Get Ready For Allergy Season!
Happy Spring Everyone!!
Oh, it felt like Spring was never going to get here. It’s been so bitter cold here!
Mind you, our first day of Spring (yesterday) was overcast, cold and drab!
Well, with Spring, comes seasonal allergies, so I thought this instalment of “From the Apothecary”, we would look at medicinal herbs that will help treat and fight off, season allergies.
First on the heavy hitters list is Rosemary:
Most people will have Rosemary growing in their garden already!
And if you don’t, then DO IT!!!!!!!
Not only is this herb a medicinal powerhouse, it’s super pretty, makes a great hedge and is hardy!!
Easy, let me give you the ‘straight to the point version’…..
* Anti-inflammatory (can even help with arthritic pain and gout!!!)
* Antioxidant (cause, you know, we need more of that stuff in our lives!!)
* Contains Rosemarinic Acid, which is proven to suppress the inflammatory response of the white blood cells and allergic antibodies.
* Helps to relieve the symptoms of asthma.
Seriously. You need this herb in your life and in your garden, NOW!!!
You can make a simple tea out of the fresh or dried herb (details later on), you could make a tincture (again, details later on!) or you could make a decoction and turn it into a syrup like I did with the immune boosting decoction in an earlier blog (click here to see that post).
Next on the list, which is a very close second to Rosemary, is Mullein:
Again, the short version…..
* Expels excess mucus, making coughs more productive by bringing up the mucus.
* Fights lung irritation (this includes Asthma!)
Now Mullein isn’t as common, yet you can still purchase seed from the likes of Happy Valley Seeds (Click here to view their insanely, awesome website!) and grow your own.
They are not a super easy seed to grow, but with persistence they are worth every failure!
You can also purchase the dried herb from some healthfood shops or online.
I personally use Austral Herbs (Click here), or Rostlina (Click here– an awesome little Ebay store with the most amazing customer service) and have found both suppliers to be of the highest quality!
Again, simply make a tea, tincture or syrup, whichever you prefer.
And next we have Stinging Nettles (leaf):
* Anti-inflammatory (particularly for the respiratory system)
* Pain reliever (renowned for helping with arthritic pain and gout!)
* Helps fight urinary tract infections and problems with an enlarged prostate.
* Reduces the symptoms of hayfever
* Lowers blood sugar
* Made into a salve it is brilliant on eczema and other skin irritations.
Now, you know you can find these beauties in nearly every single back yard in Australia, and everyone HATES weeding them out as their tiny little hairs ‘Sting’ and irritate for hours!
If you pick them using gloves, then put them into a teapot of boiling water straight away, then strain into a cup, you get all of the benefits and none of the sting!
This pesky ‘weed’ is also super tasty (like spinach!), so pick it (again, with gloves please!) and pop it into a steamer, the stings disappear and you are left with a pot of greeny superfoody-ness! (that’s the technical term us herbalists use HA HA HA)
I tend to wash it and then hang in bunches to dry, so that I can store it for long periods.
Being a seasonal thing (end of winter/ spring mainly), it’s wise to stock up and dry it out. Just remember to store it in an airtight jar/ container and out of direct sunlight.
You could also make a tincture or syrup if you prefer, but I find the tea has such a mild taste that it really quite lovely.
Now for the absolute kicker!!!!!
Now you’ve heard me spruik about the benefits of local honey (and I mean as close to home as possible!) many times, but I will give you a little refresh.
The theory, well, I should say (after much research and testing), the fact is, that if someone was to ingest honey from as close to home as possible (I get mine very literally down the road) on a regular basis (I’m going to say at least 1 teaspoon, 3 times a day), they are not just enjoying a sugary, sweet hit, they are also ingesting minute amounts of the allergens that irritate them, and by doing so, building up an immunity to said allergens!
So, go out, right now, literally right now, and find out where you can get yourself a good, regular supply of local honey.
You won’t regret it!
There are many more herbs out there that have huge benefits where allergies are concerned, but these are my “must haves” this allergy season! Now, how to use these herbs.
You may choose to just use one of these herbs at a time and see if they help you, or you may choose to make a tea blend (of the dried herbs) of each of them to get the most help you possibly can.
This is my preferred method.
As I said, there are other herbs you can use, which I tend to do myself, but these are the ones I started with and they worked!!!
OK, here we go.
Find yourself either the fresh or dried version of your chosen herb.
If using dried, in a small teapot, add 1 teaspoon into 1 cup of boiling water.
Allow this to steep for a minimum of 5 minutes, giving it a swirl a couple of times.
Strain into a cup and enjoy!
You can also use an infuser set up, which I tend to do quite regularly, but this is more suited to the dried herbs rather than fresh.
If using fresh herb, at least double that and use 2 to 3 teaspoons worth, roughly chopped up, then follow the same instructions as for dried herbs.
Tea is the fastest way of getting those benefits into your system. The heat of the water stimulates the body, which then readily absorbs the medicinal qualities.
This is also my preferred method.
Tinctures are also a simple way to draw out the herb’s medicinal qualities, however, this is a process that has a long ‘waiting period’, so I would suggest making you tincture at least 2 months before allergy season hits.
I will go into more detail, where tinctures are concerned, in another post, but the basics are as follows:
In a glass jar (glass only please) with a good sealable lid, add your dried or fresh herb (remember to double the amount if using fresh).
Now, the general rule is- 1 part dried herb to 4 parts solvent (alcohol of at least 40%, apple cider vinegar or another vinegar of your choice, again, more details in future posts) or if using fresh herbs- 1 part fresh herb to 2 parts solvent.
this is really more of a guideline, but if you use less herb, obviously there will be less medicinal goodness drawn out, resulting in you having to use more of the tincture.
Right, still with me?
After placing your herbs in the jar, top up with your chosen solvent and seal the jar firmly.
Place the jar in a dark cupboard, or a least out of any sunlight.
It must stay, unopened and in the cupboard for a minimum of 6 weeks, though I prefer to leave them 8 weeks before using. Just remember to give the jar a little shake and swirl every day. If you miss a day though, don’t stress about it!
After the waiting is over, strain your tincture into a clean jar (I like to use cheesecloth and squeeze every little bit out!), and seal the jar.
It’s now ready for use!
Dosage really depends on the person.
I say, start off (using a dropper) with 3 drops under the tongue, 3 times daily. Don’t swallow straight away, let it swirl around your mouth a little, then swallow.
If no effect, then move up to say 5 drops, 3 times per day.
I have a rosemary tincture, and I take 3 drops, 3 times per day and I find this effective, however, everyone is different!
Do be mindful if you are using alcohol as your solvent!
I do recommend that you use vinegar as your solvent if you are making a tincture for children!
Please remember, if you have any questions at all, I am more than happy to hear from you! Please get in touch. You can comment down the bottom of this post (and don’t forget to subscribe to get notifications of new blog posts!) or pop on over to my Facebook or Instagram pages! (just click on the icons down the bottom of this page!)
I really hope you give herbs a go this allergy season, and if you do, I’d absolutely love to hear from you!!!
Until next time….
Live Life to the Fullest, Love Beyond Words and Laugh Like No one Can Hear You!
Blessed be everyone!
– Amy XX