2 Herbs That May Be the Missing Link in your Allergy Regimen
Are you tired of having itchy, watery eyes, constant sneezing and sinus pressure or headaches every time Springtime rolls around? Have you hit a wall in your allergy routine? Have you cycled through numerous over-the-counter allergy medications only to develop a tolerance to each new one you try?
Perhaps it’s time to add some immune boosting herbs to your allergy regimen. Although allergies may be aggravated by external stimuli like pollen from blooming trees, plants and flowers, they’re actually an inside job.
In this article we’re going to explore how supporting your immune system may unlock an improvement in your seasonal allergies.
What’s the link between allergies and immunity?
All allergies are an immune response to external stimuli. In the case of seasonal allergies, these stimuli are mainly pollen from blooming trees, plants and flowers. Pollen contains many factors that can stimulate our innate and adaptive immune responses, which act as our main line of defense against invading pathogens like viral or bacterial infections.
When you encounter an environmental substance such as dust, mold, or pollen that your body isn’t used to or when your immune system is impaired, the body can overreact by producing something called antibodies and lymphocytes to “attack” the perceived foreign invader thereby causing an overactive immune response.
Now in most instances, our innate immune system doesn’t recognize pollen as a threat. Instead, allergies more often are a result of a sensitization of the adaptive immune system. Our body mistakes a normal, healthy substance (i.e. pollen) and registers it as a danger even though it’s technically not harmful.
This sets off a cascade of undesirable symptoms like wheezing, itchy or dry skin, runny nose, watery or itchy eyes, sinus headaches, sneezing, coughing and so on.
This immune response causes inflammation throughout the body, particularly in the joints, lungs and sinuses. If you’re interested in herbal remedies that can help reduce inflammation from seasonal allergies, check out this post.
This “allergic” response can also be exacerbated if the immune system is already compromised by additional factors such as chronic stress, poor gut health or the consumption of cross-reactive trigger foods.
Immune supporting herbs for allergy relief
That’s why one of the best ways to combat your allergies from the inside out is to focus on supporting your immune system. Elderberry is one natural herb that has been used worldwide for a variety of health concerns like the cold and flu, viral infections, sinus pain, nerve pain, and immune support.
Elderberry can promote healthy immune function thanks in large part to the flavonoids present in the berry that stimulate the immune system by enhancing the production of inflammatory cytokines. This is one reason why it’s touted as an effective herbal remedy for the common cold and flu.Wise Woman Herbal’s Elderberry Syrup promotes normal healthy immune system function and helps support normal healthy respiratory function. The alcohol-free formula is safe for children and adults, and contains no additives, added sugars or sweeteners. You’ll get nothing but pure elderberries in a concentrated syrup like the way nature intended.
Another great option is the Wise Woman Herbal’s Elder Immune Tea. This beautiful blend of loose leaf tea is made from pure, natural non-GMO immune supporting plants like echinacea, elder flower (Sambucus spp.), schisandra berry, cinnamon, and orange peel. This tea can bring comfort to those suffering from seasonal allergies and want something warm and soothing to help ease their temporary discomfort.
Both are on sale until the end of March to help you more easily work on supporting your immune system as the seasons begin to change and with the warmer weather comes more time spent outdoors connecting with nature.
Other lifestyle and dietary factors
As mentioned above, our immune system is impacted by so many different factors, including chronic stress, the foods we eat, our overall gut health, and our activity levels.
In addition to strengthening your immune system with herbal remedies, it can also be helpful to focus on cleaning up the diet and increasing immune-boosting foods as well as engaging in some positive lifestyle habits like regular walks or exercise and daily sunshine exposure.
Some nutrient-dense immune supporting foods include bone broth, fresh ginger, vitamin C foods like citrus fruits, green and red bell peppers, pineapple, and black currant. Foods rich in beta-carotene like carrots, sweet potatoes and dark leafy greens, and even green tea, are full of antioxidants.
Lastly, getting about 5-10 minutes of direct sunshine on the face every day can help naturally boost your vitamin D levels, which is essential for a strong immune system. Our bodies can make and synthesize vitamin D from daily sunshine exposure on the skin, which is an incredibly effective (and free!) way to keep those vitamin D levels high and healthy.
Remember that prior to adding herbal supplements to your daily regimen, it’s always best to consult your healthcare practitioner to determine the best way to incorporate these into your existing routine. Nothing in this article is intended as medical advice or diagnosis.
Nicole Cieslak is a functional nutritional therapy practitioner and certified personal trainer at Fit Foodist Nutrition specializing in gut health and hormone balance. Every day she strives to help people overcome chronic digestive and hormonal issues by getting to the root cause of their health imbalances. Through personalized diet, lifestyle and nutritional supplement recommendations, she empowers her clients to find freedom from suffering so they can reclaim their happiness and health. Learn more about her at thefitfoodist.com and follow her on Instagram at @fitfoodist_foundations for free nutrition, fitness and nontoxic living advice.