Spring is Almost Here!

Now is the perfect time to get a jump-start on your seasonal allergies! Stinging Nettle season will be soon upon us and we can make great use of this amazing herb and some honey from our own cupboards. First, some information on allergies, the herbs and nutritional supplements to aid allergy sufferers, tincture formulas and nettle soup recipes. For more information on Stinging Nettle, we’ll be posting a Materia medica soon!.

The Gut and Allergy Connection

All of the symptoms associated with allergies are signs of inflammation: redness, swelling, and itching. To help get rid of allergies, you have to get rid of inflammation and hyper-reactivity. The place to start is in your gut.

One of the major jobs of your digestive system is to provide an interface between the external world (foods, allergens, bacteria, etc.) and your blood stream. It does this in the stomach by using natural digestive acids to break down potentially allergenic proteins and in the intestines via a layer of barrier cells that prevents these proteins from getting into your blood stream. You also have a whole host of special bacteria in your gut, as well as immune cells, whose job it is to break down and get rid of proteins and other molecules that can cause you to get sensitized to them, leading to gut – and systemic – inflammation.

How to restore your gut:

  1. Clean Up Your DietRemember to eat lots of fresh vegetables, fruits, seed and nuts. Eliminate sugar, soda, preservatives, additives, dyes and other non-food junk, and drastically decrease dairy intake (yes, if you want your allergies to go away forever, you will have to do this – sorry). Part of cleaning up your diet is to eat foods with as few chemicals and additives as possible. I highly recommend buying organic or visiting your local farmers market.
  2. Heal Your Gut 
    1. This is done with an Elimination Diet. An elimination diet is 2 weeks of eating a simple diet from which you have removed the most common food triggers including gluten, sugar, dairy, eggs, soy, coffee, soda, and artificial ingredients – as well as anything you typically crave (i.e., sugar, carbs, salty snacks).
    2. If you have constipation, you’ll want to deal with this now. Get plenty of fiber in your diet and drink ample water, too. Supplements such as flax seed, psyllium, and magnesium citrate are safe for most people to take daily. For kids, slippery elm, which tastes like maple syrup, may be used, 1-2 tsp daily in oatmeal or a smoothie. The goal is 1 healthy bowel movement every day.
    3. After 2 weeks on the Elimination Diet, start taking a good quality digestive enzyme product (you can give these to kids over 4 yrs, too). This is safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women, too.
    4. After another week, add in a good quality probiotic. Also safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women, and for kids.
    5. The following supplements can now be taken for about a month (up to 6 months) to help to heal the intestinal lining: Tumeric, Aloe Vera, and Marshmallow root; (these are fine for children) are some of the most effective herbs for healing the gut lining.
    6. Zinc: 5-10 mg/day for children 4-7 years, 10-20 mg/day for children to age 12, 25-40 mg/day for older children and adults
    7. An antioxidant supplement containing vitamins A and carotenoids, C, E, and selenium. These are often found in a multivitamin. Pregnant women should get these from their prenatal vitamin only.
    8. Fish oil: Personally, I have taken daily for years, love it! For kids you can put the oil into smoothies. Fish oil is important for general health in pregnancy and breastfeeding, too.
    9. Please visit your doctor when necessary!

fresh salad

Detox The Liver

The liver removes many of the body’s major toxins and affects allergies. Martin Healy says that key ways to boost your liver function include cutting out alcohol, smoking, caffeine and embarking on a detox program.

A glass of water containing freshly squeezed lemon each morning will help. Antioxidants and vitamins found in fresh fruits and vegetables will reduce liver inflammation and boost immune function, while foods like brussels sprouts will increase the activity of important liver enzymes.

Herbs and Nutritional Supplements for Seasonal Allergies


These herbs and nutritional supplements are best taken on a daily basis. Taking them before allergy season even starts, can prevent symptoms altogether. They can also be used as needed.


  • Stinging Nettle: Nettles are used as spring tonics and a general detoxifying remedy. In some cases of rheumatism and arthritis, nettles can be astoundingly successful. In childhood eczema nettles are a specific remedy and are beneficial in all the varieties of this condition especially in nervous eczema.

Nettles in high doses can have amazing results for allergy sufferers. It has been used for centuries to treat allergy symptoms – particularly hay fever – which is the most common allergy problem. It contains biologically active compounds that reduce inflammation. Dr. Andrew Wiel M.D. author of Natural Health/Natural Medicine says he knows of nothing more effective than nettle for allergy relief.  This statement is backed up by studies at the National College of Naturopathic Medicine in Portland, Oregon.  Decongestants, antihistamines, allergy shots and even prescription medications such as Allegra and Claritin treat only the symptoms of allergies and tend to lose effectiveness over a period of time. They can also cause drowsiness, dry sinuses, insomnia and high blood pressure. Nettle has none of these side effects. It can be used on a regular basis and has an impressive number of other benefits most notably as a treatment for prostate enlargement. Nettle is easily available in tea and tincture form, and also can be eaten like spinach in the spring, made into soups and smoothies. Nettles are prized for being highly nutritional.

  • Raw Local Honey: Raw honey is great, but raw local honey is even better! Raw local honey contains pollen that is specific to your area and therefore can really help those local seasonal allergies. Taking a spoonful of raw honey once or twice a day is a great help. It is also advised to begin taking local honey a few months prior to the allergy season; this gets the pollen introduced into the body and gradually builds up the body’s tolerance to seasonal allergies. Honey is not recommended for babies under 12 months, due to infant botulism.
  • Vitamin C:  To assist with a malfunctioning immune system try lemon water and orange water (not juice – no sugar), cultured vegetables and strawberries.
  • Quercetin: 500 mg daily (half that for kids). Quercetin is a plant pigment found in many common herbs and foods, and a very reliable anti-inflammatory nutritional supplement. It helps with gut repair, boosts the immunity in your mucus membranes reducing reactivity to seasonal allergens, and also helps reduce food allergies. There is conflicting data on whether it is safe in pregnancy, therefore I would not recommend it for those who are pregnant.
  • Zinc: Take an age appropriate dose daily.
  • Please visit your doctor when necessary!

Traditional Allergy Tincture Blend

  • Nettle (Urtica dioica, spring tops) 0.30 ml
  • Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus, root) 0.25 ml
  • Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum, thallus) 0.14 ml
  • Schisandra (Schisandra chinensis, fruit) 0.14 ml
  • Southern Prickly Ash (Zanthoxylum clava-herculis, bark) 0.07 ml

Keep an eye out for another blog full of Stinging Nettle Recipes soon!