To listen to a radio broadcast of The Herbal Highway on this topic, follow this link, http://www.kpfa.org/archive/id/78737
Welcome to allergy season! If you haven’t read the first part of this series, back up and read it. I don’t recommend going straight to symptomatic relief before doing preventive work. That is not holistic care. Going straight to the symptoms is simply taking an herb in place of a pill. You’re not using the plant respectfully nor are you fully participating in your own health. Okay, lecture over.
So, you have prepared for the allergy season as best you can and you are still experiencing allergy symptoms. That happens and this is when we look at symptomatic relief. That being said, if you are allergic to something you are allergic to something.
With allergy prevention I’m looking at reducing your reactivity, not ‘curing’ you of your allergy. You will likely find, however, that if you are taking good care of yourself and doing the preventive work, you may find yourself not just less reactive, but non-reactive to things that aren’t truly allergies but you are sensitive to.
The first two herbs that I think of for symptomatic relief of allergies are ambrosia and eyebright.
Ragweed, Ambrosia artemisifolia – anti-histamine for allergy and hayfever symptoms; reduces mucus secretions
Eyebright, Euphrasia – anti-histamine, anti-inflammatory, allergies with sinus and eye component; itchy eustachion tubes, dry, itchy, red eyes
Sometimes you need to dry or moisten your mucous membranes to feel more comfortable. If you do this, make sure that you don’t use the wrong herb. In other words, if you have too much mucus, use a drying herb. If your mucous membranes are dry, use a moistening herb. If you reverse that, you will make yourself more uncomfortable. Trust me on that.
Yerba santa, Eriodictyon; leaf and flower – slightly stimulating to lungs; best for constant cough with lots of uninfected (white) phlegm; tones down inflammation in lungs, sinuses and bronchi; sinus congestion with mucous; works well in combination for hayfever
Yerba mansa, Anemopsis; root – cold, damp respiratory ailments; better for chronic than acute; laryngitis, rhinitis, sinusitis; contraindications: pregnancy
Horehound, Marrubium; leaf – expectorant, basic lung cold, moist hot bronchitis, asthma; mildly stimulates cardio function and mucus secretions; gagging w/ cough
Marshmallow, Althea officinalis; root – demulscent, good for irritation and inflammation in respiratory system; coughs; use as cold infusion
Licorice, Glycrrhiza; root – dry cough, dry bronchial conditions; contraindications: hypothyroid, high blood pressure
Break-up and move out the mucus
Elder and mullein do this, see part one of this article for details on those plants.
Opening the lungs
Mullein yet again! Passionflower also opens the lungs by relaxing the bronchi.
Cayenne, Capsicum; fruit – anti-catarrhal (inflamed mucus membranes, excess secretions and congestion); staves off colds and debility; gargle for laryngitis; opens blood flow to the bronchials; contraindications: acute renal failure or acute GI inflammation
Working with allergies energetically
I’ve talked a lot about the physical considerations when working with allergies herbally. Now I want to talk about the energetics of allergies and how we approach improve our balance in that way. With allergies you’ll remember, we are talking about an over-reactive immune system. Our immune system is about boundaries and protection on a physical and metaphoric level. So consider any issues you might have with those topics and work on them. Here are some essences that may help you out.
Yarrow- of course, yarrow, many of you already know about how yarrow helps you from merging with others; many flower essence companies have a yarrow FE, or you may just carry the plant
From Alaskan Essences, www.alaskanessences.com
Black Tourmaline – helps to release toxins held in the physical and spirit bodies; helps clean and clear the energy to create a space for positive energy in our environment
Covellite – when you feel unprotected, vulnerable and too easily stimulated by others; brings strength, clarity and definition to the auric field; acts as a protective filter so you can relax and be in your heart
Hematite – emotionally co-dependent; difficulty containing your emotional energy, especially in groups; promotes emotional independence; compassionate detachment; be clear with your energy
From Greek Tree Essences, www.melissaassilem.com
Turpentine Tree – support where auto-immunity is an issue; recognize what is one’s self and what is not; blood cleanser
From Jane Bell Essences, www.janebellessences.com
Ancient Power – connection to earth and ones’ own authority; being present and moving forward with core strength; balanced masculine energy; safe and gentle containment
Sea Turtle – learning how to share space with others so you feel nourished rather than depleted by connection; increases appreciation for interdependent relationship with nature and other beings; helps move with grace and peace in any environment
From Desert Alchemy, www.desert-alchemy.com
Bright Star – encourages healthy boundaries so your individuality can shine; feeling safe and secure in yourself so that you can offer all of your actions from the heart and not become entangled in others and in situations
Canyon Grapevine – see obstacles as opportunities; giving without fear of enmeshment; appreciating others because independent from you, not enmeshed; harmonizes issues of alienation
So, let’s use this last bit of winter energy to try clear up what is stuck, stagnant and get ready for the cleansing, new beginning energy of spring …without too much sneezing.