Eriodictyon californicum

This is an herb that grows primarily in California, dipping up into Oregon and east into Nevada and northern Arizona.  Its Latin name is Eriodictyon californicum, the most common species of this herb used in commerce.  Its thin, narrow leaves are what are used medicinally.  Used primarily as  a decongestant, Yerba santa is used for any wet, mucus-y lung or sinus condition, such as a head cold, seasonal allergies, or bronchitis.  It acts as an anti-inflammatory as well, so the two properties of decongestant and anti-inflammatory together are good reasons to add to an allergy formula, such as my Allergy Ease formulas.  It is also may have some antihistamine effects, therefore helping to prevent allergy symptoms.  Yerba santa is also used for chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract (gastritis) and urinary tract inflammation or irritation.

Oh, allergy season – for allergy sufferers, the herald of spring is not one of joy.  There are many tools for relief, however, especially when one can prepare ahead of time and start taking anti-histamine and anti-inflammatory herbs or other nutrients (quercetin, local honey/bee pollen, vitamin C, etc.) that support the body and hopefully help reduce or avoid the hyper-immune reaction that leads to pollen and other allergies.  This tea is a combination of some of the most useful herbs for this purpose.  Nettle leaf and dandelion leaf are classic spring tonics, full of minerals and nutrition, while helping move fluid through the kidneys.  Nettle leaf also has anti-histamine effects, meaning it helps stabilize the mast cells that release histamine that in turn causes the runny nose, itchy eyes, etc. that are the hallmarks of this condition.  Yerba santa is a decongestant, that lessens secretions from the sinuses and lungs and has some anti-histamine effects as well.  Green tea is antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and the caffeine can help open the airways.  Hawthorn leaf and flower are known to have anti-histamine effects, while also having a calming effect on the nervous system and a strengthening effect on the heart and the circulatory system.  Goldenrod is a great anti-inflammatory and a diuretic.
The best approach is to drink several cups of this tea a day, at 1 Tbsp/cup hot water for 15 – 30 minutes.  Drink for a couple of weeks leading up to when allergies generally start, and/or once allergy symptoms begin.
Other options are to take freeze-dried nettle capsules or a combination of nettle & quercetin (a anti-histamine flavonoid).  Adrenal tonics can also be helpful, such as devil’s club or eleuthero.  Local honey and bee pollen can also be really helpful, sort of inoculating the person against the pollens in the area.
Contains: nettle leaf, dandelion leaf, yerba santa, green tea, hawthorn leaf & flower, goldenrod, and sassafras.