This antihistamine property is why eyebright has traditionally been used to address eye irritation from seasonal allergies. Take as a tincture. HerbPharm has a high quality Eyebright tincture.


Mullein - Dry mucous membranes and wheezing

Mullein Blossom

Mullein has been traditionally used for anyone with lung complaints. It has been found to be useful for asthma, sinusitis, and congestion. Mullein is an expectorant; it helps the body expel phlegm and congestion. It is also considered a demulcent, meaning it is moisturizing and soothing to dry, irritated tissues. Make as a tea or tincture. If you make a tea be sure to strain well so you don't have any small hairs irritating your throat.


Raw Local Honey

While not a herb, I am including this under herbalism. Using raw local honey to ease seasonal allergies has a long anecdotal history despite little science to the point. It is thought that consuming raw local honey will help you adapt to local allergens, think of it as a delicious "allergy shot". Add it to your smoothies, tea, toast, or my daughter's preferred way, straight off the spoon.


This was only meant to be a two-part series, but I got carried away with all the plant medicine love! The third, and final, part is coming up and will discuss how to use acupuncture and homeopathy for seasonal allergy complaints.


Favorite resources for herbal medicine:


Jennifer Ehrhardt, a Baltimore based herbalist runs an herbal apothecary from her home. She focuses on local and sustainably wildcrafted herbs. She has both bulk herbs and handcrafted products. Jenny is a wealth of information and an overall cool lady.


One of my favorite herbal apothecaries is Tonic Herb Shop in Shepherdstown, WV. It is a beautiful store with amazing products! I always pick up several herbal teas when I’m there.


Amber Magnolia Hill, could there be a better name for an herbalist? Amber and her husband, Owen, grow or wildcraft all the herbs for their products. Her plant medicine is magical and her podcast LITERALLY life changing! Seriously you need to check her out.


My two favorite larger suppliers of bulk herbs and plant medicine are Rose Mountain Herbs (they also have an amazing herb podcast) and HerbPharm.


Seasonal Offering for the month of May


30-minute Biomagnetism Sessions to specifically address allergy complaints. Though one session is helpful multiple are recommended to more thoroughly address underlying issues.

30-minute Seasonal Allergy Session - $75

Allergy Season Package of 3, 30-minute Sessions - $190, save 15% on all 3 sessions