Runny nose? Itchy eyes? Congestion? If you are one of the 50 million Americans or others worldwide who suffer from seasonal allergies, take comfort in time-tested herbal Chinese remedies that can help nip your allergies in the bud.
To start, it helps to know what is going on in your body when allergies attack. Your immune system is designed to identify and combat things that are foreign to the body. For the most part, this is to your benefit, protecting you from bacteria, viruses, and other potentially harmful substances. But in the case of allergies, your immune system overreacts to a pathogen or particle, mobilizing with full force and producing severe inflammation and allergic symptoms, like itchy, watery eyes and a stuffy nose. Luckily, natural Chinese medicine uses many natural herbs and remedies to ease allergies.
1. Stinging nettle settles the inflammation.
Stinging nettle is known to combat inflammation, and can also help with your itchy, red eyes. Seek out stinging nettle leaf capsules or tea in health food stores.
2. Magnolia flower brings relief.
Magnolia flower is another effective herb for allergies and sinus conditions. Often combined with other traditional herbs, magnolia can bring about temporary relief of nasal congestion, sneezing, itchiness, and watery eyes. You can take a magnolia supplement by itself or in formulations with other herbs, in tea, or capsules available at health food stores, online, and from acupuncturists and Chinese herbalists.
3. Try a cup of herbal tea.
To clear up a runny nose caused by hay fever, try this traditional tea: Boil three slices of ginger, 2 stalks of scallions, and one orange peel for about ten minutes. Drink three cups a day until symptoms clear.
4. Peppermint treatment for itchy eyes.
To soothe itchy eyes, use a peppermint tea bag as a warm compress for washing your eyes. Steep the tea bag in hot water for 30 seconds, let it cool to warm and place it gently over your eyelids. Leave on for 5 to 10 minutes. Mint in general is considered to have allergy-reducing properties, so a cup of mint tea might help, too!
5. Herbal tonic oil can combat congestion.
Relieve chest congestion by rubbing tonic oil on your chest and upper back. Tonic oil is usually a sesame oil base mixed with some combination of essential oils – wintergreen, peppermint, fennel and cinnamon – that help to loosen up congestion in the chest and promote circulation. Some patients have told me that when they have a stuffy nose, they rub a little tonic oil on their upper lip and breathe deeply, which temporarily opens the nasal passages.
I hope these natural tips help you breathe easy this spring!