Top 4 Herbs For Allergy Relief

At Richmond Natural Medicine, we use holistic therapies, keeping in the mind that sometimes allergies affect people differently.

If you’re one of the millions of people who suffer from seasonal allergies, then you already know that allergy season is upon. If you’re lucky enough to live here in Richmond, VA, then you also know that Richmond ranks #1 as the worst city in the US for spring allergies, followed closely  by Memphis, TN and Oklahoma City, OK. Allergy symptoms are one of the top conditions that we work with here at Richmond Natural Medicine, and as such we utilize several holistic therapies to offer some relief and prevention, keeping in the mind that sometimes allergies affect people differently. Some of our preferred go-to herbal medicines for allergies target the immune system, histamine response and work to control inflammation.

Here are our top 4 herbs for allergy relief:

  1. Bayberry (Myrica cerifera) – this is deal for allergy symptoms that persists long after the allergen has been removed from your physical space (more chronic conditions) and you have that heavy, bogginess with deep congestion for several days or weeks. Bayberry is very drying and astringent which makes it ideal for chronic nasal or sinus congestion with chronically swollen membranes and thick secretions. Unlike Eyebright (see below), Bayberry is not great for red hot and inflamed allergic conditions, but more for the damp, bogginess that constitutes week-long (or more) allergic reactions. Bayberry tincture is very effective, and should be dosed low initially about 30 drops once daily, and then up to three times daily after a few days.
  2. Eyebright (Euphrasia officinalis)  – this is ideal for the folks with the sniffly, drippy and wet itchy symptoms. Eyebright works best for acute situations that are for a finite amount of time. For example, if you have an allergy to cats and you know you’re going to be around cats briefly, take a bit of eyebright tincture before walking into the situation and every hour afterwards. Once you’re removed from the situation, allergies then subside. Eyebright is used to cool down arterial heat patterns (redness) and generally reduces acute irritation from certain irritants.
  3. Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum) – Reishi is a deep immune tonic, and has a powerful role to play for seasonal allergies. Allergies are generally an immune mediated response to an otherwise innocuous agent that causes an increase in histamine production + an increased in immune mediated resistance in the body. Reishi acts as an immune modulator, meaning wherever your immune system is functioning (either too low or too high), it helps to bring it back to into balance slowly and steadily, resulting in a more responsive immune system rather than overly reactive one. For allergy support, it’s best to use reishi in combination with either nettle, eyebright or bayberry, depending on how allergies present for you to make a more well rounded and targeted approach to your individual symptoms and responsiveness.  
  4. Nettles (Urtica dioica) – the holy grail of anti-histamines and the time honored anti-allergic remedy used for hundreds of years. A sweet little native plant making an appearance just in time for spring, nettles is my first go-to for anything allergic related. Nettle is very drying and toning to wet conditions and is used most ideally as a strong tea for any condition that has an allergy or increased histamine component present. If you know that seasonal allergies are an annual issue for you, try drinking nettle tea daily about 2 weeks before allergy season begins and continue for several weeks until the allergens have past their flowering season. Added bonus – nettles are highly nutritious and packed with vitamins, minerals and nutrients – not a bad thing to keep in your daily rotation of healthy beverages!

Recipe: Overnight Nettle Infusion

Take a 1 pint mason jar and add ¼ cup dried nettle leaves. Cover with room temperature filtered water and fill to the brim of the jar. Seal with a tight fitting lid and give it a good shake. Let sit overnight to infuse. In the morning, strain out the nettle and sip throughout the day for allergy support. Add a squeeze of lemon or a bit of honey to taste.

Do you struggle with seasonal allergies and need to find some relief? Call our office to schedule your visit or check out our upcoming class,  Allergies:  What can I do about them, on April 26th.   Click HERE to learn more about the class.

About the Author

Lindsay Kluge is a Clinical Herbalist & Licensed Dietitian Nutritionist and received her Masters of Science degree in Herbal Medicine from the Maryland University of Integrative Health in 2012. She has been with Richmond Natural Medicine since 2013, and specializes in therapeutic holistic nutrition, circadian rhythm balance and sleep physiology, digestion, and Ayurvedic nutrition. She offers individualized nutrition and herbal medicine consultations that include meal planning support, custom compounded herbal formulas, nutrition guidance and general wellness support.  Learn more about services that Lindsay offers at Richmond Natural Medicine by clicking HERE.