Discover which herbs can be safer alternatives for sinus health, eyes and noses, while providing support in the short and long term.Bill Chioffi is Director of Herbal Education at Gaia Herbs and has been studying therapeutic protocols and teaching herbal medicine for the past 15 years.
Seasonal allergy symptoms are a natural reaction to certain substances in our environment:
- Spring is a key time for allergies, which usually result from trees releasing pollen.
- Tree pollination tends to start anytime from January to April depending on the climate and location, and those known to cause severe allergies include oak, olive, elm, birch, ash, hickory, poplar and sycamore.
- Imbedded in the tissues of our body are immune cells known as mast cells, which become unstable and release histamine when they are repeatedly contacted by allergens from either the environment or as a by-product of metabolism.
- Eventually, histamines and other inflammatory substances "leak" through our membranes, creating an inflammatory response. Mucous membranes may become irritated and swollen and secrete excess mucous all in an effort to rid the allergen from the tissue.
There are particular herbs that may bring relief for common allergy symptoms:
- Look for formulas that include turmeric, nettle leaf, eyebright, bayberry, yarrow and goldenseal.
- These plants have been studied for their role in supporting the mucous membranes of the sinuses and lungs.
- These herbs support a healthy response to inflammation and promote upper respiratory health, especially eyebright and bayberry, which have astringent properties.
Herbs can provide both short and long-term relief for allergies:
- For best results, Bill Chioffi suggests to begin supplementing about a month prior to allergy season and continue while the problem persists.
- Enhancing the adrenals will directly assist numerous other parts of the body, such as the immune, endocrine, cardiovascular and nervous systems.
- The safest and most effective way to do this is through the use of herbs classified as adaptogens. These are herbs that help the body adapt to numerous stressors through a primarily nutritive mechanism.
Using herbs preventatively may help with allergies developing later in life:
- As we age our immune system becomes compromised due to several factors, among the most common is the impact of stress.
- To address stress we look to support the adrenal system with adaptogens such as ashwaghanda, Holy Basil, rhodiola and schizandra berry.
- Formulas with these herbs may help support normal energy levels during the allergy season.
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