Written by Matt Opatrny and Caleb Knox
Itchy and watery eyes, runny nose, rashes, inflammation. Sound familiar? Millions of us are affected by these symptoms all year round, especially when Spring allergy season rolls around. Allergies can be extremely frustrating and annoying to deal with – your body is over-reacting and you have no control over it. The good news is Mother Earth continues to create natural remedies to help us get through the thick of it. We’ll walk you through the basic insights, so you can learn how to deal with
allergies au naturale.
To begin, let’s break down the basics. An allergic reaction occurs when the body produces histamines to combat the foreign invader or allergen. Western medicine has done a great job of creating concentrated pharmaceuticals that reduce the histamine in a given person by blocking histamine receptors (known as antihistamines). These are great for emergency situations for those of
us at risk of a severe allergic reaction.
All of us, though, can definitely take advantage of the antihistamine-like plants already growing in soil nearby you. When you first have a strong allergic response to something, its best to use plants that contain histamine inhibition actions/inhibit mast cells. This just means these plants tell the immune system to chill out and stop defending itself from a non-harmful compound. Adding the below plants into your allergy toolkit may be a good place to start to find some immediate relief as you begin to discover the deeper cause of the issue.
Histamine/Mast cell Allies
- Signals the body to naturally inhibit histamine production
- Rich in vitamins and minerals
- Supports immune system
- Opens the lungs and helps the body expel phlegm
- Helps calm mouth, tongue, and throat itching
- Recognized as a natural antihistamine
- Pair it with local honey and you’ve got yourself a delicious and allergy preventing beverage
- Reduces inflammation
- Curcumin holds antihistamine properties by inhibiting the release of some histamines
- Natural chemical constituents of jewelweed act like corticosteroids, compounds that inhibit or “block” this histamine reaction.
We must also seek to reestablish a normal response to allergens by strengthening the immune system. An allergic reaction can be seen as a misfire of the immune system. Instead of eliminating the allergens in a healthy and normal way, a compromised immune system will misuse its energy in allergic responses by creating excess histamine. Nettle and Echinacea are great tools to
support and strengthen immunity.
Nettle – See insights above
- Increases immune function
- Improves recovery time from illnesses such as the common cold
In the same sense, restoring the body’s eliminative functions of the liver and kidneys allows the system to better handle allergens. Otherwise, the elimination process is sometimes compromised, inhibiting the body’s ability to filter out what doesn’t belong. If the eliminative organs are overwhelmed, the body is more likely to try and clear toxins directly through the skin, eyes, nose,
and tongue. To prevent this, we recommend yellow Dock, mullein, and cordyceps. These are great at opening the airways and clearing particles and mucus that don’t need to be there.
- Cleanses the lymphatic system. (The lymphatic system is responsible for moving unwanted
toxins to be eliminated by the body)
- Liver stimulant and laxative
- Clears liver so body can excrete less through skin, eyes, nose, and tongue
- Clears mucus
- Tones the mucus membranes of the respiratory system
- Ideal for stuffed sinuses and runny nose
- Opens up the airways, lungs, and sinuses
- Helps increase energy
- Antibacterial, antiviral
In addition, improving gut health and digestion helps us eliminate potential allergic triggers. Lectins are compounds we may be allergic to (for example, legumes are a food high in lectins). They exist in 30% of our dietary intake. Cooking and good digestive function typically eliminate all lectins from
Lectin Eliminating/Gut health Allies
- Soothes the gut and stimulates healthy digestion
- Opens the sinuses and clearing mucus
- Opens breath
- Helps the body purge the histamines through the gut
- Works with the body to restore its optimal gut biome
- Increases motilin in the body, which is a hormone that causes your intestines to move food towards elimination
- Stimulates the liver to secrete bile. (Bile serves to break down fats and carry unnecessary substances out of the body)
Local Honey - As many of you may already know, local honey is a huge help with those suffering from seasonal allergies. Why? Local honey helps with allergies because you are essentially ingesting low doses of pollen from local flowers. This works the same way as an allergy shot – you prime your system with the pollen so that later on when you are exposed to higher concentrations of it, you get
less of a reaction.
At Scarlet Sage, we strongly encourage the use and abuse of what Mother Earth has to offer, especially for those pesky allergies many of us suffer from. Medicinal plants are here to help you deal with the illnesses and conditions that pop up in life.
We make our own Allergy tea, which we sell both online and in store. This is a great option if you’re looking for a quick and easy way to help battle your allergies. For all of the antihistamine herbs discussed, a great way to bring them into your system is in the form of a tea.
And, if you want to make things easy, we've combined some of our favourite herbs for allergies in our ALLERGY TEA. Bam.