HEALTH & WELL BEING -April 2009
Allergy Remedies from Moonflower Market
Spring is here and so is allergy season. All the lovely green and blooming plants are loading the air with irritants. While most people are putting on shorts and sandals feeling a sense of renewal and joy, others are dreading the season of sneezing, coughing, headaches, runny nose, scratchy throat and watery eyes associated with increased pollen in the air. There are many strategies for the allergy sufferer to alleviate symptoms and get back in the spirit of spring. Moonflower Market has its shelves stocked with product to make this season a little more enjoyable for allergy sufferers. Seasonal allergies are reported to be of epidemic proportions with almost 20% of the population affected. There are many drugstore medications available to allergy sufferers. Unfortunately most of these are just masking symptoms, perpetuating their use. Some have strong side effects, causing more discomfort. Those looking for alternatives to prescription drugs will find mother nature’s pharmacopeia well stocked. Basic lifestyle strategies including diet modification can help reduce suffering as well.
Some studies suggest that staying indoors during peak pollen hours in the early morning can help. Exercising indoors during peak season can stave off a major allergy attack. Smoking or second hand smoke can magnify allergic reactions. A diet high in fresh vegetables, fruits and cultured foods that are high in vitamin C and EFAs is beneficial. They support your immune system and liver and their ability to neutralize allergens. Avoid mucous forming foods such as dairy products and highly processed items. Drink lots of water and other fluids to help cleanse your system. Local Bee Pollen or raw unprocessed honey (which contains pollen) is a nutritive tonic for the system and help hay fever symptoms. Many people find relief from the Ayurvedic Neti Pot. The neti pot gently rinses your nasal passages removing irritating allergens. While many initially balk at the idea of rinsing their sinuses, they are sold on the profound relief afforded them.
Homeopathic remedies are available that can relieve allergy sufferers. Euphrasia, or eyebright is helpful for red swollen eyes. Bryonia, Allium cepa, and urtica urens are other constitution specific remedies that can help.
Master Herbalist Molly McClish says “This time of year can be overwhelming for allergy sufferers.” She has discovered the herbal remedy that combats the intense frustration and irritation that her son suffered each year. Elderflower, high in bioflavinoids, “addresses all pollen related allergies, dust allergies, has shown successful results with pet allergies , and even soothed and diminished chemical allergies.” It is her first choice for allergy relief and prevention of future inflammation. “Another positive aspect of Elderflower is that it has no known side effects and doesn’t conflict with other medicines.”
“My sister keeps it in her backpack and finds that if taken before an outing and when on a ride, she is able to circumvent reactions and can continue to be outdoors in the season we all want to get out there.” Molly also reccomends quercitin, a bioflavinoid, but feels that “it works best if taken 6-8 weeks beforehand. Remember this for the other plants that spark allergic reaction for you later in the season.” Bioflavinoids decrease histamine release that causes allergy and asthma attacks. They can work in acute situations as well. Nettles is another herbal antihistamine. Nettles can relieve your runny nose. “Nettles is an excellent spring tonic as it nourishes and cleanses the blood and is beneficial for the entire system.“ Other allies include “chamomile which will reduce the intensity and duration of a reaction. However, some people are allergic to this plant Ginger capsules reduce inflammation of allergies. Horseradish in foods relieves sinus congestion and can reduce future reactions. “
McClish also suggests aromatherapy with thyme and eucalyptus in boiling water. After boiling a few minutes, pull from heat and inhale the steam with or without a towel over the head. These essential oils can help ease the congestion and open air passages.
Molly McClish is the brains behind Wise Raven Herbs and offers many tintures for sale at Moonflower Market including Elderflower and an Allergy Relief combination.
If you are feeling frustrated by allergy season this year know that there are options for you. Herbs, nutritional supplements, aromatherapy, and homeopathic remedies coupled with a few simple lifestyle strategies and diet modifications can make this time of year more bearable.