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Combating Spring Allergies

With the arrival of spring many of us find we are confronted with the problem of finding relief from our springtime allergies. Allergy medications are often helpful but tend to bring on many unwanted side effects such as headaches, dry mouth, and sleepiness. Fortunately, there are many natural herbal formulas which can help your body to find relief from allergy symptoms. Nature's Sunshine's HistaBlock is my first choice for calming down my allergy reactions to pollens, dog or cat dander, dust, or reactions to stinging insects. I find it helpful for relieving symptoms of itchy eyes, congestion, sneezing, or runny nose related to allergens. I’ve also used this formula to calm down hives from food reactions, and reactions from stinging insects.  

Histablock combines Nettle, Quercetin, Bromelain, and bitter orange

The primary herb in this formula is nettle, nettle has a long history of supporting respiratory health. Nettles are a source of vitamins A, C, and E, antioxidants which support a healthy immune system. Quercetin, a plant flavonoid, has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties which helps shrink inflamed tissues. Bromelain – a protein digesting enzyme from pineapple. Helps to thins mucus and decrease swelling in the respiratory system to promote clear breathing. The last ingredient bitter orange complements the other herbs in the formula further enhancing its efficiency. I’ve used Histablock over the years to reduce or eliminate my need for over-the-counter antihistamines, this is a good formula to have in your herbal medicine chest. 

If your allergy symptoms lean more towards congestion and mucus you might want to consider Seasonal Allergy blend instead. Seasonal Allergy formula (formally ALJ) is a wonderful herbal blend, formulated by herbalist Jeanne Burgess. Jeanne lived in the state of Oregon, she created this formula to support the sinus and lungs during cold, damp weather. In the spring and summer, it doubles as a wonderful formula to help relieve allergy symptoms which are accompanied by congestion.  

Seasonal Allergy contains Fennel, fenugreek and horseradish which are all warm, spicy aromatic herbs. They act as expectorants to loosen and dissolve mucus. Fenugreek helps to soothe irritated tissues in the sinus and digestive tract and can help reduce fevers. In addition, these herbs have a focus on the digestive tract to help break up gas and intestinal spasms.

The key herb in the formula is Boneset – it is an expectorant herb: loosen and dissolves mucus. Boneset herb gets its name directly from its traditional use of helping the body fight off the flu. The flu’s original name was “break-bone” fever because of the achy bones that came with the onset of the symptoms. The herb Boneset got its name because it helped relieve the aches and pains associated with the flu.

The last herb in the formula is Mullein – this is a cooling mucilaginous herb which means it soothes irritated mucus membranes (mullein has an affinity to the lungs and sinus), it also has expectorant properties like the other herbs in the formula

Note: These herbs also have mild diuretic properties – diuretics help to clear excess fluid from the body. As the mucus is thinned, it is converted to fluid and needs to be removed, so it is important to keep your water intake up while fighting a cold or you can end up with dried out mucus. 

With the fluctuating change of weather in the springtime, warm days, cool night, we often find ourselves with cold-like symptoms. sometimes it is hard to tell if we have a cold virus or allergies. There are several good herbal blends to help support you during this time of year. There are 3 categories of herbal formulas which are helpful to have on hand at this time of year:

  • Formulas which help you adjust to seasonal weather changes such as Seasonal Defense, Burdock, Ginger, Seasonal Allergy, and CC-A

  • Formulas which address allergies to the plants which bloom in the fall such as Sinus Support, Seasonal Allergy, HistaBlock, mullein, burdock, and nettles

  • Formulas which provide extra support and immune protection my favorites are Olive Leaf, Garlic, Echinacea, and Goldenseal

Seasonal weather changes bring on sinus drainage, runny eyes, a tickle in the throat, coughs, and feelings of being chilled and unable to get warm. Herbal formulas which contain warm and spicy herbs are helpful at this time of year. You can also add warm spicy herbs to your meals such as a nice cup of ginger tea, extra garlic in your soup, or add some horseradish or capsicum to various meals.

A favorite spring or summer allergy formula which also supports the immune response is Nature’s Sunshine’s Sinus Support. The first herb in this formula is Capsicum Fruit which has antiseptic and decongestant properties (stimulates the productions of mucus fluids to remove irritants) and soothes inflammation in the mucus membranes. Because this is a hot herb, I find it best to take this formula on a full stomach. Sinus Support also contains Burdock, which I have mentioned before as helping the body adjust to temperature changes. Burdock also helps the body deal with allergens. Goldenseal is another key herb in this formula. Goldenseal root soothes inflammation or irritation in the mucus membranes; it also has natural antimicrobial properties. Several other herbs in the formula have expectorant and decongestant properties as well as properties to support your immune system.

The formula Seasonal Defense is a wonderful formula to support seasonal weather changes. The key herb in this formula is Andrographis paniculata.  This herb activates the immune response in the body. Andrographis paniculata has been used for hundreds of years in China, India and Scandinavian countries to help the body cope with upper respiratory tract infection, fever, and sore throats. It is often considered a preventative herb for the common cold.  This formula contains oregano and thyme (warm and spicy herbs) which help to thin mucus, relax your breathing passages, and support immune system function. Another herb in the formula, bitter orange, has expectorant and antihistamine properties. The last herb in this formula is Eleuthero, also known as Siberian ginseng, is a powerful antioxidant and has immune and stress supporting properties.

Even with all our preparation we still sometimes pick up a virus or develop a bacterial infection in the sinus or lungs. I keep several herbs on my shelf which I consider the “Big Guns” for just such occasions. Olive Leaf, High Potency Garlic, Echinacea, and Goldenseal. While the herb formulas I mentioned previously can be taken daily if desired, I use these herbs when I feel my immune system has been compromised, or I know I am fighting off a virus or bacteria. If you start taking these at the first symptoms, you can often stop the attack in 3-5 days without developing full blown symptoms of being ill. Olive Leaf – Olive leaf is a potent source of antioxidants which seem to play a role in why this is such a powerful immune system stimulator. I feel this herb has the widest spectrum of anti-microbial activity of this group. Olive Leaf is powerful and works quickly to support your body’s ability to deal with both infections and viruses.

I Hope this information helps you to better understand some of the herbs and formulas available to you to support your seasonal allergy concerns.     


Blessings, Valerie Greguire, CH, Natural Health Consultant

Disclaimer: The information contained in this publication is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose illness nor prescribe treatment. We do not claim or imply that any instruction, advice, counsel, recommendations or products that we provide will cure, treat, prevent, or mitigate any disease condition. They are provided solely for nourishing and strengthening the natural function of the various body organs and systems so that they will have a greater capacity to heal themselves. Rather, this material is designed to be used in cooperation with your nutritionally-oriented health professional to deal with your personal health problems.


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Photos by Valerie Greguire, all rights reserved






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