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Fall allergies

Fall allergies Autumn-Leaves.jpg

Herbal helpers for the sneezin’ season

By Jonathan Evans
Herbal Information Specialist from The Herbarium

      By now allergy sufferers are in their worst time of year, anxiously awaiting the first killing frost. Hopefully it will come sooner than later. In the meantime, there are several things one can do to help get through this period.

Treating fall allergies

      Listed here are some alternative medicine treatments to help stop the sneezes and watery eyes.

  • Anti Inflammatory herbs such as Turmeric (Curcuma longa) or Boswellia (Boswellia serata), and extra vitamin C can reduce the irritation and mucus production.
  • Nettle leaf (Urtica dioica) has anti-inflammatory and antihistamine activity.
  • Yerba Santa (Eriodictyon californicum) acts as an expectorant and antispasmodic.
  • Cayenne pepper (Capsicum annuum) helps as an expectorant and thins mucus.
  • Marshmallow root (Althaea officinalis) is very soothing to the mucus membrane.
  • American Ephedra - also known as Mormon tea or Brigham tea - (Ephedra nevadensis) helps to open up breathing passages and acts as an antispasmodic.

Mormon tea is not to be confused with Ma huang (Ephedra) which is a banned substance, due to unscrupulous promoters of weight loss products and other exercise supplements. American ephedra does not contain ephedrine so it is allowed in herbal formulas.

      There are also several homeopathic formulas that can be used safely if someone is on several medications and may be concerned about herb/drug interactions.

Local honey and bee pollen

      If you are trying to use local honey to combat your allergies, you probably should have started some months ago to get really good results. Some people will also use bee pollen to help with allergies. This approach is tricky due to some really stupid information on the web. A person would only start with one or two grains of the pollen, to see how you respond. Then gradually increase intake, and I mean just a little increase. I have had people call me in full blown allergic reactions because their instructions said to take a half teaspoon or more at a time. That is wrong and potentially dangerous.

Using essential oils safely

      It seems to be time once again to remind people that ingesting essential oils is something you should not do.

      Before the multi-level marketing (MLM) people get on my back telling me I do not know what I am talking about, let me remind these people my wife is a certified clinical aromatherapy practitioner/instructor for R.J. Buckle London. She teaches doctors, nurses and other health professionals the safe use of essential oils in hospitals and other medical facilities. She has been doing this for over 20 years and has taught hundreds of medical people all over the world. One of the first things taught to students is that you do not ingest these oils (except in rare cases but we will not get into that today). Some MLM people will claim they have FDA approval for ingesting oils, or will talk about the “French method.”

      It only takes a moment to google the FDA and essential oils to find a cease and desist order to the MLMs about taking the essential oils internally. The French method does include using the oils internally, but only prescribed by a doctor or pharmacist who has been through a rigorous three year course of study. I seriously doubt any of these salesmen have had that kind of training.

      All I can say is anyone touting the internal use of oils is either misinformed, ignorant or lying. (Side note: in the 15 years I have been writing this column, I have only received one negative letter and that was on the subject of essential oils and that came from a platinum level salesperson in a multi-level marketing organization.)

Be responsible, get the vax

      Now that FDA approval has been given to the vaccine, would you folks who have been hold outs just go and get the shot? I understand the folks who have compromised immune systems or other underlying conditions that preclude them from the vaccine, but others who still have questions, talk to the doctors and nurses who are just about at the end of their ropes begging you folks to get the shot and save other peoples lives along with your own.

      The sooner this virus is under some control, the sooner we can get back to some form of normalcy, and perhaps avoid a new strain or variant of the virus

      As I write this column, word is out that a new variant is rearing its ugly head. I refer you to last month’s column listing trusted sources of information ( Do not listen to commentators or some of their guests (with questionable or non existent credentials).

      Pay attention to real information. It could save your life or the lives of a loved one.


Send questions on botanical remedies to: Natures Rx: Jonathan Evans at, or by regular mail to: The Herbarium, 264 Exchange Street, Chicopee, MA 01013. If requesting additional info, include a self-addressed stamped envelope.