With each passing minute I type this, I can feel my allergy symptoms disappearing. Luckily, my pollen allergies are mild, short-lived and only occur fairly early in Spring, but I know that’s not the case for everyone. I don’t know what causes my allergies but relief is an easy, tasty fix found in my garden or around my neighborhood.
Allergy relief is very big business. Whether it’s for pollen or animals, most people take a pharmaceutical antihistamine and/or steroid and/ decongestant to relieve their allergy symptoms. These drugs block the production of histamine, a chemical we produce for immune response and many other reasons. However when you have an allergic reaction to something, pollen or animal dander for example, your immune system considers the substance an invader and really cranks up histamine production, causing cellular irritation which manifests as sneezing, itching, runny eyes and other allergy type reactions. Antihistamines prevent this by not allowing histamines to irritate the cells. Using pharmaceutical antihistamines usually means dealing with side effects that may be as inconvenient as what created the desire to take them in the first place: drowsiness, difficulty concentrating, slow reaction time.
There’s really no reason for you to deal with them any longer. There are many herbs that people have used safely through history as natural antihistamines. Among the most powerful is fennel (left), often viewed as a garden weed, it contains a significant amount of the anti-oxidant quercitin. Eating a small amount of fennel leaves and/or stem completely eliminates my symptoms in maybe 20 minutes. If it doesn’t, I eat a little more without concern for side effects.
A friend of mine who was staying with me a couple of years ago suggested (insisted really) that I try some fennel when we realized that I was having a reaction to one of her cats. I was miserable, sneezing at a record pace and producing tears in volume, reddening my nose and eyes. I was skeptical but there was no harm in trying some fennel sprigs. And I’m glad I did because those leaves totally eliminated all my suffering within half an hour. Thanks Heather!
If you can’t find any fennel to pick, or aren’t confident about confirming it’s identity, you can buy some, but get it organic. Spread the word, your allergic friends and family will thank you.