Numerous herbal remedies can assist in the treatment and alleviation of allergy symptoms related to the season.
Spring is here and for many people this is the season for itchy watery eyes, runny nose, sneezing and general discomfort. Herbal treatments can bring relief of some or even all of these symptoms. A number of herbs can help. Some are controversial and some are surprising. Some have some interesting benefits for other conditions.
Of all the herbs beneficial in treatment of allergic rhinitis Ephedra is the most controversial. Health Canada has a caution out that Ephedra can aggravate the conditions of people with:
- heart problems
- high blood pressure
- thyroid disease
- enlarged prostate
Health Canada does say however “Consumers should use Ephedra/ephedrine products only for the approved indication of nasal decongestion, and should not exceed the maximum allowable dosage described in the Ephedra and ephedrine/pseudoephedrine labelling standards, unless this has been recommended by and you are under the surveillance of a health care practitioner.”
Clearly in order to use Ephedra for relief of seasonal allergy symptoms the sufferer must be wary.
Garlic is truly the wonder drug of the herbal world. It has a place in an enormous number of health conditions. As well as being an antibiotic, anti-microbial and blood thinner its use in the treatment of hay fever symptoms is well known. It can help alleviate the symptoms by boosting the immune system and dietary intake of garlic should be increased prior to the start of allergy season. For those concerned about the scent of garlic there are also freeze dried garlic capsules available.
Chamomile and Elderflower
Although chamomile and Elderflowers are flowers they have great benefits for the relief of seasonal allergy symptoms. By steeping 1 heaping teaspoonful of either herb in one cup of boiling water for 5 to 10 minutes and drinking the tea 1 to 3 times a day the allergy sufferer can reduce their symptoms.
Chamomile specifically reduces the intensity and duration of the symptoms.
Horseradish and Quercetin
Horseradish is effective at reducing nasal congestion and deterring future allergy attacks. The dosage is small 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of prepared horseradish daily but horseradish can also have an irritating effect on the stomach when taken regularly.
Quercetin comes from the coloring on apples and red onions as well as occurring a number of places naturally. Quercetin has a natural antihistamine effect which is beneficial for treatment of seasonal allergies. Quercetin capsules may be found in health food stores and the recommended dosage is 125 to 250mg 3 times a day between meals. Quercetin has been found in at least one case to raise blood pressure so caution should be used with this remedy.
Stinging nettles have a very beneficial effect on seasonal allergy symptoms. In one study at the National College of Naturopathic Medicine in Portland Oregon nettles were proven more effective than placebo. The age old dosage of nettles was 1 heaping teaspoon per cup of boiling water taken 3 times a day. Recently however studies are being conducted on nettle root. Nettle root extract has been found to be more effective than placebo in treating allergic rhinitis. Caution should be used when taking diabetes medicine, anti-hypertensives and diuretic medicines.
An interesting side benefit of nettle root is that it is being successfully proven to treat Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia.
Along with the herbal remedies a change in diet can also prove beneficial in the treatment of seasonal allergies. Minimal dairy, increasing protein, increasing vegetable intake both raw and cooked and eliminating the consumption of sugar are all excellent ways to reduce and eliminate allergy symptoms.
There are alternatives to suffering through allergy season that do not come from a drugstore package. The choice as always, is yours.