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Allergy Season - Already?

So here we are just coming out of Cold and Flu season, and BOOM! It's allergy season. All of a sudden, the weather channels are talking about pollen counts and I bet the drug stores are stocking up on all the anti-histamine and histamine blocker drugs for their counters. It's tree pollen time now and those little buggers have been stocking up during this winter and are bursting at the seams.

Something you might have noticed, is that many of the cold and flu meds on the shelves are really the same as the Allergy meds, just with different names. That's because many of the symptoms are the same. Runny noses, sore throats, chest congestion and coughs. Itchy Eyes seems to be the only thing that's different for most people. Some folks also get hives during this time but generally that's only in severe cases.

Here is the good news though. Just like the 'over the counter' meds, the herbs that will help during this time are pretty much the same too! So if you have been working the cold and flu regimen to keep the flu away, you've also been building your system up to fight allergies. This is because while the inflammations are slightly different in allergies vs. colds, the ability to fight them off still come from the same plants.

We all want to fight off the sneezing and runny noses as best we can but don't forget that symptoms are cause because our body is fighting off something and stopping the symptoms is just inhibiting our bodies from winning the battle. But that doesn't mean we have to suffer. So here are some tips to getting through the pollen season.

Many of the vinegar infusions take six weeks or so to prepare properly, so while we will include them on the list here, you will also need some quick things to get you going.

elderberry syrup
Elderberry syrup has Ginger, and Honey too.

1. Remember your Elderberry Syrup? The berries, ginger, cinnamon and honey all work well in building the immune system and helping the body fight off the attack before needing all the things that cause the symptoms. So don't stop taking the Elderberry syrups, if you have been using them. If you haven't been, you can whip up a batch in an evening, and start taking it right away (though I usually put it in the fridge over night so it's cold!). It won't work as fast as some of those allergy pills, but it will be better for you. If the allergies haven't gotten to you yet, don't wait.

2. Stinging Nettle and Linden Infusions are also some quick to make preventative solutions. They are usually done in about 4 hours but I tend to make them in the evenings and let them infuse over night. So you can start taking them quickly, and get them working for you right away. Stinging Nettle is high in minerals and vitamins but also seems to support the body's Histamines. I tend to use it mostly for its ability to reduce the runny nose syndrome for colds but it works for allergies too. Seems that if you research what herbs work for allergies, you will find that Stinging Nettle is high on the list for pretty much everybody. I like using it in a Susun Weed type of infusion. The same with Linden. I have found that Linden works well for me in fighting off or resolving chest congestion problems and coughs. I make lots of these infusions, but nettle and Linden are my favorites.

3. No quick list would be complete without mentioning things to avoid, right? Probably top of the list should be Milk and dairy products. These tend to build mucus in the system and add to the runny nose syndrome. Other things to avoid sounds like every diet plan you have heard of but I will just say that fried foods are another thing that I avoid, because I have noticed that if I eat more of them, I not only gain weight, but I also suffer more from allergies.

4. Vinegar tonics, just the same ones for colds are also great for allergy season. But these take 4 to six weeks to prepare. So get some started. Remember that after tree pollen season, ragweed will start up! There are two very famous vinegar recipes that most people like and seem to work well for me. 4 Thieves, which is basically garlic, rosemary, thyme, and sage in a red wine vinegar works well for me. I add a few things to the very basic formula when I make it but you can find a ton of different ones out there that people use. The other is what some people call the "master tonic" or fire cider. Some company has trademarked fire cider which is why people call it master tonic, or other names. This is a HOT drink, and contains many great things for fighting colds and allergies. It usually contains garlic, horseradish, ginger, turmeric, cayenne peppers, jalapeno peppers, so it is especially spicy! Most people use an apple cider vinegar for this, but I am allergic to apples so I go with white wine vinegar. There are loads of recipes out there for this too.

5. Did you notice that both vinegar recipes had garlic? It's a fantastic herb that should be taken frequently to build your immune system up. I create a garlic and astragalus tincture to take a couple of times a day. But keep in mind that when you are cooking, use a good bit of garlic in your food. It keeps vampires away too I'm told! Also, cook with a lot of sage (the culinary sage, not white sage). Sage is good for helping to stop the runny noses and mucus build up.

Remember that these suggestions are things that work for me. Mostly herbs are used for preventative methods and do not replace doctor visits when required. Also please be careful about what you take. Just like I know about my allergy to apples so I avoid using apple cider vinegar, you need to make sure none of these herbs cause a different reaction in you. People are all different and what works for one, may not work for others.

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