Nettle & Chamomile for hayfever and allergic rhinitis
It could have come from something inhaled, touched, ingested, be it bacteria, virus, gluten, lactose, cat hair, poison ivy, perfume, sun exposure, but whatever it is has caused your hives, watery eyes, runny nose and congestion. And the increased pollen in the air during spring and summer, further exacerbates both hayfever and allergic rhinitis symptoms.
Both Nettle and Chamomile have an anti-allergic effect which help reduce histamine, as well as other beneficial effects to help ease symptoms. Both herbs are also soothing and even nutritional in cases of gastrointestinal intolerances to certain foods, where the absorption of certain nutrients might be reduced.
What causes the body to become allergic or intolerant to something?
Our skin and mucus membranes covering the lungs, gastrointestinal and genitourinary systems form a layer that protects our inner workings from anything entering from the outer world. These physical barriers of protection are our body's first line of defence against intruders into our system, and changes to the integrity of these barriers, such as tissue injury from a physical injury to the skin or chemical exposure to a drug within the gut, is where it starts to cause the release of histamine at the site of injury, and thus entry past the barriers.
Histamine is released as part of the body's immune response, a cascade of reactions that result in the body alerting the required immune system components that something has entered into the body that it doesn't like. Once histamine is released, blood vessels dilate, bringing heat and causing redness and thus inflammation to the area. Blood vessels also become more permeable, which means they allow substances get through into the bloodstream that might not normally be able to get into it. Histamine is able to cross the blood-brain barrier, too, which causes excitation of nerve cells and tissues.
Once the offending particle enters the bloodstream, the immune system recognises it as foreign because it should not be there, it got through the first line of defence, and so the body's second line of defence starts: chemical warfare! Because it is all a cascade of chemical reactions, usually the by-products of this defence are what cause us our nasty symptoms we associate with various diseases or allergies. Depending on what the offending particle is, eg. pollen, dust, gluten, lactose, etc., will be what the immune system thinks needs attacking every time it is detected in the body, the immune system will respond.
Increase your intake of Nettle and Chamomile
Nettle has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, helps reduce the amount of histamine produced, and increases nutrient levels, as it contains vitamins C, B-group, K1, and minerals, like iron, calcium, zinc, copper, folate, silica, magnesium, to name a few. Nettle has been shown to help reduce histamine that is released from mast cells.
Chamomile is also very soothing to the gastrointestinal tract itself and calming to the nervous system, which helps the muscles of the intestines to relax and not contract into spasm. In addition, Chamomile is also a 'stomachic' and a 'bitter', meaning that it promotes good digestive processes, and helps with bile production and flow. Bile is our body's laxative, if you're having difficulties passing stools, try 3 cups of good quality Chamomile tea a day. Have a cup of tea after a meal, also one in the mid-morning and one with lunch. Add a sprinkle of cinnamon to a cup of Chamomile, and your guts will be thanking you! Chamomile biscuits are also delicious, and can really help soothe the gut of a child who has nervous indigestion.
You can add dried herbs of both Nettle and Chamomile to cake mixture - start by adding 1 tablespoon of either or both of them to a cake recipe. Sprinkle powdered Nettle leaf over soups, stews or sauces to add some natural minerals and vitamins into your diet. You can also make a strong cup of Nettle tea, leave it overnight, steeping the herb in the water, covered. Strain the next day and store in the fridge until you use it in a soup or stew.
I mix Nettle and Peppermint together in loose leaf tea that you can purchase from my online shop here - if you'd like to try some for free, have a cup on me - please contact me for a free sample. The combination is the strong, sturdy flavour of Nettle that is softened and made clearer with the Peppermint. Both compliment one another in terms of assisting digestion, and any inflammation or bloating in the gut. Just remember, herbal teas must be 3 per day for 2 weeks, and ingesting them as and when you can, such as in food, will also help contribute to the overall natural help.
Healing and sealing the barriers
Apart from taking Nettle and Chamomile, the 'weed, seed, feed' protocol needs to be followed for all allergies and even intolerances. You can get more of a holistic picture of histamine, allergies and intolerances from an article I wrote a while back, you can read it here - even though it is more about the gut, the whole body works together and treating the gut lining is most certainly the starting point for most people.
There are other herbs that act as soothing and restorative nutritionals to both the gastrointestinal lining and also the respiratory lining, and help 'seal' the mucus membrane barriers wherever they have become compromised. In cases of prolonged stress, the nervous system needs to be treated with herbs that work to relax and energise the nervous system, restoring nutrition to the nerve fibres, and calming the central nervous system down.
Taking certain nutritional supplements can also help tremendously with allergies and intolerances, but these need to be looked at on an individual basis and are much effective to be recommended by a professional practitioner, click here to read why only practitioner-only products are best for your overall health picture. If you would like a holistic consult and find out the root cause of your allergies or intolerances, please don't hesitate to contact me.