April has arrived and spring is finally here! The grass thickens and becomes a lush green; Dandelions, tulips, and daffodils start to poke through the thawing soil. Along with all the new growth and fresh green, the trees and flowers awaken and pollen starts blowing in the wind. Those of us who have a sensitivity to certain pollen suddenly have a new awakened sensation: allergy and hay fever season has begun too!
So what can you do if you are suffering with a stuffy head and runny eyes and nose and do not wish to put pharmaceutical chemicals into your body that will have their own side effects? When given a choice, I will always choose to use a natural herbal remedy for allergies, or any other ailment for that matter, if there is a suitable alternative available. There are a few herbal options when dealing with hay fever and allergies, depending on the cause of the allergic reaction and the symptoms it has created.
The Root Cause of Allergy
The cause of an allergic reaction can be as varied as there are individuals living on this planet. Getting to the root of the problem, the actual cause of the allergy, and knowing whether the allergy is a histamine type or tuberculin type is among the first steps in finding a lasting cure that will prevent the symptoms in the future.
Allergic reactions can be caused by pollen, food, plants, animal tissues, drugs, cosmetics, micro-organisms, industrial products and many more. The symptoms can include a stuffy nose and head, runny eyes and nose, coughing and sneezing, excess mucus, itchy, swollen and irritated eyes, and a headache or symptoms similar to that of a common cold. In more severe cases, the symptoms may include an eruption of a rash, sore and swollen throat, and difficulty breathing.
Using Horseradish Root for Sinus and Hay Fever Symptoms
In cases when allergy symptoms come on quickly and there are no medications or herbal formulas readily available to you, look no further than your refrigerator for a quick aide. Horseradish root is one of the very best herbal remedies for sinus issues or a stuffed up head, be it from an allergic reaction or from the common cold.
If you have fresh horseradish root, this is best, however even a store bought jar of minced horseradish will do the trick, though results will be better using a fresh root. If you have fresh horseradish root available, simply blend fresh chopped up horseradish roots with apple cider vinegar into a thick pulp. Holding this mixture just below your nose, breath in deeply and hold for the count of four, and exhale, doing this several times. Even using this mixture externally, just breathing the root in, will begin the process of loosening mucus in the head and sinus area so it is able to drain down the Eustachian tubes and eventually find it’s way out of the body.
Internal dosage: Take 1/3 teaspoon of the blended pulp (or store bought horseradish) into the mouth and chew thoroughly before swallowing. Take 1/3 teaspoon 3 times per day. Each 3 days increase this amount by 1/3 teaspoon until you have reached a full teaspoon 3 times per day.
Note: If using a store bought horseradish product, one found in the refrigerated section or at a health food store with no preservatives or added ingredients would be the preferred option.
Herbal Combinations for Allergies, Sinus, and Hay Fever
There are several herbal formulas that are pre-made for convenience that I personally will stock up on to have on hand should myself or one of my children come down with a cold or are suffering any number of symptoms. Here are a couple of my favorites for allergies and hay fever:
Dr. Christopher’s Sinus Plus Formula – This is one of the very best formulas I have found for allergy, sinus, and hay fever symptoms. Dr. John R. Christopher, America’s pioneer Master Herbalist, put together a synergistic blend of herbs specifically for these issues to be used as a “natural and herbal help” working as a natural antihistamine and decongestant to dry up the sinuses and to expel excess mucus from the head and bronchial-pulmonary tubes and passages. The formula is made up of the following herbs: Brigham tea, marshmallow root, juniper berries, golden seal root, ginseng, parsley, and garlic. The formula is available in capsule and extract form and can be used by both adults and children.
Local Raw Honey – To gain immunity from the pollen in your area, 1 tablespoon of local raw honey taken internally once daily can be used. The honey must be from your local area to have relevance for you since it will contain the nectar of plants local to you.
Mullein Leaves and Flowers – A strong tea, or decoction, made from the flowers and leaves of mullein herb can greatly reduce the symptoms of hay fever, cough, bronchitis, croup, and asthma as well as other pulmonary diseases. Mullein has a special affinity for the respiratory organs and can be a great aide in cleansing and rebuilding these organs.
Hydrotherapy for Hay Fever and Sinusitis
Steam Baths – This therapeutic procedure can bring amazing results alone or when paired with herbal combinations when dealing with hay fever and sinus issues. Steam baths are also beneficial for pneumonia, asthma, bronchitis, fever, stiff joints, and arthritis. Simply turn your shower on hot and let the room fill with steam. Then sit within the room breathing in the hot steam for up to 20 minutes. For some conditions such as croup, immediately going from a hot steam bath to a cold environment for a few minutes can greatly improve symptoms.
Water Consumption – Making sure you are taking in plenty of water each day is a large part of helping your body not only function properly but also to filter out any toxins it may come in contact with on any given day. There may be toxins in the food we eat in the form of pesticides or other chemicals, toxins from chemicals used to make our laundry soap entering our skin, and toxins in the air we breathe from any number of pollutants. Helping the body to filter out as many of these toxins each day as possible can make a difference in how our bodies react to various allergens.
To be fully hydrated and ensure all the body’s organs and systems are functioning properly, an average sized adult should be taking in approximately 1 gallon of water each day. The formula of 1oz of water per 1lb of body weight is used; So for example, a person who weighs 130lb should be taking in 130oz of water, or 1 gallon, each day.
Be Prepared and Enjoy Spring!
Spring is finally here and instead of making the choice to either take an over the counter or pharmaceutical medication or hiding indoors to reduce hay fever and allergy symptoms, there are herbal aides we can choose to greatly reduce or eliminate them. Stocking up on a few herbal aides to have on hand can guarantee our ability to go out and enjoy the nice weather after a long winter inside, without the hassle of allergy or hay fever symptoms getting in the way!
For information on some of nature’s truly powerfully nutritious herbal super foods to keep the body in optimal health, feel free to check out my article here.
If you have your own personal natural remedy or a natural product you like to use for your family for allergies and/or hay fever, please share it with me below! I love hearing from you!