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by Jennifer Erwin

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Imbolc 2004, Vol 3-2
MatriFocus, a Cross-Quarterly Web Magazine for Goddess Women Near & Far
ragweed (c) Henriette Kress
ragweed
Photo copyright Henriette Kress, http://www.ibiblio.org/herbmed
Spring Allergies

Ahhh, spring...

Who doesn't enjoy this time of year? Gaia awakens from her slumber and greets us with greening trees and budding flowers. Of course, along with all these wonders comes a less pleasant part of spring ~ allergies.

I'm sure there are many of you, like myself, who enjoy the outdoors but are plagued with allergies every time you step out the door. Over the years, I have found several different ways to combat the sneezing and itchy eyes that always seem to accompany the beauty of spring.

Of course, there are some simple, basic things you can do in your home to help out when you are stuck inside. First and foremost, buy an air purifier! Most specialists will tell you to go out and buy one of those incredibly expensive ones that cost as much as a month's rent. If you can't afford one of those, or you simply balk at spending that much money, you may want to try one of the smaller purifiers by Holmes. Granted, it won't take care of huge spaces and it doesn't have all the fancy filters like those expensive ones, but it still makes a huge difference. We purchased one and move it to the bedroom at night, and back out in morning. I was amazed at the difference it made! Also, be sure you wash your blankets and curtains, and dust, and vacuum frequently, especially when you have the windows open. If you have indoor pets, bathe them frequently. When you are dusting and vacuuming your home, don't forget your car! Many people forget this step. Just think of all the dust in your car. Not only is it constantly sucked in, but you tramp in dirt every time you set foot inside. Virtually every day you spend time in your car. Why not make it as allergen-free as possible, too? These suggestions will help out in your home, but obviously not when you go outside. Luckily, there are plenty of herbal and homeopathic remedies out there to turn to.

I am particularly fond of the homeopathic remedies. Several years ago my allergies were so bad I was taking Allegra constantly just to make it through the day. I turned primarily to homeopathy for treatment since it was easy to keep in my purse and take anywhere. Now, I no longer need to take so much as a single Benadryl. My personal favorite is BioAllers Pollen/Hayfever Allergy Relief liquid. This works the quickest for me and also is the prime cause behind my new resistance to many allergens. They have a complete line of allergy products formulated for specific types of allergens. There are several companies with allergy tablets you may want to invest in since they can be handy to keep with you when you are on the go. Just be aware that the tablets generally do not contain as many ingredients as the liquid forms and therefore tend to not work as well.

Nutritional supplements may be helpful as well. In some people, large amounts of Vitamin C may help due to its antihistamine activity. Better results seem to come from people who have a diet high in Vitamin C rich foods as opposed to simply taking large amounts of supplements. Preliminary studies show that taking bioflavenoids such as quercetin may also help to reduce symptoms.

Another source of relief is herbs. One of the most helpful herbs for allergies, in my opinion, is chamomile. If you are allergic to ragweed, start with a small amount of chamomile and slowly work up to more and more. It is a botanical relative of ragweed and will help you build up resistance to it. This is one method that I have used in my family with great success. Nettle, eyebright, golden seal, and elder can all help with the symptoms of hay fever. If you choose to treat with herbs, it is best to start drinking a tea containing them about a month before allergy season starts and continue to do so daily. Additionally, be sure to add plenty of garlic to your diet or take garlic capsules.

If possible, I would suggest that you find local honey. It may help you immunize to local pollens as well. If there are no local honey shops in your area, try your local health food stores. Often, they will carry local products, including honey.

I hope these suggestions work for you so that you and your family can make the most of this wonderful time of year!

Resources
+ Freeman, Sally 1996 Everywoman's Guide to Natural Home Remedies Doubleday Direct, Inc: Garden City, New York.
+ Hoffman, David 1998 Holistic Herbal Element Books Limited: Boston MA.
+ Lininger, Schuyler et al 1999 The Natural Pharmacy Prima Publishing: Roseville, CA
.

Disclaimer: The information contained herein is not intended to replace the services of trained health professionals. You are advised to consult with your health care professional with regard to matters relating to your health, and in particular regarding matters that may require diagnosis or medical attention.

Graphics Credits (old)
+ ragweed, photo © Henriette Kress, http://www.ibiblio.org/herbmed.

Contributors retain the copyright to their work; please do not take art or words without permission. All other graphics and reference materials are used and attributed as per the Fair Use Provision of The Copyright Act and individual terms of use.
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