Thursday, March 15, 2007

Springtime allergies?

Ahh, Spring! The birds returning, the plants starting to peek through the soil, and the trees all in bloom! Ack, Wait a minute~did she say the trees are all in bloom? Uh oh!

Yes, I'm an herbalist with hay fever. The Goddess truly has a sense of humor!

Well, with Spring officially starting in a few days, I thought I would write about something that I know many people struggle with~Springtime allergies. I know, first hand, how horrible a beautiful breezy spring day can make you feel! That sounds odd, but when you figure in all the allergy symptoms of itchy eyes, draining or packed sinuses, sneezing and headache, you may wish for a Winter's day again!

While there are some days that even I break out the OTC allergy pills, most of the time I can deal with my allergies using herbs (of course!). There are two herbs that I find to be the most helpful for dealing with allergies. These are Nettles and Eyebright. A blend of both of these herbs, together in tincture form, is a great way to help you thru the season and to feel better. The key to doing this is to start NOW! It takes a few weeks for the full benefit of the herbs to work.
Eyebright, while mainly associated with optical health, is a great decongestant herb for sinusitis and other congestion.Here's Eyebright in flower:

Nettles is good for clearing mucous out of the body, specifically the respiratory system. You can find this blend, ready-made, by several herbal companies. I like the blend by HerbPharm (you can find this at many health food co-ops), and also the blend from Mountain Rose Herbs (scroll down their page to see the Nettle-Eyebright blend).
Here's what Nettle looks like in flower:

The other thing that is handy to have around for congestion is Peppermint or Eucalyptus essential oil. You can rub a drop of this onto your temples and under your nose to help break up sinus congestion, and clear your nasal passages.

I hope this helps you get ready to face this year's upcoming bloom.


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