Ask The HERB LADY: What To Do About Spring Allergies?

With Cathy Schram

Q: I can tell spring is coming. My allergies are already acting up. Any suggestions?

A: Happy Spring! The trees are budding, the grass is green and the spring flowers are blooming. You can smell it in the air. But of course that may not be such great news for the allergy sufferers. The smell of spring only brings billions of tiny pollens causing many of us to experience itchy red eyes, runny nose, sneezing, coughing and irritability.

What can we do besides stay indoors with the windows closed? We can take antihistamines, which may help alleviate the symptoms, but they are not getting at the root of the problem. Typically, they also come with side effects such as drowsiness, dry mouth and sometimes depression. Why not get relief from some of the natural remedies listed below? They can help your respiratory passages cleanse themselves. Some can stabilize the mast cells so they are less likely to burst and help the liver and other organs remove histamine and other toxins from the system more efficiently. Others can reduce inflammation without side effects.

Speaking from personal experience, one of the best formulas I can recommend for allergies is one that contains Boneset, Fennel, Fenugreek, Horseradish and Mullein. It relieves sinus and upper respiratory congestion as well as removes allergens and other toxins. It soothes inflamed tissues and helps fight infection. It will not arrest sinus drainage like other antihistamines. In fact, you may actually notice an increase in drainage for the first day or two. As the mucus membranes cleanse themselves of irritants, the drainage stops and healing begins.

Fenugreek and Thyme is a great combination to use as an herbal decongestant and expectorant. It helps to thin mucosal fluids and stimulates expectoration. It also acts as an antispasmodic to loosen phlegm and help stop chronic coughs.

High amounts of Vitamin C act as a natural antihistamine to bring quick relief, especially from hayfever. Citrus Bioflavonoids or Quercetin help to stabilize the mast cells to prevent the release of histamine. These are good choices and should be taken before the onset of allergy season for the most benefits.

Nasal washing is also a great choice. You wash the outside of your nose, why not wash away the allergens on the inside as well.

Of course, the best way to stay allergy free is avoidance. However, that is almost impossible living in St. Louis. The above herbs and vitamins are just a few of the suggestions to help you live a more comfortable life while using safe, natural, non-drowsy alternatives. Why shouldn’t you enjoy your spring and summer just like everyone else?

This herb information is for health education purposes only. It is not intended to replace the services of licensed health practitioners. Consult with a physician for any condition that requires professional care.

Do you have questions about herbs or vitamins? Send them to Cathy Schram, CNHP and Certified Herbalist. Write to: Herbs & More, 16021 Manchester Rd., Ellisville, MO 63011. www.morethanherbsonline.com