The 5 Best Herbs for Seasonal Allergies
Ahh... spring is in the air! But along with that sunshine and spring breeze comes pollen, and lots of it. While the worst of allergy season is over for some of us, for others, it's just getting started. Pollen from all types of trees, grasses, and flowers can trigger an allergy flare-up, so it's good to have some herbal remedies for allergies on hand just in case. Depending on your allergy symptoms, you might choose a different herb or combination of herbs. Here are 5 of our favorite herbs for seasonal allergies!
1. Butterbur (Petasites hybridus)
Some studies have found the root of butterbur to be effective for symptoms of hay fever, also called allergic rhinitis, and migraines. Butterbur contains toxic pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs) that are found in some other medicinal plants. Luckily, some companies produce butterbur products with the dangerous PAs removed. Try one of these PA-free butterbur products, like Petadolex.
2. Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia)
Guduchi is an Ayurvedic herb that has been traditionally used for fever, cough, weakness, detoxification, and more. A 2005 study of 75 patients showed Guduchi's impressive potential for allergies: 83% of patients experienced relief from sneezing, 69% experienced relief from nasal discharge, and 61% got relief from nasal obstruction (aka clogging). These results were statistically significant when compared to placebo; Try Guduchi, or Tinospora cordifolia, for your allergies this year!.
3. Nettles (Urtica dioica)
Stinging nettles (especially fresh or freeze-dried) are awesome for busting allergies. Historically, nettles have been used for allergies, and newer clinical trials are also showing that nettle is effective for allergic rhinitis. Nettle extract was shown to inhibit enzymes in pro-inflammatory pathways that contribute to seasonal allergy symptoms. Nettle can easily replace more conventional greens in recipes, so if you have access, collect fresh nettles, then use them in any recipe that calls for spinach, kale, swiss chard, or other cooking greens.
4. Eyebright (Euphrasia spp.)
As its name suggests, eyebright is used for allergy symptoms like irritated, itchy eyes. It is anti-inflammatory, as well as astringent, and vitamin- and mineral-rich, all of which help to reduce mucous and inflammation in the eyes and membranes of the eyes, nose, and respiratory tract.
5. Horseradish (Armoracia rusticana)
If you've ever tasted horseradish, you're aware of the pungency that makes it so helpful for allergies. Its bitterness, heat, and sulfur compounds all contribute to its mucous-clearing and antimicrobial effects. It can help clear stuffy noses and lung problems. As a member of the Brassica plant family, it also has impressive systemic benefits. It loses its pungency if cooked, so use freshly grated root or preserve it in a tincture or in a medicinal vinegar. To make those preparations, just mix fresh grated horseradish with a neutral alcohol, like vodka, or apple cider vinegar, let it sit in a jar for a few weeks, and shake the jar daily. After a few weeks, strain it out and take your preparation as needed.
Allergies in Atlanta are so prevalent and severe that we've written about natural allergy remedies many times before. Don't forget to check out past blog posts for other tips!