Good To Nose Baraka Blog

Seasonal Allergy Relief and the Herbal Highway

Written By: Sue
April 21, 2017

It’s that time of year again. While I’ve blogged about seasonal allergies in the past, I came across some new ideas listening to the Herbal Highway on KPFA in northern California. This show is hosted by two prominent herbalists Karyn Sanders and Sarah Holmes, who discuss the benefits of medicinal herpollenbs for a wide range of health issues, including seasonal allergies.

Last month host Sarah Holmes talked about allergy prevention as well as systematic relief. She’s a big fan of prevention, explaining once the immune system has become overly reactive, it can be difficult to calm down. In other words, once you are suffering, it becomes more challenging to find relief. So start early!

Along the lines of prevention, Sarah discussed specific herbs that help to strengthen the immune system so it’s less reactive. Below is a summary of some of her suggestions:

Astragalus root – This plant builds deep immunity and cleans the blood. It also helps tone the spleen and strengthens white blood cells.

Shitaki or turkey tail mushrooms -Sarah suggested using them daily in your food.  Steam mushrooms for 30 minutes, then add them to a stir fry with a little miso. She also found it convenient to prepare a large quantity all at once and add to other meals throughout the week.

Mullein – This plant is used to strengthen and open the lungs. Use as a tea. Because it has hair, wrap in a cheese cloth when steeping. Good with mint or nettles. Drink 4-6 oz. of tea 3 times a day. If you using a tincture, take 8-10 drops once a day; twice a day if you suffer from asthma.

Nettles – Great tonic for the nervous system. Nettles help to alkalize the blood and reduce histamines. Not so good for acute situations. You can make a tea or add to your soups.


In addition, Sarah spoke about paying attention to food sensitivities. For example, if drinking beer makes you congested or eating broccoli gives you gas, reduce or eliminate these foods during allergy season. This will lower your chances of creating an over-reactive histamine response. Remember, you want to calm things down.

Increase intake of bitters, kale, mustard greens, and dandelion. These plants help to stimulate and clean the liver. Do daily for one month. A dandelion tincture should be taken before a meal to help stimulate the liver; take 8-10 drops.

Dandelion tea – Steep covered for a few hours before you drink.

Sarah also discussed systematic relief. This means treating the symptoms after they occur. She’s not a fan of this, believing it’s a western mindset to wait until there’s a problem.


Ambrosia– Reduces mucus secretions
Eyebright– Use for weepy eyes or itchy Eustachian tubes.
Take 10 drops per tincture every hour. Up to 18 drops but try to use less. Large doses push the body like drugs.

Other suggestions:
Yerba mansa– Relieves chronic sinus issues; take 8 drops, 1-2 times per day. Can be hard on stomach. Take with food.

Yerba santa– Helps with cough.

Marshmallow root – Use if having irritation and inflammation of lungs. Wrap in cheesecloth and place in cold water for 4 hours. Squeeze. Drink 4-6 oz.

Cayenne – Helps open lungs. Helps with calming asthma. Reduces inflammation.

Garlic – Antispasmodic

Horse radish – Good for clearing the sinuses.

Sarah went on to discuss many more things, but this was my takeaway. Listen to the entire show at the Herbal Highway.

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