When spring temperatures rise as the sun warms the soil and delivers its light-filled nutrients to the flower and trees, everything starts to BLOOM. For many, this can bring sneezing, itchy eyes, runny nose, and brain fog. The good news is there are many ways to enjoy the spring and get some allergy relief without feeling the drain (financially and energetically) from OTC allergy meds.
Allergies are simply an immune response and most often result from an overburdened liver and imbalanced gut. That’s why we can get them any time of year and at any age. (*Please note: I’m not discussing anaphylactic allergies in this post, only seasonal and food allergies/sensitivities.)
What's the Liver got to do with it?
The liver is responsible for breaking down histamine and when stressed or overburdened, the body can build up excess histamine causing these allergic inflammatory reactions. The purpose of histamine is to create an inflammatory response to shuffle allergens out of your body and off your skin. It’s like the bouncer for your immune system. However in excess, it can result in itchiness, sneezing, tearing, and other uncomfortable symptoms.
Histamine plays a role in stomach acid and as a neurotransmitter, delivering messages from brain to body. When there is a buildup or overflow of histamine that is when the ill effects start. It can manifest in the respiratory system, digestive tract, skin, brain and cardiovascular system, which can look/feel like sinus congestion, skin rashes, headaches, runny nose, itchy eyes, etc.
3 Tips for Long-term Allergy Relief:
- Strengthen the immune system by focusing on gut, liver, and lymphatic health
- Reduce and remove the burdens that are causing the histamine response
- Support the liver with herbs and practices to reduce excess waste & toxicity
Obviously you can’t control the amount of pollen in the air, BUT you can boost your immune system, detox your liver, and reduce the consumption or exposure of things that increase inflammation.
Now let’s get acquainted with some herbal allies and practical tips for supporting your immune system and reducing histamine levels.
A classic herb for allergy support with its ability to bind to histamine receptors thus reducing the body’s response to allergens. It’s also a wonderful spring time herb to help the body detoxify, acting as a diuretic to flush excess waste from the body. Nettle’s high mineral content also support healthy blood circulation and cardiovascular health.
An adapotgenic herb that is praised for its many medicinal actions: antibacterial, antidepressant, antioxidant, antifungal, antiviral, carminative, diuretic, expectorant, galactagogue (promote breast milk production) and stress reducing. For these very reasons you can find tulsi in our Inner Bloom Tea! This "Queen of Herbs" is used both medicinally and spiritually, and is highly regarded for protecting from chemical and physical stress.
Medicinal mushrooms come with many health benefits. One that is often overlooked is their anti-allergenic action and anti-histamine properties. In addition to strengthening the immune system, they have been scientifically-proven to treat minor upper respiratory problems, protect the liver, improve digestion, and even treat cancer.
An effective herb for treating allergies, hay fever, inflamed sinuses (sinusitis). The aerial parts are both astringent and anti-inflammatory, decreasing discharge and congestion from hypersensitive mucous membranes. Also widely known for benefiting stinging, weeping or inflamed eyes with use of a compress.
The immune-modulating abilities of this root medicine have been shown to reduce hypersensitivity in allergic and autoimmune situations. It's a promising adaptogen with long term use for building vitality, immune strength, and vitality. And been used in Chinese medicine for asthma and for improving airway inflammation. Find it here.
It's often blamed for ragweed allergies, but it's actually a strong antidote for seasonal allergies with its abundance of quercetin, which acts as an antihistamine, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant. A wonderful ally for sinus congestion and allergies to move excess mucus.
CLEANSING THE LIVER–Herbs & Practices
GUT & IMMUNE SUPPORT
Removing inflammatory foods can help reduce your immune system's sensitivities. The most common food culprits are gluten, dairy, corn, soy, nightshades, shellfish, sugar and, for some, eggs. We do an anti-inflammatory diet on our Spring Renewal Cleanse, which includes healthy anti-inflammatory foods, supporting digestion and liver function while practicing self-care tips for whole body balance. You can find more about that here.
Some people don’t break down histamine properly, which creates a vicious cycle of histamine overload. You can try omitting high histamine foods to see if that provides some relief. High histamine foods include: fermented foods and drinks (kombucha, beer, sauerkraut), cured meats, aged cheeses, most citrus fruits, dried fruits, smoked fish, vinegar containing foods and soured foods (buttermilk, sour cream, etc).
Vitamin C & Quercetin
Yep, good old vitamin C not only strengthens your immune system but also helps reduce histamine. A great addition for allergies in addition to colds and flus. Buffered or liposomal versions of vitamin C allow you to increase your intake without digestive discomfort or upset.
Quercetin is a bioflavonoid found in many fruits and vegetables. It's what gives them their color and health benefits. Quercetin stabilizes mast cell (which are what releases histamine), making it a natural anti-histamine. Increase your leafy greens and cruciferous veggies for more quercetin in your diet. Taking a supplement is helpful as well.
Sleep is when the body does its best healing. Keeping a healthy sleep routine and getting 7-9 hours each night will help the body recover and restore.
Diffusing essentials oils like bee balm, rosemary, eucalyptus, or thyme can be beneficial for both cleaning the air and clearing out your respiratory system.
Heal your gut
Allergy sufferers also often struggle with leaky, inflamed or low bacteria gut conditions. Getting to the root of gut imbalances along with herbal remedies can get you on the right track to healing while reducing your body’s hypersensitivities.
The herbs listed above can be taken via capsules, tinctures or made into a tea. Inner Bloom has nettle, tulsi, spearmint, and other herbs like burdock and red clover that support liver and lymphatic health to support you through allergy season.
Overwhelmed and need support in creating your own health?
Book a free consult with Allison.