Spring is here. Temperatures are rising, most of the country has been unseasonably warm, and allergy season is here whether we want it to be or not. The immune system recognizes these allergens as harmful and the body releases histamine in hopes to fight them off (“EXTERMINATE!”). This release of histamine has a direct effect on the eyes, nose, throat, lungs and even skin – ENTER THE DREADED SYMPTOMS.
One of the most effective natural remedies is nettle, a flowering plant from the genus Uritca (family: Urticaceae), the most prominent of which is the stinging nettle (urtica dioica). Nettle has long been utilized for its medicinal properties. It was used as a diuretic (removing excess water from the body) and to treat joint pain in medieval Europe. Stinging nettle has also aided in the treatment of muscle and joint pain, eczema, arthritis, gout and anemia for hundreds of years. Scientists believe that nettle reduces the levels of inflammatory chemicals in the body and blocks histamine receptors. Today, nettle is used to treat a variety of health concerns including urinary tract infection, water retention, hay fever, allergies, and insect bites.
For allergy relief, you can easily consume stinging nettle in freeze-dried capsule form (which is what I do). They can be found at your local health food store, or online. Unlike the over the counter & prescription drugs many of us hoard during this time of year, nettle does not cause drowsiness.
If you’re looking for other ways to relieve your allergy symptoms, try reducing your intake of dairy (known to increase mucus production), purchasing a trusty air purifier/dehumidifier, or irrigating your sinuses with the help of a neti pot.
Sources & places to read more about nettle: