The term allergy may be used to describe the reaction produced by the body when it encounters something foreign. When an allergic reaction occurs, the body responds by producing antibodies and/or releasing specific chemicals called histamines. When released into the system, these histamines trigger an inflammatory response otherwise known as an allergic reaction. Common allergens include certain drugs, dusts, moulds, insect bites, plants and foods.
The body must first make contact with an allergen before developing sensitivity and an allergic reaction towards it. The most common allergic symptoms experienced include:
- Childhood Allergies
- Gastrointestinal problems such as pain and bloating
- Severe mood changes
How do Herbs Help to Relieve Symptoms of Allergies?
Herbs primarily function to treat the symptoms and severity of allergic reactions by detoxifying the liver, the primary organ responsible for fighting off foreign substances that may invade the body such as allergens. When the liver does not function optimally, it can’t fight off the foreign allergen and an allergic reaction therefore takes place.
Some herbs also reduce the severity of an allergic reaction by:
- Reducing histamine levels in the blood responsible for a physical allergic reaction
- Boosting the immune system
- Stimulating the adrenal glands to release Cortisone, which frees respiratory constriction to enable easy breathing
- Reducing inflammation caused by the allergic reaction in the body
- Soothing mucous membranes and assisting with mucous expulsion.
Herbs for Allergies
Many different herbs offer relief to symptoms of allergies without the unwanted side effects of some medications, such as drowsiness or dry mouth. Some of these herbs include:
- Burdock –helps to clear the respiratory congestion caused by an allergic reaction
- Butterbur – reduces blood histamine levels in the blood
- Chamomile – may slow down allergic reactions by stimulating cortisone release from the adrenal glands, which soothes lung inflammation and eases breathing
- Ephedra – relieves bronchial spasms and clears chest congestion
- Eyebright – improves the mucous membrane condition and clears congestion in the chest and throat. Eyebright is especially effective when used in conjunction with Stinging Nettle
- Gingko – contains many different anti-inflammatory properties and acts as a natural antihistamine
- Golden Seal root – soothes mucous membranes and contains many anti-bacterial/ anti-fungal properties
- Marshmallow root – relieves the mucous build-up caused by an allergic reaction and assists in mucous expulsion
- Mullein – relieves asthma and other respiratory allergy symptoms
- Plantain – reduces any inflammation caused by an allergic reaction and carries antispasmodic/ anti-cararrhal properties
- Rosemary – traditionally used to heal symptoms of asthma, this herb unblocks and relieves airway constriction caused by histamine
- Stinging Nettle- reduces histamine levels in the blood, opens up constricted airways and soothes blocked nasal passages
- St Johns Wort – may be used to alleviate allergy-associated sinus headaches
- White Pine – acts as a natural expectorant, reduces mucous secretion and supports it elimination