Autumn is here – and you know what that means, right?
The trees are shedding their leaves… the nights are cool… and the ragweed is doing a number on your sinuses. Popping antihistamines and other allergy meds is practically a way of life for many people this time of year. And that can be incredibly dangerous.
Some of the most popular prescription and over-the counter allergy drugs can cause an irregular heartbeat, leave you in a permanent brain fog, and even contribute to dementia.
You shouldn’t have to accept those risks to keep your allergies in check. And, as I’ve shown many of my patients over the years, you don’t have to. Because there are safe, proven herbal remedies that can help you overcome even the most stubborn allergy symptoms – and that can have you feeling better quickly.
Powerful herbal allergy fighters
When you have an allergic reaction, your immune system has essentially shifted into overdrive. The symptoms you experience, such as heavy mucus or inflammation, are basically your body responding to a perceived threat.
That’s why I recommend herbs that can soothe your symptoms while also strengthening your immune system.
To reduce mucus accumulation
Goldenseal (Hydrates canadensis), also known as yellow root, dries up and soothes the mucous membranes throughout the body. This quality makes it useful in alleviating congestion and excess mucus, both in the respiratory system and in the digestive tract.
Prescription and preparation: Goldenseal is usually sold as capsules (taken two to five times a day) and a tincture (½ to 1 teaspoon a day). You also can get it in powdered form, from which you can make a tea by pouring a cup of boiling water over about ½ to 1 teaspoon of the powder (taken twice a day).
Red Sage (Salvia officinalis): Red sage is a classic remedy for inflamed and congested mucus membranes. It may be used internally and as a mouthwash (if your throat and mouth are also sore).
Prescription and preparation: You can use about 1 teaspoon of dried red sage leaves to make a tea to drink up to three times a day. Red sage tincture is also available. You can take about 2 to
4 milliliters, three times per day.
To reduce bronchial and nasal inflammation
Cayenne (Capsicum minimum): Cayenne, or hot red pepper, is one of the most useful herbal remedies available. Its active ingredient, capsaicin, is a strong anti-inflammatory and thus helps
to soothe burning nasal passages, bronchial tubes, and lungs.
Prescription and preparation: Cayenne is readily available in powdered form and can be used in food, drunk as a tea (a cup of boiling water over ½ to 1 teaspoon of cayenne), and taken as a tincture (0.25 to 1 milliliters, three times daily).
Yarrow (Achillea millefolium): A powerful anti-inflammatory, yarrow is useful in treating fevers. It also reduces blood pressure, stimulates digestion, and reduces swelling of bronchial tissue.
Prescription and preparation: You can use dried yarrow leaves to make a tea, or you can consume it in tincture form (about 2 to 4, milliliters, three times a day).
To strengthen the immune system
Astralagus (Astralagus memebranceus): This ancient Chinese herb is used to increase resistance to disease. It has a warming effect on the body and soothes the digestive tract and other organs.
Prescription and preparation: Astragalus is most commonly available in commercial form as capsules (1 400mg capsule up to three times daily) and tinctures (1 teaspoon, three times daily).
Echinacea (Echinacea angustifolia): Also known as purple coneflower, this plant is a traditional Native American remedy known to have extraordinary immune-boosting qualities. Many clinical and laboratory studies document the ability of echinacea to strengthen the body’s tissues and protect you from invasive germs and allergens.
Prescription and preparation: You can buy echinacea in any number of different forms: capsules (1 capsule up to three times a day), tinctures (1 teaspoon up to three times a day), and extracts (mix 15 to 30 drops in water or juice and take up to four times a day).
Remember, herbs are drugs and may have serious side effects if not taken properly. It is best to devise an herbal prescription plan with a trained professional.
Wishing you the best of health,
Dr. Glenn S. Rothfeld
Nutrition & Healing
Vol. 10, Issue 10 • October 2016
Full references and citations for this article are available in the downloadable PDF version of the monthly Nutrition and Healing issue in which this article appears.