There are a few important factors to consider when formulating a natural protocol for helping with allergic rhinitis, more commonly known as hay fever. If you are a tea drinker it’s wonderful to include an herbal tea as part of your relief plan. These three herbs grow within 30 seconds of my front door and are either easy to locate in the wild or source from your local herbalist or herb shop. And they all work well prepared as a tea.
I’ll never forget the summer I house-sat a bunch of chickens and a straw bale house; but that’s another story altogether. What I want to share with you is the time my sister, a long-time sufferer of hay fever (to dust, pets, and pollen), came to visit me. She had a huge allergic reaction to the place that began moments after walking in the front door of the house. They say that the medicine we most need grows in our own backyards. In this case, it was lining the entire length of the driveway. Goldenrod was just the herbal tea she needed that day.
I ran outside and harvested some goldenrod that I made into a fresh jar of goldenrod infusion. Fifteen minutes later, eyes watery and itchy, nose running, and sneezing up a storm, she began to sip on the tea I’d made her. Before she finished the cup, these symptoms were nearly gone!
Goldenrod, or Solidago virgaurea, is known by herbalists as being useful for helping with upper respiratory catarrh, whether it’s an acute allergy flare-up, or more of a chronic condition, as is commonly the case with allergy sufferers. The British Herbal Pharmacopoeia (BHP) list goldenrod as a specific for any low-grade inflammation of the nasopharynx with persistent catarrh. The anti-inflammatory, anti-catarrhal and astringent actions of this herb make it popular for use in congestion in the upper respiratory tract as in hay fever and sinusitis.
Goldenrod Tea: use 2-3 tsp dried herb/cup boiling water; cover and steep for 10-15 minutes; adults can drink 1 cup 3x/day
I wouldn’t want to be without the medicine of elderflowers if I had a stuffy nose, and luckily I don’t have to as it grows in my back yard! Elder has a long history of use in European folk medicine, where records of its usage date back over a thousand years. It was, and still is, a popular remedy for treating colds and flus in many countries.
Elderflowers are known to stimulate non-specific immune function, and possess anti-catarrhal properties, which act specifically in the upper respiratory system, helping to clear congestion in the nose, ears, throat and sinuses. Herbs with anti-catarrhal properties, like elderflowers, help to clear the body of excess mucous by either thinning mucous secretions, making them easier for the body to get rid of, or by reducing the secretions altogether!
Elderflowers are commonly used for many ailments of the respiratory tract, including influenza, lung congestion, colds, fevers, dry coughs, sinusitis, chronic nasal catarrh, and deafness due to chronic nasal catarrh. They make a wonderful tea when used for these purposes. To learn more about the medicine of elder check out my blog post Elder for Natural Cold and Flu Care.
Elderflower Tea: use 2 tsp dried herb/cup boiling water; cover and steep for 10 minutes; adults can drink 1 cup 3x/day
Keep the Herbal Learning Coming!
This tiny weed may have gone unnoticed by you, unless you are a fairy! Eyebright, or Euphrasia spp., has anti-inflammatory, astringent, and anti-catarrhal qualities like goldenrod, and, as its name implies, has a special affinity for the eyes. It is valued for its positive effect on the mucous membranes of the eyes, nose, sinuses and throat, helping to reduce mucous secretions, and generally support and strengthen the mucous membranes of the upper respiratory tract. It’s commonly used for helping with a congested nose and sinuses, post-nasal drip and a chronic runny nose, whether due to a viral, bacterial or allergic cause. It’s especially helpful when these conditions are associated with irritation or congestion in the eyes.
Eyebright Tea: use 1 tsp dried herb/cup boiling water; cover and steep for 5-10 minutes; adults can drink 1 cup 3x/day
Special Note: Eyebright is listed by United Plant Savers as being at risk, due to over harvesting in the wild. It does not cultivate easily as it is a plant that grows best amongst other plants, like grasses. In fact in my yard, that’s just where I find it growing, amongst the wild grasses that grow in my yard and gardens. I’m careful not to over-weed the parts of my garden where I know eyebright likes to grow. Be sure to use eyebright that’s been ethically grown and harvested when choosing this medicine.
A Deeper Look at Creating a Full Natural Hay Fever Protocol
There are a number of factors to consider when making an herbal allergy protocol for someone. In addition to always considering the individual person and their personal health story, it’s important to address diet, lifestyle, gut health, immunity, and triggers. We will take a deeper look at this in a future post. For now, which of these herbal teas speaks to you the most? You can try them alone or all blended together!
It is always important to seek appropriate medical care as needed, and to follow the standard protocols for when this is necessary. The use of herbs as described in this blog are not a substitute for medical care. If you have a medical condition or are taking medications, consult with your doctor or healthcare provider before using these herbs.
Do you have an herbal question for me? Send me a note through my contact page. I’m always looking for questions that I can answer in my blog—Herbal Q&A! Have fun experimenting with these herbal teas for hay fever!