If you suffer from allergies you do not need to know the pollen count or hear the weather report to know what time of year it is. As you hear the first bird chirps of spring, your runny nose, itchy eyes and sneezing have already notified you that it is officially allergy season. Although you may not welcome those first blossoms that come with the warmer weather, here are natural remedies to help ease your stress this spring.
Freshly Brewed Herbs to Soothe Your Symptoms
Allergy Relief Tea
1 tablespoon fenugreek seeds
1 inch piece of ginger root, peeled
juice of 1 whole lemon
1 teaspoon raw, local honey
1 quart water
Put all ingredients except honey into a pot and cover with a lid. Bring to a rolling boil, turn off the heat and keep covered for 5 minutes.
You can use this recipe two ways.
1) After boiling the herbs, take the pot off the burner. Remove the lid, lean over the pot and drape a towel over your head. Breathe in the aromatic steam for several minutes.
2) Pour yourself a cup of tea and sweeten it with honey. Drink the tea while it is warm.
About these ingredients:
Mint contains menthol, which is effective for clearing the sinuses. It can easily be grown in a home garden or purchased in most grocery stores and farmers markets. Dried mint is also available in tea bags at most health food stores.
Fenugreek seed is a culinary spice traditionally used in Indian cooking. These seeds have mucolytic properties, meaning they help loosen and clear phlegm from the airways. It is available in the spice section of most stores and is also available in tea bags at the health food store.
Ginger can soothe a sore throat and clear sinuses. Fresh ginger has stronger medicinal benefits than dried ginger. Fresh ginger root is available in the produce section at most grocery stores and dried ginger is sold as a culinary spice or as tea bags from the health food store.
Lemon juice is a powerful cleanser which helps drain nasal congestion. Cutting open a fresh lemon will release the familiar smell of the essential oils from the peel. Bottled lemon juice can be substituted but isn’t preferred.
Local honey contains specks of a variety of pollens gathered by the bees in your immediate area. Consuming trace amounts of local pollen can help your body get used to the nearby blooms. To have the most benefits the honey should be raw and purchased from an apiary within 50 miles of your home. Check farmers markets, produce stands and health food stores.
Know When to Get Help
It is important to get to the right practitioner or group of practitioners to help you. Medical doctors and holistic practitioners can have different yet complimentary approaches to working with allergy symptoms. In my clinical experience acupuncture, nutrition and herbal supplements are extremely beneficial at helping minimize the stresses of allergy season. When used correctly these methods can be used simultaneously with allergy shots, prescription medications and over the counter medications.
Airborne allergies can often coincide with digestive issues and diet. Many of my clients have found relief just from minimizing consumption of refined sugar, refined flour and dairy products. A nutrition appointment can help you identify which foods may be contributing to your symptoms. It can be helpful to get a holistic perspective alongside Western medical treatments.
A cleansing program can boost your immunity and help clear out toxins that may be contributing to your symptoms. Sometimes just giving your body a rest from your daily food consumption can make a dramatic difference in how you feel. Cleansing can be as simple as just drinking vegetable juices and soup broths for the day or as intensive as ten day or month long supervised programs. Check with your healthcare provider before embarking on any cleansing program.
Acupuncture treatments and herbal remedies can also be helpful in mitigating allergy-related symptoms. I have personally watched patients who were wheezing, sneezing and experiencing sinus pressure find relief within minutes of starting the first acupuncture session. Sometimes this is temporary relief and the deeper issues need to be addressed with consistent long term care.
Acupuncture, herbal remedies and a healthy diet can boost your immune system, reduce allergic reactions and improve your overall health and well-being. Take time to smell the flowers this spring and enjoy the beauty of the change of seasons.
If you’d like more health tips, check out Samadhi’s book, Healthy Eating, Healthy Living, Healthy You.
Written by Samadhi Artemisa, Acupuncture Physician
Originally published in “A Better You” of the Orlando Sentinel newspaper on February 16, 2014, reprinted with permission.
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