A Vibrant New Season
As we enter into the long-awaited spring after the cold gray of winter, there is much to be thankful for with the budding trees, emerging blooms, sunnier days, and warmer temperatures. This is also a time for many that triggers the symptoms of seasonal allergies with itchy, watery eyes, runny noses, coughing, and general malaise. Is it possible to enjoy this glorious season without the drawbacks of hay fever? Absolutely! Keep reading for several tips on how to do just that — without having to resort to over-the-counter allergy medications.
What Causes Hay Fever?
When we experience the seasonal flare of allergy symptoms, we can thank a tiny biological compound called histamine. This is what brings about the telltale signs of seasonal allergies: scratchy eyes, sneezing, sinus, nose, and lung issues, and fatigue. Histamine receptors are found throughout the body, but the lungs and immune cells have the highest concentrations, particularly basophils and mast cells.
As we are exposed to spring allergens via the air or through contact with the skin, the immune cells found in the respiratory tract misinterpret them as a threat and begin to release histamine, which triggers inflammation. This in turn causes a cascade of cortisol release, a stress hormone that has been shown to decrease insulin sensitivity and spike blood sugar levels. In excessive amounts, cortisol is also known to promote brain fog and weight gain, disrupt sleep, cause us to age more rapidly, and makes us more prone to irritability and mood swings.
How then can we break this cycle of histamine release, inflammation, cortisol imbalance, and hay fever symptoms? Great question! The key lies with revamping our diet and embracing select herbal remedies.
The Connection Between Refined Sugar, Inflammation, and Seasonal Allergies
As with any health concern, what we eat plays a large role in the severity of symptoms and overall outcome — and seasonal allergies are no different. However, refined sugar in particular can wreak havoc on our immune system and cause a dysregulated immune response when faced with an allergen.1 It is also a major driver of chronic inflammation, which is certainly something we would like to avoid if we would like to reduce allergy symptoms.
A 2018 systematic review found that those who consumed high levels of sugar had more inflammatory markers in their blood, which included C-reactive protein.2 Another study discovered that the reverse is true as well — when participants lowered their sugar intake, their blood markers for inflammation also dropped.3
Need another reason to avoid sugar? It accelerates cognitive decline; encourages fatty liver, cardiovascular, and kidney disease; and may increase your risk of cancer. You can read more about the dangers of added sugar — and tips for how to limit your intake — in this post.
Seeking a convenient, all-in-one solution this spring?
Have a look at our Allergy & Asthma Bundle!
Beyond adopting an anti-inflammatory diet and reducing sugar consumption, medicinal herbs are a safe and effective way to tame the uncomfortable symptoms of seasonal allergies. Here are several of my favorite remedies that I keep on hand in my own herbal medicine kit. I encourage you to do the same!
Stinging Nettle – My top pick for alleviating hay fever symptoms, stinging nettle addresses the root of the problem: histamine and inflammation. It works by blocking histamine receptors and inhibiting its release. Stinging nettle also cools the inflammatory response. It is an all-around miracle worker for seasonal allergies or any issue caused by excessive histamine. Try it for yourself and see! A potent Stinging Nettle Tincture is available in the apothecary.
No more Zyrtec for Seasonal Allergies!
“I have been taking Zyrtec for my seasonal allergies for years. I wanted to try something natural with no side effects so I tried the stinging nettle tincture. I am amazed at how well this stuff works! 1/2 dropperful per day has alleviated all of my allergy symptoms so far this season. No more itchy puffy watery eyes, no itchy roof of mouth or throat and no constant stuffy nose and no more sneezing. Thank you so much for selling this tincture, I can enjoy nature again!” -Andrea B.
Butterbur — Another outstanding herb for seasonal allergies, butterbur provides rapid relief from sneezing, itchy eyes, and sniffles. Additionally, it helps to calm inflammation, due to the compound kaempferol. Research has shown that butterbur may be just as effective (if not more so) as over-the-counter pharmaceuticals in rapidly reducing the uncomfortable symptoms of hay fever.
Yerba Santa — If you are suffering from significant lung congestion, this powerful herb helps to loosen mucus in the chest so you can expel it. It is also helpful for asthma, sinus issues, and respiratory infections. You can find my easy-to-use Yerba Santa Tincture here.
Natural Blood Sugar Support
If you need extra help managing your blood sugar due to seasonal allergies, diabetes, or another health issue, my Heart & Blood Sugar Support Bundle is for you! It not only helps to regulate blood sugar and improve insulin sensitivity, it also lowers inflammation, boosts cognitive function, combats fatigue, and fortifies heart health. This bundle contains dual-extracted, spagyric tinctures of cordyceps, reishi, and turkey tail mushrooms, plus a potent lemon balm tincture for exceptional blood sugar control.
For those suffering from hay fever, you can greatly reduce symptoms by limiting sugar intake, focusing on anti-inflammatory foods, and utilizing herbal remedies such as stinging nettle, butterbur, and yerba santa. Because seasonal allergies also greatly impact blood sugar control, it is important to manage it through lifestyle choices and medicinal herbs, if needed.
Interested in learning more? Visit the apothecary today.
Wishing you an abundantly joyful, symptom-free springtime!
Nicole’s Apothecary Products in this Post
- Effect of sugar intake towards human health. Saudi Journal of Medicine, Dubai, United Arab Emirates DOI: 10.21276/sjm.2016.1.2.2 29
- Della Corte, K. W., Perrar, I., Penczynski, K. J., Schwingshackl, L., Herder, C., & Buyken, A. E. (2018). Effect of Dietary Sugar Intake on Biomarkers of Subclinical Inflammation: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Intervention Studies. Nutrients, 10(5), 606. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10050606
- Hert, K. A., Fisk, P. S., 2nd, Rhee, Y. S., & Brunt, A. R. (2014). Decreased consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages improved selected biomarkers of chronic disease risk among US adults: 1999 to 2010. Nutrition research (New York, N.Y.), 34(1), 58–65. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nutres.2013.10.005