In simple terms, an allergy is a hyperactive response of the immune system to certain substances that are foreign to our bodies. Herbal remedies can provide comfort and relief to the allergy sufferer, strengthening the defensive energy of the body while dealing with the symptoms.
There are many effective herbs for treating allergies: Bayberry (Myrica cerifera) bark, Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea), Wild Cherry (Prunus serotina) bark, Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis) Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) , Cayenne Pepper (Capsicum minimum). Let us here place our focus on Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica).
Nettles have an abundance of anti-inflammatory properties and adrenal-supporting nutrients. This herbal powerhouse contains natural antihistamines that block the body’s response to allergens like pollen. It is an excellent choice for preventing and treating seasonal allergies, without the unpleasant and potentially harmful side effects of conventional medication. A Nettle tincture takes four to six weeks to macerate. This means that the best time to prepare your precious allergy defense stash is before allergy season begins!
Some herbalists insist on using fresh nettles only, as contained properties in the plant may be lost or altered when dried. Others say dried nettles may be used when they are of good quality. Go with what your personal preference and own research suggests. The recipe below allows for either. If you do not wish to used dried nettle, put this recipe on the back burner until your fresh harvest in July. Instead you may pick up a prepared tincture at your local herbal apothecary or health food store. Regardless of whether your tincture is homemade or not, may you have great prevention and relief of whatever seasonal allergies come your way!
– 1 pint 100 proof alcohol, like vodka or gin
– 4 oz cut nettle leaf (or thereabouts– you want enough to fill your pint jar half way)
– Pint-size canning jar with lid
– Wooden spoon
– Fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth
– Bowl to strain into
– Dark glass bottle (with dropper lid) to store tincture
– Loving Care
Fill a clean dry jar with nettle leaf. If using fresh, do not rise. Pour alcohol to completely cover the nettle. Cover with the lid. Label the jar with contents and date.
Place the jar in a cool, dark place for 4-6 weeks. With Love and a song in your heart, shake the jar every few days (twice daily, if you are so inclined). Smile at the thought of the protection from allergens your tincture is going to provide.
Strain through fine mesh or cheesecloth into the bowl. Use the wooden spoon to press down on the nettle leaves to retrieve every last drop of herbal essence. Funnel the finished tincture into your dark bottle to store and seal the lid tightly. Be sure to label them with contents and date, too. If stored in a cool, dry place, contents should remain potent for 3-5 years.
You may take the tincture sublingually (under the tongue), which gets into your bloodstream quicker. However, the strong taste keeps many people from doing this. Alternately, put the tincture in about 4 ounces of water, then hold it for a few seconds in the mouth before swallowing. If you do not wish to consume alcohol, it is possible to put the required dosage into a cup of boiled water. The heat will cause the alcohol to evaporate, leaving the therapeutic qualities of the herb in the water.
As a preventative: 2 dropperfuls (10-30 drops) daily (can be taken 1 dropperful twice daily)
As a treatment: 1 dropperful (10-30 drops) 3-4 times daily
Dosages for children are not provided in most herbals. To determine the correct dose, you need to consider the size of the child, the ailment, the power of the herb you intend to use, and the adult dosage. Young’s Rule for determining dosages uses the child’s age divided by twelve plus the age. The dosage for a 4 year old: 4/12+4 = 4/16 = 1/4 of the adult dose. Clark’s Rule for determining dosages divides the weight of the child by 150 to give the approximate fraction of the adult dose. Dosage for a 40 lb. child: 40/150 = .26 or approximately 1/4 the adult dose.
* This information is not a substitute for professional health care and guidance. It is always best to check with a natural heath care practitioner for dosing and any contraindications. A general good rule of thumb is to know what you are putting into your body. Research. Take control of your health and utilize the medicinal plants that grow in your own backyard.