Plant Medicines for Allergies

Allergies can have many triggering allergens. During the warmer months, allergens can take the form of pollens, grasses and other air borne substances that can be breathed in and cause the immune system to mount a type I hypersensitivity reaction, whereby Immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies will attach themselves to antigens (allergens or the trigger) and attach themselves to Mast cells, which then go on to release histamine and other inflammatory elements that initiate the symptoms of allergies such as:

  • Asthma symptoms:

  • wheezing and coughing

  • shortness of breath

  • an increase in mucus and inflammation in the lungs

  • needing to increase how often you are using your inhaler

  • Hayfever (allergic rhinitis) symptoms:

  • watery, swollen, red and itchy eyes

  • sneezing

  • runny nose

  • coughing and cold type symptoms

  • post nasal drip

  • itchy mouth

  • fatigue

  • Eczema (atopic dermatitis)

  • a flare of symptoms

  • intense itching

  • redness, swelling of the skin and inflammation (heat)

  • dryness of skin

  • Swelling around the face, hands or affected area (such as with bee stings)

  • Urticaria

All of these symptoms can increase irritability and make life really rather miserable whether you are an adult or a an adult coping with a child that has these symptoms.


Asthma

Asthma can vary in severity and has a variety of triggers, including pollens, grasses and other air borne substances. It can be a chronic and complex condition. Coughing is usually worse in the evening so I usually dispense a day time blend and a night time blend to help reduce coughing spasms and aid in sleep. Reducing or removing mucus forming foods such as dairy can be of benefit. There can also be many food intolerances and in some cases food allergies alongside having asthma. Make sure that you are drinking plenty of water as this helps to keep the lungs lubricated and makes breathing much easier.



Eczema

Like asthma, eczema can be a chronic and complex condition to treat, that can flare during the warmer months. They are like two sides of the same coin, you can have one or the other or both. Eczema appears externally but is very much an internal issue and when balance can be achieved then symptoms can be reduced or go into remission. I will usually dispense a blend of plant medicines for internally as well as topical preparations to help reduce itching and inflammation, reduce changes of infection and help with skin healing.



Hayfever

The severity of Hayfever symptoms can vary. Some may find that having a few antihistamines are enough to stop symptoms. Other may find that they require a longer term solution and plant medicines and supplements can be helpful. Quercetin is a supportive supplement that can help reduce inflammation, swelling and has been said to have antihistamine and anti allergy properties.

Homeopathic nasal sprays may be beneficial to help clear the air ways and reduce the inflammation. Weleda Gencydo Hayfever Nasal spray may help. Weleda Rhinodonon can help with the nasal passages are needing to be moisturized and cleared.




Baical Skullcap Scutellaria baicalensis and Albizia Albizia lebbeck

These herbs have a wonderful antiallergy effect in the body, helping to reduce inflammation and the effects of histamine and can be of benefit for all of the about conditions, particularly during spring and summer.


Eyebright Euphrasia officinalis

This herb can help to provide some relief for upper respiratory symptoms from allergies. It can help to relieve nasal congestion, post nasal drip and a runny nose. It may help to relieve sneezing and coughing and inflammation of the eyes.

Heel Euphorbium compositum Nasal spray or drops can be used if tincture of eyebright is not the right fit.


Angelica Angelica archangelica and Feverfew Tanacetum parthenium

Angelica has anti histamine properties helping to reduce hayfever and eczema symptoms. It can help with relieving nasal congestion and reliving sinuses. It a sinus infection has developed it can help with discharging and removing infection. Feverfew can help with reduce histamine and inflammation levels and reducing allergy symptoms. It additionally can be helpful for treating and preventing headaches and migraines.


Calendula Calendula officinalis and Chamomile Matricaria recutita

These can be a wonderful blend for children with mild eczema skin irritation. They help to reduce inflammation and they help with skin healing and can help with healing minor infection from scratching. These can either be mixed with a base cream and applied to the skin (I would also look at adding licorice root as it acts similarly to corticosteroid creams and chickweed to help reduce itching), or they could be had in tincture form with baical skullcap.


Mullein Verbascum thapsus White Horehound Marrubium vulgare and Wild Cherry Prunus serotina

These herbs can help with reducing asthma symptoms and with reducing muscles spasms that can come with coughing for a prolonged period of time. They also have demulcent properties which can help to sooth a dry and painful throat. Wild cherry has sedating properties which can help induce sleep.


Additionally it is important to have adequate levels of vitamin C and zinc to help support your immune system as it is working extremely hard and they help to provide base nutrients.

Drinking Nettle tea can help to a daily boost in minerals and antioxidants.


What you are eating can add to your suffering or it can help to reduce inflammation and add nutrients. Keeping a track of what you eat can help to give you a good indication of what foods and drinks are hurting you and what food and drinks are helping you.






For long term relief of these conditions, treating holistically is important. A high percentage of our immune system is situated in our gastrointestinal tract, therefore it is important to make sure this system is working well and that any imbalances are rectified to support a healthy immune system.