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Thursday, April 1, 2010

Allertea for Allergies

Now that allergy season is in high gear, I have a lot of patients in my office with itchy eyes and throats, swollen nasal and sinus passages, and plenty of mucus. Nasal lavage with neti pots, showering at night, and natural medicines can all bring relief without the side effects of pharmaceuticals, like drowsiness, headache and upset stomach.

Certain supplements are very effective against environmental allergies and should be prescribed on a individual basis by a knowledgeable professional, but medicinal teas are something that most people can benefit from. Because they are not as strong as botanicals taken as tinctures or in concentrated capsule form, herbal teas are gentle and safe for most people to consume.

Allertea, made by Wise Woman Herbals, is my favorite tea for allergy season. Botanical medicines like eyebright and nettle strengthen mucus membranes and act to relieve redness, swelling, and congestion in eyes and nasal passages. Hawthorne is an astringent herb that can help reduce excessive secretions. Licorice has anti-inflammatory effects, soothes irritated mucus membranes, especially itchy and sore throats, and makes this tea slightly sweet. Hibiscus is rich in vitamin C and, along with lemongrass, lends a very pleasant flavor. This tea is naturally caffeine-free.

Individuals with heart, kidney or liver problems, and those taking medications, should talk to their doctor before consuming Allertea.

To make the tea, simmer 1 heaping teaspoon of dry herbs per 1 cup of boiling water in a covered saucepan for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove it from the heat and allow it to steep for 15 minutes or more. Strain and drink 3 cups per day, as is or with a teaspoon of local honey (which also helps diminish seasonal allergies). Consider brewing up a big batch and keeping it in the fridge to sip throughout the day, hot or cold.

My patients can find Allertea in my Virtual Dispensary on Emerson Ecologics. If you are an established patient and do not have an access code, send me an email and I would be happy to provide you with one.

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