Spring Allergies

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It is springtime! The trees are budding, the violets and crocuses are peeking out of the ground, and daffodils promise a colour of cheery yellow soon to appear. We are excited to start our gardens and sit in the warmth of the sun once more.  But for many, this time also brings runny noses, congested sinuses, scratchy throats, headaches, postnasal drip and just downright fatigue; allergies.  Not fun!

 

As all of this pushing forward of plant growth is happening, pollen fills the air to help pollinate the plants, which is the rite of spring but a problem for allergy sufferers.  Allergies can be a misery, and just getting through the day is exhausting.  So what to do?   Many over-the-counter medications will stop these symptoms, which is a welcome relief; however, Nature has provided a few helpers as well. 

 

In the spring, I take a teaspoon of bee pollen on yogurt each morning which adds a crunch to the mixture, which is quite tasty.  Also, I use honey in my coffee, and if the post nasal drip gets bad I take some usnea to deal with it. If you decide to use the bee pollen, please always start off slow by adding a few grains to see if you can tolerate it; for some people, the pollen is an allergen in itself.  Bee pollen can cause severe reactions so be careful. Probably best to not give bee pollen to children or pregnant women just to be on the safe side without first checking with their health practitioner.  

 

Raw unpastuerized honey is best to use and if you can source both your bee pollen and honey locally it is considered to be the better choice. However, I have used whatever was available, and it has worked. Also, never give honey to children under one year of age. 

 

Keeping the air quality free of allergens in the house is advised.  There are air filters available to add to your existing furnace as well as stand-alone purifiers.  Worth every penny!  We are fortunate to have an air purifier on the air source heat pump we use to heat and cool the house keeping our house somewhat allergen free.  

 

Drinking nettle tea two to three times a day can also be a big help.  Use saline sinus rinses once or twice daily assists in keeping the nasal passages clear of the offending pollen.

 

Being aware of what triggers your allergies is helpful. If you mow the grass and your allergies get worse, well, probably best to use a good mask or better still have someone else do the work!  Seasonal foods such as strawberries can bother some people. Enjoy them without overindulging.  Use your common sense.   

 

Building up the immune system is key to controlling your allergies.  The truth is your immune system is overwhelmed by the pollen in the air, and the allergy symptoms feel like your cup floweth over with phlegm; this is your body’s response to the allergens. Eating fermented foods and other probiotic foods such as yogurt can help support your immune system.  Getting enough sleep, managing your stress levels and eating a good diet also assist your overall health. 

 

Your emotional and mental attitudes may come into play unbeknownst to you.  For example, if you feel stressed and overwhelmed in life, your immune system picks up this information and starts to react to everything that comes along.  If you think your life is spiralling out of control,  this too affects your immune system.  Trying to keep your inner dialogue to ideas of ‘I can manage’ and ‘this too shall pass’ will have a positive impact on your immune system functioning better.   I know this sounds so simple but give it a try and see.  Finding tricks to deal with your stressors or, better yet if possible, reduce or get rid of them.  Tough right now in the middle of a sixth wave of Covid for sure!  See more information below.

 

If you need any assistance, please contact me at wendolyn@hereonearth.ca.

 

Bee pollen granules

To make sure you will not have a problem taking bee pollen granules start off small.  Add a little bit of granules daily to your food until you are up to 1/2 teaspoon to one teaspoon per day. Put the bee pollen granules in some yogurt or on some cereal to add some crunch.  

 

I take bee pollen in the springtime until the pollens calm down and then I stop taking it. Some people may need to take it longer. 

 

If you have any issues with any bee products it's probably not a good idea to take bee pollen. You can have a bad reactions  Always check with a health care practitioner before giving bee pollen to kids or pregnant women.  

 

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Honey 

Raw unprocessed local honey is best to use for allergies.  DO NOT give to children under one-year-old.  

 

The idea behind honey treating allergies is similar to that of a person getting allergy shots. When a person eats local honey, they are thought to be ingesting local pollen. Over time, a person may become less sensitive to this pollen. As a result, they may experience fewer seasonal allergy symptoms.  

 

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Herbs  

Some herbs work as antihistamines and can be used to manage the symptoms of allergies.  Nettles can be helpful as a tea taken at least once or twice a day or it can be used in tincture form.  Works great!

 

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Use Nasal Saline Rinses 

Saline nasal rinses are excellent for soothing the irritated mucus membranes of the sinuses and nasal passages.  As well as soothing the rinse will wash away the offending pollen that may have gotten up the nose.

 

Use a nasal rinse at least once daily or twice daily if needed. (buy commercial saline rinses at the drug store or use a neti pot – see pic)

 

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Herbal Steams

Herbal steams are great for breaking up congestion and soothing the respiratory system.  

Simply add a few drops eucalyptus essential oil or dried herbs to steaming water and inhale slowly through the nose.  Make sure the water is not too hot or it will make matters worse. 

 

You can use rosemary, thyme, peppermint or oregano as well. 

 

Be careful with steams with children they can be very dangerous.  Best to put the kids in the bathroom with a steamy shower and add the essential oils to the bottom of the shower stall. 

 

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Post Nasal Drip

 

For mild to moderate post nasal drip use Usnea barbata (Old Man's Beard). 

 

For drowning in post nasal drip use Euphrasia officinalis or Eyebright.

 

Both are drying herbs so use only as long as needed and up your water intake. 

 

                                       

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