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It’s that time of year, when the flowers are opening all around us, spring greens sprout up in our woods and gardens, the weather gets more mild, and for some, the allergy symptoms begin, or come on full force. Fortunately there are some great tools in the natural world for helping alleviate these uncomfortable symptoms so you can enjoy springtime more. Below, you’ll find my recipe for a ginger-nettle-lemon spring tonic that can be made hot, or cold with sparkling water.

Ginger tea or fresh juice – approximately 1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger (or 1 heaping tsp dry) or approximately 1 Tbsp of fresh juice.
Lemon juice, preferably freshly-squeezed – approximately 1/2 lemon or more to taste.

Raw local honey – approx 1-2 tsp to taste
Nettle Glycerite – 2 dropperfuls (approximately 50 drops)
Oregon grape Glycerite – 1 dropperful (approximately 25 drops)

If making tea, gently simmer fresh or dry ginger root in 2 cups of water with lid on for 10 mins, then strain. Add honey, lemon juice, and herbal glycerites to a mug of the ginger tea and drink warm. Or, the tea can be cooled to room temperature and other ingredients added. A large batch can be made and stored in the refrigerator for daily consumption also.

If using ginger juice, you can add all ingredients to 8-12 oz of hot or sparkling water and mix well.

Drink 2-3 cups daily to help stave off allergy symptoms.

Helpful benefits of these ingredients:

Ginger root – anti-inflammatory and supportive for the immune system as the oils in the root contain some antimicrobial benefits. Also a wonderful digestive system support herb.

Raw local honey – high in minerals and some flower pollens that can help the body not be so reactive to pollen that is inhaled.

Lemon juice – high in vitamin C, flavonoids, and supports gentle liver detoxifcation.

Nettle leaf – alkaline, high in minerals, and has antihistamine properties that can help prevent and ease allergy symptoms.

Oregon grape root – bitter digestive aid, containing berberine that can help reduce inflammation and swelling in the sinuses and mucosal membranes.

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.